- The Washington Times - Friday, November 10, 2006

Nobles: Sen. George Allen, for showing that it’s not always if you win, but how you lose.

With slightly more than 7,000 votes separating him from Democrat Jim Webb, Mr. Allen had every legal right to ask for a recount. Under Virginia law, such a move would likely have pushed off the inevitable loss well into December. Like Sen. John Kerry had graciously refused to do in the Ohio vote in 2004, Mr. Allen declined. He should be commended for that decision.

No one would argue that Mr. Allen ran a flawless campaign. In fact, it was perhaps the ugliest Senate race in the country, the fault for which goes equally to both candidates as well as media outlets like The Washington Post. But there was not a trace of bitterness in his concession speech, when he even offered to help Mr. Webb in his transition to the Senate. It was, he said, for the good of Virginia.

In today’s brutal partisan climate, Mr. Allen’s exit was — unfortunately — a rare moment. Rep. John Conyers, who’s likely to head the House Judiciary Committee next year, came out with a book last year, “What Went Wrong in Ohio,” where he makes the case that Republicans “stole” the 2004 election. Just a week before Tuesday’s elections, a blogger at the liberal Huffingtonpost.com argued for civil disobedience if Democrats didn’t take control of both chambers of Congress. Defeat, he said, would have meant “massive voter fraud.”

That’s one way to handle defeat. Then there’s Mr. Allen’s way.

For doing it the right way, Mr. Allen is the Noble of the week.

Knaves: Sens. Olympia Snowe and Jay Rockefeller, for engaging in a bit of congressional blackmail.

According to Mrs. Snowe and Mr. Rockefeller, man-made global warming is as obvious as the day is long, and anyone who says differently is a “denier” — a word obviously intended to invoke crazy Holocaust deniers.

So in a recent letter to ExxonMobil, the senators “urge” the oil company to end its support of “climate change denial front groups” like the Competitive Enterprise Institute. They also “ask” that ExxonMobil “acknowledge the dangers and realities of climate change.”

Translation: If ExxonMobil doesn’t do what Sens. Snowe and Rockefeller want, it’ll be taxed, and taxed heavily. This is bullying at its worst — lawmakers don’t like what a private organization believes, so they try to ensure that those organizations can’t get private funding. Now that Congress will be under Democratic control, those threats aren’t just for the cameras.

Frankly, this sort of bullying is Congress at its worse. It is an attempt to stifle free speech in the name of some moral goodness.

For that, Sens. Snowe and Rockefeller are the Knaves of the week.

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