- The Washington Times - Friday, February 8, 2008

The GOP’s soul

Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham aren’t the only conservatives in agony over John McCain,” Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Henninger writes.

“The base is bummed. At the Portofino Hotel in Orlando, Fla., where Rudy Giuliani went down with a graceful valedictory concession, an energetic Rudy guy in dark glasses and slicked black hair — hours before ebulliently cheering up anyone who would talk to him — ran up to a reporter waiting for a car” and expressed consternation that Mr. Giuliani was set to endorse Mr. McCain.

“Conservatives can’t catch a break. Taxes, judges, the culture — somewhere a conservative is always getting shafted. The party broke up on the rocks of the 2006 election. Its 2008 presidential nomination has been contested by men claiming the mantle of Ronald Reagan but who in fact are: John McMaverick, a New York City mayor on his third marriage, the moderate governor of liberal Massachusetts, and the funniest governor ever from Hope, Ark.,” Mr. Henninger said.

“There are murmurs of heading into the political wilderness. Sit this one out. Rather than sell the party’s soul to John McCain, let Hillary have it, or Barack. Go into opposition for four years while the party gets its head together and comes up with an authentic conservative candidate. If this sourness takes hold at the margin, say among GOP anti-immigrant voters, it might happen.

“The wilderness is a good place to find yourself, if you’re a prophet. There are reasons, though, why a principled political retreat won’t make conservative prospects better. The point of a principled retreat would be to rediscover coherence amid doctrinal confusion. The exact opposite is likely to happen.”

Fearful Democrats

“This has become an odd campaign for Democrats. There is good news … and fear,” Joe Klein writes at www.time.com.

“The good news is that this time the people seem far more interested in their party than in the Republicans. On Super Tuesday, at least 15,417,521 voted Democratic, and 9,181,297 voted Republican. And more good news: Both Obama and Clinton are very good candidates who hold similar positions on most issues, moderates who intend to reach out to Republicans after they are elected — although, given Clinton’s undeserved reputation as a partisan operative, that may be a tougher sell for her than for Obama,” Mr. Klein said.

“But this is not a struggle for the ideological soul of the party. It may, however, be a struggle for the party’s demographic soul — older voters vs. younger, information-age workers vs. industrial and service workers, wine vs. beer. There is also — and I will try to tread lightly here — the classic high school girl/boy differential: the note-taking, front-row girl grind vs. the charismatic, last-minute-cramming, preening male finesse artist.

“Both Clinton and Obama have difficulties reaching across those divides, and that is where the fear resides: neither candidate may prove strong or broad enough. As this campaign progresses, their weaknesses — the reasons for their inability to put away this nomination — are going to become more apparent than their strengths.”

Hat in the ring

The mayor of Hazleton, Pa., whose crackdown on illegal immigration made him a national hero among those seeking tighter borders, said yesterday that he will try to parlay that celebrity into a seat in Congress.

Mayor Lou Barletta announced that he will seek the Republican nomination to challenge 12-term Democratic Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski. He lost to Mr. Kanjorski by more than 13 percentage points in 2002, but the mayor’s illegal-immigration stance has raised his profile significantly since then.

“I’ve done as much as I can fighting illegal immigration as the mayor of a city,” he told the Associated Press. “I need to take this fight to Washington, because that’s where the problem needs to be fixed.”

At Mr. Barletta’s urging, the Hazleton City Council in 2006 approved the Illegal Immigration Relief Act, which sought to deny business permits to companies that employ illegal aliens, fine landlords who rent to them and require tenants to register and pay for a rental permit.

A federal judge in July struck down Hazleton’s ordinance as unconstitutional, but another judge upheld a similar measure in Valley Park, Mo., last week.

Stormy weather

Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, tried to link global warming to the tornadoes that killed more than 50 people in the Southeast this week, Jeff Poor of the Business & Media Institute reports at www.businessandmedia.org.

“[I] don’t want to sort of leap into the larger meaning of, you know, inappropriately, but on the other hand, the weather service has told us we are going to have more and more intense storms,” Mr. Kerry said Wednesday on MSNBC. “And insurance companies are beginning to look at this issue and understand this is related to the intensity of storms that is related to the warming of the earth.

“And so it goes to global warming and larger issues that we’re not paying attention to. The fact is the hurricanes are more intensive, the storms are more intensive and the rainfall is more intense at certain places at certain times and the weather patterns have changed.”

However, Mr. Poor quoted a meteorologist as doubting any relationship between tornadoes and global warming.

‘As of this writing, no scientific studies solidly relate climatic global temperature trends to tornadoes,’ Roger Edwards, a meteorologist at the Storm Prediction Center of the National Weather Center in Norman, Okla., wrote on the Earth & Sky Web site in April 2007.

Not ‘our’ song

It may be “Our Country,” but it’s John Cougar Mellencamp’s song. And no longer John McCain‘s.

When the liberal rock star found out his songs were being played at events for the Republican’s presidential campaign, Mr. Mellencamp’s publicist sent a letter that questioned the campaign’s playlist, which included his hits “Our Country” and “Pink Houses.”

“Are you sure you want to use his music to promote Senator McCain’s efforts?” said the letter sent to the McCain campaign on Monday. “Logic says that the facts might prove to be an embarrassment, were they to be circulated widely.”

McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers told the Associated Press yesterday that the songs will no longer be played. He declined to elaborate.

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

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