- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lingering worries

Sen. John McCain just keeps accruing impressive endorsements from name-brand conservatives — though not from Paul Weyrich, chairman of the Free Congress Foundation, who yesterday endorsed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, advising, “A big vote for him is the best way to send a message to Senator McCain and the Republican establishment that this is an election, not a coronation.”

Reservations about the Arizona Republican persist.

“To many conservative Republicans, the problem is not that McCain is ‘telling people what they don’t want to hear.’ The problem is the exact opposite. They believe that Sen. McCain is scoring cheap political points at their expense, by telling his audience — the mainstream media — exactly what it wants to hear,” noted Brad Smith at Redstate.com yesterday.

“While this rhetoric has built his reputation as a ‘maverick,’ it has involved repeatedly insulting and betraying some of his party’s most dedicated members in a most personal fashion. The MSM eats it up because it corresponds with their preconceptions about Republicans. They believe Republicans would drill in the Grand Canyon; they believe Bush’s tax cuts were giveaways to the rich; they believe Mitch McConnell and other Republicans opposed to campaign-finance reform are ‘corrupt’; they believe that religious conservatives are ‘agents of intolerance.’ And John McCain is perceived as having played up to them to build his own reputation, at the expense of conservatives.”

Trouble in paradise

Al, Bill, Tipper, Hillary: It is a most inconvenient feud.

“Democratic insiders agree that Al Gore is the ultimate prize among uncommitted superdelegates, and Clintonistas well understand a Barack Obama endorsement by Bill Clinton’s veep would be a huge blow to Hillary,” the New York Daily News noted yesterday. “They’re hoping Gore will stay on the sidelines but shudder over reports Obama has been courting Prince Albert for months. They also believe that Gore must be sorely tempted to stick it to the Clintons, whom he blames in large part for his defeat in 2000.”

“The level of animus between them is unbelievable,” a well-placed Hillary partisan confided.

Shuster boosters

It was a cultural moment: A TV journalist who normally praises Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton instead came to the aid of a fellow member of the press after a recent on-air gaffe.

Last week, MSNBC correspondent David Shuster coyly observed that the New York Democrat had “pimped out” her daughter, Chelsea Clinton, on the campaign trail — prompting an indignant Mrs. Clinton to demand the network do something about the comment. Mr. Shuster was suspended.

An unlikely defender stepped forward, though — ABC’s Barbara Walters, who suggested Mrs. Clinton had overreacted.

“It was as if she was advocating more than just his being suspended. Perhaps I feel this because of the years, and all of you, we are live, and sometimes you say something unfortunate. You apologize. He’s getting suspended. He apologized. MSNBC apologized. Drop it already! It’s OK. He made a mistake,” the veteran newswoman said yesterday.

“The efforts to paint Shuster as a malicious misogynist are way off-base,” said Slate writer Emily Bazelon, who blamed Mrs. Clinton’s ferocity on her campaign challenges.

“On Tuesday, Clinton and Obama fought to a draw in the primaries. Then came news that while Obama had raised $32 million in January, Hillary had been forced to loan her campaign $5 million, and that senior aides were working for free,” Ms. Bazelon continued. “On Saturday, as the candidate was signing her name to a memo declaring Shuster beyond the pale of forgiveness, Obama was eating Hillary’s lunch in Washington, Louisiana and Kansas, and the Clinton campaign was shaking up its top ranks.

“Another butt-kicking in Maine followed. In recent weeks, umbrage hasjoined inevitability and experience as a recurring Clinton motif. And Shuster’s misuse of a bit of slang has functioned as a heaping portion of that umbrage.”


It’s Abe Lincoln’s 199th birthday today, and first lady Laura Bush will journey to his Kentucky birthplace to celebrate the event. Some Hoosiers, meanwhile, hope to remind the nation that Lincoln lived in their neck of the woods between the ages of 7 and 21, said the Indianapolis Star yesterday.

“Lincoln has been a marketing problem for Indiana forever. People know he was born in Kentucky and practiced law and was elected in Illinois,” said Will Koch, a theme park owner and director of the Lincoln Boyhood Drama Association. “We don’t have the original buildings. By the time Lincoln died, his Indiana home was long gone.”

The Indiana legislature has earmarked $1.6 million to produce a new Lincoln “drama” next year at Lincoln State Park near Evansville.

Reality check

The personal habits of terrorists and Americans may make the U.S. more vulnerable to attack, according to Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff.

“The great weapon they have is persistence and patience, and the one weakness that we have is the tendency to lose patience and become complacent,” Mr. Chertoff told WTOP yesterday. “It strikes me as hard to accept that anybody would believe the threat is over. There is nothing these terrorists are doing or saying that could lead a reasonable person to believe that they have somehow lost interest. Our biggest challenge is making sure we do not drop our guard because time passes.”

“In the short term, obviously, you worry about homegrown terrorists or somebody coming in with an explosive device or the kind of act of violence or terror that we’ve actually seen occasionally carried out in this country by people who are simply nuts. But in the longer run, in terms of something that would really be earth-shattering, the kinds of things I’m worried about are a nuclear or a dirty-bomb attack or a nuclear or biological attack,” Mr. Chertoff said.

Contact Jennifer Harper at 202/636-3085 or jharper@ washingtontimes.com

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