UPI's Capital Comment for April 2, 2002

By United Press International  |  April 2, 2002 at 8:49 AM
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WASHINGTON, April 2 (UPI) -- Capital Comment -- Daily news notes, political rumors and important events that shape politics and public policy in Washington and the world from United Press International.

A taxing decision -- In a local race likely to garner national attention, Tennessee state Rep. Mae Beavers of Mount Juliet, a Republican who represents parts of Marshall, Rutherford and Wilson counties in the state's House of Representatives, has announced that she will take on the Number Two Democrat in the state Senate, Bob Rochelle, in the fall elections.

Her decision to take on Rochelle, who is a formidable power in the state Legislature, is based on his repeated advocacy of a state income tax.

"Our state senator, Bob Rochelle, has been the sponsor and lead proponent of the state income tax. He is responsible for holding the state Legislature hostage until the state income tax is passed," she said. "I have fought the income tax for four years along with a handful of my colleagues. So far, we have been successful. But make no mistake, there is a major push for an income tax coming. The issue has not and will not go away."

Previous efforts to enact an income tax in Tennessee have been narrowly defeated. In the most recent case, proponents of the tax claimed that a siege of the state capitol by angry taxpayers intimidated legislators into killing the bill.

Decision day -- April 2 is decision day for voters in the tiny hamlet of Georgetown, Colo. Voters are headed to the polls to determine the future of stripper-turned-Mayor Koleen Brooks, who has been subjected to a recall election.

The fiery Brooks has battled with some community residents over her plans to attract new businesses into the community. She has been accused by some residents of a variety of daring deeds, including flashing her breast in a local bar. She has also been charged with faking an assault on herself and tampering with evidence by the local district attorney. Mayor Brooks claims she was attacked by an unknown man while walking home on evening, a story the prosecutor says was made up. Brooks touts her efforts to build a park for children to skate in and a footpath over a creek running through town but has come under fire for her opposition to a restrictive zoning ordinance, the repeal of which also appears on the April 2 ballot.

So that explains it -- In a recent interview given to promote his new book, "Buck Up, Suck Up and Come Back When You Foul Up," co-authored with James Carville, liberal pundit Paul Begala shared some of his views on those who opposed the Clinton administration on policy and politics.

"The reason that they all raise this kind of nonsense -- hey, impugn our patriotism and such -- is they know they can't win on the merits and on the ideas. ... Clinton was not a 'so is your mother' kind of politician. He didn't stand out and say Henry Hyde cheated on his wife. Guess what? Henry Hyde cheated on his wife. But Clinton never went there. He was smart to never go there."

And why did they hate Clinton so much? Begala has an answer for that, too.

"I believe these people hate themselves. I believe they hate our country. I believe they hate our culture. And they can't deal with that. They can't accept the level of self-loathing that they have, and so they project it onto someone else. I mean, for all of his faults and the troubles in his marriage, Bill Clinton is still married to a girl he met in the library 25 years ago at school. ... He is a man who never earned more than $35,000 a year because he put service first. ... I mean, by any standard of measure, he is a good man. He is a decent man. He is a successful man. And yet they heap hatred on him. I believe it is because they hate themselves. And for that, I'll continue to pray for them," he said.

Gotcha politics -- The gubernatorial campaign of Republican Bill Simon is suggesting that Gov. Gray Davis, D-Calif., is "fuming mad" at consultant Garry South "for his series of ads attacking former Los Angeles Mayor Dick Riordan for the city's 'rising crime.'"

As Simon's campaign memo points out, ads masterminded by South ignored crime's general decline and used "an up tick in Riordan's final year in office" to portray the mayor as an ineffective crime fighter. At the time, says the memo " South bragged during the recent primary his ads were: '...Absolutely fair. Those statistics are undeniable.' Source: Los Angeles Times, February 25, 2002."

"Whoops!," says the Simon campaign. "It now appears that these quotes may come back to haunt the Davis team. Statewide crime statistics just released by the governor's own attorney general show that crime rates in California have gone up two years in a row after a long period of decline. ... Between 2 000 and 2001. ... Homicides are up 9 percent; property crimes are up 8.2 percent; overall crime is up 5.8 percent," something they suggest Davis will not want to discuss, at least using the Garry South standard of measurement.

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