Tuesday, May 31, 2005

More on Deep Throat

'Washington Post' confirms 'Deep Throat' was FBI's No. 2 man
Staff & wire reports
May 31, 2005
Mystery solved: Former FBI official W. Mark Felt stepped forward Tuesday as Deep Throat, the secret Washington Post source that helped bring down President Nixon during the Watergate scandal. Within hours, the paper ratified his claim. It's the last secret" of the story, said Ben Bradlee, the paper's top editor at the time the riveting political drama played out three decades ago. It tumbled out in stages during the day, first when a lawyer quoted Felt in a magazine article as having said he was the source; then when the former FBI man's family issued a statement hailing him as a "great American hero," & finally when the Post posted a story on its Web site confirming him as the secret leaker of long ago.
The paper made its announcement on its Web site after Felt, 91 & living in California, talked to a lawyer who wrote a magazine article for Vanity Fair. "The No. 2 guy from the FBI, that was a pretty good source," said Bradlee. (Related:
Watergate timeline) "I knew the paper was on the right track" in its investigative stories, Bradlee said, citing the "quality of the source."
In a statement published on the Post web site, Woodward & Bernstein said, "W. Mark Felt was 'Deep Throat' & helped us immeasurably in our Watergate coverage. However, as the record shows, many other sources & officials assisted us & other reporters for the hundreds of stories that were written in The Washington Post about Watergate." Felt, the second-in-command at the FBI in the early 1970s, kept his secret even from his family for almost three decades before confiding he was Post reporter Bob Woodward's source on the Watergate scandal, according to a Vanity Fair article published Tuesday.
"I'm the guy they used to call Deep Throat," he was quoted as telling lawyer John D. O'Connor, author of the magazine article. The 91-year-old Felt, who lives in Santa Rosa, is said to be in poor mental & physical health because of a stroke. His family didn’t immediately make him available for comment, asking the news media to respect his privacy "in view of his age & health." "The family believes that my grandfather, Mark Felt Sr., is a great American hero who went well above & beyond the call of duty at much risk to himself to save his country from a horrible injustice," a family statement read by grandson Nick Jones said. "We all sincerely hope the country will see him this way as well."
The existence of Deep Throat, nicknamed for a popular X-rated movie of the early 1970s, was revealed in Woodward & Bernstein's best-selling book All the President's Men. A hit movie starring Robert Redford as Woodward, Dustin Hoffman as Bernstein & Hal Holbrook as Deep Throat was made in 1976. In the film, Holbrook's shadowy, cigarette-smoking character would meet Redford in dark parking garages & provide clues about the scandal.
The movie portrayed the cloak & dagger methods that Woodward & Deep Throat employed. When Woodward wanted a meeting, he’d position an empty flowerpot containing a red flag on his apartment balcony. When Deep Throat wanted to meet, the hands of a clock would appear written inside Woodward's New York Times.
The identity of the source has sparked endless speculation over the last three decades. Nixon chief of staff Alexander Haig, White House press aide Diane Sawyer, White House counsel John Dean & speechwriter Pat Buchanan were among those mentioned as possibilities. Felt himself was mentioned several times over the years as a candidate for Deep Throat, but he regularly denied that he was the source. "I would have done better," Felt told The Hartford Courant in 1999. "I would’ve been more effective. Deep Throat didn't exactly bring the White House crashing down, did he?"
Felt had expressed reservations in the past about revealing his identity, & about whether his actions were appropriate for an FBI man, his grandson said. According to the article, Felt once told his son, Mark Jr., that he didn’t believe being Deep Throat "was anything to be proud of...You (shouldn‘t) leak information to anyone." His family members thought otherwise, & persuaded him to talk about his role in the Watergate scandal, saying he deserves to receive accolades before his death. His daughter, Joan, argued that he could "make enough money to pay some bills, like the debt I've run up for the children's education." "As he recently told my mother, 'I guess people used to think Deep Throat was a criminal, but now they think he's a hero'," Jones said.
Woodward, who’d visited with Felt as recently as 1999, refused to confirm or deny, even to the man's family, that Felt was his source & wondered whether Felt was mentally competent to decide whether to go public after all these years, the magazine reported. Woodward & Bernstein were the first reporters to link the Nixon White House & the June 1972 break-in at the DNC Headquarters in Washington's Watergate complex. Nixon, facing almost-certain impeachment for helping to cover up the break-in, resigned in August 1974. Forty government officials & members of Nixon's re-election committee were convicted on felony charges.
In 2003, Woodward & Bernstein reached an agreement to keep their Watergate papers at the University of Texas at Austin. At the time, the pair said documents naming Deep Throat would be kept secure at an undisclosed location in Washington until the source's death. Felt was convicted in the 1970s for authorizing illegal break-ins at homes of people associated with the radical Weather Underground. He was pardoned by President Reagan in 1981.
Contributing: Steve Marshall of USATODAY.com
Watergate Timeline

The Watergate scandal
The AP
A timeline of the Watergate scandal:
June 17, 1972: Five men are arrested in a break-in at the DNC headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington.
June 20, 1972: Pres. Nixon & aide H.R. Haldeman discuss Watergate. Later, prosecutors find an 18-minute gap in tape of that conversation.
Sept. 15, 1972: Seven men, including two former White House aides, are indicted in Watergate break-in.
Jan. 11-30, 1973: Five of the men plead guilty to conspiracy, burglary & wiretapping. Two stand trial & are convicted.
April 30, 1973: Haldeman & Nixon aide John D. Ehrlichman resign. White House aide John Dean is fired.
July 16, 1973: Testimony before the Senate Watergate Committee reveals that all of Nixon's White House conversations were taped.
July 24, 1973: The Supreme Court rules that Nixon must provide the tapes & documents subpoenaed by special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox.
Oct. 20, 1973: Cox refuses to compromise on the tapes & Nixon orders Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson refuses & resigns in protest. Acting Attorney General Robert Bork fires Cox. This becomes known as the "Saturday Night Massacre."
July 24, 1974: The Supreme Court rules Nixon must hand over the tapes.
July 27-30, 1974: House Judiciary Committee approves three articles of impeachment: obstruction of justice, misuse of powers & violation of his oath of office & failure to comply with House subpoenas.
Aug. 9, 1974: Nixon resigns.
September 8, 1974: President Ford pardons Nixon.

President Bush Gets Red Carpet Treatment

On the Road, Bush Gets Red Carpet Treatment From Local Media
By Richard Benedetto
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (USATODAY.com) — When President Bush visited this upstate New York city last Tuesday, the region gave him a welcoming befitting any U.S. president. It was respectful, if not a little over the top. Regardless of the politics of the visit, the local news media & community residents for the most part welcomed Bush warmly & with a touch of awe that comes with a rare presidential visit.
Here, there were vocal protesters of his plan to overhaul Social Security, which he came to town to promote. And they received a fair share of media attention. But for the most part, the Rochester community, like others that Bush has visited on his Social Security tour, viewed the presidential visit as a combination rock concert, Hollywood premiere & Super Bowl. And the local news media treated it that way, too. After all, the last presidential appearance to the Rochester area was in 1989 when Bush's father, George H.W. Bush, came to town for a speech at Eastman Kodak, a major area employer.
Newspapers, radio & TV stations here ran stories about the latest Bush appearance & his Social Security proposals for several days before the Tuesday arrival. On Monday night, even TV weather reports were geared to the presidential visit: "What kind of weather will greet President Bush tomorrow?" one teaser asked. WHAM radio conservative talk show host Bob Lonsberry pleaded with listeners, regardless of their political views, to treat the president with the respect his high office deserves.
One pre-visit TV report outlined the history of Air Force One, & noted that when it arrived at Rochester International Airport, it’d be the first Boeing 747 jumbo jet to land there. When Bush's father came here, Air Force One was still a Boeing 707. On Tuesday, the day of the visit, the landing & departure of Air Force One was covered live by four TV stations. They also covered live a one-hour Social Security forum hosted by Bush at the Greece Athena Middle & High School in a suburb west of the city.
Evening news reports not only covered anti-Bush demonstrations, they also featured some of the quips Bush got off during the forum. He asked one panelist, Jeremy Brown, a sophomore at Canisius College, if he was getting all A's. When the young man stammered that he was trying, Bush responded, "Well, don't worry about it. That won't disqualify you from being president", a reference to Bush's mediocre college grades. On Wednesday, the day after the presidential visit, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, a Gannett newspaper, printed an eight-page "special commemorative section." It's banner headline over a large picture of a smiling Bush bantering with one of the local panelists, Audrey Ceglinski, read, " 'Social' Call."
One story was headlined, "President Persuades With Geniality." Another said, "Visit Was Like Long-Awaited Homecoming." Inside, there were two pages of color photos of Bush saluting his Air Force honor guard as he left his plane, more joking with panelists, a soldier with rifle guarding Air Force One, the passing flag-bedecked presidential limousine & a picture of a shouting anti-Bush demonstrator. On another page, there was full coverage of a downtown Rochester rally against Bush's war & Social Security polices, under the headline, "Protesters use visit to criticize several issues," with more color photos.
The White House press corps that travels with the president wherever he goes treats these presidential visits as largely ho-hum events. They've seen it all before. But what we forget is that in the local communities, it’s an entirely different story.

