- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Salt in a wound

“Late last month, 55 Catholic Democrats from the House of Representatives released what they termed a ‘historic’ Catholic Statement of Principles. In substance, the statement seeks to reconcile the support for abortion embraced by the Democratic Party with Catholic social teaching and a ‘consistent moral framework for life,’” Father Thomas Williams writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“This statement has been salt in an already festering wound for Catholic Democrats estranged from their party by its ever more entrenched pro-abortion platform. It is a position that has caused Catholics, especially practicing Catholics, to trickle away from the Democratic Party,” said Father Williams, dean of the theology school at Rome’s Renina Apostolorum University, where he teaches Catholic social doctrine, and a Vatican analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.

Father Williams added: “All the typical rhetoric is in the ‘Statement’: talk of a ‘safety net’ for those who are ‘most in need,’ a commitment to advance ‘respect for life’ and the ‘dignity of every human being,’ and of course, protection for ‘the most vulnerable among us.’ Unfortunately, it is precisely the most vulnerable among us — voiceless unborn children — whom the Catholics of the party have sacrificed on the altar of Moloch.”

Moloch was an ancient Phoenician and Ammonite god, to whom children were sacrificed by burning.

“If the party would only take its own rhetoric seriously, then the most important social-justice issue of our day would command center stage. There is no indication of that happening any time soon. As a result, Catholics who would otherwise be sympathetic to the Democratic Party reluctantly find themselves obliged to abandon it,” Father Williams added.

A star is born

President Bush said yesterday he was reduced to tears when he saw the story of Jason McElwain, the autistic teen who scored six three-point field goals in a basketball game in upstate New York.

“Saw it on TV and I wept, just like a lot of other people. It’s just one of those stories that touched a lot of people’s hearts,” Mr. Bush said after meeting Jason at Rochester’s airport, where Air Force One had just landed.

Jason, a 17-year-old senior who was team manager of the Greece Athena High School boys basketball team, suited up for the last home game, entered with about 4 minutes to play and made six three-pointers and a two-point field goal. Afterward, he was carried off the court on his teammates’ shoulders.

The story gained national attention, and a student video of the performance was shown on television and e-mailed around the country.

“You probably didn’t realize the impact you were going to have on people all across America and around the world when you made those six [three-pointers],” Mr. Bush said, crediting the coach for giving Jason a chance.

The president, a constant nicknamer, was beaten to a moniker this time by Jason’s friends, who call him “J-Mac.” Yesterday, Mr. Bush gave presidential approval to it: “I’ll call him J-Mac. You can call me George W.”

FancyFord.com

Liberals are screaming “racism” over a Republican Web site highlighting the lavish lifestyle of Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr.

The “Fancy Ford” site (www.fancyford.com) is operated by the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), and targets the Memphis Democrat, who’s seeking the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Bill Frist.

The site says Mr. Ford “likes to live the good life … perhaps a little too much. Lavish hotel stays. Fine dining. Couture suits. Parties with Playboy Playmates … all on his campaign contributors’ dime. It makes you wonder … what would the folks back in Tennessee think?”

The anti-Ford site, which cites Federal Election Commission records and press accounts, is “character assassination,” a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee told the Hill newspaper.

Liberal blogger Jesse Berney (www.jesseberney.com) calls the “Fancy Ford” site “disgusting,” and a “racist attack site.”

“What’s the message behind this site?” Mr. Berney asks. “The line of white women on the front page, the fact that it highlights his attendance at NBA All Star events featuring BizMarkie, the emphasis on opulence all combine to portray Ford as a pimp. The site tries to be subtle in its racism, but it fails.”

Taxing time

A Washington group asked the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) yesterday to revoke the tax-exempt status of a conservative group for helping disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff secretly fund an anti-casino campaign that benefited his clients.

Americans for Tax Reform also violated its nonprofit status by taking a cut of the money that it handled, said Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW.

“This thing that they did where they basically took in money from tribes, laundered it and skimmed some off the top had nothing to do with their purpose” as an anti-tax organization, CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said.

A spokesman for Americans for Tax Reform declined to comment, but said he would have an official reaction later, Reuters news agency reports.

Americans for Tax Reform founder Grover Norquist has had a close relationship with Abramoff since the early 1980s, when they were active in College Republicans.

Mr. Norquist told the Boston Globe last year that he passed along $1.15 million from an American-Indian tribe that runs a casino in Mississippi to anti-gambling groups trying to block a casino in Alabama.

Because the contributions were routed through Mr. Norquist’s group, the anti-gambling activists would not know that they were bankrolled by gambling money.

Meanwhile, the National Republican Senatorial Committee said it might file an IRS complaint challenging CREW’s nonprofit status on the grounds that it behaves in a partisan manner.

Madame President

Laura Bush said yesterday that the United States is ready to have a female president — preferably a Republican.

She offered her opinion while touring an exhibit at the National Museum of Women in the Arts with Marta Sahagun, the first lady of Mexico, and Eliane Karp, the first lady of Peru. The exhibit features archaeological finds from Mexico and Peru, which show that long before Europeans arrived, women served as warriors, governors, artists, poets and priestesses.

“They really show what a heritage we have in our hemisphere, a really very, very organized and intellectual society,” Mrs. Bush said.

During an exchange with reporters, Mrs. Bush was asked if the United States was prepared to have a woman in the Oval Office.

“Sure. Absolutely,” she replied. “I’m voting for the Republican woman.”

Mrs. Bush previously has expressed support for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for president, but Miss Rice has said repeatedly that she’s not going to run.

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


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