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Seize the Momentum
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Press Release

Seize the Momentum

In 1998, the congressional Republicans’ midterm election strategy backfired. Tired of fighting President Clinton on issues, Republicans instead tried to make the midterm election a referendum on impeachment. Republicans lost seats – almost losing control of the House of Representatives – and Newt Gingrich resigned. Conventional wisdom held that impeachment was over. What happened next is a part of history, but also very instructive for President Bush and the new congressional majority. Less than two months after the disaster of the 1998 midterm elections, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Bill Clinton. Through a series of self-inflicted wounds Bill Clinton managed to squander the political momentum of the elections, unite his opposition and face a humiliating political and legal defeat. The lesson is that the political momentum from midterm elections, if not handled carefully, can be very short-lived.

11/13/2002
Worrisome Signs for Landrieu and the Left
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Press Release

Worrisome Signs for Landrieu and the Left

Thanks to Louisiana’s unique election format, Democrats will be able to test a new campaign strategy formulated in the aftermath of last Tuesday’s defeat. Instead of downplaying the policy differences between themselves and President Bush, they will highlight them. But because of the electorate’s disfavor for Democratic positions where there is a genuine contrast, come December 8th, the day after the Louisiana Senatorial run-off election, Democratic strategists will likely be back to square one.

11/13/2002
Same Faces, Same Issues
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Press Release

Same Faces, Same Issues

Although the midterm elections will bring 61 new Senators and Representatives to Congress, this week the same old faces are back in town. Because there is unfinished business that can’t wait until January, Congress is convening in a rare post-election “Lame Duck” session. This week, Congress will focus on the remaining appropriation bills, creating a new Homeland Security Department, moving forward on judicial nominees, passing out energy legislation stalled in conference committee, and possibly enacting terrorism insurance. Here’s a look at what could happen in the remaining days of the 107th Congress.

11/13/2002
Representative Edward Schrock Presented with Citizens for a Sound Economy’s Jefferson Award
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Press Release

Representative Edward Schrock Presented with Citizens for a Sound Economy’s Jefferson Award

Today, Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) presented the Jefferson Award to Representative Edward Schrock of Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District for steadfastly supporting limited government and economic liberty.

11/13/2002
Textbooks Should Teach American History, Freedom, and Enterprise
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Press Release

Textbooks Should Teach American History, Freedom, and Enterprise

There they go again – not only is the Texas Freedom Network (TFN) is out of step with mainstream Texas values, but they need to go back to Civics 101.

11/13/2002
Wall Street Journal Lauds CSE Social Security Pledge
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Press Release

Wall Street Journal Lauds CSE Social Security Pledge

In an editorial titled “Grandma Doesn't Scare Anymore”, the Wall Street Journal today examined how the Social Security issue played during the 2002 elections. The Journal found that, despite Democrat scare tactics, in several key races GOP candidates won by taking principled stands in favor of Social Security reform. Some excerpts from today’s Wall Street Journal editorial:

11/13/2002
Conservatives Want to Strip Textbooks of Facts, critics say
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Conservatives Want to Strip Textbooks of Facts, critics say

BY Gary Susswein

With the State Board of Education poised to vote on new social studies textbooks later this week, a group of teachers, parents and activists on Tuesday blasted textbook changes that they say have been made at the behest of Christian and capitalist critics. Some of the disputed changes by the books' publishers delete the suggestion that global warming and acid rain are proven scientific phenomena, that Christians accepted slavery and that the Earth is "millions of years" old, a timeline that contradicts literal interpretations of the Bible. "A small group of busybodies have used this process to wipe out facts they don't happen to care for. That's not a review; it's vandalism," Andrew Riggsby, a University of Texas classics professor, said at a Capitol news conference sponsored by the Texas Freedom Network, which seeks to keep religion out of public policy. The group and its supporters plan to send 4,000 postcards to textbook publishers and state officials urging them not to go along with the changes. But some of the groups that requested the changes accused the Texas Freedom Network of peddling its own radical political agenda and unfairly referring to an open, citizen-oriented textbook review process as censorship. "It's laughable that they have called themselves mainstream," said Peggy Venable, spokeswoman for Citizens for a Sound Economy. "After last week, it's clear that mainstream Texas citizens are fiscal conser- vatives." Venable's group pushed for textbooks to describe global warming as a theory that is not universally accepted and to omit sentences that said communism and socialism helped people. The State Board of Education reviewed and accepted public testimony earlier this fall on social studies textbooks for public schools. Before the final board vote, publishers are supposed to change factual errors that have been spotted. But the question of what, exactly, is a factual error has turned the textbook approval process into a political maelstrom and an ongoing struggle to define Texas values. Some groups, for example, say science has proved that fossil fuels date back millions of years, and others say the Bible offers a different theory and that the scientific evidence should not be treated with absolute certainty. In addition to voting on the proposed changes this week, the Board of Education will vote on whether to allow publishers to continue making changes to their textbooks beyond this week. Because Texas is the nation's second-largest textbook consumer, it can dictate what other states get as publishers target their offerings for Texas. "We are tired of the religious right dictating how and what our children learn in school," Susan Moffat, the parent of a fifth-grader at Lee Elementary School in Austin, said at the Capitol news conference. "Our democracy is based on a strong separation of church and state. We do not tell others what to believe." gsusswein@statesman.com; 445-3654 (from box) By the book A sampling of some of the disputed lines in social studies textbooks being reviewed by the State Board of Education this week. Textbook excerpt: "(M)any other teachings in the Quran, such as the importance of honesty, honor, giving to others and having love and respect for their families, govern their daily lives." Critics say: Perpetuates "propaganda" for Islam. Textbook excerpt: "Acid rain damages trees and harms rivers and lakes." Critics say: Presents sentiment as fact instead of theory. Textbook excerpt: "Approximately 1 out of five people in the US does not have medical insurance. The majority of these uninsured people are children in lower income families. Because they do not have insurance, they might not be able to get some forms of medical treatment." Critics say: Provides no evidence of widespread availability of health-care options for the poor; low-income children do not represent a "majority" of the uninsured. Textbook excerpt: "Christians would later accept slavery in other contexts." Critics say: It's anti-Christian and overemphasizes U.S. role in slavery. Textbook excerpt: "In a communist system, the central government owns all property, such as farms and factories, for the benefit of its citizens." Critics say: Communism did not benefit its citizens. Sources: Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy, Texas Freedom Network

