- The Washington Times - Monday, November 14, 2005

Return fire

“Round 2 of the administration’s attack on Democrats who backed the war in Iraq but now oppose it comes this week when the Republican National Committee releases a video of big-shot Democrats warning of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.

“President Bush fed the feud last week when he accused Democrats of trying to rewrite the history leading up to the war. Now the RNC will out the flip-floppers, featuring old comments from Dems like Bill Clinton, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, and Rep. Nancy Pelosi. One example: Clinton, warning that Saddam Hussein is ready to pull the WMD trigger, saying ‘I guarantee to you he’ll use the arsenal.’”

Arnold’s defeat

“With the defeat of all four of the propositions he endorsed, Arnold Schwarzenegger has lost the aura of golden invincibility that his decisive victory in the 2003 recall election had given him. It turns out that the Governator is only human, after all,” Carol Platt Liebau writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“On the face of it, the election results are puzzling. After all, the people of California supposedly sent Schwarzenegger to Sacramento for two primary reasons: To reduce the outlandish level of state spending and to curb the power of special interests dominating the legislature, from unions to Indian tribes. The governor resorted to calling a special election only after good faith but fruitless negotiations with Democratic legislators made it clear that, otherwise, his reform agenda was doomed,” said the writer, a lawyer and political analyst whose blog can be found at www.CarolLiebau.blog spot.com.

“There are several explanations for the disappointing special-election results — starting with election fatigue. Tuesday was California’s fourth special election in two years. That fact disadvantaged the governor from the start, placing voter turnout — a specialty of the unions opposing him — at a premium.

“The seeds of Tuesday’s disaster, however, were sown early. If there was a fatal flaw in the strategy for this special election, it was the decision to take on all the special interests — teachers, government employees, the politicians and unions generally — at once. The governor’s strategists believed that doing so would allow for a thematically coherent campaign in support of a ‘reform package.’ In practice, however, the decision unified his opposition, whose well-funded and constant attacks combined to drive down public confidence in Schwarzenegger’s motives, leadership, and competence.”

The writer added: “Ultimately, this humiliating defeat may serve the governor well. He is a tenacious man, and a smart one. With a more realistic sense of his own limits, there’s no reason he can’t come back, take on the special interests one by one, and bring real reform to California.”

Mapes’ dance

“Asked by Bill O’Reilly Thursday night on [the Fox News Channel] whether she’s a liberal, Mary Mapes, the CBS News producer fired in January for her role in the forged National Guard memos and representations she made to her colleagues, first put up the usual avoidance device of a liberal — ‘I’m not sure what a liberal is’ — before insisting that ‘like a lot of Americans, I’m all over the map.’” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker writes at www.mrc.org.

“In the taped interview, O’Reilly then pressed her: ‘Are you registered Democrat?’ Mapes seriously responded: ‘I don’t know.’ O’Reilly scoffed: ‘You don’t know?’ Mapes claimed: ‘I don’t know if I’m independent or Democrat. I know I’m not — in Texas, I’m not sure how I’m registered.’ (But apparently she’s quite sure she’s no Republican.)

“O’Reilly returned to his original interest: ‘So you would describe yourself politically as?’ She maintained: ‘Oh, my goodness. I’m liberal on some things; I’m conservative on some things.’”

An embarrassment

“It’s not easy to do, but gun control advocates in San Francisco have come up with an anti-firearms measure that embarrasses even some gun control advocates,” Steve Chapman writes in the Chicago Tribune.

“The red-faced ones may realize this one is not likely to work even if it is upheld in court, which it almost certainly will not be. But the pointlessness of the initiative didn’t stop San Franciscans from approving it by a hefty majority,” Mr. Chapman said.

“Proposition H outlaws the sale, manufacture, transfer and ownership of handguns and ammunition in the city. Unlike other cities that enacted bans but allowed residents to keep weapons they already had, San Francisco included immediate confiscation in the deal: Anyone who now has a handgun must surrender it to the police by next April. The only people allowed to possess these firearms will be police, soldiers and security guards.

“So what’s wrong with this plan? Just about everything. Start with the fact that it appears to conflict with the state constitution, which gives the state sole jurisdiction over firearms regulation — a defect that doomed San Francisco’s last handgun ban, passed in 1982.

University of California at Berkeley law professor Franklin Zimring, a staunch supporter of gun control, says the new ordinance is a ‘sure loser’ in court. Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who as mayor signed the 1982 law, saw no point in taking a position on this one because of its obviously fatal infirmity. Current Mayor Gavin Newsom admitted the initiative is ‘a public opinion poll.’”

‘A vague chance’

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush ruled out running for president in 2008, but left open the possibility of a subsequent bid in an interview with a German magazine published yesterday.

Mr. Bush, who is scheduled to visit Germany this week, told Focus weekly he had not thought much about running for the office held by his father and older brother except to rule out the next election at the end of George W. Bush’s second term.

“You should never say never. But for the 2008 election, my answer is definitely no,” he said, in comments translated into German by the magazine.

Asked whether his answer meant a later challenge was possible, he said: “Let’s say there’s a vague chance.”

Mr. Bush, 52, said he spoke frequently with his brother and visited the White House whenever he was in Washington, but he said the two mainly discussed family matters or sports, Reuters news agency reports.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]

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