- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 10, 2005

A star is born

“Democrats get to gloat about President Bush and the 2005 elections, but Sen. Hillary Clinton can’t gloat too much because a rival Dem 2008 star was born in the person of Virginia Gov. Mark Warner,” the New York Post’s Deborah Orin writes.

“Warner’s amazing 78 percent popularity was enough to help elect another Democrat, Tim Kaine, as Virginia’s next governor,” Miss Orin said.

“But that’s not all.

“Consider this: [Mrs.] Clinton’s team offered her help in Virginia — and was turned down. Instead, the Kaine campaign asked for Bubba — and former President Bill Clinton did two fund-raisers and satellite-TV interviews, a Clinton aide said. But he’s the Southern Clinton, and that’s not exactly a high-profile assignment.

“The Virginia Democrats also told Democratic National [Committee] Chairman Howard Dean and 2004 loser John Kerry to stay out. Message: Northeast pols are a definite drag in NASCAR country down South, where Dems must do better to win the White House.”

A ‘murky’ predictor

“Midterm elections are predictive of the future, except when they aren’t,” syndicated columnist James P. Pinkerton writes.

“Although no Republican should feel good about the recent results, the historical record shows a murky relationship between midterm elections and subsequent midterm and presidential elections,” Mr. Pinkerton said.

“In 1993, for example, Democrat Bill Clinton sat in the White House, and his party got clobbered in that year’s midterm. The Democrats lost the same two governorships that were at issue on Tuesday, New Jersey and Virginia, and they also lost in 1993, for the first time in three decades, the mayor’s office in New York City. The following year the Democrats suffered a far more disastrous midterm result, losing both chambers of Congress. Party elders heaped most of the blame on the Clinton administration, although ordinary Democratic voters didn’t seem to mind so much; in 1996, the 42nd president was easily re-elected.

“The lesson of these disparate data is that there is no lesson. Or, to put it another way, the story line of the 2006 and 2008 elections was not written on Tuesday — it will be written in the months and years to come.”

Reporter targeted

Reps. John A. Boehner and George Miller have asked the U.S. Capitol Police to open an investigation into the theft of a House document, supposedly by a reporter for Bloomberg News.

Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican and chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, and Mr. Miller, California Democrat and his party’s ranking member on the committee, said the document included confidential pension-plan information on hundreds of major U.S. companies.

In a letter to U.S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer, the two lawmakers asked for a thorough investigation into what they called a potential criminal act by the reporter, whom they did not name.

On Oct. 26, they said, a member of the panel’s minority staff called the Capitol Police and reported that a confidential committee document had been taken by an employee of Bloomberg News from one of the committee’s Democratic offices.

“Upon learning that a confidential document had been taken from our committee offices, I immediately directed my staff to contact the Capitol Police and Chairman Boehner to notify them of this incident,” Mr. Miller said. “Bloomberg News, after being contacted by the minority and majority, returned the document to the committee on November 2 and promised not to publish the confidential information contained in it.”

Lott’s game

“Are you watching Trent Lott? He’s playing an interesting game,” Peggy Noonan writes at www.opinionjournal.com.

“Just under three years ago he lost his Senate leadership post, but he’s no longer acting as if he’s concussed. He seems like someone who’s thought it all through. He appears to have little respect for his colleagues in the Senate GOP Conference, or at the White House for that matter. And of course he has reason to feel disdain: No one stood by him when he got nailed for saying the kind of things Bobby Byrd would say on a good day. (This column knocked him hard, too.)

“When Lott stepped forward this week to say he thought the latest national security leak probably came not from Democrats but from his Republican colleagues I thought: Hmmm. This guy has set himself as the man from Mississippi who works for Mississippi. He no longer has to carry the party on his shoulders; he no longer has to be the leadership, or to be protective of his colleagues. What he has is freedom; what he’s taking is an opportunity to enhance his national standing with unfettered truth-telling. Or at least the telling of what he believes is true. This is better than party leadership. It’s a pretty wonderful position to be in, free of the need to show solidarity, brotherhood or even team-playerhood.”

Corzine’s ambition

“The New Jersey [gubernatorial] race had only two interesting elements,” Fred Barnes writes at the Weekly Standard Web site (www.weeklystandard.com).

“One was the TV ad that Republican Doug Forrester ran quoting the ex-wife of Democrat Jon Corzine — he dumped her after 30 or so years of marriage — as saying she wouldn’t vote for him. Corzine, spending freely from his personal wealth of $300 million, now contemplates the presidency,” Mr. Barnes said.

“That’s the second item of interest in the race. Corzine is already a senator, though hardly an influential one. Why else would he want to be governor of New Jersey except to use it as a launching pad for a presidential bid? I can’t think of a single other reason.”

Dubious honor?

National Journal asked 238 members of Congress and political operatives to name their favorite member of the other party. The winners? Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, and Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican.

Mr. Lieberman, with 35 percent, and Mr. McCain, with 31 percent, won this vote in a landslide.

Mr. Lieberman’s closest rivals as Republicans’ favorite Democrat were Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, at 6 percent, and Tennessee Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr., at 4 percent.

Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel and Iowa Rep. Jim Leach were tied for second as the Democrats’ favorite Republican, with 5 percent.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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