I was dining at Taverna on Capitol Hill the other night and spotted Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich sitting in a dark corner almost by his lonesome self. Which reminded me that the Ohio congressman is in need of a first lady.
"As a bachelor, I get a chance to fantasize about my first lady," Mr. Kucinich told the Fox News Channel earlier this month. "And I certainly want a dynamic, outspoken woman who was fearless in her desire for peace in the world and for universal single-payer health care and a full employment economy. If you are out there, call me."
In that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is taken (sort of), PoliticsNH.com has taken the candidate up on his offer, sponsoring a national contest to help him find the perfect first lady. The political site is posting profiles and photographs of interested single women from all over the world, and if Kucinich sees anyone he likes, the site will fly the lucky lady to New Hampshire and treat the pair to dinner.
Susan, 37, an advertising executive from Louisiana, calls attention to her foreign policy experience: "I have just recently returned to the United States after working abroad for U.S. companies for over 12 years. My experience in the Middle East, Eastern and Central Europe has been overwhelmingly educational."
Barbara, 49, a journalist from Michigan, points out: "Let's face it, having a journalist in his camp, the future President Kucinich could save money and have the first lady double as his press secretary. Should a scandal of any kind pop up, who better to nip it in the bud than a reporter?"
Geri, 20, a native of Paris, France, who lives in Massachusetts, confesses: "I find Dennis to be a very handsome man. I'm looking for a special someone, mature and old enough to handle a strong, passionate lady like me. I may be young, but after all age is nothing but a number."
Finally, Toni, 53, a librarian from Ohio, writes: "Why let George Bush be the only one to have a librarian in his corner? You think they're just sitting there at the desk, all quiet and everything. They're like plotting the revolution, man."
COLD TO HOT
U.S. Ambassador to Japan Howard Baker didn't have a quiet 78th birthday after all.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and a large entourage of Pentagon aides and reporters popped in on the ambassador in Tokyo over the weekend to sing "Happy Birthday" and eat cake.
Baker, once chief of staff to President Reagan, recalled this year that "the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 seemed to signal a new era of peace and prosperity."
"Unfortunately," he says, today's terrorism threat "is in many ways more serious than the threats we faced during the Cold War."
ARE WE READY
Six-term Florida Rep. Corrine Brown doesn't like what she doesn't see along U.S. coastlines.
A former ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Coast Guard and maritime transportation subcommittee, the Democrat notes that since Sept. 11 Uncle Sam's coast-guarding "Sting Ray" helicopters have been pressed into the anti-terrorist mission, defending waterways from waterborne terrorist attack and providing protection for presidential visits.
But two years and running after Sept. 11, she reveals, "there are only eight armed Homeland Security helicopters authorized for airborne use of force over our tens of thousands of miles of ports and waterways, which are dotted with strategic facilities, such as nuclear plants."
She warns that the United States any day now could be confronted by suicide terrorists heading full bore into a critical bridge or container ship.
The U.S. national security strategy implemented by President Bush in 2002 - in part, creating a safer "world" - is undermining U.S. security and breeding vehement anti-American sentiment that could spark more terrorist attacks.
So argues Cato Institute defense expert Charles V. Pena, who says that rather than meddling in other countries, the United States would do better focusing on protecting the homeland against future terrorist attacks.
"U.S. national security strategy should not aim to make the world a better place," he says. "Instead, it should be focused more narrowly on protecting the United States itself - the country, the population and the liberties that underlie the American way of life."
EXPOSE THE GOOD
We're intrigued by the "Affirmative Action: End It - Don't Mend It" chapter of Star Parker's new WND book, "Uncle Sam's Plantation."
Harry Belafonte called the Colin Powells of the world "house slaves" because they do not believe advancements in life result from ethnicity, writes the black president of the Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education.
"This is typical liberal arrogance," she says, "disparaging people for the unpardonable sin of disagreeing with them. No, the Powells, Clarence Thomases, Alan Keyeses and Condi Rices of the world understand that some people, both black and white, simply strive to be good people and morally sensitive to all."
The author argues that the abolishment of affirmative-action programs would help reveal whether any "good people" work in the admissions departments of America's colleges and in the hiring departments of major corporations and businesses.
DELAYING THE REAPER
Stuart Roy is lucky to be alive.
The communications director for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was driving to work Sunday over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge when a pitchfork came unfastened from a passing truck and sliced through his windshield.
"It was flying through the air in a straight line - coming straight at my head - fork first," Roy tells this column. "I slammed on my brakes and shut my eyes, and then it smashed through the windshield. There was glass everywhere. I must have had my mouth open because I was spitting out glass."
When he opened his eyes, Roy was shocked to find the pitchfork had come to a stop just above the steering wheel - its razor sharp forks barely missing his face. Police estimate that when the tool impaled the windshield it was traveling at 100 mph.
"If it wasn't for one tong going through one piece of metal it would have come all the way through my head," says the Hill aide, who is keeping the pitchfork as a good-luck charm.
Counting his blessings Monday, Roy says his wife had the best line of all: "You know, if you die by way of a pitchfork, it's not a very good sign of which way you're going."
The Eisenhower Institute's next author series Dec. 8 will feature Walter Isaacson and his newly released "Benjamin Franklin: An American Life" (Simon and Schuster).
It should be an intriguing discussion, for besides exploring how one of America's founders helped define society, the book chronicles Franklin's tumultuous relationship with his illegitimate son and grandson, his practical marriage, and his flirtations with the ladies of Paris.
A former chairman and CEO of CNN and managing editor of Time magazine, Isaacson is president of the Aspen Institute. He previously penned "Kissinger: A Biography."