WASHINGTON -- Recipients of recent money appeals by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) have been puzzled by the absence of the customary signature of the party chairman, Terry McAuliffe.
Earlier DNC fund-raising letters this year were signed by former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. The latest appeal, which arrived in the mail last week, was signed by somebody whose name was new to many recipients: Josh Wachs, the DNC's 31-year-old chief operating officer.
McAuliffe is so controversial with the Democratic rank-and-file, according to party sources, that his name may inhibit contributions. A Washington-based business speculator, McAuliffe was hand-picked for chairman by Bill and Hillary Clinton after the 2000 election, against the wishes of many DNC members.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, under fire from the California Republican Party's right wing, first got interested in government as an acolyte of economist Milton Friedman and still follows his libertarian-conservative ideology.
In the 1980s, actor-bodybuilder Schwarzenegger would show up at his Los Angeles health club wearing a "Free to Choose" T-shirt. Nobel laureate Friedman and his wife, Rose, co-authored the best-selling book "Free to Choose," which also was the title of his award-winning PBS television series.
Schwarzenegger's backers are using his Friedmanite ideology as reason for conservative Republican voters to support him in the Oct. 7 recall election to replace Democratic Gov. Gray Davis despite his liberal stands on social issues.
Stunned by Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's decision not to run for the Senate, national Republican recruiters have turned to Homeland Security Under Secretary Asa Hutchinson as the last best bet to defeat Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln's bid for a second term.
Hutchinson, a former congressman and brother of ex-Sen. Tim Hutchinson, is considered the only possible candidate with a real chance against Lincoln. The problem is that he would like to succeed John Ashcroft as attorney general in a second term for President Bush. Since the president obviously controls that avenue of promotion, the White House could pressure Hutchinson to become a Senate candidate.