- The Washington Times - Friday, February 24, 2006

Deja vu for McCain?

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, appears be picking another fight with conservatives.

The American Conservative Union (ACU), in an e-mail this week to right-wing activists and the press, denounced Mr. McCain’s Lobbying Transparency and Accountability Act of 2005 as an attack on the First Amendment.

Conservative opposition to Mr. McCain may have cost him the Republican presidential nomination in 2000. Much of that opposition stemmed from Mr. McCain’s campaign finance reform legislation, which conservatives also described as an attack on free speech.

Mr. McCain’s latest legislation “is masquerading as a ‘lobbying reform’ measure but essentially this cruel hoax against the American people has very little to do with reforming lobbying and has just about everything to do with shutting you up and stripping you of your First Amendment rights,” the ACU said.

In recent months, Mr. McCain, who has been mentioned as a presidential candidate in 2008, has appeared to gain support among some segments of the conservative movement because of his national security credentials and strong stand against pork-barrel spending.

However, the ACU described the lobbying bill as “McCain’s vicious power play,” which would compromise “our ability to keep you informed about what’s going on in Washington.”

The ACU urged its members to send “urgent Blast Fax messages to President George W. Bush and all 55 Republicans in the United States Senate,” telling them that the lobbying bill “is nothing more than a cleverly disguised attempt to cut average Americans like you out of the political equation.”

The ACU added: “Tell them that stifling the First Amendment rights of average Americans IS NOT lobbying reform!”

Blackwell’s ads

Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell has come out swinging against a Republican gubernatorial rival, airing radio and TV ads that the Columbus Dispatch said “stunned Ohio’s political establishment.”

“Blackwell, who has climbed to the top of GOP polls with his creativity and audacity, signaled early that the campaign for the party’s nomination May 2 will be messy and he left pundits debating the wisdom of his strategy” against Attorney General Jim Petro, Dispatch reporters Joe Hallett and Mark Niquette said.

Mr. Blackwell introduced ads that accuse Mr. Petro of demanding “campaign kickbacks” from outside lawyers that his office hires, prompting an “FBI probe.” And in a bid to tie Mr. Petro to scandals that have tainted the Republican Party and its leader, Gov. Bob Taft, the spots accuse Mr. Petro of having “ethics worse than Taft’s.”

Although the governor and state party chairman denounced the ads, some political observers think it could help Mr. Blackwell in the fall by separating him from an unpopular and scandal-tinged state Republican establishment, the reporters said.

Coup d’etat

“The American left, long in decline, has shored up its base, definitively seizing the high ground of American academia,” Thomas Lifson, editor and publisher of the American Thinker, writes at www.realclearpolitics.com.

“The resignation of Lawrence Summers as president of Harvard University, the nation’s oldest, and the world’s richest and most prestigious university, marks a significant coup d’etat for the left,” Mr. Lifson said.

“A faction, only a plurality within one segment of the university, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, has proven its ability to drive from office a brilliant and energetic leader who had been committed to pushing Harvard a little bit back toward the political center.

“The breaking point began to unfold when Summers dared to entertain as a possible hypothesis that there might be inherent differences between men and women, which in turn might affect the success females experience in mathematical and scientific endeavors. It has now been established that orthodox feminism, not free intellectual inquiry, determines what may be said by the leaders of Harvard. ‘Veritas,’ Latin for ‘truth’ should be replaced as Harvard’s official motto by some other expression. Perhaps the motto of the Red Guards during China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution: ‘Politics in command.’”

Green candidate

Peter Camejo, an independent vice-presidential candidate in 2004, says he intends to run for governor of California.

Mr. Camejo planned to submit papers yesterday in Sacramento to run as a Green Party candidate, said a spokesman, Cres Vellucci. Mr. Camejo was the party’s nominee for governor in 2002 and 2003.

If he qualifies for the ballot, Mr. Camejo would be a long shot, the Associated Press reports. He received about 3 percent of the vote in the 2003 recall election that installed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in office.

Former rivals

Barry Switzer, the former Oklahoma football coach, is working to elect a former coaching rival as governor of Nebraska.

Mr. Switzer recently was the main attraction at a fundraiser for Republican Rep. Tom Osborne, the former Nebraska football coach who is running for governor.

The two men have been friends for years, the Associated Press reports.

“I never voted party, never cared about that,” said Mr. Switzer, who retired from the Oklahoma coaching job in 1989 and later was coach of the Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys.

Mr. Osborne became a three-term congressman after a remarkable coaching career that ended in 1997. He faces incumbent Dave Heineman and Omaha businessman Dave Nabity in May’s Republican primary.

Wake up the echoes

President Bush traveled to Indiana and Ohio yesterday, and Stephen Dinan of The Washington Times reports:

“When Mr Bush landed in Indiana yesterday, he was greeted at South Bend Regional Airport by two University of Notre Dame dignitaries — Father Timothy Scully, former executive vice president and founder of the school’s Alliance for Catholic Education, and football coach Charlie Weiss.

“Mr. Weiss gave Mr. Bush two blue home-field football jerseys numbered 43 and 41, for himself and his father, former President Bush.”

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

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