The Focus Shifts

Attention Shifts to Civil Suit

David Rosen, former National Finance Director of Hillary Clinton's 2000 Senate campaign, was recently acquitted of two felony counts that he "knowingly & willfully caused to be made materially false, fictitious & fraudulent statements" to the FEC regarding more than $1 million in campaign contributions.
The prosecution failed to prove its case that Rosen was responsible for the FEC filings, but the trial provided detailed evidence that the Clinton campaign's FEC statements were, in fact, false, in what remains the most massive fraud ever charged against a political campaign by the U.S. Government.

I'm sure that Hillary's noticed this fact, & I can't believe that she's happy about it, either. I'd bet that she's already met with her attorneys about future strategy about this situation.

The criminal charges against Rosen stemmed from the largest fundraiser on behalf of Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign. The August 12, 2000 Hollywood Gala Salute to President Clinton featured performances by Cher, Diana Ross, Toni Braxton, Patti LaBelle, Melissa Etheridge, Sugar Ray & Michael Bolton. The event cost organizer Peter Paul more than $1.2 million to host & raised $1 million in "hard money" contributions. By falsely reporting those costs as $401,419, the Clinton campaign avoided paying at least $800,000 in hard money, not including the fair market value of the performances, during the crucial final weeks before the election. If Paul's contribution had been reported fully as required by law, it could’ve bankrupted the campaign.

Peter Paul's extensive evidence, which we’re organizing & presenting on this site, shows clearly that Hillary Clinton knew of the actions taken by her finance director, & that she orchestrated those actions & others in violation of federal campaign statutes & regulations.
Mr. Paul is being represented in his ongoing
civil suit against the Clintons by the U.S. Justice Foundation, which has formed the Hillary Clinton Accountability Project (HILLCAP) to put the facts of the most massive & least reported campaign finance scandal in history before the American people.

Jon Carroll on the Media

May 26, 2005
Long ago in another galaxy, this paper ran a front-page story with the headline: "A Great City's People Forced to Drink Swill." It was about the bad coffee served in many fine San Francisco cafes & I believe undercover urn inspections were part of the investigative procedure. I can only imagine if that headline were to run today. The next day, the following correction would appear:
"The Chronicle erred when it said that residents of San Francisco were forced to drink a beverage. All residents did so voluntarily; any implication that unlawful detention or extortion took place is incorrect, & The Chronicle regrets the implication. 'Swill' is defined as 'kitchen refuse given to swine,' & at no time were any coffee urns filled with kitchen refuse given to swine. The Chronicle regrets the error. The population of San Francisco is approximately 786,000, & thus isn’t 'great' in the sense of 'wonderfully large or sprawling.' If readers inferred that, we regret the error. In fact, The Chronicle regrets the whole thing and wants to lie down on the daybed."
Look: Newspapers are a human enterprise run by fallible beings. Surgeons make mistakes; accountants make mistakes; journalists make mistakes. As Steven Winn pointed out last week, we apologize too darn much for making mistakes. Of course we're sorry, but the quest for perfection is just that, a quest. We never get there. You never get there. We hate hate it when we get facts wrong, but we’re actually after bigger game.
Look: Last week I wrote that the town of Cordova in Alaska is east of the town of Cordova in Alaska, which is very Zen, but I meant Anchorage. It was an artifact of rewrite, & I'm sorry, but it was a good column anyway. On Monday I wrote that 100,000 people were killed in the flu pandemic of 1918-19; actually, it was 100 million people. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.
Mitch Albom, a columnist in Detroit, was almost fired because he said two basketball players attended a game that they hadn’t, in fact, attended. It was wrong, but, who was hurt? What damage was done? The U.S. is hiring untrained teenagers & making them prison guards in Iraq & Afghanistan, & Mitch Albom is the problem? Come bloody on.
The media are under attack because we try to find stuff out. We’re under attack because we say what we believe to be true. Even more annoyingly, we’re protected by the Constitution. We’re a reality-based institution in a faith-based culture, & we’re paying for it. Journalists die doing their jobs, which is more than you can say for lobbyists, TV commentators or corporate lawyers.
The problem is that we’re fair-minded. We know that we make mistakes. We want to get better. The fair-minded have no chance against zealots. Zealots lie because the ends justify the means, & we say, "Oh, gosh, we're going to investigate & strive & improve." Are the zealots going to investigate & strive & improve? Of course not: They have an agenda, & the agenda doesn’t include self-assessment. The zealots are working out of the Che Guevara handbook, friends.
Do the media do awful stuff? You bet they do. Should the media strive to get better? You bet they should. Should they stop cravenly caving in to every hack with a megaphone? Absolutely, we do our best, & without us, citizens would really be in trouble. We're a goddamn bastion, & it’d be nice if we acted proud of that once in a while. And also, if I could say, what we do is very hard. Not me; I just sit at home in my bunny slippers woolgathering about red-necked phalaropes.
But I respect the actual folks who go get the news, find the sources who know what the news means, find other people with different interpretations, read documents of unparalleled tedium, & then produce 800 words formed into sentences & paragraphs that tell readers something they didn’t know already, by 5 o'clock, with a jackhammer going off outside & a kid down with the flu.
People are forever writing me: "How come the media isn't covering blah." Well, if you even know about blah, it's probably because you read about it in the media. Sometimes maybe it was KPFA or thesmokinggun.com or "7 on Your Side, " but the media covered it. And if we don't cover it initially, we cover it eventually, & we cover why we didn't cover it initially.
Reporters get lazy & editors get distracted & total horse droppings get into the paper, but literal horse droppings occasionally show up in our fresh vegetables & spinach is still good for you. It’s so easy to slag the media; such an abdication of responsibility. Officer, the media made me do it; I’m but putty in their hands.
You shouldn’t believe everything you read, but you should be grateful that there's stuff to read at all, & that people care about whether that stuff is right, & that they’ll keep caring next week & next month & next year. Be different, be revolutionary, say something nice about the media.
I even collect newspaper errors. The New York Times spoke recently of "towing the line," which is not right unless you're writing about the Volga boatmen.
This looks like a job for me, so everybody just follow me, 'cause we need a little controversy, 'cause it feels so empty without

We the Media

We the (Media) People
May 31, 2005
The news business is in trouble. Readership & viewership are declining, public trust is plummeting & advertisers are beginning to wonder whether they're getting their money's worth. This has led people to think about what blogger & tech journalist Doc Searls calls business models for "news without newspapers," an approach to reporting & disseminating news that doesn't depend on layers of editors for publication & big ads from carmakers for funding. Nobody's sure just how to do that yet.
That's likely to change, though. Already we're seeing a lot of reporting from non-journalists, where the "reporter" is just whoever happens to be on the scene, & online, when news happens. Given the ubiquity of digital cameras, cell phones, & wireless Internet access, that's likely to become more common, making the kind of distributed newsgathering seen during the Indian Ocean tsunami the norm not the exception.
Quite a few bloggers are moving beyond opinion journalism into firsthand reporting. On my own InstaPundit.com weblog, I feature firsthand reports, often with photos, from places like Uzbekistan & Afghanistan. My "correspondents" are correspondents in the original sense, people who correspond, rather than in the modern sense of people with good hair & a microphone. Other bloggers have broken stories from Iraq (involving both alleged war crimes by U.S. troops & large anti-terror marches left uncovered by American media), from the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, & from Canada's government corruption scandals.
Multimedia coverage is taking off, too. At the BlogNashville conference last month, I demonstrated the power of quick-and-dirty digital video by putting together a 15-minute Web documentary on the proceedings & posting it the next day, all done with the video-camera feature on my under-$300 Sony digital still camera. Now San Francisco blogger Bill Quick is using the same sort of equipment to cover local crime & politics. Outside the U.S., such efforts on the part of Chinese & North Korean independent journalists are threatening tyrants in a way that traditional journalism (which, as CNN demonstrated under Saddam, often swaps softball coverage for access) doesn't. But who’ll pay for it?
Like a lot of blogs, my site, & Mr. Quick's, generate a modest amount of revenue from ads. Most blogs don't attract the traffic that newspapers do (though some blogs have higher readerships than quite respectable newspaper sites), but Henry Copeland's blogads.com combines thousands of blogs to deliver large numbers of eyeballs to advertisers. The next step, though, will be collecting all that independent reporting into something easier for readers to find and navigate.
Some people are working on that, too: In fact, Pajamas Media, a blog-news venture I'm involved with, is recruiting a network of independent journalists around the world (& especially in less-democratic countries) & working on ways to support them financially, legally, & technologically. Others are working on news-aggregation technology that’ll automatically gather blog posts on particular topics, allowing people to customize their news.
Of course, when you take content from correspondents around the world, organize it in an easy to navigate form, & deliver the eyeballs that it attracts to advertisers, you've created something that looks rather a lot like...a newspaper. But it's a very different kind of newspaper, one that takes advantage of the big-media capabilities that, thanks to technological progress, are now in the hands of individuals worldwide.
Will traditional newspapers be able to keep up? Even if they don't, they'll benefit. Because with mainstream media losing credibility through scandals like Easongate, Rathergate, & Newsweek's latest, free-press protections are likely to come under fire. The best defense will be a public that sees free speech as something it participates in, not just a protection for big corporate entities. What some are calling "we-dia" may wind up saving the media.

Mr. Reynolds, a law professor at the University of Tennessee, publishes InstaPundit.com.

