- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 22, 2006

Specter, too

Not to be outdone by the other side of Capitol Hill, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter said yesterday that he, too, will hold more hearings on the immigration-reform bill in coming weeks.

“I respect the House decision to have hearings,” he told reporters yesterday, referring to the decision announced this week by House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois to hold “field hearings” later this summer that likely will kill any chance of a bill before the end of the year. “After thinking it over and talking to a number of our committee members, I plan to have some hearings of our own.”

But, Mr. Specter said, he doesn’t aim to stall the bill.

“I’m not going to use the hearings to slow down the processing of the bill, but there are some points that Senate hearings could be profitable on points of interests to us,” he said.

Mr. Specter said he hopes to hold hearings in his home state of Pennsylvania on July 5 on the need for a guest-worker program included in the Senate bill. While President Bush supports such a program, House Republicans have rejected the proposal — along with what they consider to be amnesty — included in the Senate bill.

‘Republican’ staffer

“As the Senate Intelligence Committee struggles to complete its investigation into prewar intelligence, some Republicans have become increasingly concerned that they are at a disadvantage in the bitter and partisan fight over what is known as ‘Phase Two’ of the probe,” Byron York writes at www.nationalreview.com.

“‘We don’t have a majority on the committee,’ says one Hill Republican, noting that while the GOP, of course, maintains formal control of the committee — thereare eight Republicans and seven Democrats — 5 Republican lawmakers have lost effective control because two of their own, Senators Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Olympia Snowe of Maine, sometimes side with Democrats.

“Now, National Review Online has learned that a key Republican committee staffer in the politically charged prewar intelligence investigation is a veteran of the 2004 Kerry presidential campaign. Eric Rosenbach, hired by Sen. Hagel to work on prewar intelligence issues, came to the Senate after completing studies at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government under Rand Beers, a top foreign-policy adviser for Kerry. In Fall 2004, Rosenbach took three weeks to volunteer for the Kerry campaign in York County, Pa.

“‘Senator Hagel knew that he worked for Rand Beers,’ Hagel spokesman Mike Buttry tells NRO. ‘He did not know that he had volunteered in the Kerry campaign.’”

Mr. York added: “At each step of the way, senators and staffers on the committee are operating in a far more partisan environment than in the past; the days when the committee was perhaps the most nonpartisan on Capitol Hill are long gone. That is why some Republicans were not terribly surprised to learn that Eric Rosenbach, the GOP staffer, had a plainly partisan background. They were just surprised to find which party it involved.”

Mum’s the word

“Are Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas (of the famous Daily Kos ) engaged in a pay-for-play scheme in which politicians who hire Armstrong as a consultant get the support of Kos?” asks Jason Zengerle of the New Republic.

Less than two weeks after the “Yearly Kos” convention in Las Vegas produced a media swoon for the left-wing blogmeister, Mr. Moulitsas is denying suggestions first raised by Chris Suellentrop of the New York Times that Mr. Armstrong’s Democratic clients — including former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, a 2008 presidential hopeful — are getting favorable treatment from DailyKos.com as part of the deal.

On the New Republic’s Web site (www.tnr.com), Mr. Zengerle notices that the left remains silent about the accusation and about reports that Mr. Armstrong was sanctioned by the Securities and Exchange Commission for his role in a 1999 dot-com scheme:

“Why the strange silence in the face of such damning allegations? Well, I think we now know the answer. It’s a deliberate strategy orchestrated by Kos. TNR obtained a missive Kos sent earlier this week to ‘Townhouse,’ a private e-mail list comprising elite liberal bloggers, including Jane Hamsher, Matt Stoller, and Christy Hardin Smith. And what was Kos’s message to this group that secretly plots strategy in the digital equivalent of a smoke-filled backroom? Stay mum!”

Mr. Moulitsas wrote: “My request to you guys is that you ignore this for now. It would make my life easier if we can confine the story. … If any of us blog on this right now, we fuel the story. Let’s starve it of oxygen.”

True believers

“Global-warming alarmists take it for granted that they have the ‘scientific consensus’ on their side. The truth is that their views can be as much an article of faith that avoids or elides basic facts,” Wall Street Journal editorialist Robert L. Pollock writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“I was reminded of this recently after suggesting on our weekly television show — ‘The Journal Editorial Report’ on Fox News Channel — that ‘everyone agrees there has been some warming over the past century, but most of it happened before 1940.’

“‘Not true,’ declared a subsequent editorial in the New Republic magazine. ‘The last three decades have seen the sharpest rise.’ TNR suggested I was what they’ve dubbed an ‘Exx-Con’ — that is, a conservative whose views on climate change are so unmoored from reality that they can only be explained by a slavish devotion to Exxon and other big oil firms,” Mr. Pollock said.

“But it is TNR that’s having trouble with the facts here. I’ll grant that my off-the-cuff remarks could have been worded a bit more precisely. I probably should have said ‘more than half’ instead of ‘most.’ But that doesn’t change the fact … that the early 20th century saw a rise in global and U.S. temperature, followed by about three decades of declining or stable temperatures that global-warming alarmists have a hard time trying to explain.”

Mr. Pollock added: “Attempting to wave someone out of the argument by calling them an Exx-con is much easier than confronting the difficult facts beneath the global warming debate.”

One is enough

Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel plans to step down as head of the campaign wing of the House Democrats after the November elections, the Hill newspaper reports. He said he wants to spend more time with his family.

Mr. Emanuel has been chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) since the beginning of last year.

“I served one term, and my kids are all at a certain point. They’ve had it,” Mr. Emanuel told Hill reporter Josephine Hearn. “I’ll do whatever the caucus wants in the sense of helping the next chairperson in any capacity, but I will not serve as chairman another cycle.”

He and his wife, Amy, have three children who are younger than 10.

Although most DCCC chairmen serve only one term, many Democrats welcomed Mr. Emanuel’s presence and held out hope that he would serve a second term, the newspaper reports.

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

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