- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bush’s choice

“On September 30 — two months from [yesterday] — the ban on fossil-fuel drilling off America’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and in the oil-shale fields of the West will expire. Democrats, who control both houses of Congress, must pass an appropriations bill extending the bans,” David Freddoso writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“The onus, in other words, is on them. Democrats will likely propose a continuing resolution to extend funding for the government through the end of the calendar year without making major changes. This bill will certainly include a continuation of the drilling ban • Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), a zealous opponent of offshore drilling since the 1980s, has resisted all attempts to change it,” Mr. Freddoso said.

“Democrats are sufficiently committed to maintaining the ban that they could even be willing to force a government shutdown in September, or dare the Republicans to force one. But if Republicans are equally committed to increasing the domestic-energy supply, and President Bush is willing to use his veto pen, they have a golden opportunity.

“This is the message of Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.), who is urging the president and his congressional colleagues to take a risk and fight for drilling here at home. ‘If President Bush wants a domestic legacy, it has to be on this issue,’ DeMint told National Review Online Tuesday. ‘This is the final few seconds of the game as far as his administration goes, and we’re down seven points. We can’t just keep running up the middle. It’s time to throw the Hail Mary.’”

Internet peril

“Bad personnel decisions have haunted the Bush Administration, and one of the bigger disappointments is Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin. In his last months as Master of the Media Universe, he seems poised to expand government regulation of the Internet,” the Wall Street Journal said Wednesday in an editorial.

“The FCC is by all accounts planning this week to uphold a complaint against Comcast, the cable company accused of throttling attempts to trade movies and other high-bandwidth files on its network that slow down Internet service for everyone else. Comcast has maintained that its ‘terms of service’ agreement allowed such network-management. In any case, earlier this year the cable company reached an agreement with BitTorrent, the popular file-sharing service being used on Comcast’s network, and settled the matter. Or so we thought,” the newspaper said.

“But Mr. Martin isn’t satisfied with a private resolution of this technical dispute. Instead, he wants to make an example of Comcast in order to advance a ‘network neutrality’ industrial policy being pushed by high-tech rivals like Google and pro-regulation advocacy groups like MoveOn.org, Consumers Union and Free Press. Net neutrality proponents want all Internet traffic treated ‘equally.’ They would prohibit Internet service providers from using price to address the ever-growing popularity of streaming video and other bandwidth-intensive programs that cause bottlenecks. …

“To the extent that Comcast and BitTorrent have worked out their differences, Mr. Martin is forcing a solution in search of a problem. But the bigger concern is that the chairman is taking a huge step toward putting in place a regulatory regime that would give the FCC, rather than Internet service providers, unprecedented control over how consumers use the Web. Mr. Martin is also greasing the skids for a potential Barack Obama administration to take an Internet industrial policy who knows where.”

Party time

“The ABC, CBS and NBC evening shows on Tuesday night properly identified indicted Sen. Ted Stevens as a Republican — though not very creatively as they all employed the identical language in describing Stevens as ‘the longest-serving Republican in the U.S. Senate‘ — but they weren’t so eager to name the party of Democrats in trouble in recent years,” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker writes at www.mrc.org.

“ABC anchor Charles Gibson teased World News: ‘Indicted. The longest-serving Republican in the U.S. Senate is charged with lying about a quarter-million dollars’ worth of gifts and renovations for his home.’ Setting up the story from Jake Tapper, with ‘(R)’ in an on-screen graphic, Gibson repeated his ‘the longest-serving Republican in the Senate’ line.

“CBS’s Katie Couric referred to Stevens as ‘a senior Republican’ before reporter Jim Axelrod recited ‘the longest-serving Republican senator ever’ mantra. On NBC, anchor Brian Williams announced: ‘Tonight, Senator Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in U.S. Senate history is under federal indictment.’

“Back in March, the fifteen ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows aired in the first three days of the prostitution scandal with New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer called him a Democrat just 20 percent of the time — twice on CBS (one of those from Katie Couric), once on ABC, and never on NBC, which didn’t tag him as a Democrat until the fourth day. Yet, the ABC, CBS, NBC morning and evening shows, in the days after the scandals broke involving Sens. David Vitter (July of 2007) and Larry Craig (August of 2007), applied ‘Republican’ labels on every show (100 percent).”

Woman trouble

“If soccer moms determined the outcome of the 1996 presidential race and security moms tipped the balance in 2004, it is beginning to look as if older moms are the key to the 2008 contest,” Dick Morris writes in The Hill newspaper.

Sen. Barack Obama “has a problem among women over 40 and a big problem among women over 50. These groups, normally the staunchest of Democratic supporters, are showing a propensity to back [Sen. John] McCain and a disinclination to support Obama,” Mr. Morris said.

“According to the latest Fox News survey, Obama is winning among women under 40 by 13 points, but McCain is winning among women aged 41-45 by four points. Among women 50 and over, McCain is three points ahead. Obama’s 48-35 lead among women under 40 is normal for a Democrat, but to trail among women in their 40s by 45-41 and by women over 50 by 38-35 is extraordinary.

“The problem is that older women don’t like Obama as much as younger women do. While 70 percent of women under 40 have a favorable opinion of the Democratic candidate, only 58 percent of women in their 40s feel the same way, and only 52 percent of those over 50 see him favorably.

“For a Democrat to be losing among women over 40 is without precedent in the past 20 years.”

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

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