Bush Press Conference

President Bush held a press conference this morning from the Rose Garden. Here's the AP story:
Bush Calls Human Rights Report 'Absurd'
By Terence Hunt
AP White House Correspondent
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush on Tuesday dismissed a human rights report as "absurd" for its harsh criticism of U.S. treatment of terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, saying the allegations were made by prisoners "who hate America." "It's an absurd allegation. The U.S. is a country that promotes freedom around the world," Bush said of the Amnesty International report that compared Guantanamo to a Soviet-era gulag. In a Rose Garden news conference, Bush defiantly stood by his domestic policy agenda while defending his actions abroad. He repeatedly pledged to press ahead, "The president has got to push, he's got to keep leading", despite mounting criticism.
With the death toll climbing daily in Iraq, he said that nation's fledging government is "plenty capable" of defeating insurgents whose attacks on Iraqi civilians & U.S. soldiers have intensified. Bush spoke after separate air crashes killed four American & four Italian troops in Iraq. The governor of Anbar province, taken hostage three weeks ago, was killed during clashes between U.S. forces & the insurgents who abducted him.
Standing in the sun, sweat beading on his forehead, Bush said the job of the U.S. forces in Iraq is to help train the nation's own forces to defeat insurgents. "I think the Iraqi people dealt the insurgents a serious blow when we had the elections," Bush said. "In other words, what the insurgents fear is democracy because democracy is the opposition of their vision."
On another foreign policy issue, Bush shot back at critics who suggest his diplomatic approach to North Korea is allowing the communist regime to expand its nuclear program. "If diplomacy is the wrong approach, I guess that means military. That's how I view it as either diplomacy or military. I’m for the diplomacy approach," he said. "And for those who say we ought to be using our military to stop a problem, I’d say that while all options are on the table, we've still got a ways to go to solve this diplomatically."
Bush said he expressed concerns with Russian President Vladimir Putin about legal proceedings against former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Once the richest man in Russia, Khodorkovsky was convicted Tuesday of fraud & tax evasion & sentenced to nine years in prison following a trail widely denounced as politically motivated. "Here, you're innocent until proven guilty & it appeared to us, at least people in my administration, that it looked like he’d been judged guilty prior to having a fair trial," Bush said. "We're watching the ongoing case."
The president said he’s questioned whether the case shows a backsliding away from the rule of law & democracy in Russia & said it’ll "be interesting to see" how Khodorkovsky's expected appeal is handled by the government. He said it was a "reasonable decision" to allow Iran to apply for WTO membership as a way to advance diplomatic discussions with Europe on Iran's nuclear program.
On the Amnesty International report, Bush said, "It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of the allegations by people who were held in detention, people who hate America."
The president opened the news conference by urging Congress to pass his stalled energy legislation, restrain the growth of government spending, approve the Central American Free Trade Agreement & overhaul Social Security with a partial privatization plan.
Despite democratic opposition & Republican skittishness about his plans for Social Security, he said he would push forward. "It's like water cutting through a rock. I'm going to keep working & working & working," he said.
"...The people are watching Washington & nothing’s happening. Except you've got a president who's talking about the issue & a president who's going to keep talking about the issue until we get people to the table."
He declared that the economy is strong, with 3.5 million jobs in two years & an unemployment rate of 5.2 percent. "Obviously, these are hopeful signs, but Congress can make sure the signs remain hopeful," he said in a five-minute opening statement in the Rose Garden. After a bruising week on Capitol Hill, Bush urged both political parties to "set aside partisan differences" & work together.
Bush didn’t challenge the premise of a question about the Supreme Court, that he’ll soon have a vacancy to fill on the aging court. He pledged to consult with Congress about his nominee or nominees at "an appropriate time," though he didn't say how early in the process those talks would come.
Turning to the controversial issue of embryonic stem cell research, Bush said that the extra embryos created during fertility treatments, estimated to now number around 400,000, should be adopted.
"There's an alternative to the destruction of life," he said. "But the stem cell issue is really one of federal funding, that's the issue before us, & that’s whether or not we use taxpayers' money to destroy life...I don't believe we should."
Though he didn’t mention tax cuts in his opening argument, Bush said he still wants Congress to make his first-term cuts permanent. He also pledged not to give up on Social Security reform, despite intense opposition on Capitol Hill. "The easy path is to say, `Oh, we don't have a problem. Let's ignore it, yet again'."
On a lighter note, Bush said he was comfortable with the decision by his staff & Secret Service not to notify him when the White House & Congress were evacuated in May because of an errant airplane. Noting that his wife, Laura, has said he should’ve been told of the potential threat, the president joked, "She often disagrees with me."

The PUB Theory

The PUB Theory
By Pat Sajak
May 31, 2005
Would you rather have had a beer with Ronald Reagan or Jimmy Carter? With Reagan you'd have had some laughs, some good conversation & more than a few good jokes. With Carter, you'd more likely be lectured on why the Europeans are better suited to brewing beer.

As Republicans & Democrats look ahead to choosing Presidential candidates for the 2008 race, they’d do well to remember "Pat's Unified Beer" theory (PUB). Looking back over the past 25 years, the person elected President was the candidate with whom most Americans would rather have a beer. But PUB isn’t about drinking; it's about attitude. Which candidate would really engage you in a conversation? Who could sit down in your kitchen & really talk with you without the aid of speechwriters & advisors?
People laughed about polls that 'reported' that more people prefered having a simple conversation with President Bush than with Lerch. That's foolish. Any strategist worth their wages will take the folksy kind of candidate over the cold, wonkish type.

1984: Reagan vs. Walter Mondale. Again, using the PUB theory, it's no contest. After about ten minutes of listening to Mondale whining about something, you would’ve pretended you'd run out of beer.
1988: the PUB theory is put to a real test. Frankly, I'm not sure either George H.W. Bush or Michael Dukakis fit the bill. This may have been a case of choosing between the lesser of two pilsners. Still, I'd argue Mr. Bush got the edge because he could at least tell a few Reagan stories. And there's always the chance, after a couple of cold ones, Dukakis might have gotten silly & put on a helmet. Who needs that embarrassment?
1992: Bush vs. Clinton vs. Perot makes for some interesting choices. Using the PUB theory, it isn’t surprising Clinton beat Bush. I think Perot was hurt because he always appeared to have had a few beers even before he'd had a few beers.
1996 is a PUB runaway with Clinton against Dole. With all due respect to the Senator, who wouldn't want to share a drink with a sitting President who had so many juicy stories to tell? "Here, Mr. President, have another. Now what kind of a girl was …"
The results of the 2000 election might have been razor thin, but the PUB results were much more decisive. A beer with Al Gore or George Bush? Does anyone really want to hear about the environmental impact of large breweries?

Last year's election? Imagine sitting in your kitchen having a beer with John Kerry. Imagine having to explain to him what a kitchen is.
Now that hits right at home. Mr. French Pastry in the kitchen? Only if you told him there was a widow with a real personality worth billions in there.

So what does PUB suggest for 2008? That's a tough one. There are no clear-cut front-runners for the Republicans. The only name I've heard floated that makes PUB sense is Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. I'd love to have a beer with Haley. Heck, I've had a beer with Haley!

The Democrats seem bound & determined to nominate Sen. Hillary Clinton. If there’s any merit to the PUB theory, that’d be a fatal mistake. A beer with Hillary? That might put a lot of people on the wagon.
I'd especially agree with that last sentance. Either that or it'd make you drink all the harder.


