- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Harkin on God

It’s not unusual for elected officials to invoke the name of God when asking for His blessings on the country. What’s unusual is for an elected official — in this case Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin — to proclaim that God favors Democrats over Republicans.

“Had a Republican made the same statement, it would be the cause of a media frenzy,” writes Inside the Beltway reader G.L. Gunderman of Florence, Ala. “Is there no limit to their offensive behavior?”

The occasion was Saturday’s Iowa Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, the guest of honor being former President Bill Clinton. Also on hand was Des Moines Register columnist Marc Hansen, who was intrigued by the woman selling George W. Bush “Out of Office Countdown” calendars for $13 apiece: “It wouldn’t be long now, the woman said, 2008 is just around the corner. Tick tock.”

But the evening’s most unusual line, Mr. Hansen writes, was uttered by Mr. Harkin: “The Democrats are ‘fed up and charged up,’ was the way Tom Harkin put it when the dinner plates had been cleared away and it was his time to speak. ‘Democrats are up and Republicans are down, and that’s the way God meant it to be.’ ”

Then and now

One has to wonder how many Republican Party faithful will show up in support of David Kuo’s new book, “Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction,” which accuses the Bush White House of dismissing national Christian leaders as “ridiculous” and “goofy.”

Mr. Kuo, former deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, also accuses staffers in the office of President Bush’s senior adviser, Karl Rove, of referring to evangelical leaders as “the nuts.”

We recall the atmosphere being far less contentious during the fall of 2001, when Republican heavy-hitters like former Education Secretary Bill Bennett, conservative columnist Cal Thomas, Ronald Christie (Vice President Dick Cheney’s assistant), and Grover Norquist, to name just a few, came together to salute Mr. Kuo and his far-less-prominent book charting the rapid growth of the Internet.

Now what?

Just prior to the release of David Kuo’s new book about the Bush administration’s relationship with Christian leaders, national pollster John Zogby issued these observations about conservative Christian support of the Republican Party:

“[B]orn-again Christians generally can be counted on to give Republicans 70 percent to 75 percent of their support, and the rest go to the Democrats. But this year, what I’ve seen is that in the races where the Democrats are leading, the Republicans are getting only 52 percent to maybe 61 percent of the born-again support.”

Shudder to think

That was the ever-flamboyant and controversial boxing promoter Don King helping Republican Maryland senatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele stump for votes yesterday during a stop at Infusions Tea Cafe in Largo.

Indeed, when he isn’t promoting the biggest names in championship boxing, Mr. King is promoting Republicans. Including, to the surprise of many, our current commander in chief, George W. Bush. When asked in 2004 by New York magazine why he was campaigning for the president’s re-election, Mr. King explained:

“George Bush utilizes the big stick. Whatever means necessary. If he wasn’t in that White House when we had that despicable attack of terrorism in New York, I shudder to think, I tremble at what would be happening. We would probably have to be doing this interview on the underground, secretly, for fear if we’d go to the street, the treachery that abounds would take alight.”

Then asked what was wrong with the Democrats, considering Mr. King was such a vocal supporter of President Clinton, Mr. King replied: “The Democrats is not doing nothing wrong. They’re doing nothing.”

Yet another hat

If the voice is familiar, it should be.

For those tuning in to Paul Harvey’s news and comment last week (and most of this week), they are instead hearing former Tennessee Republican Sen. Fred Thompson, who is substituting for the legendary news broadcaster.

Mr. Thompson, who has appeared in several movies and is now a regular on NBC-TV’s “Law & Order,” tells us he’s signed a deal with the ABC Radio Networks to host specials and provide political commentary — in addition to substituting for the “largest one-man network in the world,” as Mr. Harvey is often dubbed.

Mr. Harvey counts as many as 24 million regular listeners who tune in to 1,200 radio stations and 400 Armed Services Radio outlets around the world. Washingtonians can hear him three times each day on WMAL-630 AM: 8:30 a.m., 11:45 a.m. and 7:55 p.m.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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