John McCaslin

"The world seems to be waiting for Bush to depart and for the next American president," Mr. Buchanan notes. "It is hard to give the Bush foreign- policy passing grades. We pushed NATO eastward and alienated Russia. We have 140,000 Army and Marine Corps troops tied down in Iraq in a war now in its sixth year, from which our NATO allies have all extricated themselves. We have another war going in Afghanistan, where the situation is as grave as it has been since we went in."

And then this: "America remains the first economic and military power on earth. But after seven years of Bush, we no longer inspire the awe or hopes we once did. ... Of Bush, it may be said he was a far better politician and candidate than his father, but as a statesman and world leader, he could not carry the old man's loafers."

Don't try this

Speaking to the recent Chartered Financial Analysts Institute Conference here in Washington, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Christopher Cox recalled an incident that "reportedly really happened once at a well-known capital management firm."

A young analyst, he said, was walking by an office and saw an investment consultant hanging upside down from the ceiling, and "she asked, 'What are you doing? What if the boss walks by and sees you?' "

"The consultant told her, 'I need a few weeks off. So I'm pretending to be nuts.' And sure enough, just then the CEO walked by and saw the man dangling from the ceiling. Naturally, he looked up at him and said, 'What are you doing?'

"'I'm a light bulb,' answered the consultant. 'You're going crazy,' replied the CEO. 'Take a vacation.' The man jumped down to leave, but then the young analyst started to follow him out the door. 'Where do you think you're going, young lady?' the CEO asked. 'Home,' she replied. 'I can't very well work in the dark.' "

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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