- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Critics call Kyl

Arizona Republican Party officials have turned against Sen. Jon Kyl for sponsoring the Senate immigration bill that many conservatives have denounced as amnesty. The state party chairman called a press conference to denounce the bill, the New York Times reports, and the day after the proposal was announced, the eight phone lines at the party headquarters were so jammed that staff members almost decided to close the office.

“Every single line was literally off the hook most of the day,” said Sean McCaffrey, the state party’s executive director. “None of these were happy calls. Truly, from our headquarters to the 15 county parties, the ratio was 100 to zero. Not a single county chairman, not a single legislative district chairman reported having a single call from a grass-roots individual saying, ‘Please pass this immigration bill.’ ”

Last week, thousands of angry calls poured into Mr. Kyl’s office.

“Yes, I have learned some new words from some of my constituents,” Mr. Kyl, Arizona Republican, said at a press conference on Thursday.

Critics say Mr. Kyl, who co-sponsored the bill with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, ceded too much in the negotiations over the measure.

“This bill seems to be 90 percent Ted Kennedy and 10 percent Republican,” said Brett Mecum, a spokesman for the Arizona Republican Party.

Global warning

The consequences of ignoring global warming could be “so much worse” than the war in Iraq, former Vice President Al Gore told an audience in Washington last night.

Mr. Gore declared, “The invasion of Iraq was a big mistake,” reports The Washington Times’ Christina Bellantoni. “If we do not quickly change course and start sharply reducing global warming pollution, it will be a much bigger mistake.”

The Democrat signed copies of his new book, “The Assault on Reason,” at George Washington University, and told 1,500 attendees the Bush administration and the press ignored warnings the war would be a “costly and dangerous mistake.” Now 150,000 troops are “trapped in the middle of a civil war,” he said.

At one point, hecklers took over the event, shouting about “hedge funds” and “genocide in Africa” as Mr. Gore attempted to take pre-screened questions.

Carla Cohen, co-owner of event site Politics and Prose, called the interruption “an example of an assault on reason.”

The former vice president’s fans — many sporting Gore ‘08 stickers — were exuberant and cheered wildly when he said, “Something that’s hard to define has gone badly wrong in the way American democracy now operates.”

Graham targeted

A week after threatening to work to defeat Republican senators who support the immigration bill, conservative blogger John Hawkins (RightWingNews.com) has named his first target for 2008.

“Target No. 1 will be Lindsey Graham,” Mr. Hawkins wrote yesterday, saying that the South Carolina Republican “has referred to people who want to secure the borders and prevent illegal immigrants from entering America as ‘bigots.’ If you believe we should secure the border, do you really want to vote for someone who thinks that you’re a bigot?”

Of his plans to defeat the bill’s Republican supporters, Mr. Hawkins said: “I will show these politicians what a real ‘new media’ campaign looks like and I can promise you that they will never forget it, because they will be on the business end of it. We won’t be able to get them all, but we will get [two to four] of them, either in the primaries or because we’re able to turn off just enough Republican voters so that they lose in the general election.”

A war on slogans

“It takes a great deal of chutzpah for a man who’s built his entire presidential campaign around the concept of ‘two Americas’ to go out and attack the phrase ‘war on terror’ as being ‘a slogan designed only for politics.’ Yet that’s exactly what Democratic Presidential hopeful John Edwards did last week while at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he derided the Bush administration’s term ‘war on terror,’ calling it ‘a bumper sticker, not a plan,’ “ Tom Bevan writes at www.realclearpolitics.com.

“Let’s start from the beginning and go slow. Of course the ‘war on terror’ is a slogan and of course it’s not a plan. It’s a metaphor. Just like the War on Cancer, the War Against Global Warming, or — perhaps closer to Mr. Edwards’ heart — Lyndon Johnson’s famous War on Poverty.

“Those aren’t plans, either. They are slogans and they are made to fit on bumper stickers. But they were all designed specifically to communicate to the public that whatever it was we were declaring ‘war’ on was something to be taken seriously — a problem we needed to devote extra attention and resources to with the ultimate goal of eradicating,” Mr. Bevan said.

“Edwards has never found cause to question any of America’s other metaphorical wars, but he clearly seems upset that we’ve chosen to declare ‘war’ on terrorism. The implication is that the issue of terrorism is somehow undeserving of such a declaration.

“So if we can’t declare ‘war’ on terror, can we at least ‘struggle against’ it? Or is even ‘the struggle against terror’ too much of a bumper-sticker slogan for Edwards’ taste?

“Let’s hope we can at least say we’re ‘fighting’ terror, otherwise we’ll be reduced to telling our allies and enemies we are simply ‘working’ on it.”

Liberal civility

Mitt Romney yesterday found himself face to face with an angry liberal who declared he would not vote for the Republican presidential candidate because of his faith, the Associated Press reports.

“I’m one person who will not vote for a Mormon,” Al Michaud of Dover, N.H., shouted at Mr. Romney when the former Massachusetts governor approached him inside Harvey’s Bakery in downtown Dover.

Mr. Romney kept smiling as he asked, “Can I shake your hand anyway?”

Mr. Michaud replied, “No.”

Mr. Michaud later told reporters he was not “a right-winger,” alluding to some evangelical Christians who have compared Mr. Romney’s faith to a cult. Instead, Mr. Michaud stated he was “a liberal.”

He said he planned to vote for Hillary Clinton should she win the Democratic presidential nomination.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]

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