John McCaslin

Headline of our column item two years ago: "A Steal."

After all, the late President Gerald R. Ford's longtime residence in Alexandria, which had languished on the market for 10 months, suddenly was "Reduced $100,000" to $899,000, announced McEnearney Associates, Inc.

That price reduction certainly should have sold the "National Historic Landmark," right? Figure that the nation's 38th president lived at 514 Crown View Drive for nearly two decades — from the time he was a congressman from Michigan, while vice president, even for the first 10 days of his presidency.

In other words, the three-level, four-bedroom brick-and-wood house with a "gigantic swimming pool," knotty-pine kitchen, and classic pink bathroom actually served as the White House during the crucial period following the surrender and retreat of Richard M. Nixon.

Who knew in 2007 that the country was headed into one of the worst real-estate sales' slumps in our lifetime?

Now, two years later, another ad is posted: "Live in a President's House."

New price: $799,000


Speaking of former presidents, the Republican National Committee has narrowed the stormy eight years of George W. Bush's presidency to two words, a legacy now adhered to white cotton T-shirts being sold on the RNC's official Web site for $15.95: "Courage. Leadership."


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid brushed aside the Democratic leadership's controversial proposed economic-stimulus package long enough to set a date of Monday, Feb. 23, at 2 p.m. for the traditional reading of George Washington's Farewell Address.

In our opinion, there's no better time to pause and reflect on Washington's words to his increasingly divided (politically speaking) young nation.

The U.S. Senate Historical Office recalls that Washington was "worn out by burdens of the presidency and attacks of political foes," until such time in September 1796 he threw up his arms and said enough is enough.

With the assistance of Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, he composed a "Farewell Address" to the nation designed "to inspire and guide future generations." His principal concern was for the safety of the eight-year-old Constitution, fearing that the stability of the Republic was threatened by "political factionalism."

"Writing at a time before political parties had become accepted as vital extraconstitutional, opinion-focusing agencies, Washington feared that they carried the seeds of the nation's destruction through petty factionalism," explains the Senate historian.


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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