- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 29, 2006

Save our troops

“Let’s just hang those Marines accused in the Haditha incident. Get it over with. They don’t need a court martial. They’re guilty. The media already decided the case,” Ralph Peters of Real Clear Politics noted yesterday.

Despite their honor and might, the U.S. military just can’t get a break in the press, Mr. Peters wrote.

“Our troops will never be given credit. To get the media’s attention, an American soldier must die, suffer a crippling wound, or commit a crime,” he continued, advising political and military leaders to stop being “jellyfish” when the cameras go on and “stand up for those in uniform.”

“Instead of blubbering that he, too, wants to close Guantanamo, our president should state manfully that, if necessary, we’ll keep Gitmo open for the next hundred years. The United States is history’s most virtuous power. Our soldiers are valorous and decent. Our cause is just. Why don’t our leaders have the guts to say that? How can they cower while our troops are crucified? Instead of Joshua’s trumpets, we get Peter’s fretful denials.

“At this point, I doubt that any of our accused Marines and soldiers can get a fair trial. I don’t want the guilty to go free. But I do think that, if Bill Clinton could pardon his criminal friends, President Bush should consider pardoning any soldiers or Marines convicted of violent crimes under combat conditions.

“The hate-America bigots in the media shouldn’t get away with lynching our troops,” Mr. Peters concluded.

Ready to rumble

Memo to Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, et al: Democrats are already in dress rehearsal for the midterm elections, now less than five months away. According to a Pew Research poll of 1,501 adults released yesterday, 46 percent say they are “more enthusiastic than usual” about the upcoming races — compared with 30 percent of the Republicans.

The Democrats are even more enthusiastic then they were in 2002, 1998 or 1994, the survey found. Still, victory could be up for grabs by either side — driven by a clear message and maybe old-fashioned sincerity. Only half of the Democrats are happy with their party, compared with 58 percent of Republicans.

“Democratic zeal is mostly driven by anger towards President Bush, not support for Democratic leaders,” the poll stated. The survey was conducted June 14 to 19 and has a three-percentage-point margin of error.

‘Left’s worst nightmare’

It is an answer, perhaps, to the much-ballyhooed liberal blogosphere, said to come into its own during the 2004 presidential campaign.

Hugh Hewitt — executive editor of Townhall.com, the online destination of choice for conservatives — announced yesterday that the site will be revamped in time for the Fourth of July to transform “informed citizen to activist” through a snappy morphing of talk radio and the Internet.

Blogs, free podcasts, issue guides, petitions and other tools of the contemporary political activist will be available.

“The new Townhall.com joins these grass-roots mediums,” Mr. Hewitt said. “Our intent is to attract, inform, motivate and activate the center right. An informed and connected conservative base is the left’s worst nightmare.”

Senor Goldwater

EFE, the national news agency of Spain, has apologized to Don Goldwater after reporting that he had proposed “concentration camps” for illegal aliens. Mr. Goldwater is a Republican candidate for governor of Arizona and nephew of the late Sen. Barry Goldwater. The story caused “an international stir,”the Associated Press reported.

EFE Executive Vice President Emilio Sanchez said a freelance writer for the news agency described Mr. Goldwater’s plan inaccurately.

“Upon further reflection, our investigation has determined that your plan to house illegal prisoners in a tent city is consistent with accepted practices for nonviolent American prisoners in your area,” Mr. Sanchez said in a letter to Mr. Goldwater, acknowledging that the reporter never interviewed the candidate or any of his staff.

Mr. Goldwater said he accepted EFE’s apology and hopes that several political rivals also will apologize for criticizing him after the report.

Groovy Howard

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean told a religious conference Tuesday that America was about to enter the ‘60s again, … the age of enlightenment led by religious figures who want to greet Americans with a moral, uplifting vision.”

Has Mr. Dean had an epiphany?

“It’s nice to see that Howard Dean’s hostility to the religious community ends when people of faith vote Democrat,” Republican National Committee spokesman Josh Holmes told Cybercast News Service yesterday.

Judges-to-be?

President Bush yesterday sent 10 judicial nominations to the Senate, including names for four seats on the U.S. Court of Appeals, reports Stephen Dinan of The Washington Times.

The nominations were announced a day after The Times reported that Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican and Judiciary Committee chairman, was wondering what was taking Mr. Bush so long in sending up a new slate of nominees.

“Not only am I expecting it, I’ve been expecting it for about six weeks,” he said, adding that time was of the essence if Mr. Bush wanted any nominees confirmed before the midterm elections.

Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill said that none of the nominees appears to be contentious but that they will be vetted thoroughly.

Two of the nominees are to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has been a sore spot for the two Democratic senators from Michigan.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican, said he will fight to make sure the nominees are given an up-or-down vote.

‘Bama boo-boo

The Alabama Legislature has been trying to make their state a player in presidential politics, but the bill it passed does more than lawmakers bargained for, moving the state’s entire 2008 primary election — not just the presidential primary — from June to February, the Associated Press reports.

State officials first learned of the mistake yesterday, making it the second foul-up by lawmakers trying to make Alabama an early state for presidential candidates to court votes. Election officials already were worried that the new primary date, Feb. 5, 2008, happens to be Mardi Gras, a major holiday and tourist event in Mobile.

“It certainly appears it has set all primary elections for the first Tuesday in February,” said Ken Wallis, legal adviser to Gov. Bob Riley.

Alabama primaries for state and county offices traditionally have been held in June or September, never so early as February.

The state’s chief elections official, Secretary of State Nancy Worley, said she discussed the situation yesterday with members of the state attorney general’s staff.

“Our general thinking is the Legislature would come back and clear up that date,” she said.

Contact Jennifer Harper at 202/636-3085 or jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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