- The Washington Times - Monday, April 23, 2007

A moment in time

“In September 1996, I stood on the floor of the United States Senate to respond to Sen. Barbara Boxer’s comment that I was ignoring the ‘cries’ of the women who came to Washington to lobby for the sustaining of President Clinton’s veto of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act,” former Sen. Rick Santorum writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“My response? We would be deafened by the cries of the babies that are not here today, because of this procedure. I then addressed the comments by another senator likening the partial-birth procedure to an appendectomy. I pointed to the diagram depicting this gruesome procedure, in which a 5-month-old fetus is delivered alive, all but the head, and then, while the doctor’s hand is making sure that the baby’s head is not delivered, a pair of scissors are thrust into the base of the baby’s skull. I raised my voice and said, ‘This is not an appendix; it is a baby, it’s a baby.’

“The Washington Post described what happened next: ‘And then, impossibly, in an already hushed gallery, in one of those moments when the floor of the Senate looks like a stage set, with its small wooden desks somehow too small for the matters at hand, the cry of a baby pierced the room, echoing across the chamber from an outside hallway. No one mentioned the cry, but for a few seconds, no one spoke at all.’

“After 12 years, three bills sent to two presidents for signature, two veto override attempts and one faulty Supreme Court decision, the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 is today the law of the land,” Mr. Santorum said. “This was a hard-fought battle over what is a rather small piece of the legal landscape of abortion. In spite of this victory, not one abortion will be stopped by this law.”

Mr. Santorum added: “This is a small victory for civilization, for our humanity and humaneness toward the more than one million unwanted innocent babies who will have their hope of life dashed by abortion this year. Yes, they will still die, but at least they will have a better chance to do so with some modicum of dignity.”

Thank-you notes

“Republicans won a big victory this [past] week, shooting down a Democratic plan for more government-run health care. The GOP victors, and free-marketers, might send their thank-you notes to Dr. Mark McClellan,” Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley A. Strassel writes.

“Dr. McClellan is the 43-year-old internist who, until recently, held the thankless job of running Medicare. He was handed the further thankless task of designing and implementing Congress’s tepid 2003 Medicare reform. And he’s the big brain who then wrung every last ounce out of that authority to create a striking new model for Medicare competition that is today not only performing beyond expectations, but is changing the political health-care debate,” the writer said.

“High praise, yes, but borne out by this [past] week’s GOP defeat of a bill to allow the government to fix Medicare drug prices. That was a top Democratic promise this last election, as the party sought to play off public anger over health-care costs. Liberals saw it as an important step toward their all-government, health-care nirvana. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid also felt this was an issue on which they could once again roll Republicans, by flashing the impoverished-senior-citizens card.

“Instead, Dr. McClellan’s new model came online and wowed the older class. Private companies have flocked to offer a drug benefit, giving most seniors a choice of 50 innovative plans. The competitive jockeying has slashed prices from an expected $37-a-month premium to an average $22. The cost of Medicare Part D for taxpayers was 30 per cent below expectations its first year — unheard of in government. And Medicare Advantage, which allows seniors to choose between private insurers, has grown to encompass nearly one in five beneficiaries.”

Reid’s words

“The Democratic strategy to use the ongoing violence in Iraq to their political advantage in the run-up to the 2008 elections requires some skill and nuance. But it’s growing harder to believe Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — Nevada’s own — actually possesses those skills,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal says in an editorial.

“The Democratic strategy is anything but straightforward,” the newspaper said.

“Senator Reid and his colleagues know there is much political hay to be made by criticizing President Bush‘s planning and conduct of the post-war occupation. But they also know that while ‘cut our losses and pull out’ plays well in Democratic caucuses, it failed in the Connecticut general election in 2006, when Sen. Joseph Lieberman and his anti-surrender stance handily defeated end-the-war candidate Ned Lamont — even though Senator Lieberman had to run as an independent to pull it off.

“That’s the kind of ‘poll’ that really counts.

“Thus, the Democrats’ careful strategy requires them to appear to oppose Mr. Bush’s ongoing occupation of Iraq (to please their pacifist base), without taking any concrete, ‘binding’ actions to change the status quo.

“Enter Senator Reid, flopping around in big red shoes like Bozo the Clown,” the newspaper said, referring to the senator’s declaration last week that the Iraq War is “lost.”

Saving the day

“Did black voters in Ohio win the 2004 election for President Bush?” Don Surber asks in his Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail column, citing the arguments made by Angela McGlowan in her new book, “Bamboozled.”

“While President Bush carried 16 percent of the black vote in Ohio that year, that was up from the 9 percent he received from black voters in Ohio in 2000,” Mr. Surber writes. “That small increase may have saved the day. Bush’s margin in Ohio was 2.12 percent in 2004, down from 3.51 percent in 2000.”

In the book, Ms. McGlowan “shows time and again that liberal policies undermine the traditional values of America,” Mr. Surber writes. “Take, for example, crime. … Liberals want to let criminals vote. From prison.”

He cites proposed legislation, sponsored by Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Kerry, that would permit as many as 1.4 million inmates to vote — a measure that Ms. McGlowan says could easily be named the “Make Every Murderer and Rapist’s Vote Count Act.”

Online debates

The 2008 presidential contenders may soon be slugging it out in cyberspace, with pioneering online-only debates being planned for early next fall, a new media partnership says.

The political blog Huffington Post, online portal Yahoo and Slate magazine will host the debates — one for Democratic candidates, one for Republicans — sometime after Labor Day, with PBS host Charlie Rose serving as moderator, the sponsors planned to announce today.

Voters will be invited to submit questions, and can blog in real time to share their opinions on the candidates’ answers, the Associated Press reports.

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

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