Capital Briefs November 16, 2009

ECONOMY’S NUMBER ONE: A month after a Rasmussen Poll showed voters rating government ethics and corruption as more important than the economy, the latest results show that 85% of voters nationwide now consider the issue of the economy “very important” and more important than nine other issues tracked by Rasmussen. The poll also showed ethics and corruption had dropped to second place, with 76% of voters regarding it as very important. The shift in importance placed on the economy obviously came as a result of the latest government figures showing unemployment at a 26-year high of 10.2%. In descending order, Rasmussen found, health care was viewed as “very important” by 66% of voters, national security by 65%, education 61%, taxes 60%, Social Security 53%, immigration 47%, and the war in Iraq 47%.  

WORLD BANK’S ‘GLOBAL-WARMING PRIZES:’ Here’s another good reason conservatives distrust the World Bank and persist in questioning why we help bankroll the institution with U.S. tax dollars. Last week, the World Bank announced it will award more than $5 million in grants to 25 projects that they consider best in helping people in underdeveloped nations survive global warming. According to CNS, “Jurors will pick the winners from 100 projects that made the final cut. They include a plan to help reindeer herders adapt to habitat damage caused by ‘climate change’ and an Indian radio and TV show featuring women who will ‘tell of climate options.’” Helping the World Bank fund the grants are the Global Environment Facility, the International Fund for Food and Agriculture, and the Danish Foreign Affairs Ministry, “which is hoping to gain momentum for the United Nations summit on global warming set to take place in Copenhagen next month,” CNS News reported.  

HAMILTON VOTE NEAR: The first and by far the most controversial of President Obama’s nominations to the federal bench appeared ready to come to a vote as early as Tuesday, November 17, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) last week filed a cloture motion to enable senators to vote on the nomination of U.S. District Court Judge David Hamilton to go to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Hamilton, nephew of former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D.-Ind.) has compiled such a radical judicial record that all seven Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted against Hamilton and GOP Senators Jeff Sessions (Ala.) and Jim Inhofe (Okla.) are now leading a filibuster against his nomination.   

DOBBS FOR WHAT? Following the surprise resignation of prickly conservative commentator Lou Dobbs from CNN last week and his statement that he wants to “go beyond the role” of television journalist in grappling with issues, talk was rampant that the next step for the controversial anchorman would be a run for office. The 64-year-old Dobbs, who lives on a 300-acre farm in New Jersey’s bucolic Sussex County, would have little reason to oppose conservative Republican Rep. Scott Garrett (lifetime American Conservative Union rating: 100%). An on-line journal on New Jersey politics,, reported that “some Republicans are wondering if [Dobbs] will seek the GOP U.S. Senate nomination against Robert Menendez (D.-Hoboken) in 2012.”    

SCOZZAFAVA ‘MODERATE’? GIMME A BREAK! That was the reaction of conservatives in and outside New York’s 23rd U.S. House District to a Washington Post headline November 10 about state legislator and former Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava that ‘It’s a Grand Old Purging as moderate’s ouster spotlights Republican dysfunction.” In recalling how Scozzafava suspended her campaign for the open House seat and finally endorsed Democrat (and narrow winner Bill Owens), the Post cites her warning about what “will happen to candidates like her” such as “centrist Gov. Charlie Crist,” who is being challenged from the right for the U.S. Senate nomination in Florida in 2010. Actually, Scozzafava is neither moderate nor centrist but an out-and-out liberal Republican. She voted to raise or extend taxes 190 times, supported gay marriage (Democrat Owens did not), backed the “card-check” favored by Big Labor, accepted donations from the National Education Association, and took a strong pro-abortion position. Last year, she received the Family Planning Advocates Margaret Sanger Award for pro-abortion activism. Overall, the ratings of the New York State Assembly by the Conservative Party showed Scozzafava with a 15% rating — putting her slightly to the right of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, who scored 10%. And Scozzafava is apparently not a very nice person: She warned conservatives “if they don’t want us with them, we’re going to work against them” and charged without explanation that Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman (who lost a close race to Owens) “had no integrity.” (Although Owens has been sworn into Congress, a recanvass of the votes in the 23rd District last week narrowed his lead from 5,035 to 3,026, with about 10,000 absentee ballots remaining to be counted).