You read it right. In an article with Vanity Fair, H. Mark Felt has come forward to identify himself as the Watergate source 'Deep Throat', who was a major source, if not THE BIGGEST source, in Bob Woodward's & Carl Bernstein's Watergate reporting.
Here's the MSNBC article:
Ex-FBI Official Says he's 'Deep Throat'
Magazine quotes him as saying he was 'doing his duty'
May 31, 2005
Mark Felt, who retired from the FBI after rising to its second most senior position, has identified himself as the "Deep Throat" source quoted by The Washington Post to break the Watergate scandal that led to President Nixon's resignation, Vanity Fair magazine said Tuesday. "I'm the guy they used to call Deep Throat," he told John D. O'Connor, the author of Vanity Fair's exclusive that appears in its July issue.
Felt, now 91 & living in Santa Rosa, Calif. reportedly gave O'Connor permission to disclose his identity. "The Felt family cooperated fully, providing old photographs for the story & agreeing to sit for portraits," Vanity Fair stated in a press release. Felt said he was "only doing his duty" & didn’t seek to bring down Nixon over the cover-up of a break-in at Democratic Party offices in the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C.
Carl Bernstein, who with Bob Woodward broke the story as Washington Post reporters, issued a statement neither denying nor confirming Felt's claim. Bernstein stated he & Woodward would be keeping their pledge to reveal the source only once that person dies.
NBC News commentator Chris Matthews, who wrote a book about Watergate, said he wasn't surprised, adding that Felt "has always been the leading suspect."
UPDATE: Here's the AP story: '
Deep Throat' Reportedly Comes Forward
NEW YORK - A former FBI official claims he was "Deep Throat," the long-anonymous source who leaked secrets about President Nixon's Watergate coverup to The Washington Post, Vanity Fair reported Tuesday. W. Mark Felt, 91, who was second-in-command at the FBI in the early 1970s, kept the secret even from his family until 2002, when he confided to a friend that he'd been Post reporter Bob Woodward's source, the magazine said.
"I'm the guy they used to call Deep Throat," he told lawyer John D. O'Connor, the author of the Vanity Fair article, the magazine said in a news release. Felt was initially adamant about remaining silent on the subject, thinking disclosures about his past somehow dishonorable. "I don't think (being Deep Throat) was anything to be proud of," Felt indicated to his son, Mark Jr., at one point, according to the article. "You (shouldn't) leak information to anyone."
Felt is a retiree living in Santa Rosa, Calif., with his daughter, Joan, the magazine said. He couldn't immediately be reached for comment by The AP. His family members disagreed with their father, feeling that he should receive accolades for his role in Watergate before his death. The Washington Post had no immediate comment on the report.
O'Connor is a lawyer at the San Francisco firm Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin. A receptionist there said O'Connor was out of the office but confirmed he was the author of the Vanity Fair article. The existence of Deep Throat, nicknamed for a popular porn movie of the early 1970s, was revealed in Woodward & Carl Bernstein's best-selling book "All the President's Men." In the hit movie based on the book, Deep Throat was played by Hal Holbrook. But his identity of the source whose disclosures helped bring down the Nixon presidency remained a mystery.
Among those named over the years as Deep Throat were Assistant Attorney General Henry Peterson, deputy White House counsel Fred Fielding, & even ABC newswoman Diane Sawyer, who then worked in the White House press office. Ron Zeigler, Nixon's press secretary, White House aide Steven Bull, speechwriters Ray Price, Pat Buchanan, & John Dean, the White House counsel who warned Nixon of "a cancer growing on the presidency," also were considered candidates. And some theorized Deep Throat wasn't a single source at all but a composite figure.
In 1999, Felt denied he was the man. "I would've done better," Felt told The Hartford Courant. "I would've been more effective. Deep Throat didn't exactly bring the White House crashing down, did he?"
In 2003, Woodward & Bernstein reached an agreement to keep their Watergate papers at the University of Texas at Austin. At the time, the pair said documents naming "Deep Throat" would be kept secure at an undisclosed location in Washington until the source's death.

The McCain Myth

The McCain Myth
The moderation that makes him a Senate powerhouse will keep him out of the White House.
May 31, 2005
Having helped broker the Great Senate Compromise last week, Sen. John McCain is back in the media limelight, winning the usual accolades for bucking his party. But the deal by 14 "moderates" doesn't just preserve the judicial filibuster & allow confirmation of a few of President Bush's "extremist" nominees. It also reveals that the myth the McCainiacs hoped would propel their man into the Oval Office in 2000 still endures, despite evidence of successive elections to the contrary.

I know this might come as a shock to the Antique Media but Republicans will be the deciding factor in the 08 GOP nominating process, not Democrats. I've said this before & I'm certain that I'll repeat it in response to the Antique Media's insistence that McCain is the GOP frontrunner.

The myth is simply that the only way to win elections is to draw voters from the other party by bucking a few of your own party's principles. Call it "maverick moderatism," but this belief has been the foundation for Mr. McCain's strategy for achieving national office & has given us great ideas like the recent iteration of campaign finance reform, opposition to some tax cuts & dogged attacks by Mr. McCain on some military expenditures. It's also the foundation of many pundits' advice to the president that he pick more "moderate" judges, give up on using payroll taxes to create private Social Security accounts & trim his sails on
fighting terrorism by spreading freedom.

I'll say this much for McCain: He'd be a reporter's or columnist's dream, with his maverick positions on issues & his colorful, heroic life story, beginning in Viet Nam. That's why it's so understandable to see him be the media's darling. That's part of the problem, though, for Sen. McCain. The GOP base doesn't trust the media's take on things. They also don't like the thought of Sen. McCain abandoning conservative principles to become the media darling. They see it as a sellout so he can win the presidency.

It isn’t clear how far Mr. McCain would’ve gotten without his honorable military record & compelling POW story. But in 2000 this myth was at least plausible. Republicans had just lost two presidential elections, even though President Clinton never topped 50% of the popular vote. Meanwhile the party has long been split on the question of whether it needed to nominate moderates from the "establishment" wing of the party if it was going to win. In 1976 the establishment candidate & sitting president, Gerald Ford, narrowly won the nomination, but lost the general election. In 1980 the "Reagan revolution" swept the Gipper into office & empowered conservatives.
But even Reagan's victory didn't settle the issue. The 40th president appointed plenty of true-blooded conservatives to his administration. But there were plenty of moderates on hand too, for the very practical reason that they had the experience & know how to work the levers of government. The most senior among the "establishment" Republicans was Vice President George Bush, who, while campaigning for the presidential nomination in 1980, had coined the phrase "voodoo economics" to describe Reagan's insight that lower taxes would spur growth.
Now, however, the answer to the question is obvious: Conservatives can & do win elections for the Republican Party. What the McCain Myth ignores is that for now, a majority of voters nationwide embrace conservative principles. Talk of being a "compassionate conservative" notwithstanding, it wasn't maverick moderatism that handed President Bush victories in 2000 & 2004. Nor has the McCain Myth been responsible for padding Republican majorities in the House & Senate. Indeed, Republicans have been winning by sticking to their principles & not bucking their party's ideas on tax cuts, national defense or reforming the judiciary.

What's changed since 2000 is that it's become clear that the conservatives have become the Republican establishment by being able to claim credit for almost every ballot-box victory since 1980, including that of Vice President Bush, who in 1988 had the support of the conservative wing, which hoped, futilely, it turned out, that he’d continue the Reagan revolution.

Mr. Miniter is exactly right about that. That isn't to say that we're blind idealogues, just that we're idealists first, pragmatists second. We know that there's lots of room for differing viewpoints in the party. Still, we insist on our party's leaders be with us on the biggest of issues. Right now, those biggest issues are judicial nominees & Social Security reform.

It isn't terribly complicated: If we're going into good-spirited idealogical war, we prefer going with people we can trust to 'have our backs' on the biggest issues. We don't demand uniformity on everything, though.

After Mr. Bush's 1992 defeat, conservatives took over Congress in 1994 & a moderate Republican lost the presidential race in 1996. No one represents the changing of the guard better than George W. Bush himself, who is now pushing revolutionary conservative ideas in every arena from defense to Social Security to tax reform. Having come this far, what Mr. McCain & the other Republican Senate "moderates" in last week's compromise would have the party do is give up on the very principles that’s winning elections. All in the name of appealing to the "middle" of the electorate that is already voting for the party.

This is really a lesson better served up to Democrats, who’ve been losing elections despite record turnouts among base voters. The DLC, a moderate group that helped elected Bill Clinton in 1992 as a "new Democrat," is doing just that.

In the current issue of the group's bimonthly magazine, Blueprint, former McCain aide Marshall Wittmann, now a senior fellow at the DLC, urges Democrats to use the Arizona senator as model in bucking the party's principles. He's surely right that the party would be well-served by putting the nation's interests ahead of the party's ideology.

Other articles in the issue spell out a few specific areas in which Democrats who bucked party orthodoxy would likely be rewarded for it: national defense, religious faith in politics, even Social Security reform.

What 62 million voters nationwide told us last fall, & what the 02 midterms have told us is that the GOP is seen as the political mainstream. What Ken Mehlman's racial outreach tells us is that the GOP base has room for growth without abandoning our key principles. That's a huge difference from where the Dems are at.

The most interesting advice the DLC is doling out these days has to do with suburban voters. President Bush beat John Kerry in 97 of the 100 fastest growing communities in the country. The Democrats can win urban areas with record turnout but still lose elections. Joel Kotkin notes that Minnesota, traditionally a progressive state that gave us such liberal icons as Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale & Sen. Paul Wellstone, may now be turning Republican. It was the only state Ronald Reagan lost in 1984, but Democrats can no longer count on carrying the state. John Kerry had 60% of the vote in the Twin Cities last year, but the suburbs went to President Bush by a similar margin. "Two decades ago, these results might not have been so disturbing. But now the suburbs of Minneapolis-St. Paul are three times as populous as the Twin Cities themselves," he writes. The problem is Democrats have for too long denigrated suburban dwellers & even fought new suburbs from going up with "smart growth" restrictions, so suburbanites return the favor by voting Republican.

As a Minnesota resident, I'm acutely aware of this trend. I've got news, too, for Dems: The GOP will supply both senators to the U.S. Senate, & if Governor Pawlenty is nominated as the VP in 08, that'll eliminate Minnesota as a blue state.

As for Mr. McCain, this all leaves him in the unenviable position of offering a political philosophy, no more tax cuts, moderate reforms to entitlement programs &, among other things, moderate judges, that’s actually costing Democrats votes. Paradoxically it's a political philosophy that helps him wield tremendous power in the Senate, where there are plenty of mushy moderates. But the idea that it's a political philosophy that’ll propel Republicans into the White House is a myth that this President Bush has long since dispelled.
Mr. Miniter is assistant editor of OpinionJournal.com. His column appears Tuesdays.

