Two Toes Up

John McCaslin
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Posted: Dec 13, 2007 10:31 AM
Two Toes Up

We won't reveal in what act and scene — or in what manner, shape or form — but embattled Sen. Larry E. Craig, Idaho Republican, has been written — tastefully, we assure you — into the script of "Monty Python's Spamalot," which opened Tuesday night before a packed audience at the National Theatre.

The multitalented Michael Siberry returns to Washington in the role of King Arthur, while his beautiful Lady of the Lake is played by Esther Stilwell, who grew up near Fayetteville, Ark. The Broadway production, politically adjusted a tad to amuse its Washington audience, runs through Jan. 6.

Scrooges

So, Democrats on Capitol Hill are rethinking their year-end budget strategy, wishing they had more to spend.

Rep. David R. Obey, Wisconsin Democrat, actually told the Wall Street Journal this week: "I'm not in the business of trying to pave the way for $70 billion to $90 billion for Iraq for $10 billion in table scraps."

Which got Senate Republicans wondering what $10 billion worth of "table scraps" could buy these days. Among other things, $10 billion buys: a 6-pound chicken, 3 pounds of fresh potatoes, 2 pounds of fresh green beans, and a pot to cook it all in for every household in America.

Lecture lecture

There are far too many lectures on any given day in Washington to cover them all, let alone give them mention. But one lecture to be delivered tomorrow by Lee Edwards, de facto historian of the Heritage Foundation, caught our eye: a lecture on lectures.

The conservative think tank hit a milestone this year: the 1,000th formal lecture delivered from its podiums.

"Pretty much the entire pantheon of conservative greats has held forth at Heritage: Reagan, Buckley, Kirkpatrick, Kirk, Hayek, Thatcher and many, many more," James Weidman, Heritage's director of editorial services, tells Inside the Beltway. "Indeed, it was [Russell] Kirk who kicked off the whole shebang, delivering the first Heritage lecture on June 4, 1960. His topic: 'The Conservative Movement: Then and Now.' "

Other intriguing titles from the past include: "The Politics of T.S. Eliot," by Mr. Kirk in 1989; "Why I Am Leaving Congress," by Rep. Tim Penny, Minnesota Democrat, in 1994; and "The Severed Flower: Conservatism Without God," by Rabbi Daniel Lapin in 1994.

Tomorrow morning's lecture by Mr. Edwards, who is the foundation's distinguished fellow in conservative thought (among other titles around town), is set for 11 in Lehrman Auditorium, hosted by Heritage President Edwin J. Feulner.

No Beetles

A classified ad in yesterday's edition of the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call reveals that at least one senior lawmaker is tired of not having somebody drive him around on the taxpayer dime:

"Senior Democratic Senate office is currently seeking a daily driver for the Senator. Individuals must have their own appropriate vehicle, impeccable driving skills, and a familiarity with Washington."

The ad does not specify what would qualify as an "appropriate" vehicle.

College of lawyers

Last week, Rep. Ted Poe, Texas Republican, sent his staff lawyer Gina Santucci to stand in line in the snow — for two hours, it turned out — in order to take notes on oral arguments before the Supreme Court on what constitutional rights should be extended to detainees at the Guantanamo prisoner camp in Cuba.

The problem is the Supreme Court spectator gallery has a mere 50 seats, and those who finally got into the proceedings were allowed to remain for only five minutes before they had to leave and make room for the next batch of snow-covered souls filing into the room.

Lawmakers are crafting legislation that would allow Supreme Court proceedings to be televised, as now happens in Congress. The Justice Department, however, opposes the measure, saying it wants to protect the "collegial environment" of the nation's highest court.

"I don't mean to intrude on what a 'collegial environment' is, but what is it?" asks Mr. Poe.

Tea time

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul of Texas has chosen the historic date of Dec. 16, when American Colonists dumped tea into the Boston Harbor to protest an oppressive tax, for what he is hoping will be the largest one-day political donation event in history.

Instead of tea, he's asking his supporters on Sunday to "dump millions of dollars" into his presidential campaign so that he is able to reach the White House and fight what he calls the "inflation tax."