- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Bill’s bullying

Lucianne Goldberg wonders why no one has mentioned the “trailer-trash socks,” which revealed some skin from former President Bill Clinton in his bombastic weekend interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace.

Talk-radio hosts noticed other things, though, and have suggested that Mr. Wallace file “assault and battery” charges against Mr. Clinton, who repeatedly poked at Mr. Wallace and his notes.

William Kristol of the Weekly Standard, however, suspects that the Clintonian bluster was a studied dramatic device, with 2008 political implications involving Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore and former vice-presidential nominee John Edwards.

“If the Bush-Rove war-on-terror offensive stalls out this week (and much of the media is committed to making this happen), and Democrats do well in November, Bill Clinton can take credit, at a crucial moment, for discrediting the terror issue as a mere political ploy, and showing Democrats how ‘to fight back’ and how ‘to stand up to the right-wing propaganda machine’ (in the words of Howard Dean),” Mr. Kristol wrote yesterday.

“Bill Clinton has the entire left wing of the Democratic party rallying to him. Some of this solidarity can presumably be transferred to Hillary. And the dangerous move of the left-wing of the party toward Gore and Edwards, and their rise in national and Iowa polls respectively, can perhaps be stopped.”

“Clinton wants to make it incorrect, or at least impolite, to criticize his record on terror … Bullying and intimidation sometimes work. Clinton has used both effectively in the past,” Mr. Kristol said. “Now he wants to put out of bounds certain perfectly legitimate and straight-forward questions. Can we debate which party — based on their practice when in power — can better deal with the jihadist/terror threat? No, according to Clinton. That’s illegitimate right-wing propaganda.”

Slur-free

Sen. George Allen, Virginia Republican, yesterday denounced claims from Ken Shelton, a former college football teammate, that he frequently used a racial slur to refer to black people.

Mr. Shelton, who is white, works as a radiologist in North Carolina and is founder of Tobacco Free for Life, a grass-roots anti-smoking group. He also is a donor to Democratic candidates. Mr. Shelton told the online journal Salon that Mr. Allen, a former University of Virginia quarterback, used the “N-word on a regular basis” during the 1970s.

“The story and his comments and assertions in there are completely false,” Mr. Allen told Associated Press yesterday. “I don’t remember ever using that word, and it is absolutely false that that was ever part of my vocabulary.”

Doug Jones, a former roommate of Mr. Shelton at Virginia, backed the lawmaker.

“I never heard George Allen use any racially disparaging word, nor did I ever witness or hear about him acting in a racially insensitive manner,” Mr. Jones said.

Farewell, Carl

A judge ordered the Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate removed from the Pennsylvania ballot yesterday because he lacked enough valid signatures on nominating petitions. Carl Romanelli’s candidacy had been challenged by state Democrats but supported by Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, who hoped that Mr. Romanelli could siphon votes from his Democratic opponent, state Treasurer Bob Casey Jr.

Commonwealth Court JudgeJames R. Kelley ruled that Mr. Romanelli was 8,931 signatures shy of the 67,070 needed to qualify as a minor-party candidate, the Associated Press reports.

Clifford Levine, an attorney for the Democrats, said the ruling “allows there to be a head-to-head matchup between Bob Casey and Rick Santorum, which is what obviously, in our view, Senator Santorum was trying to avoid.”

Untangling the Webb

Public-affairs ace Craig Shirley questions Democratic Senate nominee James H. Webb Jr.’s use of footage of former President Ronald Reagan in a campaign ad being aired throughout Virginia. Mr. Shirley, who managed two political campaigns for Mr. Reagan, wants to know: “Can Jim Webb honestly and legitimately claim Reagan’s legacy?”

Republican Sen. George Allen “is the true conservative in this political contest,” Mr. Shirley wrote in a Roanoke Times op-ed yesterday.

“Webb is a war hero beyond a shadow of a doubt. Reagan very well may have liked Webb,” Mr. Shirley said. “The Webb campaign is now engaged in a sort of Orwellian revisionism regarding Reagan’s relationship with Webb. The fact remains that Reagan probably barely knew Webb, but was in all probability aware of Webb’s record of insubordination during his very short time in the Reagan administration.”

Mr. Webb opposed Mr. Reagan on defense spending, social issues, tax cuts and commitment to smaller government, abortion, a federalism agenda and Middle East policy, Mr. Shirley observed. In comparison, Mr. Allen was chairman of Youth for Reagan in Virginia in 1976.

“Most important, however, are George Allen’s own actions, votes and record — which reflect an abiding commitment to Reagan conservatism … fighting for lower taxes, less government intrusion, and greater individual liberty for every citizen of this commonwealth.”

Jousting with Ann

Two anti-Ann Coulter books are due out next month, including “I Hate Ann Coulter!” by four authors billing themselves “Unanimous.” They also are nameless, saying they fear for their safety.

“None of us want our real names in the hands of gun-toting, abortion clinic-bombing, self-proclaimed ‘wing nuts,’ who follow Coulter,” one told the New York Post yesterday.

Meanwhile, author Susan Estrich has penned “Soulless,” saying that Miss Coulter “knows exactly what she’s doing.”

“And that’s scary,” Mrs. Estrich said.

Miss Coulter’s comment: “Liberals always have to write about 20 books to respond to each one of mine.”

Laura’s theme

It might be over the heads of certain denizens of Hollywood: First lady Laura Bush is at the vanguard of the Global Cultural Initiative, a new partnership between the State Department, the White House and artists, musicians and filmmakers to expand America’s cultural diplomacy.

“One of the best ways we can deepen our friendships with the people of all countries is for us to better understand each other’s cultures by enjoying each other’s literature, music, films and visual arts,” Mrs. Bush said in an East Room ceremony yesterday.

The effort will harness the creativity of the American Film Institute, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and other organizations, said Karen Hughes, undersecretary of state for public diplomacy.

Reginald Dale, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the program could help improve world opinion about the United States. But he had a caveat.

“The sort of films people see around the world made in Hollywood are not necessarily good for America’s image,” Mr. Dale told Cox News yesterday.

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

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