LATimes: GOP Majorities Likely

Veteran LATimes political reporter Ron Brownstein's article reports this fact in today's edition. What's more, he makes rather coherent arguments to back up these claims. Here's the article:

Math Doesn't Add Up for a Democrat-Run Senate
The party needs to win seats in Bush territory for any realistic chance to retake the chamber.
By Ronald Brownstein
May 31, 2005
WASHINGTON — Growing Republican dominance of Senate seats in states where George W. Bush has run best looms as the principal obstacle for Democrats hoping to retake the chamber in 2006 or beyond. With the recent struggle over judicial nominations underscoring the stakes, the battle for Senate control could attract unprecedented levels of money & energy next year.
Democrats are optimistic about their chances of ousting GOP senators in Pennsylvania & Rhode Island, states that voted for Democratic presidential candidates John F. Kerry in 2004 & Al Gore in 2000. But the Democrats are unlikely to regain a Senate majority, in 2006 or soon thereafter, unless they can reverse the GOP consolidation of Senate seats in states that have supported Bush. Since 2000, both parties have gained Senate seats in the states they typically carry in presidential campaigns. But this political partitioning provides a clear advantage for Republicans because so many more states backed Bush in his bids for the presidency. If Democrats only gain in their part of the map, "it's like saying, 'We're going to win more home games but never worry about road games,' " said Matthew Dowd, a political advisor to the RNC & senior strategist for Bush's reelection campaign. "They could have a great home record but never win a majority." Republicans control 55 Senate seats and Democrats 44, with Vermont independent James M. Jeffords holding the final spot. In next year's midterm election, Republicans will defend 15 seats & Democrats 17. And Vermont voters will choose a successor to Jeffords, who is retiring.
As the parties approach these contests, the political divide familiar from presidential campaigns figures ever more prominently in their calculations. Twenty-nine states voted for Bush in 2000 & in 2004. Republicans now hold 44 of the 58 Senate seats in those so-called red states. That's a much higher percentage of in-party Senate seats than Presidents Reagan & Clinton were able to claim in states they carried twice. More important, on the strength of those states alone, the GOP is on the brink of a majority in the 100-member Senate. Democrats are just as strong in the states that voted for Kerry & Gore. But there are only 18 of those so-called blue states; Democrats hold 28 of those 36 Senate seats. Republicans also hold four of the Senate seats in the three states that switched parties from 2000 to 2004, New Mexico, New Hampshire & Iowa. This distribution makes it virtually impossible for Democrats to regain a majority simply by defeating GOP senators from blue states, such as their two top targets for 2006, Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania & Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island.
Whatever happens in those races, the Democrats' ability to win Republican-held Senate seats next year in red states such as Montana, Tennessee & Missouri, & to defend their seats in red states such as Nebraska, Florida & North Dakota, may reveal more about their long-term prospects of regaining a Senate majority. Democratic pollster Geoff Garin noted that in the last two elections, Democrats have come close to taking the White House, even though they've lost more states than they've won.
That's because the high-population states they did win, such as New York & California, have large numbers of electoral college votes. But, regardless of population, each state has two Senate seats, so Democrats must compete on a broader map to realistically contend for a Senate majority. "You can cobble together a viable electoral college strategy with a minority of states, but you simply can't cobble together a Senate majority that way," Garin said. As recently as the 1980s, it was common for states to split their ballots in presidential & Senate contests.
But the sharpening partisan edge of modern politics has made it tougher for senators to survive, in effect, behind enemy lines, in states that consistently prefer the other party in presidential campaigns. The result has been a decline in the Southern Democrats, who bucked the region's growing preference for GOP presidential candidates & in the Northeastern Republicans, who overcame their area's Democratic tide in national campaigns.Forty-four states supported Ronald Reagan for president in 1980 & 1984. But partly because of lingering Democratic strength in the South, Republicans after 1984 controlled only 48 of the 88 Senate seats in those states, about 55%. The trend toward consolidation gained momentum in the 1990s. Bill Clinton won 29 states twice. After his second victory, Democrats held 35 of the 58 Senate seats in those states, or 60%. In the elections of 2000, 2002 & 2004, Republicans gained a net of six Senate seats in the red states that Bush carried twice. Democrats added four Senate seats in the blue states that twice voted against Bush; Republicans lost another blue-state Senate seat when Jeffords quit the GOP in 2001.
Republicans now hold 76% of the red-state Senate seats; Democrats 78% of the blue-state Senate seats. This division has reshaped the political landscape most profoundly in the South. Under Bush, the GOP has won the last nine open Southern Senate seats, including five seats vacated by retiring Democrats in 2004. In all, Republicans now control 18 of the 22 Senate seats in the 11 states of the old Confederacy, compared to just 10 of those seats after Reagan's 1984 landslide. One of the losing 2004 Southern Democratic Senate candidates, who asked not to be identified while criticizing his party, said today's highly partisan atmosphere had undermined strategies that once let the region's Democrats survive even as GOP presidential candidates carried their states.
In that era, the former candidate noted, Southern Democrats won by emphasizing independence & willingness to work across party lines. But today, the candidate said, many Southerners seem deeply reluctant to help Democrats regain Senate control and strengthen their hand against Bush. "They were very worried about the Democrats having a majority," the candidate said. Democratic strategists acknowledge that such partisan attitudes represent a huge problem for them in the Deep South. But they believe that in other red states, Senate races may turn more on local factors.
Democrats are most optimistic about contesting Republican-held seats in Tennessee, where Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr. is the likely Democratic nominee for the seat being vacated by retiring Majority Leader Bill Frist; in Montana, where Democratic State Auditor John Morrison has begun raising money to challenge Republican Conrad Burns around economic themes; & possibly in Missouri, where Democratic polls have shown some vulnerability for first-term Republican Jim Talent.
But Democrats also must defend five incumbents seeking reelection in red states, with Florida's Bill Nelson, Nebraska's Ben Nelson & North Dakota's Kent Conrad facing potentially difficult races in states Bush carried handily. In all these races, Republicans are likely to portray the Democrats as obstructionists whose election would empower liberals to block Bush's agenda. Against such attacks, the Democratic candidates must walk a tightrope, motivating their base with criticism of the GOP agenda while defending themselves against the Republican charges by promising to work across party lines.
In Montana, for instance, Morrison is opposing Bush's plan to carve out private investment accounts from Social Security, but also presenting himself as a common-sense, bipartisan problem-solver. "Most of the worthwhile public policy gets done somewhere in the center," Morrison said. In Pennsylvania, the Democratic success in recruiting socially conservative State Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr., the son of the former governor, to challenge Santorum has made that race the early choice as the marquee Senate contest for 2006.
But the fate of red-state Democrats like Morrison should offer a better measure of whether the party can topple the Republican majority pressing its advantages so forcefully.

What Comes Around, Goes Around

That's what you might call this reporting in the aftermath of Nany Pelosi's attacks on Tom DeLay awhile back when special interests paid his expenses for an overseas trip. It turns out that Mr. DeLay isn't nearly the evil menace that Ms. Pelosi makes him out to be.
Here's the AP's story on the matter:

AP: Lawmakers Belatedly Disclose Trips
May 30, 2005
WASHINGTON - Scrutiny of Majority Leader Tom DeLay's travel has led to the belated disclosure of at least 198 previously unreported special interest trips by House members and their aides, including eight years of travel by the second-ranking Democrat, an AP review has found. At least 43 House members & dozens of aides had failed to meet the one-month deadline in ethics rules for disclosing trips financed by organizations outside the U.S. government. The AP review of thousands of pages of records covered pre-2005 travel that was disclosed since early March. That's when news stories began scrutinizing DeLay's travel, prompting lawmakers to comb through their files to make sure they had disclosed their travel.

While most of the previously undisclosed trips occurred in 2004, some date back to the late 1990s. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer recently disclosed 12 trips, the oldest dating back to 1997. Stacey Bernards, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Democrat, said the office searched the files after the travel issue was raised initially by "Republicans doing opposition research to deflect from their own ethical issues." Hoyer's undisclosed trips were nearly doubled by Rep. Ellen Tauscher, (D-CA), with 21. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, (D-IL), reported 20 past trips & Rep. Elijah Cummings, (D-MD), reported 13.

Keep track of those numbers because they're quite telling about Ms. Pelosi's complaints against Mr. DeLay.

Republican & Democratic House members were nearly equal rules violators in failing to disclose their personal trips within 30 days after the trip's completion. There were 23 GOP members, 19 Democrats & 1 independent, all of them months or years late in their reporting to the House public records office.

Staff members for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA), disclosed 11 prior trips, while staff members for DeLay, (R-TX), had 4.

