- The Washington Times - Monday, April 16, 2007

McCain’s speech

“On Wednesday John McCain distinguished himself with a closely argued and eloquent address in which he spoke seriously and at length of his position on Iraq,” Peggy Noonan writes at www.OpinionJournal.com. He said America faces ‘an historic choice’ with ‘ramifications for Americans not yet even born.’

” ‘Many Democrats,’ he said, view the war as ‘a political opportunity,’ while Republicans view it as ‘a political burden.’ But it is neither, he said. It is not a political question to be poll-tested but a challenge that bears on our continuance as a great nation. We must stay and fight and win.

” ‘It may be standard-setting,’ the Hotline said of the remarks the next day, ‘perhaps the most powerful plea a war supporter has … sent to the American people since the troop surge began. Has any other presidential candidate written a speech to persuade — importune — an audience to change their minds?’

“You can agree or disagree with Mr. McCain, but where he stands is clear — and clarity these days, from our candidates, feels like a gift. As does certitude. He isn’t running from the war but owning it. A political rival might say, ‘He has no choice.’ But there’s always a choice,” Miss Noonan said.

“My larger point, however, is that he sounded like a serious man addressing a serious issue in a serious way. This makes him at the moment stand out.”

Moore’s stunt

Filmmaker Michael Moore’s production company took ailing ground zero responders to Cuba in a stunt aimed at showing that the U.S. health care system is inferior to Fidel Castro’s socialized medicine, the New York Post reports, citing several sources with knowledge of the trip.

The trip was to be filmed as part of the left-wing director’s latest documentary, “Sicko,” an attack on American drug companies and HMOs that Mr. Moore hopes to debut at the Cannes Film Festival next month.

Two years in the making, the flick also takes aim at the medical care being provided to people who worked on the toxic World Trade Center debris pile, said several September 11 workers approached by Mr. Moore’s producers.

But the Cuba sojourn, which some say uses ill workers as pawns, has angered some emergency responders.

“He’s using people that are in a bad situation and that’s wrong; that’s morally wrong,” said Jeff Endean, a former SWAT commander from Morris County, N.J., who spent a month at ground zero and suffers from respiratory problems.

A spokeswoman for the Weinstein Co., the film’s distributor, would not say when the director’s latest expose would hit cinemas or provide details about the film or the trip, the Post said.

Giuliani’s past

“Here’s a little nugget from the past, a tale that may offer some insights into the next stage of the GOP presidential race, and the fortunes of front-runner Rudy Giuliani,” Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley A. Strassel writes.

“The date is the mid-1990s, and Republicans have swept Congress with their Contract with America. A top promise is greater fiscal responsibility, and a crucial element of that is a vow to pass a line-item veto and give the president the power to weed out pork. In 1996 Republicans are as good as their word, and grant the opposition’s Bill Clinton a broad new power to strip wasteful spending,” the writer said.

“Mr. Clinton is enthusiastic, and in August 1997 uses his tool for the first time to strike down a special-interest provision tucked in a bill. That provision gives New York hospitals a unique right to bilk extra Medicaid money, and the veto is expected to save federal taxpayers at least $200 million. Quicker than a Big Apple pol can say ‘pork,’ New York officials sue, challenging the line-item veto’s constitutionality. That suit, Clinton v. City of New York, goes all the way to the Supremes, which in 1998 put the kibosh on veto authority.

“The kicker? The guy who brought the suit and won — or, rather, the guy who helped stall one of the more powerful tools for reining in government spending — was none other than former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.”

No entourage

“One final footnote on Fred Thompson,” Neil Cavuto writes at www.foxnews.com.

“It’s a little thing, but it struck me and my executive producer, Gary Schreier, as we greeted him this [past] week: He came alone.

“Alone — no handlers, no enablers, no key people, no any people.

“Just Fred, by himself,” Mr. Cavuto said.

“And Gary and I are thinking, hey, this guy is tracking sometimes second in GOP polls for president.

“For president! Of the United States!!

“And we’re looking for his entourage, his hangers-on, you know, the guy who holds his briefcase.

“Another, his cell phone, still another his coat.

“Someone who polices his words, advises him on statements to the press.

“Nope. No briefcase guy. Or cell phone dude. No policy wonk or statement checker.

“No people at all.

“Get this: I had more people than he had people.

“Which tells you something about Fred, I guess: The image things that seem to matter to others don’t much matter to Fred.”

Liberal obsession

“In October 2004, Media Matters for America, the liberal watchdog group run by former American Spectator writer David Brock, announced a campaign to reimpose the Fairness Doctrine, the government regulation that, before it was repealed in 1987, required broadcasters to present opposing viewpoints on controversial public issues,” Byron York writes at National Review Online, www.nationalreview.com.

” ‘Tired of imbalanced political discourse on our airwaves?’ Brock asked readers in a petition appeal. ‘Media Matters for America has joined with Democracy Radio and the Media Access Project in calling on Congress to restore the Fairness Doctrine.’

“At the time, Brock was supporting a bill by Democratic Rep. Louise M. Slaughter that would have created a new Fairness Doctrine. …

“In recent days Brock … has been one of the leading voices condemning radio host Don Imus for his description of the Rutgers University women’s basketball team. … Now that Imus has been fired from his radio and television programs, Brock is calling for similar campaigns against a number of conservatives in talk radio and television, including Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Neil Boortz and Glenn Beck. …

“Restoring the Fairness Doctrine has long been a hope of the Left. … Of course, a revived Fairness Doctrine might spell the end of liberal talk radio. But Brock and other liberal activists aren’t complaining; trading the bankrupt and small-audience Air America for the hugely popular Limbaugh would be fine with them.”

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


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