- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Pre-emptive strike

“As soon as Justice Sandra Day O’Connor announced her retirement in June, Democrats called on the president to name a moderate ‘consensus’ replacement that would preserve the balance of the court. Now they are at it again,” Manuel Miranda writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“By her voting record, Justice O’Connor was toe to toe with the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist 80 percent of the time, but where she parted with him, on key social issues such as Roe v. Wade, is exactly where politically minded Americans draw the battle lines. So naturally she has become the judicious voice of moderation for liberals,” Mr. Miranda said.

“Democrats, having neither a majority nor a viable filibuster threat, are launching a targeted pre-emptive strike by naming the potential nominees they will fight against. Coincidentally, these are the only potential nominees that conservatives will likely lift a finger to fight for.

“The left’s main target is the jurist liberals know is the president’s ultimate Katrina exit strategy, Judge Janice Rogers Brown. Although at her hearing she was a model of grace and intellect and she wrote more majority opinions than any of her colleagues on the California Supreme Court, liberals paint Brown as ‘unrelenting’ and a ‘lightning rod.’ Her critics say that she has not been on the federal appellate court very long, even though she has now been on as long as David Souter had been when he was elevated, and she would have had more than two years’ experience had Democrats not filibustered her nomination.”

Hillary’s dilemma

“Right after Election Day in November 2004, Bill and Hillary Clinton seemed to have reached certain conclusions,” Dick Morris writes in the Hill newspaper.

“They appear to have decided that Hillary needed to stress religious values, hew to a hawkish position on the war on terrorism, remain steadfast in her support for the Iraq war and move to the center on a variety of issues, painting herself as a moderate,” Mr. Morris said.

“But circumstances have changed … the endless casualties in Iraq, the inability to stop terrorist attacks in cities such as London and the high price of gasoline have all contributed to a swing to the left among the electorate and, especially, within the Democratic Party.

“The anti-war movement represents a real menace to Hillary’s ability to win the nomination in 2008 and might even represent a sufficient threat to give her a primary in her pursuit of the Democratic nomination for Senate from New York in 2006. These folks, from Cindy Sheehan to the followers of Howard Dean, are not to be trifled with.

“Is Hillary looking a bit like Hubert Humphrey or Nelson Rockefeller did in the mid-‘60s? Once the liberal darlings, they were increasingly forced by their pro-war positions into an adversarial relationship with their former political base.”

Opposing Gonzales

Richard A. Viguerie, chairman of ConservativeHQ.com and a pioneer in direct-mail fundraising, says a survey of conservative leaders found near-unanimous opposition to the possible nomination of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mr. Viguerie said 43 conservative leaders responded to a questionnaire and that 95.3 percent said they would not support Mr. Gonzales’ nomination.

An identical percentage would consider a Gonzales nomination to be a breach of President Bush’s promise to nominate strict constructionists to the federal courts. And 93 percent indicated that such an action seriously would hurt the president’s support among conservatives.

When asked whether the conservative base of the Republican Party would be so discouraged by a Gonzales nomination that it would suppress the vote in the 2006 congressional elections, 81.4 percent agreed, 7 percent disagreed and 11.6 percent were not sure.

“This is confirmation of what is well-known about Gonzales’ liberal record in Washington and Texas,” Mr. Viguerie said. “The conservative leaders have a pretty good idea what he would do on the Supreme Court and are distressed by that prospect.”

Sympathy vanishes

“Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in action in Iraq on April 4, 2004, has become the face of the anti-war movement in the United States. While her grief is understandable, her rhetoric is outrageous,” former New York Mayor Ed Koch writes at www.RealClearPolitics.com.

“As the mother of a son killed in battle in Iraq, she originally struck a sympathetic chord, whether you supported the war in Iraq or opposed it. One cannot help but empathize with the agony of a bereaved mother. But that has changed over the months, and I believe that many Americans who viewed her with sympathy no longer do so,” Mr. Koch said.

“Many Americans, myself included, now see her as a person who has come to enjoy the celebratory status accorded to her by the radicals on the extreme left who see America as the outlaw of the world. These radicals are not content to be constructive critics. They are bent on destroying this country.”

Impossible dream

A white Tennessee lawmaker lamenting his exclusion from the state’s Black Legislative Caucus says the group is less accommodating than the Ku Klux Klan.

“My understanding is that the KKK doesn’t even ban members by race,” said state Rep. Stacey Campfield, adding that the KKK “has less-racist bylaws” than the black lawmakers’ group.

The freshman Republican from Knoxville was rebuffed earlier this year when he asked for the caucus’s bylaws and inquired about joining.

Caucus chairman Rep. Johnny Shaw, a Democrat, dismissed Mr. Campfield’s request and called him a “strange guy” who was simply interested in stirring up trouble, the Associated Press reports.

The 37-year-old Mr. Campfield defended himself Saturday in a message on his Web journal, under the heading “I too dream.” The long excerpts from Martin Luther King’s famous 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech infuriated some readers. Mr. Campfield had to ban reader comments after some of the angry postings included death threats.

Stock sale

Sen. Jon Corzine, New Jersey Democrat and a gubernatorial candidate, no longer holds shares in his former employer, Goldman Sachs, according to his campaign.

The disclosure came Tuesday, the Associated Press reports, after two lawyers said the senator had potential conflicts of interest because the Wall Street firm does business with the state.

Corzine spokesman Tom Shea said the senator had directed the trustees of his blind trust to sell any Goldman Sachs shares in his portfolio. The campaign then learned, Mr. Shea said, that Mr. Corzine’s trust already had been divested of the stock. It is not certain when that was done, but no such sale was listed on Mr. Corzine’s 2004 tax returns.

The blind trust is managed by Wall Street financial advisers with whom Mr. Corzine worked while co-chairman of Goldman Sachs in the late 1990s.

Sherry Sylvester, a spokeswoman for Republican candidate Doug Forrester, said Mr. Corzine still has “a mountain of conflicts of financial relationships that need to be disclosed.”

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

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