- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Dean’s mistake

“One-time 2004 presidential front-runner Howard Dean, now chairman of the Democratic National Committee, visited with us last week and made an unusual confession about why his White House bid soured: He failed to grow up during the campaign,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.

“‘My biggest mistake was something that Bill Clinton actually told me, but it was too late down the track to do it,’ he says. ‘That I had to make a conversion from an insurgent candidate to a candidate who acted like a president.

“‘People won’t elect you president if they don’t see you as a president. They saw me as an insurgent, they loved me, I was able to push the party into standing up for itself again, but I never made the conversion into what people expected of a president of the United States, and I needed to make that conversion around September [2003], and I didn’t do it.

“‘Part of it was we were too successful too fast. I was leading the polls in September, so the argument was, well, you should continue to do what you’re doing. But that wasn’t sufficient.’ ”

Still smarting

Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, lashed out at a group that campaigned against him during his previous run for the White House.

Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, financed by Texas conservatives, ran commercials questioning his Vietnam record — the centerpiece of his 2004 presidential campaign. Those conservatives have formed another group this year — Economic Freedom Fund — to campaign against Democrats across the country, the Associated Press reports.

“We’re not going to give them an ounce of daylight,” said Mr. Kerry, who was campaigning in Iowa and is considering a run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

The senator said his response to the commercials in 2004 was not strong enough.

“We thought the fact that the truth was out there was enough,” he said. “Clearly it wasn’t.”

Jet-setting greens

“They sit in economy class occasionally wiping their clammy hands. Their eyes dart furtively about. They wonder whether the stewardess or passenger next to them might have become suspicious. Some even grow moustaches or beards — to cover the ‘giveaway’ sweating top lip,” Peter C. Glover writes at www.tcsdaily.com.

“But they are not terrorists. At least not in the modern sense of wanting to blow up the airplanes they travel in. Far from it, for they love nothing more [than] the sense of self-importance international jet-setting offers. Traveling that delivers them in far-flung destinations where they can evangelize their ascetic ordinances to thousands of fellow worshippers. But while travelling their chief fear is that they will be found out. Who they are, what they preach — and expose their moralistic hypocritical behavior,” Mr. Glover said.

“They are the Green Bigots, leading environmentalists, those at the vanguard of the fight to change our lifestyles, restrict our foreign flights, who insist we do our ‘bit’ to cut greenhouse gas emissions while they rack up thousands of airmiles on business and pleasure trips.

“As the UK’s The Sunday Times has recently revealed, ‘In the past year the directors and chief executives of groups such as WWF, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the Soil Association have crisscrossed the globe, visiting the Falklands, Japan, Africa and Brazil.’ The ST’s environment editor points out, ‘All are running high-profile campaigns to persuade people to change their lifestyles and cut emissions of carbon dioxide.’

“The article identifies a number of well-known examples. They included Bob Napier, chief executive of WWF, who through jetting to various destinations in Asia, the Americas and Europe helped generate more than 11 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) last year.”

In trouble

Worried California Democrats said Sunday that Phil Angelides failed to achieve the breakthrough he needed in the sole gubernatorial debate and expressed fear that his campaign’s trajectory threatened others on the statewide ticket, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Fellow Democrat John Garamendi, in a tight race for lieutenant governor against Republican state Sen. Tom McClintock, has started to distance himself from Mr. Angelides. Mr. Garamendi said in a television interview that aired Sunday that he disagreed with an Angelides plan to raise taxes on corporations and the well-to-do.

“I don’t think it’s necessary,” the insurance commissioner said on KNBC’s “News Conference.”

Though few thought Mr. Angelides did poorly in the debate, there was wide agreement that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, benefited the most from Saturday night’s allotted 55-minute session, largely because nothing occurred to change the essential dynamic of the race.

Mr. Angelides, the state treasurer, entered the evening desperately needing to redefine a contest that by all measures — polling, fundraising, party morale — was going badly for him.

Turner’s doubts

Former media mogul Ted Turner says he has a hard time deciding whether he is for or against the war on terrorism.

“There are a lot of things about this war that disturb me, and one of them is the attitude that was well-expressed by our president. He said it very clearly; he said, either you’re with us or you’re against us. And I had a problem with that because I really hadn’t made my mind up yet,” Mr. Turner said yesterday at the National Press Club.

“I mean, what if you haven’t made your mind up? What if you’re thinking about it, doing some studying, doing some reading? Because it’s an important decision on whether to go to war or not to go to war. I mean, you’re either with us or against us — that’s pretty black and white.”

Blanco’s plan

Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, a Democrat, proposed a $1 billion plan yesterday to ease the post-hurricane insurance burden on Louisiana homeowners by sending them refund checks to cover recent rate increases.

Mrs. Blanco’s plan requires legislative approval and a change in the state constitution, in part because some of the money would be raised by selling off what remains of Louisiana’s share of a 1998 nationwide tobacco settlement.

The plan calls for the state to essentially refund the rate increases, averaging 15 percent, that private insurance companies imposed on Louisiana’s 1 million policyholders after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Associated Press reports.

Under Mrs. Blanco’s plan, homeowners would be sent checks next year. A homeowner who pays $1,000 per year for property insurance would receive $100 to $150.

“We need insurance-rate relief, and we need it now,” Mrs. Blanco said.

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

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