- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 12, 2006

Sharp tongue

Ann Coulter drew applause and criticism Friday after she used the term “raghead” to describe the leaders of Iran in a speech to a gathering of conservative activists.

Discussing the question of whether Iran has nuclear weapons, Miss Coulter said that, after September 11, there is a new standard for U.S. foreign policy: “Raghead talks tough, raghead faces consequences.”

In a question-and-answer session after her speech to the 33rd annual Conservative Political Action Conference, Miss Coulter was asked about those remarks by a Muslim Republican student activist.

“I make a few jokes about Muslims; they killed 3,000 Americans — I think we’re even,” Miss Coulter said to laughter and applause from a packed house in the Regency Ballroom of the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Northwest.

A second CPAC attendee sarcastically asked Miss Coulter when she was going to start making jokes about other groups, including Jews and blacks, to which she replied, “Maybe when they start flying jets into our skyscrapers.”

Hot air

“It doesn’t take much to get the TV network news divisions to promote the cause of those who want drastic government action to try to arrest global warming,” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker writes at www.mrc.org.

“A little warm weather at the site of the Winter Olympics led NBC on Thursday to blame mankind-generated global warming and, the day before, NBC as well as ABC and CNN, jumped to promote a global-warming ad campaign launched by some evangelicals as the networks showed a sudden respect for religious figures normally allied with conservatives,” Mr. Baker said.

“From Torino, NBC anchor Brian Williams announced that ‘just before we left the United States for Italy, we learned that January was the warmest January ever in all the recorded history of the U.S. And suddenly now, in this region, global warming is a hot issue as well.’

“The night before, ABC’s Charles Gibson touted how ‘some of President Bush’s strongest supporters in the evangelical Christian movement broke ranks with the administration on global warming. Their argument: God created Earth. Man must take care to preserve it, and we’re not doing so.’ Dan Harris had no quarrel in this context with using the term ‘pro-life’ as he ominously concluded with how ‘they hope they can convince their brothers in Christ that global warming is, in fact, a pro-life issue, before it’s too late.’”

Bells and snickers

Karl Rove recently unveiled the GOP’s strategy for the 2006 election,” Steven Groopman writes in the New Republic.

“At its heart is emphasizing distinctions between Republicans and Democrats on the issue of national security. If Rove wanted evidence that this strategy will succeed, then he should have watched the State of the Union [address] with me,” Mr. Groopman said.

“I watched the speech at an event sponsored by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, perhaps the most high-profile liberal advocacy organization in the country. Early on, when Bush invoked September 11, the audience let out a loud groan and snickered. Seconds later, the president mentioned ‘weapons of mass destruction’ for the first time. A bell rang, and the audience laughed; then Bush said the words ‘freedom’ and ‘terror’ and bells rang again, followed by more laughter. This ritual was repeated throughout the speech.

“Why the visceral reaction to these particular formulations? Spreading freedom around the world is — or should be — a paramount goal of liberalism. Meanwhile, terrorism remains a real threat to America, and a source of continuing death and destruction the world over. This is not an invention of the Republican imagination; it is reality. In the years since September 11, many liberals seem to have concluded that you’re not really opposing Bush’s means unless you also scorn his stated ends. That’s too bad. Liberals have no chance of winning the national security debate if they dismiss its premises.”

Dead program

“Let’s start with the one thing we know for sure about the Bush administration’s program to listen to al Qaeda’s phone calls into and out of the United States: It’s dead,” Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Henninger writes.

“After all the publicity of the past two weeks, does anyone think that the boys working on plans for Boston Harbor, the Golden Gate Bridge or Chicago’s Loop are still chatting by phone? If the purpose of the public exposure was to pull the plug on the pre-emptive surveillance program, mission accomplished. Be safe, Times Square,” Mr. Henninger said.

“At the least, al Qaeda’s operatives in Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, Hamburg and the U.S. will hold off phoning in the next mass-murder plan until the U.S. Senate finishes deliberating Arlen Specter’s proposal to legislatively order up an opinion from the judges on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court, est. 1978, as to whether the antiterrorist wiretap program violates the law that created their jobs.

“This passage appears on the second page of the 9/11 Commission’s 567-page report, ‘On Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States’: ‘We learned that the institutions charged with protecting our borders, civil aviation and national security did not understand how grave this threat could be, and did not adjust their policies, plans and practices to deter or defeat it. … We learned of the pervasive problems of managing and sharing information across a large and unwieldy government [my emphasis] that had been built in a different era to confront different dangers.’

“And those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Having watched one passenger-filled airliner fly into a skyscraper on a peaceful morning in [Lower] Manhattan more than four years ago, I’d just as soon not repeat the experience. …

“But insofar as the surveillance program has been rendered moot, let’s by all means pull over to the side of the road and have a long national conversation about it. (But don’t send your thoughts to Sen. Specter via the Postal Service, as his Web site contains the following Important Notice: ‘Security restrictions now cause considerable delay in processing postal mail sent to Senate offices.’)”

Winking at McCain

“The White House, which has recently shown hints of support for conservative Virginia Sen. George Allen’s 2008 presidential plans, is also winking at Sen. John McCain, the early-on fave for the GOP nomination,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.

“Insiders tell us that Bushies have talked him up in private chats with Republican strategists and have even tried to steer people to the Arizonan’s effort. Why? The Bushies say they appreciate his support for the president’s 2004 re-election campaign and think he could slay Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“And for doubters, here’s another indication the Vietnam War hero is running: In April, he’ll be in Iowa, host of the first presidential caucus, raising money for GOP gubernatorial candidate Rep. Jim Nussle, the latest presidential hopeful to lend him a hand — and maybe win his support.”

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

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