- The Washington Times - Monday, August 21, 2006

Hagel’s criticism

Republicans have lost their way when it comes to many core Republican Party principles and may be in jeopardy heading into the fall elections, Sen. Chuck Hagel, Nebraska Republican, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Mr. Hagel, a possible presidential candidate in 2008, said the party today is very different party from the one when he first voted Republican.

“First time I voted was in 1968 on top of a tank in the Mekong Delta,” said Mr. Hagel, a Vietnam veteran. “I voted a straight Republican ticket. The reason I did is because I believe in the Republican philosophy of governance. It’s not what it used to be. I don’t think it’s the same today.”

Mr. Hagel asked: “Where is the fiscal responsibility of the party I joined in ‘68? Where is the international engagement of the party I joined — fair, free trade, individual responsibility, not building a bigger government, but building a smaller government?”

His frustration does not lead him to think Democrats offer a better alternative, the Associated Press reports. But Mr. Hagel wants to see the party return to its basic beliefs.

“I think we’ve lost our way,” Mr. Hagel said. “And I think the Republicans are going to be in some jeopardy for that and will be held accountable.”

Ambushing Rove

Chanting “Try Rove for treason,” Cindy Sheehan and more than 50 other war protesters ambushed a reception before President Bush’s adviser Karl Rove spoke at a fund-raiser at a hotel in Austin, Texas, on Saturday.

One woman was arrested during a scuffle with police after Mrs. Sheehan and the anti-war demonstrators rushed toward the closed doors and kept chanting loudly after the guests went into the dinner.

Mr. Rove was speaking at an Associated Republicans of Texas dinner, where ticket prices started at $200 per person and raised an estimated $250,000. He was not in the Renaissance Austin Hotel lobby during the reception, the Associated Press reports.

“I want him arrested. He planned the war that killed my son,” Mrs. Sheehan, referring to Mr. Rove, told the officers guarding the door. Mrs. Sheehan’s oldest son, Casey, was killed in Iraq in 2004.

Police then ordered the group to leave, but some protesters had paid for rooms for the night. Those protesters went upstairs, including Mrs. Sheehan.

One protester was able to slip inside the ballroom during the dinner, but was escorted out after shouting about men and women dying, the Austin American-Statesman reported yesterday.

“Pat, did you get her check before she left?” Mr. Rove quipped to the group’s executive director, Pat Robbins, as the crowd of 300 laughed, the newspaper reported.

“I don’t question the patriotism of our critics. Many are hardworking public servants who are doing the best they can. Some of them are people looking for a free meal,” Mr. Rove said, drawing more laughs.

Pataki vs. Hillary

“New York Gov. George Pataki stopped by the Monitor last week,” reporter Eric Moskowitz writes in the Concord (N.H.) Monitor.

“Given an opportunity to share his experiences working with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton — and disabuse us of the notion that New York’s junior senator is a polarizing figure — Pataki instead issued a rebuke of Clinton,” the reporter said.

“Pataki, who is exploring a Republican bid for the presidency, made no mention of working with Clinton, the perceived Democratic front-runner for the 2008 nomination. Instead, he said she represents what’s wrong with politics today, calling her the embodiment of partisan finger-pointing over bipartisan cooperation.

“‘Senator Clinton is one of the most polarizing personalities in American politics, and I think it’s with some justification,’ said Pataki, who called for politicians to seek common ground.

“Pataki said Clinton criticizes without offering solutions. ‘I fear that Senator Clinton has focused more on the negative and on attacking, as opposed to coming up with any positive solutions. In fact, as I sit here, I can’t think of something where she’s said, “Let’s do this together. Let’s set this as a positive agenda.” It’s been more from the outside, criticizing,’ he said. ‘And I just think there’s too much of that in Washington. There’s too much of that in politics.’”

Boycott Nicole?

Last week, a group of Hollywood celebrities and other entertainment figures — including Nicole Kidman, James Woods, Bruce Willis and Fox News honcho Rupert Murdoch — published an open letter condemning terrorism by Hezbollah and Hamas. Now the signers of the letter are being condemned as “Zionists” by a left-wing British blogger.

Akram Awad at akramawad.blogspot.com published the addresses of 48 of the signers of the anti-terror letter, and issued a three-part “call to action”:

“1. Boycott signatories and their movies, sport matches and first of all Rupert Murdoch’s biased News Corporation media. …

“2. Urge your friends to follow your steps by showing them how Zionist celebrities can be part of the Israeli propaganda. …

“3. Now this is the most important part. Write a letter to one or more of the celebrities reprimanding them for signing the statement and for the falsification of the truth. However, although we know that many of the signatories have long profiles supporting Israel and its Zionist project, we should still give them the benefit of doubt (to be fair to everyone) and give them a bit of truthful background information about the history of the conflict and the current crisis assuming that some of the signatories simply didn’t have access to enough information that would allow them to make a fair [judgment.]”

Switcher rewarded

Just days after the Nebraska state auditor jumped the Republican ship, state Democrats nominated her Saturday to run as their party’s candidate for auditor in November.

“I appreciate the Democratic Party’s support,”state Auditor Kate Witek told the Grand Island Independent. But she says her party switch is about good government, not just keeping her job.

Mrs. Witek, 51, switched parties Wednesday, criticizing the Republican Party for what she called a lack of interest in solving the state’s problems. She said she and the Democratic Party appear to have the same goals.

Mrs. Witek would not have been able to run for auditor as a Republican; she was Republican Tom Osborne’s running mate in the gubernatorial primary and lost that bid. Republicans already have nominated state Sen. Mike Foley as their auditor candidate, the Associated Press reports.

Republicans had raised questions about her motives and the legality of her late addition to the Democratic ticket, pointing out that she did not file as an incumbent by the February deadline.

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

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