Robert Novak
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Democratic leaders have abandoned any thought of holding their 2004 national convention the same week as the Republicans. But they may break the tradition that the party out of power holds its convention first, by scheduling it in September -- the week after Labor Day. Democratic National Chairman Terry McAuliffe was taken by surprise when Republican National Chairman Marc Racicot scheduled the GOP convention the week of Aug. 30, after the Aug. 13-29 Summer Olympics. McAuliffe immediately scrapped the planned Democratic start of July 19 and talked about holding the convention the same week as the Republicans. A footnote: If the Democratic and Republican conventions are held in close proximity, it will prevent holding both gatherings in New York City. With the Democrats using twice as many delegates as the Republicans, it would take time to reconfigure Madison Square Garden. WANTED: A VETO THREAT House Republican leaders are privately expressing unhappiness that President Bush has not yet threatened a veto if the pending emergency supplemental appropriations bill is loaded down with extra spending. The House kept the bill close to the $27 billion level requested by Bush, but the Senate version figures to reach at least $32 billion. The president, who has yet to veto a bill, has been loath to even threaten vetoes. A footnote: A non-spending item in the Senate bill could provoke a veto if it survives in the final version: elevating Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge to Cabinet status, as demanded by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd. CALIFORNIA GOP FRATRICIDE Pinprick attacks by California Republican regulars on Gerald Parsky, President Bush's designated agent in the state, are growing into a full-scale onslaught. The main target is the Parsky-created bipartisan commission for clearing California's federal judicial nominations. Republican State Chairman Shawn Steel, who sees his position emasculated by venture capitalist Parsky, wrote an attack on the commission in the Los Angeles Times May 26. That publicized what the state's conservative Republicans have been complaining about for months: Parsky has granted effective veto power over Bush's judges to California's Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. Steel's views have been reflected in unsigned e-mails distributed through political circles under the title of "Parsky Watch." An e-mail sent May 20 cites the liberal People for the American Way praising Parsky's system and quotes a Feinstein aide saying, "We've been working very well with the Parsky commission." TEXAS BUSINESS POLITICS The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has told angry Republican leaders that it can still endorse the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Texas, even though it hosted a Washington event for his Democratic opponent. Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott was furious when he learned that the national business organization hosted a May 22 reception for former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, the Democratic nominee. With Democrats controlling the Senate by just one seat, Kirk is in a tight race with Republican State Attorney General John Cornyn to replace retiring Republican Sen. Phil Gramm. Chamber officials explained to Lott they host a "meet and greet" event for candidates when requested by the organization's members, as it was for Kirk. The decision whether Cornyn or Kirk will be endorsed will be made later. ZELL THE MAVERICK Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia is the only Democrat among 12 senators joining the zero capital gains tax caucus and is also its co-chairman (along with Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama). The 36 House members who are pledged to eliminate the capital gains tax also include one Democrat: veteran conservative Rep. Ralph Hall of Texas. He is co-chairman with Republican Rep. David Dreier, the House Rules Committee chairman. Hall has promised to cross the aisle to vote for Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert if needed to re-elect him. Miller has indicated no intention of changing parties, particularly if his defection would return Senate control to the GOP.

Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.
 

 
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