- The Washington Times - Friday, January 12, 2007

Carter backlash

Fourteen members of an advisory board to Jimmy Carter’s human rights organization resigned yesterday to protest his new book, which criticizes Israeli policy in the Palestinian territories.

The resignations from the Carter Center board are the latest backlash against the former president’s book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” which has drawn fire from Jewish groups, been attacked by fellow Democrats and led to the resignation last month of Kenneth Stein, a center fellow and a longtime Carter adviser.

“You have clearly abandoned your historic role of broker in favor of becoming an advocate for one side,” the departing members of the center’s Board of Councilors told Mr. Carter in their letter of resignation.

The 200-member board is responsible for building public support for the Carter Center. It is not the organization’s governing board. The board’s members “are not engaged in implementing work of the center,” Carter Center Executive Director John Hardman said.

Steve Berman, an Atlanta real estate developer and one of those who resigned, said members have “watched with great dismay” as Mr. Carter defended the book, especially as he implied that Americans might be afraid to discuss the conflict in fear of a powerful Jewish lobby.

Mr. Berman said the religious affiliation of the resigning members, which include some prominent Jewish leaders in the Atlanta area, didn’t influence their decision.

Not worried

Former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani said yesterday his liberal social views, his divorces and his former aide’s imbroglio will prove irrelevant to a presidential bid.

Asked about a leaked political strategy memo that cited such issues as potentially insurmountable obstacles to a campaign for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, Mr. Giuliani said: “That is not going to be the issue.”

“I sure have strengths and weaknesses,” he said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “I think that sort of puts me in the same category as just about everybody else that’s running. Are my strengths greater or my weaknesses worse? I don’t know. You have to sort of examine that. That won’t be the issue.”

Mr. Giuliani, who formed a presidential exploratory committee last year, said he is still weighing whether to run for president.

“You have to feel inside yourself there is something special I can do — some kind of special experience I have had or background,” he said.

A different hymn

“You might have thought President Bush’s announcement [Wednesday] that he intends to deploy several thousand more combat soldiers to Iraq would have been sweet policy vindication for the Democrats,” the Wall Street Journal says in an editorial.

“They’re the ones who spent the better part of the past four years using Eric Shinseki — the former Army chief of staff who, prior to the war, estimated it would take up to half a million troops to occupy the country — as a cudgel with which to beat this president over the head.

“Thus former House minority leader, now Speaker Nancy Pelosi, citing General Shinseki in May 2004, on ‘Meet the Press’: ‘What I’m saying to you, [is] that we need more troops on the ground.’ Thus, too, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, just four weeks ago: ‘If it’s for a surge — that is, for two or three months — and it’s part of a program to get us out of there as indicated by this time next year, then, sure, I’ll go along with it.’

“Lately the Democrats have been singing from a different hymnal. In a letter Mr. Reid and Ms. Pelosi sent the president last week, they write: ‘Surging forces is a strategy that you have already tried and that has already failed. … Adding more combat troops will endanger more Americans and stretch our military capability to the breaking point for no strategic gain.’ …

“Ostensibly, the Democratic complaint is that the administration has failed to come up with a new strategy for Iraq. In fact, Mr. Bush says he is offering a qualitative departure from what the U.S. has attempted before. The real question is whether the Democrats are prepared to act like a responsible opposition now that they control both houses of Congress, in contrast to the last four years of partisan minority sniping.

“On the evidence of the past week, the answer is no. On Tuesday, the Democrats announced they would hold a symbolic, nonbinding vote on the troop increase, without so much as hearing what the president has to say.”

More progress

Sen. Tim Johnson has been transferred out of intensive care and has said some words, his doctor said yesterday, nearly a month after the South Dakota Democrat suffered a brain hemorrhage.

An MRI on Wednesday showed the speech centers in the senator’s brain were spared injury in the initial hemorrhage Dec. 13, said Mr. Johnson’s neurosurgeon, Dr. Vivek Deshmukh.

“This is confirmed by the fact that he is following commands and has started to say words,” Dr. Deshmukh said.

Mr. Johnson will be participating in “aggressive therapy” in the inpatient rehabilitation unit at George Washington University Hospital.

‘H’ please, Vanna

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has friends in high places. Very high.

The Associated Press reported last night that a page on the governor’s Web site yesterday listed information on Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, Mr. Crist’s staff and his agency appointees under a headline “The Christ Team.”

“It’s just a typo,” Crist spokeswoman Erin Isaac said.

And it’s a common typo — at least three Florida newspapers have referred to the newly elected governor as “Christ” in the past two weeks alone. Once it was pointed out, the Web page was corrected in less than a minute.

No accident

“I find questions about whether Democrats can really win the White House in 2008 almost incomprehensible. The far better question is whether the Republicans can win the White House almost two years from now,” Stuart Rothenberg writes in Roll Call.

The political analyst explained: “Only once in the past 50 years, in 1988, has a political party won a third consecutive four-year presidential term. That’s not an accident. It’s the result of inevitable voter fatigue and impatience, as well as the public’s (and the media’s) desire for periodic change.”

Next up

“There’s growing buzz in Washington and California that just re-elected Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger likes this government stuff so much that he’s got his eye on the Senate,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.

“Specifically, the seat held by Sen. Barbara Boxer, who’s up for re-election in 2010 when the Terminator ends his second term.”

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

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