Robert Novak

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Rahm Emanuel, the House Democratic Caucus chairman, dissented from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's support of a resolution condemning the 92-year-old Armenian genocide that has proved to be the big blunder of her tenure.

Emanuel was not present at the House leadership meeting that approved the resolution dealing with the 1915 slaughter of Armenians allegedly by the Turkish government. But he always has opposed the long-standing effort by the Armenian-American community, dating back to his days as President Clinton's political aide.

The resolution at first drew backing from some 225 House Democrats. But support faded and Pelosi was forced to abandon the proposal after briefings of individual House members by Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq. Petraeus pointed to the fierce opposition from Turkey, an important U.S. ally in the Middle East.

GREENSPAN'S CRITICS

Present and former central bankers from all over the world, in Washington last weekend for the World Bank meeting, were privately critical of former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's best-selling book for revealing too much.

Greenspan's erstwhile colleagues were unpleasantly surprised that he told about inner workings in "The Age of Turbulence." Central bankers like the secrets of their temple to remain a mystery.

In particular, these critics felt Greenspan violated their code when his book made life more difficult for his successor at the Fed, Ben Bernanke.

CHUCK AND HILL

Sen. Charles Schumer denied it, but word seeped out of the Democratic cloakroom that he was steaming over being rejected by the Senate on his earmark for a Woodstock museum -- in particular, the lack of help from his New York colleague, Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Schumer and Clinton co-sponsored a $1 million earmark for the museum in Bethel, N.Y., at the site of the drug-laden 1969 Woodstock music festival. But Clinton did not go to the Senate floor to help out her fellow senator, and one of her aides said this was mainly Schumer's project. Schumer told me that he was not upset with Clinton and that he telephoned Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma to say there were no hard feelings.

Earmarks are routinely approved for powerful legislators such as Schumer, a member of the Senate Democratic leadership. The Woodstock million lost, 52 to 42, after it was revealed that the museum's principal donor was a big contributor to Schumer and Clinton.

RACIAL POLITICS

Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, the only incumbent Democrat considered vulnerable in 2008, showed this week she continues to rely on African-American voters even though well over 100,000 of them left her state in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Landrieu not only voted Wednesday against confirming former Mississippi Court of Appeals Judge Leslie Southwick as a U.S. Appeals Court judge but also opposed bringing his nomination to a floor vote. Civil rights groups lobbied against Southwick's confirmation. He was confirmed, 59 to 38.

Landrieu and other Louisiana Democrats long have counted on a 100,000-vote margin or more out of Orleans Parish (New Orleans). But because of the heavy black emigration, its total vote was around 75,000 last Saturday and was carried by Republican U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal in his election as governor.

VETO POLITICS

House Republican leaders, who doubted being able to override President Bush's promised veto of a second State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) expansion, were pleasantly surprised that Democrats did not pick up any additional Republican votes when the bill was passed Thursday.

One Republican who voted for the previous SCHIP bill -- Rep. Vernon Ehlers of Michigan -- opposed the slightly reduced second bill. The 43 Republicans supporting the bill are not enough to sustain a veto. Although polls show popular support for SCHIP, GOP leaders see defeat of government-expanded health insurance as a step toward restoring confidence in the conservative base.

Rep. Jim Marshall, who faces a serious challenge for election to a third term from his Georgia district, was the only Democrat to vote against the second bill. Rep. Gene Taylor of Mississippi, who was a second Democrat against SCHIP the first time around, changed to support it Thursday.


Robert Novak

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

 
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