MAJOR OOPS!!! Based on this information, are we to think that Ms. Pelosi is more serious ethics violator than the man she's accused of being an ethical nightmare (my words)?
Rep. John Linder (R-GA), a former chairman of the House Republican campaign organization, belatedly filed 9 trips, as did Rep. Maxine Waters, (D-CA). The volume of unreported trips surprised the former chairman of the House ethics committee, Rep. Joel Hefley (R-CO). "I didn't realize the extent of the problem," Hefley said. "There’s no particular sanction (for tardiness) if you come back & file. They get lax. They don't think about it. "People will be more aware now. The ethics committee will be more aware that it's a problem."
A spokesman for Gutierrez said the seven-term lawmaker didn’t know of his obligation to file the required travel disclosure reports. "In late April, the congressman approached our staff to ask why in the news he was reading all this information about trips," spokesman Scott Frotman said. Cummings spokeswoman Trudy Perkins said the original reports were sent to the House's public records office on time throughout 2004, using an internal mail system. They never made it to the public files. "It was our understanding they were on file. It was odd, certainly," Perkins said. Hayley Rumback, press secretary for Tauscher, said, "A recent review of our travel records showed that, while all travel was properly disclosed on annual financial disclosure statements, some additional travel disclosure forms weren’t filed. We have corrected this oversight."
The travel in question isn’t for official government trips known as CODELS, shorthand for Congressional Delegations. The special interest trips are usually financed by corporations, trade groups, think tanks, universities & others. They often pay for first-class commercial seats or provide corporate jets for lawmakers. Many trips combine speeches, seminars and fact-finding tours with golf, sightseeing, shopping & accommodations at first-class hotels, often in foreign countries.
"This sudden rush to file reports on previously undisclosed trips is certainly filling many pages of congressional passports," said Kent Cooper, head of the PoliticalMoneyLine Internet site that tracks political donations & travel. Some lawmakers & staff members wrote apologetic letters to the House ethics committee. Rep. John Boehner, (R-OH), said he discovered "my staff had failed to submit a travel disclosure" for a trip to Scotland in August 2004, an error made "during a staff transition."
Elizabeth Greer, an aide to Rep. F. Allen Boyd, Jr., (D-FL), took responsibility for not filing her documents after a trip to Kenya in December 2004. She said she completed the form soon after the trip, but "found it still buried on my desk recently. It simply slipped off my radar screen & found its way to the bottom of a pile." One late filer, Rep. Melissa Hart (R-PA), is a current member of the ethics committee who could make judgments on DeLay's travel. DeLay has asked the committee to review his travel, following allegations that a lobbyist paid for some of his trips despite a ban on such payments.
"Someone had done a story & incorrectly listed my travel," Hart said in an interview, explaining what led her to check her records. She found an unreported trip she made to Hungary & Germany last November.
Popular destinations listed in the tardy disclosures included Amelia Island, FL; New York City; San Juan; San Francisco; San Diego; Miami & Las Vegas. Foreign sites included Cuba, Taiwan & Israel.
Among the most expensive trips:
  • Rep. Jim Matheson, (D-UT) & his wife, Amy, traveled to Australia last November, listing a combined airfare of $24,804 paid by the American Australian Association. The nonprofit group says it’s devoted to strengthening relations between the U.S. & two allies, Australia & New Zealand. Matheson said meals & lodging were picked up by the Australian government, but no amounts were specified.
  • Rep. Bob Beauprez, (R-CO), & his wife, Claudia, traveled to Israel & Spain last November & December, listing the cost at $21,226. The travel, for participation in a Jerusalem conference, was financed by the Michael Cherney Foundation. The organization has various charity projects in Israel, including help for victims of suicide bombings.
  • Rep. John Linder, (R-GA), & his wife, Lynne, traveled to Israel & Jordan in January, 2004 at a cost of $19,650. Linder said the trip, sponsored by The Jerusalem Fund, was designed to promote international understanding.
Waters, the California Democrat, insisted her late reports were unrelated to DeLay's troubles, & blamed those who paid her way. "Sometimes they run late because the people who are responsible for inviting you have to get you all the receipts & they're so slow," Waters said.
That's a cheapshot by the classless Maxine Waters. Don't pay attention to details, then blame someone else for your lapse.

Good Question

When Will the Media Get It Right?
By Jack Kelly
May 30, 2005

The headline on the top of the front page of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Thursday was: "FBI told of Quran abuses." The wording of the headline & the prominence of the display give the casual reader the impression the story, written by Neil Lewis of the New York Times, was new, & that the story was true. Neither is so. Lewis' story was based on reports of interrogations by FBI agents of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay in 2002 & 2003. He noted in his third paragraph that "there are accounts of unsubstantiated allegations made by the prisoners under interrogation."

Personally, I would've titled this column "WILL the Media Get It Right?" instead. To say that the Antique Media doesn't get it isn't news anymore, quite frankly, & a perusal of the daily newspapers reveals a number of misleading headline & bad reporting that shouldn't be getting past objective editors.

Lewis didn't mention that these unsubstantiated allegations had been made before. Three Muslims with British citizenship were captured in Afghanistan fighting for the Taliban. After their release they held a press conference in August of last year in which they alleged a variety of abuses by guards, including that they "routinely tossed inmates' Korans into prison toilets." The charges, for which no evidence has been found, were widely publicized at the time. Nor did Lewis mention that an al Qaida training manual, captured a couple of years ago by British police, instructs detainees to make false charges against their captors.

So why is so much of the media giving so much prominence to a recycled story of unsubstantiated charges made by America's enemies who’ve been told to make false accusations if captured? The immediate answer is to bail out Newsweek, whose reputation suffered when its false story of Koran abuse sparked rioting in which 16 people were killed.
That's as likely an explanation as I've read thus far. It's backed up by the daily press briefing at the White House the day after the violence erupted. Remember Terry Moran & others lambasting Scott McLellan for suggesting things that Newsweek might do to counteract their damaging story?

But, as Lewis acknowledged deep in his story, "the disclosures yesterday didn’t lend any new support to the specific assertions in the original Newsweek item." After its embarrassment, Newsweek engaged in some public soul searching about its use of anonymous sources. But the negligible attention given to a charge by the head of the Newspaper Guild indicates the problem is much bigger than that.
At a meeting in St. Louis May 13, Linda Foley repeated charges made by Eason Jordan, then the president of CNN, in February that U.S. troops were deliberately killing journalists.
Like Jordan before her, Foley offered no evidence to support her charges. The only newspaper in the country to report what Foley said was the Chicago Sun-Times, in a story written by my friend Tom Lipscomb. Apparently most journalists see nothing newsworthy about the head of our union accusing, without evidence, our soldiers & Marines of war crimes. Newspapers gave prominent coverage to a hysterical report released Wednesday by Amnesty International which accused the U.S. of "atrocious" human rights violations, & described Guantanamo Bay as "the gulag of our times."
These charges, based again on the unsubstantiated allegations of al Qaida prisoners, would be comical in their gross overreach if they weren’t so vile. Meanwhile, Jordan's King Abdullah & fmr. Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi report Saddam Hussein had a relationship with Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaida's number two, & Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the al Qaida chieftain in Iraq, years before the war started. Unlike Amnesty, Abdullah & Allawi have real evidence to support what they said. But no U.S. newspaper has reported it.
Newsweek rushed to print Michael Isikoff's poorly sourced charge of Koran abuse, but spiked his well sourced report on President Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky, permitting Matt Drudge to scoop him. Charges that President Bush neglected his Air National Guard duties were given massive publicity, despite the fact they were based on the word of a single deranged man with a grudge, who wasn’t in a position to have firsthand knowledge. Yet charges by most of the officers who served with him that John Kerry lied about his service in Vietnam were given short shrift.
Abuse at Abu Ghraib prison, where no one was killed or even hurt, was given massive attention; Saddam's mass graves precious little.
The news media's double standard is clear: No evidence is required to publicize charges against Republicans or American soldiers. No amount of evidence is sufficient to publicize charges against Democrats, or America's enemies.

Monday, May 30, 2005

The Gettysburg Address

The Gettysburg Address
On Nov. 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered the following speech at the Dedication of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg. We reprint it in observance of Memorial Day.
Four score & seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, & dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived & so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow, this ground. The brave men, living & dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion, that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, & that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Chirac begins shake-up

And it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Analysts now are saying that Chirac is in serious trouble & is reeling. We'll keep you posted on what happens.
Chirac begins shake-up after charter blow
May 30, 2005
PARIS (AP) — President Jacques Chirac began a widely expected government shakeup Monday to save face at home as EU officials worked to control damage after French voters rejected the EU's first constitution, dealing a potentially fatal blow to the charter. The results of Sunday's referendum were a humiliating blow to Chirac & a disavowal of his government, left reeling by the decisive victory of the constitution's opponents.

Aides to beleaguered Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin were seen packing up boxes as their boss met with Chirac. After the half-hour meeting, Raffarin, in office since 2002, confirmed "there will be developments today or tomorrow." He refused to say whether he’d offered his resignation, telling reporters only: "I'm going for a stroll around Paris. See you later." An aide said Raffarin was expected to offer his resignation later Monday in a meeting with Chirac. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because a formal announcement hasn’t been made.

See you later??? OK. Don't let the door hit your backside, either.

The vote also threw the EU's future into disarray, giving momentum to the opposition in other countries that have yet to ratify the document. Plans to bind the 25 EU members more tightly together through a constitution threatened to be set back for years. "The result raises profound questions for all of us about the future direction of Europe," British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said. But EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, while conceding the outcome was a "serious problem," insisted: "We can’t say that the treaty is dead."

Chirac chose to hold a referendum rather than take the EU constitution to parliament, where it would’ve passed with a wide majority.

Doesn't that sound like the French Parliament is a bit out of touch with their people? I'd hardly think that's the model for representative democracies.
Other key figures he called to the presidential palace included Nicolas Sarkozy, the ambitious head of the governing party, the Union for a Popular Movement, with his eye on the 2007 presidency. A chief rival of Chirac, he is among a handful of possible choices to replace Raffarin.

