Beltway Beat: Republican war?

John McCaslin
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Posted: Aug 14, 2002 12:00 AM
Fully two-thirds - or 68 percent - of Americans would support President Bush if he orders an attack to overthrow Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. "That nearly 7 out of 10 are supportive of a potential U.S. invasion of Iraq indicates the American people recognize that in order to rid the world of terrorism, drastic measures like this may need to be taken," says Chris Ingram, principal of Wilson Research Strategies, which has just completed a new survey. "Next to Osama bin Laden, there probably isn't anyone the American people would more like to see removed than Saddam Hussein," Ingram says. At the same time, the WRS poll finds that politics is creeping into the question of possible military action against Iraq. Along party lines, 83 percent of Republicans support the commander in chief to a greater degree than their Democrat or Independent counterparts, 61 percent and 63 percent respectively. MINTED MEMORIES Congress has directed the Treasury Department to mint several new commemorative coins to remember the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks: $50 gold coins, $1 silver coins and 50-cent coins. And Uncle Sam is seeing to it that the next of kin of every victim of Sept. 11 will receive a $50 gold coin free of charge. The coins bear an image of the Pentagon and U.S. flag on one side, and the World Trade Center towers on the other and will be available for one year. OUR KIND OF BROKER This intriguing stock theory is said to have originated from the desk of John A. Millard of Shearman & Sterling in New York: "If you had bought $1,000 worth of Nortel stock one year ago, it would now be worth $49. "With Enron, you would have $16.50 of the original $1,000. "With WorldCom, you would have less than $5 left. "If you had bought $1,000 worth of Budweiser (the beer, not the stock) one year ago, drank all the beer, then turned in the cans for the 5-cent deposit, you would have $107. "Based on the above, my current investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle." SHARE THE HORROR At a time when the Securities and Exchange Commission is weighing a probe of former Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin's relationship with the bankrupt Enron Corp., the Democratic National Committee is asking former Enron employees to share their stories about how corporate "irresponsibility" stole their savings. "When Enron went bankrupt, sending its stock plummeting, thousands of employees lost their life savings because their pensions were tied up almost exclusively in Enron stock," the DNC writes to Enron's former employees, among others. "The futures of millions of hardworking families are at risk thanks to the irresponsibility of corporate executives. "Democrats are working hard to protect your family, but we need your help. If you have suffered losses in your pension, retirement funds, or life savings because of corporate irresponsibility or fraud, please share your story with us today." Rubin left the Clinton administration in 1999 and is now chairman of the executive committee of Citigroup, a bank that lent millions of dollars to Houston-based Enron. When Enron teetered toward collapse, Rubin picked up the telephone and called the Treasury Department, seeking intervention on Enron's behalf. "Apart from the questionable propriety of a former Treasury secretary trying to solicit financial favors from former colleagues at a department he once led, I would ask that you investigate all (Enron stock) trades submitted by Citigroup and/or its subsidiaries and their clients in the two weeks preceding Mr. Rubin's call to (Treasury) as well as the two weeks following the call," read a letter written by Rep. Mark Foley of Florida, one of the House Republican leaders who has called for the SEC to investigate Rubin. WHO NEEDS SATIRE? Reading a few of the more outrageous news stories of recent days, Ann Sheridan, one of Washington's political observers, writes: "Relative to the Naval Academy's recent decision that midshippersons should not be yelled at during their plebe year because their feelings could be hurt, combined with the Defense Advisory Committee On Women in the Services having recommended that future submarines should include female crew members, allow me to invoke the spirit of George Orwell's statement that there are 'Spectacles before which Satire herself stands mute,' and suggest a possible scenario for that event when it finally occurs. "Headline: New Ship Launched: The USS UNISEX, latest addition to the U.S. Submarine fleet, was commissioned in Norfolk, Va., amid protests from thousands of wives, husbands, children, veterans, recruiters and family counselors. Members of the Divorce Lawyers Association of America, although not part of the demonstration, were seen to be distributing their cards to the assembled. "In a departure from tradition, former President Clinton's face had been painted on the bow of the submarine, and as Sen. Hillary Rodham, New York Democrat, swung the bottle of champagne toward the hull, she slipped and her husband's image took a direct hit. A roar of approval rose from the protesters. OH NO, POLITICS What television watcher in this country hasn't seen Steve Irwin, the wild man Australian "Crocodile Hunter" who puts his face up to crocodiles and poisonous snakes? Irwin was the guest of Laura Ingraham on her syndicated radio show Monday night (his feature film "The Crocodile Hunter" is out, he has an action doll, even did a World War II special for the Discovery Channel on his family's wartime service), and somehow politics crept in with the gators: Ingraham: I bet you're conservative politically, right? Irwin: I am, mate, yes. Ingraham: That's the real reason I wanted you on. Irwin: Oh no, not politics, mate, I was warned. Ingraham: You should come here and hang out at the White House with President Bush. Washington politics can be just as dangerous as the Australian wild. Irwin: I would love to hang out with George. When he came to power and all this stuff was happening in the world, I became a huge George fan. And I reckon we could sit down and chew the fat and have a great yarn. BORING REPUBLICANS It sounds as if Terry McAuliffe, the wealthy political guru handpicked by Bill Clinton to head the Democratic National Committee, is carrying on the "party" without the former president. We turn to NewsMax.com to read that a "tipsy-sounding" DNC chairman was interviewed by a top New York radio station Friday night (Aug. 9) while traveling aboard a Las Vegas "party bus" outfitted with two wet bars, wall-to-wall leather couches and mirrors on the ceiling. "Let me just say, there have been some wild things that have occurred in this bus this day," McAuliffe revealed to WABC Radio's John Batchelor and Paul Alexander. "We have beers and everything." "You should be here in Vegas," McAuliffe added. "This is as good as it gets out here. We're in Jennifer Palmieri's - I don't know what you call this thing," he said referring to the DNC spokeswoman. "Oh my God!" Palmieri could be heard gasping in the background as McAuliffe rambled on. "I'll tell you this, these guys didn't do this at the RNC meeting," McAuliffe said of the Republican National Committee, before breaking into a goofy guffaw.