- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 31, 2007

‘Coup de grace’

The significance of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative “cannot be overstated,” Ward Connerly writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com). The initiative, which voters approved in November, outlaws racial preferences by the state government.

“Even one of the major opponents of the initiative has described it as ‘the beginning of the end of affirmative action.’ I concur with that assessment — and contend that the time is now to deliver the coup de grace,” said Mr. Connerly who spearheaded the campaign in Michigan and, earlier, a similar effort approved by voters in California.

“It is for this reason that Dusty Rhodes, John Uhlmann, Johnny Zamrzla (directors of the American Civil Rights Coalition), and I have announced our intention to conduct a ‘Super Tuesday for Equality’ election in November 2008.

“This election will allow the electorate in several states to vote simultaneously on the issue of race preferences. Victories in these states — yet to be announced — along with a hoped-for favorable Supreme Court decision in the Louisville and Seattle cases now pending before the [Supreme] Court, will place our nation back on track to the realization of our guarantee of equal treatment to all Americans by their government.”

Katrina committee

The Congressional Black Caucus has asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to form a new committee on Hurricane Katrina to focus more urgently on rebuilding the Gulf Coast, particularly New Orleans.

“The Bush administration has turned its back on our fellow Americans, the victims of the greatest disaster on American soil in our generation,” CBC Chairman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Michigan Democrat, wrote in a letter to Mrs. Pelosi. “How can we talk about reconstruction abroad when we cannot help our fellow Americans at home?”

Miss Kilpatrick blasted President Bush for not mentioning Katrina in his State of the Union address last week and said forming a select House committee on the issue “offers the best hope for development.”

A Pelosi spokesman, Drew Hammill, said yesterday he had not seen the letter but that the office would look closely at the request, the Associated Press reports.

Cover-up claimed

Federal scientists have been pressured by the White House to play down global warming, advocacy groups claimed yesterday at the Democrats’ first investigative hearing since taking control of Congress.

The Union of Concerned Scientists and the Government Accountability Project produced a survey of 279 government climate scientists showing that many of them say they have been subjected to political pressure aimed at downplaying the climate threat. Their complaints ranged from a challenge to using the phrase “global warming” to raising uncertainty on issues on which most scientists basically agree, to keeping scientists from talking to the press.

The survey and separate interviews with scientists “has brought to light numerous ways in which U.S. federal climate science has been filtered, suppressed and manipulated in the last five years,” Francesca Grifo, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Administration officials were not called to testify, though some Republican lawmakers expressed fears that the “politicization of science” charge has itself become politicized.

In and out of love

“It’s official: Chuck Hagel is the new John McCain, getting the glowing treatment from glam publications such as GQ. And John McCain is the new Bob Dole — and we know what kind of press Dole got,” syndicated columnist James P. Pinkerton writes.

“Once upon a time — say, five years ago — the liberal media were infatuated with McCain. Yes, the Republican senator from Arizona was a hard-line conservative on most matters, but he was sufficiently unorthodox on a few issues (campaign finance, global warming, tax cuts) to be newsworthy. In addition, McCain was enough of a George W. Bush basher to keep reporters interested in what he might say next,” Mr. Pinkerton said.

“But the Mainstream Media’s affection for the senator has come to an end, for two reasons: First, McCain, now seeking to inherit the Bush political legacy — at least until he nails down the 2008 Republican presidential nomination — is now posing as Bush’s best buddy, and the media aren’t going to buddy up to that. Second, the Iraq War. The media, and most of the country, have reached a negative judgment on the war.”

“So say goodbye to the media’s portrayal of ‘St. John’ McCain, the flinty, brave maverick. And say hello, instead, to a new ‘Bob Dole-ized’ McCain. Like the Kansas Republican, who, as a 70-something, was mostly portrayed during the 1996 presidential campaign as a cranky and ranting old man, the 70-year-old Arizonan is being portrayed that way now.”

Raising religion

Republican Mitt Romney yesterday dismissed questions about whether his Mormon faith would be an impediment to his White House aspirations, echoing the argument that voters will be choosing a president not a pastor.

The former Massachusetts governor faced questions about his faith in the Bible Belt state of South Carolina, where a few Republicans expressed deep reservations about backing a Mormon. Mr. Romney said he was making inroads with the Republican Party in the early-voting state.

“I’ve had a number of meetings with pastors of various faiths and religious leaders,” Mr. Romney said in an interview with the Associated Press. “Almost to a person they’ve subscribed to what Dr. Richard Land [of the Southern Baptist Convention] said, which was: ‘We’re not electing Mitt Romney as pastor in chief.’ ”

Mr. Romney attended a House Republican Caucus meeting that always begins with a Bible verse and prayer in Christ’s name, led by Republican state Rep. Bob Leach, who told caucus members he asked Mr. Romney who Jesus Christ was and Mr. Romney responded that Christ “was his personal savior.” Mr. Leach said that was good enough to earn his vote.

Critiquing Huckabee

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is considered a conservative dark horse in the race for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, but the Club for Growth finds his fiscal record to be insufficiently conservative.

“Governor Huckabee says he is a fiscal conservative,” Club for Growth President Pat Toomey said, “but his 10-year economic-policy record as the governor of Arkansas is mixed, at best. His history includes numerous tax hikes, ballooning government spending and increased regulation.”

Mr. Toomey added: “To be sure, Governor Huckabee’s record displays an occasional deference to a pro-growth philosophy, but that is only a small slice of a much bigger picture.”

The group has posted a white paper on Mr. Huckabee’s record on its Web site www.clubforgrowth.org

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

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