France's repudiation of the EU constitution came ahead of Wednesday's referendum in the Netherlands, where polls show even more resistance to the constitution. The document must be ratified by all 25 EU members, in referendums or by parliament, to take effect in November 2006. France was the first to reject it. Nine nations already have ratified the constitution: Austria, Hungary, Italy, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia & Spain. Polls, analysts & voters confirmed that some French casting ballots were looking to punish a government they feel has failed them.
About 55% of French voters opposed the constitution. A poll by the TNS-Sofres firm suggested that fear for jobs & a sense of being "fed up" were the main reasons to say no. France has a 10% unemployment rate & those in the "no" camp have claimed the constitution was too market oriented to protect citizens, growing vulnerable in an expanding EU. The "no" victory symbolizes "a terrible feeling of fear & concern about the future" in France, said government spokesman Jean-Francois Cope.
With a nearly 70% turnout, the referendum results left Chirac little choice but change. "It is your sovereign decision, & I take note," he told the nation Sunday night after results were announced. He said, dryly, that he’d inject "new & strong impetus" into the center-right government "within the very next days," coded language seen as reading that Raffarin would go. However, many "no" supporters called for far more drastic action, some saying that Chirac himself should resign.
The spokesman for the opposition Socialist Party, which had officially joined forces with the government to push for a "yes" vote, called for Chirac to dissolve parliament.

Pair Charged in al Qaeda Conspiracy

2 Men, in New York & Florida, Charged in Qaeda Conspiracy
By Michelle O’Donnell
May 30, 2005
A martial arts expert from the Bronx & a doctor from Florida have been arrested on charges that they conspired to train & provide medical assistance to Al Qaeda terrorists, federal & local authorities said yesterday. The men, U.S. citizens who were identified by the authorities as Tarik ibn Osman Shah of the Bronx & Rafiq Sabir of Boca Raton, were captured in early morning raids in the Bronx & in Boca Raton on Friday, according to Paul J. Browne, a New York City police spokesman.
The arrests came as part of a two-year sting operation that ended with each man facing a single conspiracy charge. While the authorities said that they had no evidence that either man had actually provided support to terrorists, they said they’d taped each man swearing his allegiance to Osama bin Laden, Mr. Browne said.
According to a statement released by David N. Kelley, the U.S attorney for the Southern District of New York, & John Klochan, the acting assistant director in charge of the New York office of the F.B.I., the complaint contends that between 2003 & sometime this month, the men met with a law enforcement informant & an F.B.I. agent posing as an al Qaeda operative & recruiter.
The complaint said that in those meetings, which were recorded, Mr. Shah agreed to provide training in martial arts & hand-to-hand combat to Qaeda members & associates, while Dr. Sabir agreed to provide medical assistance to wounded jihadists in Saudi Arabia, the statement said. "During these conversations, Mr. Shah repeatedly indicated his desire to train Muslim 'brothers' in the martial arts in order to wage jihad & also regularly discussed his desire to find people who were willing to press the fight," it said.
The authorities said Mr. Shah inspected a warehouse on Long Island to use as a training facility. He spoke of his efforts to recruit prospective terrorists while on a trip to Phoenix, & told the informant & the agent that in about 1998 he & Dr. Sabir had tried to reach training camps in Afghanistan. The authorities also said that they obtained from Mr. Shah phone numbers of people who’d attended the training camps, including Seifullah Champan, who was convicted last year of providing material support to a Pakistan-based terrorist group.
The complaint said that Mr. Shah, who the authorities said used a number of aliases, introduced Dr. Sabir to the informant & the agent & offered their services as a "package deal," the statement said. According to the statement, the negotiations culminated with a meeting on May 20 at Mr. Shah's Bronx apartment, where Dr. Sabir offered to use a forthcoming trip to Saudi Arabia, where he’d be working on a Saudi military base, to move around the country and provide medical services to wounded jihadists. It was at this meeting, the authorities said, that both men swore loyalty to the terrorist organization. They "committed themselves to the path of the Holy War, to the oath of secrecy, & to abide by the directives of al Qaeda & its leaders," including Osama bin Laden & Ayman al-Zawahiri, the statement said.
According to the U.S. attorney's office, Dr. Sabir was scheduled to leave for Saudi Arabia on June 2. The timing suggested that the authorities decided to move ahead with the arrests to stop him from leaving the U.S. In a statement yesterday, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said, "It’s particularly gratifying that someone using New York City as a base for terrorist support is now in custody." The names of the men's lawyers couldn’t be determined.
There was no answer late last night at Mr. Shah's apartment on Grant Avenue in the Bronx. A report yesterday in The Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale quoted a friend of Dr. Sabir's saying that the charges were absurd. "He’s a quality guy & a quality physician," the friend, Dr. Daniel McBride, a spokesman for the Islamic Center of Boca Raton, told the newspaper. "He's about helping others." Mr. Browne said that Dr. Sabir attended City College of New York & got his medical degree from Columbia medical school. Last night, Lisa Kozan, a neighbor who lives across the way from Dr. Sabir in Villa San Remo, a gated community in Boca Raton, said she believed that Dr. Sabir had rented there for about four years.
She said that the doctor stood out from other neighbors by his Muslim dress & that the doctor & his family lived quietly in the community. "Other than that, we didn't talk to him, & they didn't talk to us," she said. Mr. Browne said that Mr. Shah, who public records show lived in Beacon, N.Y., & Poughkeepsie before moving to the Bronx, was the son of an aide to Malcolm X. Mr. Browne said that early Friday, when a police sergeant knocked on Mr. Shah's door around 6 a.m., the sergeant grabbed Mr. Shah's arm while a detective placed him under arrest, & that Mr. Shah didn’t resist.
In Florida, he said, Dr. Sabir also submitted without resistance, but told the authorities that he was a doctor & knew his rights. Both men were to appear in federal court tomorrow. The case recalled another anti-terror sting operation that resulted in criminal charges by Mr. Kelley in March against 18 defendants accused of running an international arms smuggling ring.
In that case the two accused ringleaders, Artur Solomonyan, an Armenian, & Christiaan Dewet Spies, a South African, were charged with selling weapons to a confidential informer working for the F.B.I. who told them he was a Qaeda operative. The defendants were also charged with conspiring to import military weapons, including a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, to sell to the F.B.I.'s informer.
Julia Preston contributed reporting for this article.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Social Security Debate Changing?

Reform Prod by Hoffa
By Donald Lambro

Breaking with the Democrats & AFL-CIO on Social Security, Teamsters President James Hoffa Jr. sent a message to the White House last week that he wants to help them find a bipartisan solution to the programs long-term insolvency. Mr. Hoffa not only generously praised George W. Bush for his high-risk decision to tackle Social Security, he faulted Democrats for refusing to come to the table until the president drops his personal retirement accounts plan.
OOPS!!! Are those cracks I detect in the dam's wall? Combined with Jack Kelly's article on how the debate over Social Security reform has changed, it's looking more & more like conventional wisdom is wrong once again. That's as shocking as finding out that the Pope is Catholic.

The Teamsters union chief doesn't support Mr. Bush's plan to let workers invest part of their payroll taxes in the stock market, though it isn’t clear if he’d support direct worker investment in U.S. Treasury bonds, his top aides say. But he’s set his union on a new course to work with Mr. Bush & Republicans in Congress on pension & retirement reform issues that are at the top of the Teamsters' agenda.

"Social Security is a major problem in this country," Mr. Hoffa told a reporter for the Gannet News Service in a story that received little attention. "We have to make sure that it's preserved for those that come after us. I think President Bush should be given credit for the fact that he’s initiated a debate regarding what we should do." Mr. Hoffa's overture to the White House, while not all it could be, was still seen as a major attempt to break the ice in his chilly relationship with the West Wing. Early in Mr. Bush's first term, there was a major effort to work with him on issues of mutual interest.

Mr. Hoffa's comments can't be helpful to the Dems, who've been demagoging (what else is new?) this issue, telling seniors & young people alike that all is well with Social Security.

He backed Mr. Bush's oil-drilling plan for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which will provide thousands of jobs for Teamsters, & lobbied Democrats in its behalf. Mr. Hoffa often was seen at the White House, & there was speculation he might support President Bush's second-term bid. But Mr. Hoffa turned sharply anti-Bush in the 2004 election cycle & backed John Kerry, though privately he criticized the Kerry campaign & how it was run.
Since then, the realization has dawned that the Teamsters have nothing to gain by being a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democrats. Republicans will be in charge of Congress & the White House for the next four years, & Mr. Hoffa now thinks he can work with the GOP on issues like multi-employer pension plans that benefit many of his union members. "We have to be more bipartisan," Teamster political director Mike Mathis told me. "The leadership of the AFL-CIO, & particularly its political department, has been in lock step with the Democrats."
"We think it's important for us to reach out to Republicans who are willing to work with us, rather than being totally committed to one party," Mr. Mathis said. "There are Democrats who take us for granted & Republicans who we think we have a chance to work with who don't reach out to us because they think they don't have a chance with us." Just what role helpful to the administration that Mr. Hoffa can play in the debate over Social Security isn't clear right now (he favors raising taxes to fix it), except to put more pressure on the Democrats to join the debate in a good-faith effort.
He did so last week when asked about a letter from U.S. Rep. Charlie Rangel of New York, the Ways and Means Committee's top Democrat, saying he couldn’t join any discussions until Mr. Bush's private investment plan for workers is off the table. Mr. Hoffa bluntly replied that was not his position. "He's a little frustrated by the lack of discussion, because we have a president who’s willing to use his capital to tackle this issue," Mr. Mathis said. "Here's a president, even though we disagree with some of his answers to the problem, who’s willing to put something on the table."
"I think Hoffa is extending a huge olive branch. I hope the White House grabs it," said Derrick Max, executive director of the grass-roots coalition lobbying for Mr. Bush's plan. That's exactly what the White House did last week. "We welcome his comments & hope that it's a sign of things to come," Bush spokesman Trent Duffy told me.
But is Mr. Hoffa willing to think more expansively about Social Security reform to let Teamsters get a better rate of return on their hard-earned payroll taxes than the paltry 2 percent they’re likely to get when they retire? Teamster officials say private investment is too risky for them, but it's not too risky for their heavily market-invested union pension funds. With three-quarters of his members saying Social Security needs to be fixed, Mr. Hoffa opened the door to further discussion by just a crack last week, in sharp contrast to the AFL-CIO's intransigent opposition to any reform. Maybe he's ready to go a little further. Donald Lambro, chief political correspondent of The Washington Times, is a nationally syndicated columnist.

