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Capital Briefs: May 26-30

OBAMA COVER-UP? Why didn’t Barack Obama ever say that the “Frank” he frequently mentions in Dreams From My Father and with whom he palled around as a high school student in Hawaii, was a revolutionary black Communist named Frank Marshall Davis?

Obama surely must have known this background, many inquisitive folks are saying, especially in view of the revelations in the over-40-page document just released by America’s Survival’s Cliff Kincaid and renowned domestic communism expert Herbert Romerstein. (Their report can be read at www.usasurvival.org.)

The Kincaid-Romerstein report notes that Obama never even mentions Davis’ last name, but that he was definitely an active Stalinist agent in Hawaii in the 1940s. A poet and journalist, Davis asserts he had been “brainwashed for years” against the Bolshevik revolution, but concluded the USSR was a friend of American blacks. As late as 1956, he took the 5th Amendment rather than say whether he was then a party member.

RON NOT YET GONE: Although John McCain long ago wrapped up the Republican nomination for President and the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis this September will be a coronation, his lone remaining opponent made it clear last week he isn’t going anywhere. In an exclusive interview with two HUMAN EVENTS reporters between book-signing events for his new bestseller, The Revolution: A Manifesto, Rep. Ron Paul (R.-Tex.) explained he was still in the GOP contest because “you know me—I’m out there to promote change and [the national convention] is a good vehicle for it.”
While present party rules bar Paul’s name from being placed in nomination at the convention because a candidate must have a majority of delegates from five states for a nominating speech (although this may change for the 2012 convention), the physician-candidate noted that his supporters have won delegate positions in several states—even where they are required by law to back primary victor McCain. Paul told us he and his backers plan to hold a rally at the University of Minnesota campus to try to influence the party platform. “The platform used to be pretty good,” he said, recalling how from 1980 until 2000, it had a plank that called for abolishing the U.S. Department of Education. “At least Reagan ran on it and won and I talk about it all the time,” said Paul, noting that under George W. Bush and the Republican-run Congress, “they doubled its size. Republicans tried to mimic Democrats that way.” Although he will not support the Libertarian Party nominee or Constitution Party nominee Chuck Baldwin, “a friend and past supporter of mine,” Paul also said, “I can’t support McCain unless he changes his viewpoint” on issues such as bringing troops home from abroad and the No Child Left Behind federal education program. Unopposed for an 11th term in Congress back in Texas, Paul said the Republican Party for him is “a vehicle, but I wouldn’t call it a home.”

HANS OFF: Senate Democrats are finally expected to move on restoring a quorum to the six-member Federal Election Commission last week after the surprise withdrawal of the nominee they hated most: Hans von Spakovsky, a Bush recess appointee and vigorous champion of lifting limits on campaign donations. In a shameless show of partisanship, Senate Democrats let his nomination for a full FEC term languish for more than a year. For the Spakovsky slot, the White House tapped Matthew Peterson, minority chief counsel of the House Administration Committee.

COLE COOL UNDER FIRE: With Republicans reeling from their third straight special election loss two weeks ago and some House members now calling for the ouster of National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole (R.-Okla.), the campaign manager for the House GOP remained cool and confident he would hold on to his position with little difficulty. Asked about the talk of a move to oust him from the NRCC chair, Cole told HUMAN EVENTS Political Editor John Gizzi that “If they’re smart enough to do it, they are smart enough not to do it,” adding that acting against him would only be “scapegoating the problem.” Cole went on to tell Gizzi that Republicans have “ a bigger problem—communicating to people who we are” and the party “needs a strong agenda that resonates with something.” He added that he felt the recent Democratic wins in GOP-held districts were “a really strong warning from the electorate,” and that he welcomed criticism such as that heaped on the party by moderate Rep. Tom Davis (R.-Va.) in a much-publicized 20-page memo. “My father used to say your friends tell you what you need to know, but everyone else will tell you what you want to hear,” Cole said. While admitting the Republicans’ problems with issues and communications, Cole also said, “It doesn’t help when you’ve gone four years with a treasurer who’s an absolute crook”—a reference to former NRCC Treasurer Christopher Ward, whose mismanagement of party funds has apparently cost the committee more than $1 million. Ward is now the subject of a criminal investigation.

OBAMA UP AMONG CLINTONISTAS: Even before he won the Oregon primary last week and moved closer toward wrapping up the Democratic presidential nomination, Barack Obama had significantly increased his lead over Hillary Clinton as the presidential favorite among likely Democratic voters nationwide. According to a Gallup Poll conducted May 16-18, Obama led Clinton as the presidential favorite of Democrats by 55% to 39%—up dramatically from the 49%-to-45% edge the Illinoisan held over Clinton in the same poll two weeks earlier. What was particularly noticeable was how Clinton had fallen in the poll among her most supportive groups. She and Obama were tied among non-Hispanic whites with 47% each, and she trailed Obama among women 49% to 46%, among Hispanics 51% to 44%, and among voters with a high-school education or less by 47% to 46%.

CRIST ON LIST? That’s what conservatives were worried about last week when it was announced that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist would be, at the senator’s invitation, joining two other potential vice presidential running mates for interviews at John McCain’s Arizona ranch over Memorial Day weekend. The other two—Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, profiled in this week’s “Veepstakes,” and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney—present no great Veep problems for conservatives. But Crist is another story. Like California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the 52-year-old Crist embraces the idea of man-made global warming, has issued executive orders to cut emissions from tailpipes and smokestacks to pre-1990 levels, leading Florida Republican House Speaker Mario Rubio to brand Crist’s proposals “European-style big-government mandates” and even to hold a two-day summit on them. Although Crist has sponsored a record-high property tax cut and is pro-life, he also said he doesn’t want the state Republican Party to spend any more money on an amendment banning same-sex marriage, backs embryonic stem-cell research and restoration of voting rights to former felons. Contrasted more than compared to conservative predecessor Jeb Bush, Crist has begun to roll back some of the former governor’s privatization efforts.  

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