- The Washington Times - Friday, April 25, 2008

Scalia’s reply

People who think the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision giving the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush was politically motivated should just get over it, Justice Antonin Scalia tells the CBS News program “60 Minutes.”

Justice Scalia denies the decision was political and discusses other aspects of his public and private life in a taped interview with “60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl to be shown Sunday.

“I say nonsense,” Justice Scalia responds to Mrs. Stahl’s observation that people say the Supreme Court’s decision in Gore v. Bush was based on politics and not justice. “Get over it. It’s so old by now. The principal issue in the case, whether the scheme that the Florida Supreme Court had put together violated the federal Constitution, that wasn’t even close. The vote was seven to two,” he says, referring to the Supreme Court’s decision that the Supreme Court of Florida’s method for recounting ballots was unconstitutional.

Furthermore, he said, it was Al Gore who ultimately put the issue into the courts. “It was Al Gore who made it a judicial question. … We didn’t go looking for trouble. It was he who said, ‘I want this to be decided by the courts,’ ” says Justice Scalia. “What are we supposed to say — ‘Not important enough?’ ”

The above comments were published yesterday at www.cbsnews.com.

Through the gutter

“There was a warmth and a feistiness to Clinton in Pennsylvania — the very qualities that Obama was lacking,” Joe Klein writes at www.time.com.

“She had embraced the shameless rituals of politics, including some classic low-information signals, downing shots of Crown Royal and promising lower gas prices, attacking her opponent over trivia and threatening to ‘obliterate’ Iran. It was enough to earn the ire of the New York Times editorial page, which harrumphed, ‘By staying on the attack and not engaging Mr. Obama on the substance of issues … she undercuts the rationale for her candidacy that led this page and others to support her: that she is more qualified, right now, to be president.’

“Well, tsk-tsk and ahem! But part of the problem with editorial writers — and, truth to tell, columnists like me — is a narrow definition of the qualifications necessary to be president. It helps to be a warrior, for one thing. It helps to be able to take a punch and deliver one — even, sometimes, a sucker punch. A certain familiarity with life as it is lived by normal Americans is useful; a distance from the elite precincts of academia, where unrepentant terrorists can sip wine in good company, is essential,” Mr. Klein said.

Hillary Clinton has learned these lessons the hard way; Barack Obama thinks they are ‘the wrong lessons.’ The nomination is, obviously, his to lose. But the presidency will not be won if he doesn’t learn that the only way to reach the high-minded conversation he wants, and the country badly needs, is to figure out how to maneuver his way through the gutter.”

‘The bloody shirt’

“What was so shocking, terrible and unfair about flashing Osama bin Laden’s ugly mug on a political advertisement? Hillary Clinton’s TV spot was the first Democratic ad to make pictorial reference to the al Qaeda terrorist. It was about time,” Providence Journal columnist Froma Harrop writes.

“How much the ad helped Clinton achieve her impressive victory in the Pennsylvania primary is hard to tell. It was a vague message touting her ability to deal with emergencies and cited a variety of them — the 1929 stock market crash, the Cuban missile crisis and Hurricane Katrina, as well as the terrorist attacks of September 11,” the columnist said.

“What’s clear is that the ad itself wasn’t as effective a pitch for Clinton as was the indignant response of Barack Obama’s surrogates. An Obama spokesman condemned the spot as ‘the politics of fear.’

“If Obama’s supporters want to argue that their candidate can better handle these challenges than Clinton, then fine, they should do so. But for some unfathomable reason, they insist on drumming Osama bin Laden out of polite Democratic conversation, such as there is any these days.

“The day after Pennsylvania, The New York Times ran a nutty editorial, ‘The Low Road to Victory,’ that bashed Clinton for waving ‘the bloody shirt of 9-11.’ Oh, is referring to the event that obliterated the World Trade Center — still a blank in Lower Manhattan — an irrational demagogic appeal to old grievances? (One suspects that the Times regrets its endorsement of Clinton in the New York primary, especially since she became unfashionable in fancy circles.)”

McCain’s strategy

“As if Sen. John McCain’s current poverty tour wasn’t enough of a clue, his campaign manager, Rick Davis, made it explicit in a strategy memo [Wednesday]: They see the road to the White House running straight through poor people’s pockets,” reporter Stephen Dinan writes in his “On the Democrats” blog at www.washingtontimes.com.

“ ’Our targeting and analysis of the 2008 political landscape puts voters who are on the lower economic brackets at the heart of either party’s winning coalition,’ Davis said in the memo dissecting exit polling from Tuesday’s Democratic primary in Pennsylvania.

“Davis’ conclusion is that the protracted Democratic race has exposed some serious fault lines, and while he appears to believe Sen. Barack Obama will still be Democrats’ nominee, Obama is not very competitive among union households and poor voters. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton easily won among both of those demographics in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, reprising the results from Ohio’s primary last month.”

Huckabee’s book

Two weeks after the next president is elected, Mike Huckabee will publish a book sharing details on his failed bid for the White House and offering his vision for remodeling the conservative movement.

Sentinel, a conservative imprint of Penguin Group (USA), said Wednesday it will publish the former Arkansas governor and one-time Republican presidential hopeful’s next book, to be released Nov. 18.

The book, not yet titled, will offer an insider’s view of Mr. Huckabee’s campaign and also offer his vision for the future, publishers said Wednesday.

The publishing company wouldn’t say how much Mr. Huckabee will be paid, the Associated Press reports.

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

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