- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Ned’s Dean machine

Among the liberal groups pushing Ned Lamont’s challenge of Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, is Democracy for America (DFA), the political action committee Howard Dean established in 2004.

Mr. Dean is now chairman of the Democratic National Committee, but his brother Jim Dean is “carrying on what his brother … started,” according to the DFA Web site (www.democracyforamerica.com). That mission apparently includes the defeat of a certain Connecticut senator.

“Three months ago, Joe Lieberman led Ned Lamont in the polls by more than 40 points. But you took a chance on Ned and thousands of DFA members around the country pitched in to help his insurgent campaign. The result? Two new polls show that Ned Lamont has surged into a narrow lead over Lieberman,” Jim Dean wrote yesterday in an e-mail to Democrats, soliciting contributions to the Lamont campaign.

DFA has raised more than $80,000 for Mr. Lamont, a millionaire whom Jim Dean compared directly to his brother, the former governor of Vermont, who was an early front-runner in the 2004 Democratic presidential race.

“The story of an insurgent, people-powered candidate moving to the top of the polls against the Democratic establishment is not new. My brother, Howard, was in a similar position three and a half years ago in the 2004 presidential primary. I don’t need to remind you about what happened when the Beltway Democrats placed a giant target on his back and took aim. Let’s make sure that history doesn’t repeat itself with Ned Lamont.”

Steele’s remarks

A Republican in a competitive Senate race called his party affiliation “an impediment” and said that he would “probably not” want President Bush to campaign for him and that the Republican-controlled Congress should “just shut up and get something done.”

Michael S. Steele’s campaign confirmed yesterday that the Maryland lieutenant governor was the Senate candidate who made the comments a day earlier at a luncheon at a Capitol Hill steakhouse on the condition that reporters not identify him. However, the campaign said his remarks were only a sampling of the wide-ranging, 90-minute interview that it said also included praise for the president.

“It’s an impediment. It’s a hurdle I have to overcome,” Mr. Steele, who is running in a Democrat-leaning state, said of his Republican label, according to yesterday’s edition of The Washington Post. “I’ve got an ‘R’ here, a scarlet letter.”

Doug Heye, a spokesman for Mr. Steele, said the candidate, who is black, also praised Mr. Bush’s recent speech before the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, as well as economic growth and unemployment numbers among blacks, the Associated Press reports.

“Obviously, those positive comments didn’t make it into the story,” said Mr. Heye, who also disputed the notion that Mr. Steele berated the president.

Those mavericks

“Months ago, I was lunching with some savvy Democrats when one of them asked me: What is the problem with all those Republicans who can’t stand maverick GOP Sen. John McCain?” San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra J. Saunders writes.

“As a McCainiac, I warmed to the subject. I disagree with McCain on illegal immigration and other issues, but I like the fact that McCain appeals to Democrats and independents and that he can work with senators on the other side of the aisle. I appreciate McCain’s efforts to curb Washington’s runaway spending and wish more Republicans followed his lead on fiscal restraint. What is more, I think McCain in the White House could go a long way in healing the country’s ugly partisan divide,” the columnist said.

“Then again, I added, Democrats have their own maverick — Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman. Unlike Dems who ran from their support of the Iraq resolution, Lieberman has remained stalwart. He has forged relations with the Bush White House and joined McCain and Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., in fighting pork-barrel spending.

“That’s when the table got quiet. It is one thing for Democrats to feel superior to rube Republicans who don’t like McCain because he is not sufficiently doctrinaire. When, however, a Democrat gets along with Republicans and espouses moderate positions, well then, he is a turncoat, plain and simple. The episode demonstrated how voters value bipartisanship — from the other side, only.”

Liberal mantra

John F. Kennedy believed that ‘an economy hampered by restrictive tax rates will never produce enough revenue to balance our budget, just as it will never produce enough jobs or enough profits.’ So he proposed income tax rate reductions, which the Democratic Congress enacted the year after JFK’s death. Back then, Democrats were for them: More than 80 percent of Democratic senators and representatives voted for the Kennedy tax cuts,” Pete du Pont writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“My, how times have changed. Today the Democratic Party is so vehemently opposed to income tax cuts that when President Bush’s reached their final vote in May 2003, only 4 percent of Democratic legislators (2 of 48 senators and 7 of 205 representatives) voted ‘yes,’” Mr. du Pont said.

“Opposing tax cuts has become the mantra of the liberal left. Sen. John Kerry wants to roll back Bush’s ‘unaffordable tax cuts.’ Sen. Mark Dayton (D., Minn.) called the cuts ‘dangerous and destructive and dishonorable.’ Bill Clinton in 2003 said the cuts were ‘way too big to avoid serious harm.’ And various New York Times editorials called them ‘economically unsound,’ claimed that ‘they will increase the deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars’ and said they were unlikely ‘to stimulate the wallowing economy.’ Earlier this month House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi promised that the election of a Democratic House in November would result in a ‘rollback of the tax cuts.’

“Of course they have it backwards. President Bush’s personal income, capital gains and dividend tax rate reductions have created economic growth, significantly increased government tax receipts, and reduced the federal deficit by nearly $130 billion. As the New York Times was forced to admit in its front-page headline on July9, a “Surprising Jump in Tax Revenues Curbs U.S. Deficit.” But it isn’t surprising at all; the truth is that when tax rates go down, economic activity goes up.”

Arnold ahead

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, holds an eight-point lead over Democratic challenger and state Treasurer Phil Angelides in their race for the governor’s office, according to a poll released yesterday.

The Field Poll found 45 percent of likely voters favor Mr. Schwarzenegger for re-election in November, with Mr. Angelides getting 37 percent.

“The public is little more optimistic about the future of California and giving the governor a little more credit,” Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll, told Reuters news agency.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-33285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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