Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Tue, April 23

Dems go on attack when they haven't any ideas

WASHINGTON ­ Lacking national leadership and an agenda of their own, Democrats are trying to topple the House Republican majority leader and defeat President Bush's nominee to be U.N. ambassador.

That may not sound like much of a plan to rebuild public confidence in their party in preparation for the 2006 congressional elections, but it's just about all the Democrats have right now. Bereft of ideas about how to save Social Security, cut the deficit or pay for Medicare's mushrooming costs, they're playing the politics of personal destruction instead.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay may lack a certain sensitivity about political perceptions, but the charges being leveled at him about who paid for a few trips he has taken and why he put his wife and daughter on his campaign payroll do not stand up to close scrutiny.

It is perfectly legal and proper for organizations to pick up the costs of trips when members of Congress are invited to conferences and events in faraway places. DeLay, the No. 2 leader in Congress, did this. Then it was discovered that these same groups, as they are allowed to do, received money from other lobbying groups that essentially covered the costs of these trips ­ though without DeLay's knowledge.

The House Ethics Committee is looking into this, with DeLay's approval, but it hardly seems likely that this is going to topple him from power. He has done nothing wrong.

Then there is the story about putting family members into key posts on his political committees.

His wife headed up his campaign and a daughter ran his political action fundraising committee.

On the Senate side, the Democrats seem to be devoting much of their energy to defeating the nomination of John R. Bolton, Bush's choice to represent the United States at the United Nations. As near as anyone can tell from this week's confirmation hearings by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, their biggest gripe is that the undersecretary of state for arms control has been critical of the corruption, inertia and bureaucratic waste and inefficiency of the world body.

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