- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 10, 2006

Connecticut truths

Cronies were crowing and analysts were running amok yesterday over the Connecticut primary, with much of the mainstream press proclaiming that Ned Lamont’s win over Sen.Joe Lieberman was a harbinger of disaster for Republicans and the White House, and a savory victory for true-blue Democrats.

Some think otherwise, though.

“Lamont’s win is a victory for Hezbollah,” said Fred Grandy, WMAL talk-radio host, in Washington yesterday.

“He was up against a jihad” — from a New York Sun editorial.

“The sucking sound you heard from Connecticut last night was the air going out of the war on terror. At least among many Democrats,” observed Michael Goodwin of the New York Daily News.

“The party’s voters have spoken — and they are wrong to try to fire Joe Lieberman after three distinguished terms in the Senate. … So now that the wackadoo wing of the party has a bloody scalp, what are they going to do with it? Wave it at Islamic terrorists in Iraq and Lebanon and Afghanistan and Indonesia and Great Britain and Spain and Israel and New York and declare peace? That will work for sure. They better also wear armor and duck.”

Mr. Goodwin later noted: “Lieberman’s decision to stay in the race as an independent is the right one. Given the close margin, all the state’s voters deserve a chance to have their say. Perhaps they will fix what the Democrats broke.”

Moving right along

The Republican National Committee is already up and at ‘em. Mr. Lieberman’s defeat “speaks volumes about the new Democrat Party: If you stand for a strong defense and victory in the war on terror, you have not place in the party and must be purged,” Chairman Ken Mehlman said yesterday.

It is the dawn of “decline” for the Democrats, “from leadership that would ‘pay any price, bear any burden’ to defend freedom to leaders who want to cut and run from the war on terror, and surrender other tools needed to keep America safe,” he said.

“The message from Connecticut is clear, and Ned Lamont isn’t alone. He is joined by Rep. John P. Murtha, architect of the Democrats’ position on Iraq and the man who wants to be the next House majority leader, who claims America is more dangerous than Iran and North Korea and says, ‘We’ve become the enemy.’ And by Howard Dean, who calls the idea of victory in Iraq ‘just plain wrong,’” Mr. Mehlman said.

“With 90 days to go before the election, national Democrat leaders have made their choice in favor of defeatism, isolationism and blaming America first,” he concluded.

Senator Athena

It’s been laughed about for weeks. But the “Presidential Bust” of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was unveiled yesterday at New York’s Museum of Sex, giving the New York Democrat some heroic proportions.

Sculptor Daniel Edwards was going for the Athena effect, apparently, featuring a noble “presidential smile,” generous feminine endowments and an effort, Mr. Edwards said, to present Mrs. Clinton “as a woman — not a covered up person, but as a woman.”

Needless to say, the subject of this objet d’art had no comment yesterday.

Rush reflects

Rush Limbaugh is reassured and pleased by the growth of the conservative press since he began broadcasting his daily talk-radio show nationally in 1988.

“Now there’s this whole alternative media universe. The mainstream media’s monopoly has been busted,” Mr. Limbaugh said in an interview with Erick Erickson of RedState.com.

“Conservatives have risen to such stature that we’re now having battles among ourselves. … You’ve got certain conservatives criticizing others and ignoring others, trying to pretend they don’t exist. We’re not even unified as conservatives, especially in this alternative media. You’ve got certain bloggers that don’t want anything to do with talk radio. You’ve got talk radio that doesn’t want anything to do with the bloggers because they think the bloggers are a little arrogant and cocky. You’ve got the Weekly Standard crowd that doesn’t want anything to do with either of them because they think they have the influence with the policy-makers in Washington.

“All this is healthy. I think it would be helpful if we unified now and then on certain things, rather than get childish and concerned ego-wise over who should get credit for doing what. But look at what happens now, as opposed to 18 or 20 years ago. Can you imagine if Ronald Reagan had had this conservative alternative media apparatus in 1980, what he’d have been able to accomplish? That’s what’s been so disappointing and frustrating about George Bush for six years so far.”

Gabby on the lam

An Arizona Daily Star investigation has challenged the validity of state Sen. Gabrielle Giffords‘ new campaign ad in her quest for Congress. The Tucson-based Democrat claims she alone prevented Republicans from reducing seniors’ health benefits by “invoking a legislative rule” requiring a majority of senators be present for a vote.

“Sometimes politicians think it’s the right time to do the wrong things. Like when they tried to sneak through cuts to care for seniors and kick thousands off health care. I blocked that late-night vote and forced budget talks out in the open to protect our families,” Miss Giffords tells the camera.

Not so, the Star says.

“Fact check: Giffords never blocked a vote on the bill she’s citing. She missed a vote that would have killed the legislation,” the Star said, explaining that Miss Giffords was at a Democratic Leadership Council event in the District when the state Appropriations Committee voted to advance the health care bill.

“If Giffords had been present to vote — and voted against the bills — she would have created a tie, killing the bills in committee. Without her vote, the bill went to the floor for debate and amendments, but never went up for a full vote since the House had already passed budget bills,” the Star said yesterday.

Swift reactions

The public is not particularly keen about recent press coverage that revealed White House monitoring of terrorists’ financial records, according to a Pew Research Center poll released Tuesday.

Revelations about the Swift financial-monitoring program — led by the New York Times on June 22 — hurt rather than helped the interests of the American people, according to 50 percent of the respondents. But there’s a partisan divide. The poll found 69 percent of Republicans were alarmed by the stories, compared with 38 percent of Democrats. Among Republicans who closely followed the accounts, the number rose to 82 percent.

Overall, 65 percent of Americans felt the coverage told the nation “something they should know about.” That figure was 45 percent among Republicans and 82 percent among Democrats. The poll of 2003 adults was conducted July 6-19, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Contact Jennifer Harper at 202/636-3085 or jharper@washingtontimes.com

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