- The Washington Times - Friday, November 20, 2009

LOW-KEY SANFORD

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, under fire for ethics and personal questions by some fellow Republicans back home, made a low-profile showing on the second day of the three-day meeting of the Republican Governors Association, Washington Times political correspondent Ralph Z. Hallow reports from Austin, Texas.

Mr. Sanford, who headed the association until the revelation of an extramarital affair sparked an international media frenzy last summer, quietly took his place at a resort hotel ballrooms huge square table with fellow governors for a morning discussion session.

“Better to do this than to appear to be hiding back home,” a Republican lobbyist commented privately on seeing Mr. Sanford take his place among the other state chief executives.

Mr. Sanford listened quietly to fellow GOP governors discuss the political landscape for 2010. At one point, Mr. Sanford rushed from the room, telling The Times that he had to deal with an unspecified problem back in Columbia, South Carolina’s capital.

When the governor attended a Southern regional luncheon for governors later in the day, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, the event host, recognized Mr. Sanford, who won a round of applause from his fellow Southern governors.

The cloud that has hovered over Mr. Sanford since the summer lifted a bit when the state Ethics Commission on Wednesday issued a report after months of deliberations over reports of ethics violations by the governor. The commission found no evidence of crimes, but did find cause for a hearing in January on suspected minor ethics lapses.

JACKSON’S INSULT

“If you stray from the liberal plantation as an African-American elected official, expect Jesse Jackson to call you out on it,” John Fund writes at www.opinionjournal.com.

“The Rev. Jackson attended a reception on Capitol Hill [Wednesday] night for the Congressional Black Caucus. During his remarks he railed against opponents of health care reform. ‘We even have blacks voting against the health care bill,’ the Hill newspaper reports him saying. ‘You can’t vote against health care and call yourself a black man.’

“Mr. Jackson’s comments can only have been directed at Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama, the sole member of the CBC to have voted against the health care bill this month in the House.

“For his part, Mr. Davis declined to get into a spitting contest. ‘One of the reasons that I like and admire Rev. Jesse Jackson is that 21 years ago he inspired the idea that a black politician would not be judged simply as a black leader,’ he said in a statement. ‘The best way to honor Rev. Jackson’s legacy is to decline to engage in an argument with him that begins and ends with race.’

“Sadly, no members of the Congressional Black Caucus have stepped forward to deplore Rev. Jackson’s words. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri said the criticism of his CBC colleague was ‘accurate,’ although he claimed not to have heard Rev. Jackson say: ‘You can’t vote against health care and call yourself a black man.’ The veteran civil rights leader, he added, ‘is expected by his constituency to call balls and strikes.’

“At least Rep. Maxine Waters offered an explanation of Mr. Davis’s apostasy, noting that he represents a relatively conservative district in Alabama and is now running for governor in a state in which Republicans have won most recent statewide elections.

“For the record, Rep. Davis says he voted against the Pelosi health care bill because it ‘is not the best we can do.’ He prefers a different approach passed by the Senate Finance Committee, which he said would have been more effective in getting employers to assist workers in obtaining health insurance.”

BULLYING OBAMA

Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s August report, which called for more troops, was one thing - the commander on the ground’s legitimate assessment as to what he believed he needed to execute his mission,” New York Post columnist Ralph Peters writes.

“The insubordination came later - when President Obama asked for strategic options,” Mr. Peters said.

“The Pentagon was obligated to respond with a full range of alternatives that re-examined the premises of the mission and offered genuine choices. It didn’t.

“Instead of serious alternatives, the president got slightly different versions of the single option the top generals liked. The issue was reduced to ‘How many more troops will you send, Mr. President?’

“The brass have tried to bully the president on this one. No matter who the president is, that’s wrong. When any president asks for options, he should get genuine alternatives, not variations on a theme.

“Now what? We’ll send more troops to Afghanistan. But we still won’t have a strategy, just a new spin on old gimmicks.”

MCCAIN AND PALIN

Former presidential candidate Sen. John McCain said Thursday that he has read Sarah Palin’s book and has no regrets about picking her as a running mate in 2008.

“I felt honored to have Sarah,” the Arizona Republican said during an interview Thursday with The Washington Times’ “America’s Morning News” radio show. “There’s no doubt she energized our party and America. She’s doing it today.”

Mr. McCain’s praise came one day after he defended top campaign advisers Steve Schmidt and Nicolle Wallace, whom Mrs. Palin criticized in her best-selling “Going Rogue: An American Life.”

Mr. McCain shocked the political world by picking Mrs. Palin, then a little-known Alaska governor, and said Thursday that she remains a “political force in America.”

He also said that if Mrs. Palin runs for president in 2012 and becomes the Republican Party nominee, he would vote for her.

“I hope she has every success,” Mr. McCain said. “She’s still pretty popular.”

MONEY RACE

The National Republican Senatorial Committee slightly topped its Democratic rival in fundraising for October.

The NRSC raised $4 million last month, pushing its cash on hand to $5.8 million. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $3.7 million, with $9 million cash on hand, according to fundraising totals released Wednesday.

The NRSC boasts that it is edging out the DSCC in the money race “despite having a Democrat in the White House and a much larger cushion in their majority in the Senate.”

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

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