- The Washington Times - Monday, June 12, 2006

Soros says

George Soros compares the Bush administration to the Third Reich in his new book, “The Age of Fallibility,” prompting Deborah Solomon of the New York Times to ask the left-wing billionaire, “As a Holocaust survivor, surely you can see the difference between them?”

“It is not identical at all, but our open society is endangered,” Mr. Soros answered, in an interview published yesterday in the newspaper’s magazine. “We live in a democracy. I live here because I can be critical. In Hungary, I lived under false names. I didn’t open my mouth.”

Asked whether he thinks it “futile” to give money to Democrats in a midterm election, Mr. Soros replied: “I feel it’s very important for Democrats to win control of the House, and I am supporting efforts to do that. I am really concerned about America. In a way, we have the wrong leadership. But we also have the wrong followership. People don’t care about the truth.”

Reid’s remarks

SenateMinority Leader Harry Reid made a pitch Saturday to enlist bloggers as a Democratic force in upcoming elections.

“I know fighters when I see them. You’re fighters,” Mr. Reid said as he began a warmly received keynote speech to the YearlyKos Convention of Web loggers at a Las Vegas Strip resort.

Mr. Reid is a former boxer, but the Nevada Democrat’s pugilistic reference prompted Iowa Voice, a Republican blogger, to observe: “You know, I don’t think he could have used a worse analogy than he did right there. He’s a big fan of the fights, particularly when he’s getting free tickets.”

It was reported last month that Mr. Reid had accepted free ringside seats to Vegas prize fights, at a time when he was proposing federal legislation to regulate boxing.

The audience of about 1,000 at the Riviera hotel-casino ballroom on Saturday included members of a liberal blogosphere who became involved in politics during Democratic National Committee ChairmanHoward Dean’s bid for president in 2004.

They cheered a video produced by a 15-year-old conference attendee that cast first-ever conventioneers as patriots, motivators and — over images of headlines reporting President Bush’s low-approval ratings — representatives of a national majority.

Inconvenient facts

“In ‘A Streetcar Named Desire,’ character Blanche DuBois depended on the kindness of strangers. In the newly released film, ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ Al Gore depends on their forgetfulness,” San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra Saunders writes.

“Just 10 years ago, Gore told the Democratic National Convention that after his sister Nancy’s needless death in 1984 from lung cancer, he committed himself ‘heart and soul into the cause of protecting our children from the dangers of smoking.’ In his new film, Gore again dredges up his sister’s death and how it led his once tobacco-growing family to turn away from tobacco,” the columnist said.

“After the DNC speech, reporters with memories intervened. America learned that contrary to his rhetoric, in 1988 Gore campaigned as a tobacco farmer who told his brethren that ‘all of my life … I hoed it, chopped it, shredded it, put it in the barn and stripped it and sold it.’ The year his sister died, Gore helped the industry by fighting efforts to put the words ‘death’ and ‘addiction’ on cigarette-warning labels.

“For years, Gore supported Big Tobacco in other ways. You could call the above ‘inconvenient’ facts — that you won’t see in the movie.

“Let me be clear: The problem with Gore is not that he is a hypocrite. The problem with Gore is that he has no idea he is not Lancelot. He has this scary ability to block out any facts that make him less than a perfect, selfless eco-hero, and in his need to present himself as the world’s savior, he’ll say anything — no matter how hysterical.”

Ignoring reality

“The last question to Gen. Bill Caldwell at his briefing last Thursday on the death of Abu Musab Zarqawi came from New York Times reporter Richard Oppel, who wanted to know about Abu al-Masri, an Egyptian whom many expect to replace Zarqawi as the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq,” Stephen F. Hayes writes in the Weekly Standard.

“Said Caldwell: ‘Yeah, al Masri, Egyptian Arab. He’s not an Iraqi. Born and raised in Egypt. He was trained in Afghanistan, went through his training there. We know he has been involved with [improvised explosive devices] and making here in Iraq. Probably came here around 2002 into Iraq, probably actually helped establish maybe the first al Qaeda cell that existed in the Baghdad area.’

“Huh? Doesn’t Caldwell understand that there were no al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq before the U.S. invasion of March 2003? Everyone knows that terrorists flocked to Iraq only after the war began.

“Reading the coverage of Zarqawi’s death in the mainstream press one can understand why that myth persists. Many journalists either don’t know or choose not to report the fact that Zarqawi was in Baghdad with two dozen al Qaeda associates nearly a year before the war.”

Special ‘credit’

“Senate Democrats managed to keep the death tax on life support [Thursday], prevailing on a vote to break a filibuster by 57-41. The only two Republicans to oppose repeal were GeorgeVoinovich of Ohio and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, who sometimes seems to want to lose his primary this year,” the Wall Street Journal says in an editorial.

“But special credit belongs to four Democratic senators who voted against repeal [Thursday] after they’d run for office pledging the opposite. They are Evan Bayh of Indiana, who perhaps had in mind Democratic presidential primary voters, not the home folks who elected him; Mary Landrieu of Louisiana; Mark Pryor of Arkansas; and Ron Wyden of Oregon. These flip-floppers voted not only to retain the tax, but to increase it — from zero in 2010 back to 55 percent in 2011 and forever after,” the newspaper said.

“Mr. Pryor’s Web site says he ‘supports the permanent repeal of an estate tax.’ No word as to when that comes down. Ms. Landrieu and her colleague Maria Cantwell of Washington were so torn on the vote that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid wouldn’t let them out of his sight until it was over. These Democrats no doubt fear the fate of former South Dakota Sen.Tom Daschle, another Dem who supported the tax in 2004. …

“And an honorary flip-flop award goes to New York’s Hillary Clinton, who during her 2000 Senate campaign declared: ‘You ought to be able to leave your land and the bulk of your fortunes to your children and not the government.’”

Unique fundraiser

“RepublicanArkansas Gov.Mike Huckabee is seriously considering a run for the presidency in 2008, telling supporters that he’ll finally decide after he leaves office in January,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.

“One hurdle: raising the money needed to fight in the primaries, a situation so difficult that he jokes about it. ‘I’ve got a map of 7-Elevens, a bunch of blue steel revolvers, and some ski masks,’ he kids. ‘We’re going to go all over the country and raise money in a very unique way.’”

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

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