Jewish World Review July 30, 2002 / 21 Menachem-Av, 5762

Peter Roff

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Capital Comment | (UPI) Bring on 'da noise, bring on 'da funk -- If Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman was unable to focus on her work last Wednesday, she might want to blame Greenpeace and the American Land Rights Association for the distraction and the noise.

Greenpeace gathered at EPA's headquarters to show support for a bill sponsored by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., giving the EPA broad discretion to make the security arrangements at chemical plants public. The bill is opposed by the Bush administration and by Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge.

According to one person on the scene, most of the Greenpeace activists, who held signs calling the president a "Toxic Texan," stood "silently wide-eyed, like deer in the headlights," while their leaders made several fruitless attempts to get the police to forcibly remove the ALRA contingent -- who were busy chanting, "We love cops" among other slogans. Appearing with the ARLA were "Uncle Sam," "Darth Vader" and "Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein," who held signs proclaiming Greenpeace was the "Mapmaker for Osama bin Laden" and that "EPA is not Homeland Security."

A Texas-sized event -- Winning Margins PAC, a liberal group founded by and for Democrats to provide financial assistance to party Senate candidates in 2002, has chosen U.S. Senate candidate Ron Kirk, the former mayor of Dallas, as the next beneficiary of its largess. Serving on the steering and host committees for the event are such young party luminaries as DNC publicist Jenny Backus, former Clinton administration official Thurgood Marshall, Jr., and Nancy Kirshner-Rodriguez, a former senior staffer at the Democratic National Committee who now works for Americans for Gun Safety. The event will be Aug. 8 in Washington. Admission is $35 per person.

End of the road -- Pat McGuigan, the editorial page editor of The Daily Oklahoman newspaper, has stepped down from his post. McGuigan says he is leaving the position to pursue other business and professional opportunities but state political operatives tell a different story. They cite a letter written to supporters of Rep. Tim Pope, a Republican candidate for state labor commissioner, by McGuigan that Pope has posted on his campaign Web site. The letter attacks Pope and praises his primary opponent, incumbent Labor Commissioner Brenda Reneau-Wynn, whom Pope and others have suggested looked the other way where issues concerning the paper were concerned. For many years McGuigan, who has a following in national conservative circles, headed up the judicial affairs efforts inside conservative Paul Weyrich's Washington think tank.

Light at the end of the tunnel -- The search for a new chairman for the Illinois Republican Party has come to an end. On Friday the state central committee unanimously approved the selection of businessman Gary MacDougal as the party's new leader. Highly regarded in business and political circles, MacDougal has a reputation for being squeaky clean, something party elders feel is required as the Republicans try to dig out from under a corruption scandal that has tainted the administration of retiring Gov. George Ryan.

MacDougal, who has run several companies and served on the board of such corporate powerhouses as UPS, has long been politically active. A senior official in the 1988 Bush presidential campaign, he was on the short list to become secretary of health and human services, ultimately losing out to Atlanta's Dr. Louis Sullivan. GOP insiders hope MacDougal, with his "Mr. Clean" image, will be just what is needed to remind votes that in Illinois political corruption is a bi-partisan issue.

Big-ticket item -- In a move that is certain to fuel the fire over presidential political travel, President George W. Bush flew to South Carolina Monday to raise funds for GOP gubernatorial nominee Mark Sanford and for the state Republican Party. According to White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, Monday's trip will add $1 million to Sanford's coffers and boost the state party's revenue by $200.000. While in Charleston, the president will also give a speech on welfare reform. Democrats have, of late, accused the administration of mixing official and political travel in such a way as to have the taxpayers underwrite partisan activities.

Personnel note -- The Bush administration has nominated economist Jim Miller to a seat on the Postal Service board of governors. Miller headed the White House Office of Management and Budget and chaired the Federal Trade Commission in the Reagan administration. He was also twice an unsuccessful candidate for the Virginia GOP's U.S. Senate nomination. The president has asked Miller to serve out the remainder of a 9-year term expiring Dec. 8, 2010.

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