The Uncompromising Mr. Bush

The Uncompromising Mr. Bush
By Carl M. Cannon
May 29, 2005
Before good-government types go all weak in the knees about the Great Filibuster Compromise of 2005, they might do well to recall the Great Filibuster Compromise of 2004.
Don't remember that one? That's understandable: It didn't change anything.
That deal, which was reached last May, guaranteed up-or-down votes on 25 Bush judicial nominees in exchange for a promise that the White House wouldn't bypass the Senate by making any more of those dastardly recess appointments to the bench. Those 25 judges were confirmed, bringing President Bush's total to nearly 200, in line with other recent presidents. According to a 2003 report from the Congressional Research Service, Ronald Reagan had 163 judges confirmed in his first term, Bill Clinton had 200 & Bush's father, in his only term, won approval for 191 of his judicial nominees.
But the compromise had no real effect at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. Bush simply pressed ahead last year with his intention to put his stamp on the federal judiciary, naming the same kinds of conservatives after the 2004 deal, & after his re-election, as he had before. Sometimes he renominated the very same people who’d been turned down earlier, reviving antagonisms with Democrats.
If anything, Bush redoubled his efforts, spurred on by the election campaign & the fight over gay marriage. "This difficult debate was forced upon our country by a few activist judges...who’ve taken it on themselves to change the meaning of marriage," he declared in his weekly radio address last July 11. Then he went off to a wedding, of the very traditional kind, in Georgetown. During that same week, he journeyed to Michigan to publicize the fact that all four of his nominees to the appellate courts from that state had been waiting two years for a vote; three were still awaiting action by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
What's to stop Bush from following the same course this year? Not much. Last year's compromise is a vague memory because it failed to alter any of the dynamics between the two sides of a philosophic divide that last week brought the Senate to the brink of a standstill. There are, in fact, plenty of reasons to believe that the latest compromise will meet the same fate as the compromise of 2004. For starters, the White House isn’t party to this deal, & White House support for it has been lukewarm, even noncommittal. That's significant because Bush doesn't appear to fear a showdown. Nor are the musty customs of the U.S. Senate at the top of the list of this president's priorities.
While Bush may not be a signatory to the deal, he can certainly blow it up. An acutely conservative Supreme Court candidate, or a round of ultra-conservative appellate nominees, would force Senate Democrats to figure out what they mean by that imprecise term of art, "extraordinary circumstances," which are supposed to be the prerequisite for future filibusters on judicial appointments. And, assuming Democrats turn to a filibuster at some point, that’d test the allegiance of the Senate's moderate Republicans to a hallowed congressional tradition that’d restrain the power of a president at a time when the president is from their own party.
These judicial fights have this tit-for-tat quality, which is understandable, but which leads, inevitably, to escalation rather than sober compromise. Democrats talk alot about Bill Clinton's derailed judicial nominees. Republicans trump every such conversation with a card marked "Robert Bork."
There are practical reasons for Bush to lie low on this for a while. Thursday, the Senate's GOP majority failed to shut off debate on U.N. ambassador designee John Bolton, postponing a decision until June, & the White House wants that up-or-down vote. In addition to various appropriations bills pending in Congress, the administration is hoping for action on Social Security changes, a sweeping transportation bill & an energy bill this year, all of which depend on Senate action.
Ultimately, however, the president will be back with more judicial nominees that’ll rankle the Democratic caucus, as well as liberal interest groups. The toughest test will arrive if & when it comes time to appoint a Supreme Court justice. This president doesn’t publicly disparage his father, but his aides have made it clear that even if he has to go to the mat he’ll be sure not to appoint another David Souter, who was picked by the elder Bush & who’s turned out to be more liberal than expected.
What the newly formed Gang of 14 will do then, or even whether that ad hoc group that put together last week's compromise will stay together, is anybody's guess. One member of the merry band, West Virginia Democrat Robert Byrd, may have crowed after the compromise, "We’ve kept the Republic!" But a more typical Democratic sentiment was expressed by North Dakota's Byron Dorgan, who termed last week's compromise "legislative castor oil" that only delays an inevitable & costly Senate showdown.
Bush's view of what's essential for the Republic is different. He came to office determined to retrieve the executive power he believed his predecessor had forfeited in the crucible of impeachment. This included, & the irony here is unintentional, reclaiming from the Senate the clear prerogative of nominating judges without undue concern about confirmation, even though it was Republicans who’d dragged their feet on so many of Clinton's nominees. "It isn’t easy to be nominated & then have your hearing held up for political purposes," Bush said. "These are good, decent people...for fairness sake, give them a vote, up or down."
If these words had a familiar ring to them, there was a reason: President Clinton used an almost identical appeal when the GOP bottled up his judicial nominees. "The Senate's failure to act on my nominations, or even to give many of my nominees a hearing, represents the worst of partisan politics," Clinton declared in a 1997 radio address. "Under the pretense of preventing so-called judicial activism, they've taken aim at the very independence our founders sought to protect."
A current Democratic senator with more than a passing interest in executive power seemed to be paving the way for her colleagues to accept some disappointment. "Usually when you have a compromise, which this was, it doesn't satisfy anybody 100 percent," Hillary Rodham Clinton told CNN's Judy Woodruff on Thursday afternoon. "And we’ll probably see the confirmation of people who are very extreme. And I regret that."
"Very extreme" is a phrase that itself sounds extreme, & such language is part of a larger debate taking place about whether Americans are really as divided as all that. Sen. Clinton, like most Democrats, is counting on the notion that Americans are generally mainstream and want their judges to be mainstream. So she's suggesting that Bush is nudging the judiciary to the right of that. For his part, the president won reelection after a campaign in which he vowed at every stop to appoint federal judges "who know the difference between personal opinion & the strict interpretation of the law." This was tantamount to a promise to the voters he counted on most, those who are conservative on cultural issues & who are opposed to abortion.
Judicial activism, of both the liberal & conservative varieties, is where today's deadlocked politics meets the "culture wars." For that reason, it's inevitable that Bush would accede to the desires of his conservative base (& his own beliefs) when appointing federal judges. This is one clear way to leave a legacy for the people who share his social values, & who voted for him & his party.
Bush's critics want him to show more deference to the Senate as an institution, & to heed the compromise forged by that bipartisan group of largely centrist senators. But that isn’t where Bush's head is. His father served in the House, & his grandfather in the Senate, but the 43rd president, our first MBA to hold office, is a child of the executive suite in temperament & training. The Senate's traditions are someone else's concern, the province of Byrd perhaps, or maybe John McCain, Bush's nemesis from the days before 9/11. Bush sees his job as defending executive power, & trying to populate the third branch of government, the judiciary, with reliable conservatives.
In trying to understand Bush's motivations, & his possible next moves, one other thing must be said: He doesn’t like the way Democrats talk about his nominees. The president has a personal relationship with some of his appointees, & he's met with the families of nearly all of them. Bush isn’t pleased that Democrats have already derailed his ambition to appoint the first Latino, Miguel Estrada, to the Supreme Court by rejecting Estrada for an appeals court post. Bush believed it was deliberate character assassination when Democrats derailed Charles W. Pickering Sr. on charges of being racially insensitive; he got fighting mad when Priscilla Owen, a Texas home girl, was characterized as "an extremist"; & the president was personally offended when Brett Kavanaugh, another of his nominees to the federal appellate bench, was denounced by People for the American Way as a "partisan ideologue" who is "unfit" for the job.
Bush wasn't occupying the White House when John Ashcroft, then a Republican senator from Missouri, derailed Ronnie White, one of Bill Clinton's judicial nominees, with the ludicrous slur that White was "pro-criminal." Bush has convinced himself that Democrats shouldn't consider such history. But they do, as Bush learned when he nominated Kavanaugh, whose crime in Democrats' eyes is that he served on independent counsel Kenneth Starr's staff.
Free from the burden of historical memory, Bush can just get indignant. He wasn't in town during Starr's investigation, & he thinks he knows the gentlemanly, soft-spoken Kavanaugh a bit better than liberal judicial activist Ralph Neas does, for the simple reason that Kavanaugh works at the White House & Bush sees him almost every day. It was Kavanaugh's wedding that Bush went to a year ago in Georgetown after giving that radio address on judicial activism & marriage; Kavanaugh married Bush's personal secretary.
To paraphrase the late House speaker Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill Jr.: These days, all politics is personal.
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