- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 27, 2006

Dean again

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean yesterday called Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki an “anti-Semite” for failing to denounce Hezbollah for its attacks against Israel, the Associated Press reports.

“The Iraqi prime minister is an anti-Semite,” the Democratic leader told a gathering of Democratic business leaders in Florida. “We don’t need to spend $200 [billion] and $300 [billion] and $500 billion bringing democracy to Iraq to turn it over to people who believe that Israel doesn’t have a right to defend itself and who refuse to condemn Hezbollah.”

On Capitol Hill, Sen. John W. Warner, Virginia Republican and chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said, “I dismiss Howard Dean. Really, he’s a disappointment, even to Democrats. I don’t care to deal with that.”

McCain’s problem

John McCain is a fiscal hawk. Even more than being a war hero, it’s probably the single greatest quality that most conservatives love about the guy,” Tom Bevan writes at www.realclearpolitics.com.

“If you’ve ever seen McCain step before a group of rock-ribbed Republicans and start railing away about pork-barrel projects and runaway spending, you know what I mean. There’s something about talk of slashing government spending that makes conservatives go absolutely giddy, and McCain has the sort of pork-busting chops that few, if any, can match,” Mr. Bevan said.

“But as much as conservatives love McCain when it comes to matters of foreign policy or fiscal discipline, they squirm in their seats when he starts talking about other issues — like campaign-finance reform. When McCain starts opining on what a success his bill (McCain-Feingold) has been and ranting against the FCC’s unwillingness to close more ‘loopholes,’ the room gets quiet and tense, as if the senior senator from Arizona has just taken out a copy of the Constitution, laid it on the floor and begun jumping up and down on the First Amendment.

“Obviously, another prickly subject for McCain among conservatives is immigration. In person, McCain argues passionately about the subject and makes a solid case for comprehensive reform — though it usually falls on plenty of deaf ears. Many conservatives have long since deemed McCain’s immigration proposal ‘shamnesty,’ a derisive term meant to conjure up unfavorable comparisons with the dreaded Simpson-Mazzoli bill of 1986.”

Partisan panel

“Anyone who still clings to the fiction that the [American Bar Association] can be counted on to provide professional evaluations of judicial nominees without regard to politics should take a look at the current squabble over [Michael] Wallace, whom Mr. Bush has nominated for the New Orleans-based Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals,” the Wall Street Journal says in an editorial, noting that in May an ABA panel rated Mr. Wallace as “unanimously not qualified” for the federal bench.

“Mr. Wallace is a highly regarded attorney in private practice in Mississippi, where his nomination has bipartisan support,” the Journal said. “He clerked for the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist and in the early 1980s served as counsel to then-Congressman Trent Lott. In 1999, Mr. Lott hired him back as special counsel during President Clinton’s impeachment trial.

“That’s not a professional background likely to endear the nominee to liberals. But here’s the real disqualifier: During the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, Mr. Wallace served on the board and then was chairman of the federally funded Legal Services Corporation, whose ostensible mission was to provide legal help for the poor but which was a haven for liberal legal activism.

“Mr. Wallace’s efforts to reform the LSC had many critics, among them an attorney by the name of Michael Greco. Another opponent was the then-president of the New Hampshire bar, Stephen Tober, who accused him of having a ‘political agenda’ at one particularly contentious hearing. Mr. Greco is now president of the ABA, and Mr. Tober is chairman of the ABA committee that nixed Mr. Wallace. Mr. Wallace’s reforms were adopted, and now it’s apparently payback time.”

A mystery

“At an event in North Carolina to mark Black History Month last February, Julian Bond, the chairman of the NAACP, unleashed a blistering attack on the Bush administration and the Republican Party,” Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby writes.

“Among other discourtesies, he compared President George W. Bush’s judicial appointees to the Taliban and described former Attorney General John Ashcroft, not for the first time, as ‘J. Edgar Ashcroft.’

“‘The Republican Party,’ Bond was reported as saying, ‘would have the American flag and the swastika flying side by side.’ (A slightly different version has Bond saying that the GOP’s ‘idea of equal rights is the American flag and the Confederate swastika flying side-by-side.’)

“Such partisan bigotry from the chairman of a supposedly nonpartisan organization makes it easy to understand why for five years Bush refused to attend the NAACP’s annual conventions. More of a mystery is why he changed his mind this year — and why, rather than attempt to refute Bond’s venomous caricature of his party, he seemed to accept it,” Mr. Jacoby said.

“‘I understand that many African-Americans distrust my political party,’ Bush said. ‘I consider it a tragedy that the party of Abraham Lincoln let go of its historic ties with the African-American community. For too long my party wrote off the African-American vote, and many African-Americans wrote off the Republican Party.’

“Republicans often take this rueful tone when talking about their party in the context of race. Democrats, who routinely get 85 percent or more of the black vote, never do. But the Republican rue isn’t justified by the facts. Neither is the willingness of black voters to be taken for granted by Democrats.”

Cad’s cash

Millionaire architect Peter Cook, 47, is accused of cheating on his supermodel wife, Christie Brinkley, with a teenage sales clerk.

Mr. Cook is also a Democrat who’s given thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to Democrats, including $13,000 to New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the New York Post reports.

Mr. Cook — whose reported affair with 19-year-old Diana Bianchi has made headlines for the past week — also gave campaign cash to Massachusetts Sens. John Kerry and Edward M. Kennedy, as well as $10,000 to the Democratic National Committee, reporter Geoff Earle writes.

But Mrs. Clinton, “who champions women’s causes and children’s issues, is the biggest recipient of Cook’s generosity to politicians,” Mr. Earle writes. “Asked … whether she will return the contributions, Clinton said, ‘I’ll have to look into it.’”

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

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