11/13/2002
George W. Bush: Political Entrepreneur
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Press Release

George W. Bush: Political Entrepreneur

© 2002 Copley News Service, 11/12/2002

11/12/2002
Grandma Doesn't Scare Anymore
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Press Release

Grandma Doesn't Scare Anymore

Soon to be former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt was prescient about one thing this election year: In September he predicted that last week's results would be "a referendum on Social Security." It was, and the reformers won.

11/12/2002
Groups Spar Over What Goes In Social Studies Books
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Groups Spar Over What Goes In Social Studies Books

BY Connie Mabin

Susan Moffat doesn't want the beliefs of social conservatives forced on her fifth-grade daughter during social studies class. University of Texas assistant professor Andrew Riggsby craves students who have been taught all sides of history in high school. The Rev. Sid Hall disagrees with using the classroom as a platform for pushing Christianity. The three were among dozens who gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday to criticize what they say is an unfair influence of social conservatives and religious right groups in Texas' textbook adoption process. The Texas Freedom Network, a nonprofit group that calls itself a watchdog of the religious right, said an example of the influence is removal of positive portrayals of Islam in the proposed books after some said it was "more propaganda" for the religion. "Good textbooks help me. Censored and distorted ones hurt," said Riggsby, who specializes in Roman history. Some want to "wipe out facts they don't happen to care for. That's not review; that's vandalism. You can't ignore the facts just because you don't like them." Peggy Venable, director of thee conservative Citizens for a Sound Economy, said her group supports patriotism, democracy, free enterprise and some of the proposed textbook changes. She also said she wants all sides of debatable issues covered in textbooks. For example, her members disagree with books that do not explain both views of global warming and instead become "activist workbooks." The State Board of Education rejected an environmental science textbook last year after some objected to its praise for the federal Endangered Species Act and its warning about the threat of global warming. Texas Freedom Network supporters "try to lump all citizens who they don't agree with as religious right and we don't have anything to do with religion," Venable said. "We're simply saying put both (views) in there," she said. The education board is scheduled to decide Thursday what social studies books Texas students will use over the next six years. Textbooks decisions are always contentious in Texas. People with various views spend hours reviewing proposed books for factual errors and offering opinions on what should and shouldn't be in the texts, decisions that often lock up the 15-member elected state board. For publishers, millions of dollars are on the line - Texas will spend $345 million on social studies and other books this year, and the books adopted here are marketed in dozens of other states. Only California buys more textbooks in the United States. Four red wagons filled with postcards asking the board to support factually accurate books free from "promoting religious beliefs or political agendas" were parked near the Capitol as about 50 people joined the Freedom Network. Network executive director Samantha Smoot said one publisher agreed to eliminate references to "fossil fuels being formed millions of years ago" so there would be no conflict with biblical timelines, which indicate the Earth has existed for a much shorter time. Another publisher deleted a passage that said Osama bin Laden's orders to his followers to kill Americans runs counter to Muslim teachings. "No idea could be farther from Muslim teachings," the deleted passage said. Critics said the book was too kind in describing Muslim beliefs. Representatives for textbook publishers insist the changes cited by the Texas Freedom Network are a small fraction of the revisions that have been made since the original versions of the books were presented to the state. Critics disagree. "Mainstream Texans have had enough of far-right groups pushing their personal religious and political beliefs into Texas public school classrooms," Smoot said. Venable said the Republican sweep in last week's election proves that Texans are conservatives and that Smoot's group does not represent the mainstream.

11/12/2002

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