- The Washington Times - Monday, July 27, 2009


Jim DeMint is feeling good.

Days after the South Carolina Republican told conservative activists that if they defeated Mr. Obama’s health care plan, it would be Mr. Obama’s “Waterloo,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, announced there would be no vote on health care until after the August recess.

Mr. DeMint took another victory lap over the weekend after his attorney, Cleta Mitchell, persuaded a South Carolina media provider to quit airing a Democratic National Committee ad on television because it is too misleading.

The ad in question repeats the “Waterloo” comments and ends with a voice-over that says: “The only health care plan Jim DeMint supports is no plan at all.”

Ms. Mitchell argued, in part, that contrary to the DNC’s claim that Mr. DeMint has “no plan,” the senator has introduced the Health Care Freedom Plan.

Aborting legislation

In addition to the budget-busting price tag the Congressional Budget Office gave to an early draft of the Democrats’ health care bill, the possibility the plan could pay for abortions emerged as a potential deal breaker for the legislation.

Nineteen pro-life Democrats wrote a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, in late June, telling her they could not support a bill that uses tax dollars to provide for abortions. A number of Republicans held press conferences on the matter through July, saying the same, and they brought together a bipartisan coalition of House members against any legislation that would increase access to abortions.

“The abortion debate certainly played a part in helping to move the deadline to pass health care reform by the president,” said David Bereit, national director of 40 Days for Life and a member of the Stop the Abortion Mandate coalition.

Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life of America, agreed.

“Because of those courageous pro-life Democrats, we have a real chance of stopping the largest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade,” she said.

Complaint dismissed

Days before Sarah Palin resigned from office, the sixth ethics complaint that was filed against her by Anchorage resident Andree McLeod was dismissed.

Mrs. McLeod, responsible for more than a third of all complaints filed against Mrs. Palin, alleged the governor broke ethics rules by collecting a salary from Alaska while campaigning as the Republican Party’s 2008 vice-presidential candidate.

In other complaints, Mrs. McLeod has accused Mrs. Palin of not properly disclosing gifts received while in office and claimed that state employees abused their positions for personal gain by traveling with the governor, among other things.

Two of Mrs. McLeod’s complaints were lodged after Mrs. Palin announced that she would be stepping down from office.

The frequent filer is careful to keep her own profile low, but Anchorage Daily News archives show that she became active in politics after struggling to obtain a permit for her falafel stand in downtown Anchorage and then mounting a series of losing campaigns to become Anchorage mayor, a House district delegate and a member of the school board.

Mrs. McLeod has written many letters to the editor over the years, often accusing various public officials of corruption. She began intensifying her efforts against Mrs. Palin after the governor was tapped as the Republican vice-presidential candidate.

Various media reports have described Mrs. McLeod as a “community activist” or “government watchdog,” but the Palin administration said her complaints have resulted only in a drain on state time and resources.

“Andree McLeod has failed to prevail on any of the ethics complaints she has filed against the governor,” said Mike Nizich, Mrs. Palin’s former chief of staff. “It appears her agenda is clear - she’s abusing the ethics laws to harass public officials.”

• Amanda Carpenter can be reached at [email protected] washingtontimes.com.

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