- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 28, 2006

Big house

“Leaking classified information is a crime punishable with prison time. The statutes are on the books, folks. Those who leak classified information and those who publicize it should go to jail,” writes Ralph Peters of the New York Post.

“The latest example was a selective leak from a National Intelligence Estimate. … The leak wasn’t about some phony ‘right to know.’ It was a political stunt performed for political gain. And now our enemies know what our intelligence community thinks. Gee, thanks. We don’t need to know what intelligence documents say. What matters is what our leaders do or fail to do.

“What will it take to inspire a nonpartisan crackdown on those who betray our secrets, who selfishly expose our country to mortal danger?” Mr. Peters asks.

“This shouldn’t be a Democratic or Republican issue. It’s an American issue. Keeping our country safe is more important than Senator Sweetspot’s re-election campaign or a Pulitzer Prize for another self-adoring, America-loathing journalist. Put ‘em in the slammer. Where these criminals belong. Enforce our laws. And maybe — just maybe — folks in Washington will start obeying those laws again.”

California dreaming

Just six weeks before the midterms, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger holds a double-digit edge over Democratic nominee Phil Angelides in two independent voter surveys.

The Governator held a 17-point lead over Mr. Angelides — 48 percent to 31 percent — in a survey released Tuesday by the Public Policy Institute of California. A Field Poll released yesterday put Mr. Schwarzenegger’s advantage at 10 points, 44 percent to 34 percent.

Another Field survey in February found the rivals tied at 39 percent.

“We’re at or exceeding what we need to have to win when it comes to men, women and Latinos,” Schwarzenegger adviser Matthew Dowd told the Associated Press, crediting the lead to bipartisan dealings and well-targeted campaign messages.

The policy institute’s poll of 1,091 likely voters was conducted Sept. 13 to 20. The margin of error was two percentage points. The Field survey of 557 likely voters was conducted Sept. 14 through Sunday, with an error margin of 4.3 percentage points.

California dreaming No. 2

Heads up, Al Gore. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger may steal some of that environmental thunder. Mr. Schwarzenegger signed into law a sweeping initiative yesterday that imposes the nation’s first cap on greenhouse-gas emissions.

“It will begin a bold new era of environmental protection in California that will change the course of history,” he said.

And talk about a Hallmark moment: The Republican governor stood shoulder to shoulder with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat; New York Gov. George E. Pataki, a Republican; and a spate of Democratic legislators, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, which called the ceremony a “major political victory.” British Prime Minister Tony Blair joined via video link.

“Nothing is more important than protecting our planet,” Mr. Schwarzenegger said.

A vote for Swanson

One of the young stalwarts at the Heritage Foundation is about to take on former Vice President Al Gore. James Swanson, author of “Manhunt: the 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer,” has been nominated for a Quill Award for best book of the year in the historical/current events category. His competition? The author of “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Mr. Swanson, who works as senior legal scholar for Edwin Meese III at Heritage, counts President Bush, Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and other political heavyweights among his readership. The book was on the New York Times best-seller list for four months and will be made into a movie by Walden Media, starring none other than Harrison Ford as Col. Everton Conger, the man who led the search for John Wilkes Booth.

The Quill Awards are the “people’s choice” of the publishing industry. Mr. Swanson could use a little grass roots-support from those who appreciate a candid take on history. Balloting is open until Sept. 30 at www.quillsvote.com. The awards will be broadcast on NBC in October.

Wounded also-rans

News that Cleveland lost its bid to host the 2008 Republican National Convention “broke some hearts” in the strongly Democratic-leaning city yesterday, the Akron Beacon Journal reported. The chairwoman of the nine-member site-selection committee, Jo Ann Davidson, contacted Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett personally to deliver the news that Minneapolis-St. Paul had won the convention derby.

“I’m terribly disappointed in that,” Mr. Bennett said.

Things weren’t much better down in Tampa, Fla., which has been “jilted” despite “good vibes” from the Republican National Committee, according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

“Picking Minneapolis at this time goes against information distributed by the RNC on site visits,” the journal said.

Pastry faced

To drive home Democrats’ argument that the Republican-approved Medicare prescription-drug program contains gaps, or “holes” in coverage, Rep. Pete Stark yesterday brought a box of doughnut holes to share with Republican colleagues on the Ways and Means Committee, reports The Washington Times’ Amy Fagan.

With dramatic flair, Mr. Stark, California Democrat, complained that most of the 40 million Medicare beneficiaries “are still suffering through the doughnut hole” of coverage that Republicans created in the program.

Committee Chairman Bill Thomas, California Republican, replied that the program is designed to allow the private market to fill any gaps in drug coverage, just like the real doughnut industry figured out a way to make money from doughnut scraps. “If you allow the private sector to perform, they will,” he said.

Rep. Nancy L. Johnson, Connecticut Republican, said low-income people don’t have coverage gaps under the program and only a “minority” of beneficiaries do. Despite the political squabble, real doughnut holes are a bipartisan dish: Democrats and Republicans alike passed around the box and polished off the contents.

Ballot ballet

Their hanging chad detectors will be in full working operation, no doubt. Democrats are busy lining up teams of lawyers across the country to “fight what they allege could be GOP efforts to suppress voters” on Election Day, the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch reports.

The Democratic National Committee has set up a toll-free hot line for voters “with problems” on Nov. 7 and boasts it has volunteer lawyers poised in 18 states “to fight ballot challenges.” Republicans remain unruffled.

“They’re going to have an awful lot of people standing around with nothing to do,” said Bill Todd, a Republican lawyer in Ohio who expects to help out his state party on the big day.

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

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