Robert Novak
WASHINGTON -- The California-based organization trying to pick off three Republican electors to switch the presidency from George W. Bush to Al Gore may have picked hopeless prospects. Four names are listed, along with telephone numbers, on the Web site of VoteWithAmerica.com. None answer their telephones. Wayne MacDonald of Derry, N.H., who supported Sen. John McCain against Bush in the New Hampshire primary, is Rockingham County Republican chairman and a hard-core party loyalist. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Scottsdale, Ariz., is another McCain backer who is a party loyalist. Frances Sadler of Ashland, Va., left a message on her voice mail assuring callers she will vote only for Bush. Mamon Wright of Memphis, Tenn., was an alternate delegate to the 1988 Republican National Convention. BUSH AND GORE President-elect Bush's plans for a round of meetings in the nation's capital were spoiled when Al Gore insisted on taking a few days off after conceding the election and not returning to Washington until Tuesday. Advisers had urged Bush to come to Washington this weekend to meet congressional leaders of both parties while they were still in the capital for the post-election lame duck session. Then he would be able to meet President Clinton, Vice President Gore and the congressional leaders over a whirlwind weekend. Bush backers grumbled that Gore easily could have changed his plans to accommodate the president-elect but chose not to. Bush did not want to confer with Democratic congressional leaders prior to seeing Gore, so he probably will not sit down with Senate Minority Leader Thomas Daschle and House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt until January. WHO'S AT TREASURY? Former Federal Reserve Governor Lawrence Lindsey, George W. Bush's principal economic adviser, got an unexpected answer when he recommended to the president-elect that he eliminate the Clinton-created Cabinet-level job of National Economic Director. According to transition sources, Bush told Lindsey that he had him in mind for the very job that he wanted eliminated. That would crush hopes by Lindsey at 46 to be the youngest Secretary of the Treasury since 40-year-old Albert Gallatin was named by President Thomas Jefferson 200 years ago. A footnote: There is no truth to a published report that Bush is considering retaining Lawrence Summers, President Clinton's Secretary of the Treasury. TROUBLE FOR JEB In the wake of Florida's recount, Republican Gov. Jeb Bush may face trouble for re-election in 2002 with a threat from the state's most formidable vote-getter: Democratic Sen. Bob Graham. Graham was the popular Florida governor for eight years before being elected to the Senate in 1986. In the state's political circles, it always has been considered likely that Graham wants to end his public career back in Tallahassee, and 2002 (when he will be 66) may be his last chance. Bush's prestige has declined because of difficulty carrying Florida for his brother. Republicans grumble that Bush's initiative against racial quotas alienated the state's African-Americans and suggest that he should retreat on this issue. WHAT HYDE WANTS Although Rep. Henry Hyde of Illinois is trying to become chairman of the House International Relations Committee, he really wants a waiver from six-year term limits so he can serve two more years as Judiciary Committee chairman. Hyde argues he spent so much time managing President Clinton's impeachment that major projects at Judiciary had to be laid aside. House Republican leaders are sympathetic, but tell Hyde that making him an exception would cause other term-limited chairmen to request waivers -- especially Rep. Bud Shuster of Pennsylvania as Transportation Committee chairman. A footnote: Interviews by the House Republican Steering Committee with Rep. Philip Crane of Illinois were so impressive that conservatives have redoubled efforts to make him chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. Crane has seniority, but Ways and Means members have considered it a foregone conclusion that Rep. Bill Thomas of California would win the vote of the Steering Committee and defeat Crane.

Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.
 

 
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