- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 7, 2009

RUDY RUNNING?

New York Gov. David A. Paterson's poll numbers are in a nose dive, and there's talk of former Republican presidential candidate Rudolph W. Giuliani running against him. That is, unless nervous Democratic Party officials talk the unpopular governor out of seeking a full term of his own next year.

A new Quinnipiac University poll Monday found that a whopping 63 percent of New Yorkers don't think the state's first black governor deserves to be elected, with 53 percent saying he should announce he's not going to be a candidate. Only 39 percent think he has time to change voters' minds.

The former lieutenant governor became governor last year when Gov. Eliot Spitzer, a Democrat, resigned after his involvement with a prostitute ring became known. Mr. Paterson initially looked like he could keep the governorship in Democratic hands. But in recent months, he has become “about as popular as athlete's foot,” writes political analyst Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report.

His job disapproval rating stands at 60 percent - including support from only 51 percent of Democrats, the Quinnipiac poll shows. Only 28 percent of voters approve of his performance in office.

Meanwhile, hope is growing among Republicans that Mr. Giuliani will make a run for the office he's always wanted, and the New York Daily News reported Monday that while he says he won't make a decision until the fall, “his schedule reveals a man who's keeping his options open - very open.”

The former New York mayor who led the Big Apple in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, will speak at the New York Republican State Committee dinner next week, the biggest party fundraiser of the year. He addresses Albany County's annual Republican dinner five days later - a must-do political event for past Republican governors.

“Governor is way, way off,” Mr. Giuliani said last week. “Well, for me it is.”

But pressure is mounting from Republican Party officials and supporters who call him the “dream candidate” to win back the governorship. “Giuliani has a proven track record, and that's what people are looking for right now,” Dan Farrell, executive director of the Albany County Republican Party, told the Daily News.

BLOWN CHANCE

”The London summit of the Group of 20 industrial and emerging economies was a missed opportunity from the start,” Clive Crook writes in the National Journal.

”The usual declarations in support of cooperation, open markets, and judicious regulation nestled alongside affirmations of previous commitments and paragraphs of self-congratulation for what has already been done. On coordinated fiscal stimulus, no agreement has been found, and none is likely this week, this month, or this year.”

Still, despite a lackluster summit low on tangible results and high on pomp and circumstance, Mr. Crook writes it wasn't a complete waste of time.

“The summit Sherpas - the finance ministry officials who do the preparatory work - have reached an understanding about the role and resources of the International Monetary Fund. (And) a big increase in the fund's ability to lend unconditionally to prequalified governments is in the works, and long overdue.”

”Valuable as entrenching the G-20 and reviving the IMF may be, though, the most urgent need at this summit was to deal with the immediate danger of a worsening global slump.” Unfortunately, Mr. Crook says, G-20 leaders failed to take any bold steps to address this growing problem.

BLAME GAME

”Are you a current or former leader of the House of Representatives?” writes Michael Crowley in the New Republic. “Then the government of Turkey wants to talk to you!”

”In recent years, Turkey has hired as lobbyists at least four men who held senior House posts. Currently working Capitol Hill for the Turks is former Democratic leader Richard Gephardt. Schmoozing Republicans is the former House speaker, Dennis Hastert. Hastert was signed up to replace Bob Livingston, a former House speaker-designate (now plying his trade for the Libyans), and former House Republican leader Dick Armey….

“Turkey pays these men handily to defend its many interests in Washington. But one mission overrides all the others: blocking an official U.S. government declaration that the Ottoman Turks committed genocide against the Armenian people at the end of World War I….

”But, as Barack Obama prepares for his upcoming state visit to Ankara in early April and the day of a traditional presidential statement to the Armenian-American community that follows a couple of weeks later, this debate may finally be coming to a head. Obama is the first American president elected after explicitly promising to invoke the dreaded G-word.

”And, thus, a trip designed to defuse tension between the United States and the Muslim world will have the small matter of genocide culpability hanging over it like a foul odor.”

LABOR SNUB

Sen. Blanche Lincoln, Arkansas Democrat, said Monday that she would vote against pending legislation that would make it easier for labor unions to organize local chapters.

Mrs. Lincoln told a meeting of the Little Rock Political Animals Club that she opposes the Employee Free Choice Act in its current form. The so-called card check measure would allow unions to form after getting a majority of employees to sign a card or petition.

”I consider both the labor and the business communities to be my friends. However, now that we need all hands on deck, including business and labor, to get our economy moving again, this issue is dividing us,” Mrs. Lincoln said in a statement after the meeting.

“While I may not have been clear about my position in the past, I am stating today that I cannot support Employee Free Choice Act in its current form.”

The senator added that she would consider alternatives that have the support of business and labor.

The measure has other important provisions, including tougher penalties on employers who are deemed to have engaged in unfair labor practices. But it bypasses the traditional secret-ballot method of organizing.

GOING BALLISTIC

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, said Monday that “there's only one answer to North Korea” in response to the Asian country's weekend test of a ballistic missile over the weekend; namely, “an economic squeeze” lead by China.

”China is the only country that has real leverage over North Korea given its isolation, given its leadership,” the senator said on MSNBC'S “Morning Joe” program . “About three, four years ago the North Koreans were doing something bad, and China cut off the oil a little bit. Whoa - North Korea hupped to.

“So… the only way to get something done here is a three-way ricochet: us to China; China to North Korea - only way.”

• Sean Lengell can be reached at 202/636-3208 or [email protected]


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