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Republicans Enlist History in Fight Against Filibusters

Still, Byrd probably regrets that bit about the "dead hand of the past" or his observation that rules "have been changed from time to time."

Gun Owners and Democrats

Byrd and the Republicans aren't the only ones combing through history in the filibuster debate. The Gun Owners of America, a Second Amendment group even more hard-line than the National Rifle Association, is reminding its members that the filibuster has been used in the past to block a ban on semiautomatic guns, .50-caliber weapons, a ban on gun-show sales, and a trigger-lock mandate.

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) tried to change filibuster laws.

In an e-mail alert these strange bedfellows of the Democrats in the filibuster fight warned that when "liberal, anti-gun Democrats get back into power and they want to push comprehensive gun bans, gun owners will be the ones using the filibuster." The group, targeting 18 Republican senators, called the filibuster "our greatest weapon for killing gun control."

Sen. Clinton Gains in Polls

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) appears to be making some progress in her move to the middle in preparation for a 2008 presidential race.

A poll by Rasmussen Reports finds that the number of Americans viewing the former first lady as a liberal dropped from 51 to 43 percent in January. The number regarding her as moderate rose from 27 to 34 percent. That's the good news for Clinton, who leads in the early -- and famously unreliable -- horse-race polls for the 2008 nomination. The bad news is that her "liberal" numbers are still dangerously high for a prospective Democratic nominee. During 2004, the proportion viewing Democratic nominee John F. Kerry as liberal in Rasmussen polls jumped from 37 to 53 percent after a barrage of Bush-Cheney ads portraying Kerry as hopelessly liberal.

After a 2004 election that showed "values" voters solidly behind Bush, many Democrats have sought to reconnect with their spiritual and centrist sides. In January, Clinton delivered a speech calling abortion "a sad, even tragic choice to many, many women" and urged a search for "common ground" to reduce the number of abortions.

Middle Class Loses Ground

While Democrats and Republicans vie for voters on social issues, the middle class is taking an economic beating, according to the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy. The group, affiliated with Andrew Young, the Democratic former mayor of Atlanta, ranked 14 congressional votes of interest to those earning between $25,000 and $100,000. It reports that the average "middle class score" dropped from 61 to 43 percent in the House in 2003, and from 76 to 52 percent in the Senate in 2003. The group reported a "precipitous plunge" in the middle class score for GOP lawmakers over the period.

Another Commentator Soiled

The left-wing food fight continues on American campuses. Conservative commentator David Horowitz was hit by a pie Wednesday night while delivering a lecture at Butler University in Indianapolis. This follows the March 30 pie strike on Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, March 30 at Earlham College, Richmond, Ind., and an April 1 dousing of Pat Buchanan with salad dressing at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo.

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