'Tis the season for New Year's resolutions, and once again Inside the Beltway offers its readers the opportunity to tell politicians what they'd like them to accomplish in 2004. Without further ado:
- "I, George W. Bush, resolve to find an appropriate military decoration for that soldier who thought fast enough to give Saddam Hussein my 'greetings' in his spider hole." (Paul Sarvis, Elk Grove, Calif.)
- "I, Saddam Hussein, resolve to not be such a procrastinator." (S.S., St. Louis)
- "I, George W. Bush, resolve to ban the imports of all meat products into the U.S." (Larry Whitehurst, Mt. Horeb, Wis.)
- "I, Joe Lieberman, resolve to send Al Gore a thank-you card - and a case of steaks - for endorsing Howard Dean." (J.S.R., Stafford, Va.)
- "I, Howard Dean, resolve not to blame President Bush for 'mad cow' or for my 'foot-in-mouth' disease." (Brian Larsson, Easton, Pa.)
- "I, Al Gore, resolve in 2004 to fix the Internet that I invented and make it spam-free." (Bill Petruzel, Springfield, Va.)
- "I, George W. Bush, resolve to set up a taskforce to find and eliminate wasteful ways in the federal government so we can offset the national debt that I have incurred." (CMC, Leesburg, Va.)
- "I, Joe Lieberman, resolve to stop speaking like Elmer Fudd." (Barry Hill, Annapolis)
- "I, every congressman and senator, resolve to pass a bill allowing my constituents to set my salary in the future." (R. Umland, Summerfield, Fla.)
- "I, Bill Clinton, resolve to have my picture taken at least once this year with my wife." (Dave Dahlke, Port Orchard, Wash.)
- "I, John Kerry, resolve to reference my Vietnam service fewer times in 2004 than there are names on the Vietnam Memorial." (L. Berry, Voorhees, N.J.)
- "I, Ben Chandler, Democratic nominee for congressman of Kentucky, resolve to stop acting like Howard Dean." (David Adams, Nicholasville, Ky.) Note: The Feb. 17 special election for the 6th Congressional District of Kentucky is the first partisan contest this year in the United States.
- "We, Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins (both of Maine), resolve to end the years-long charade and place 'Democrat' after our names." (C. Henderson, Houston)
- "I, Dick Cheney, resolve in 2004 to get out more." (Howard M. Peace, Asheville, N.C.)
- "I, Howard Dean, resolve to control my seething but 'compassionate' anger for President Bush to prevent my head from exploding before the November election." (J.A.L., Sewell, N.J.)
- "I, Charles Schumer, resolve to go to the shooting range at least twice a month in 2004 to improve my firearms skills." (Ken Hathaway, Browning Arms).
- "I, Howard Dean, resolve to trust, communicate, and work closely with Chairman Terry McAuliffe - until November 5, 2004." (Don Kasprzak, Plattsburgh, N.Y.)
- "I, Dick Gephardt, resolve to remove the words 'miserable' and 'failure' from my vocabulary, unless of course, I am referring to my own campaign." (Joe Menavich, Potomac Falls, Md.)
- "I, George W. Bush, resolve to quit signing bills without reading them first." (Brian McCauley, Haymarket, Va.)
- "I, Arnold Schwarzenegger, resolve in 2004 to correctly pronounce the name of the state I govern." (Scott Wance, Reston, Va.)
- "I, John Kerry, resolve to wash my mouth out with green or purple ketchup the next time I use the 'F-word.' I also resolve to tell my wife what a dumb idea artificially colored ketchup is." (M.J.L., Marriottsville, Md.)
- "I, Terry McAuliffe, resolve to never again use the following terms in the same sentence: 2000, Florida, election and selection." (John Casteel, Traverse City, Mich.)
- "I, George W. Bush, resolve to veto any bill that makes a person or behavior or status legal that is now illegal." (N.N., Philadelphia)
- "I, Wesley Clark, resolve to write on the blackboard 100 times, 'Being a bully doesn't prove anything; I must develop integrity and moral fiber if I want to prove how tough I am.'" (M.J.L., Marriottsville, Md.)
- "Now that everyone knows Brits, Italians, Bulgarians and even Thais have died in Iraq, I, Howard Dean, shall never again use the word 'unilateral.' " (Ali F. Sevin, Fort Washington, Md.)
- "I, Terry McAuliffe, resolve to embark on a career where I can be successful." (Dave Guild, Prior Lake, Minn.)
- "I, Tom Daschle, am deeply saddened to resolve in 2004 my search for stimulating rhetoric." (Marco Cappabianca, Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.)
- "I, John Kerry, the French-looking Democrat senator from Massachusetts, who by the way served in Vietnam, resolve to get a white-sidewall, Marine-style haircut." (Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Harry M. Mathis, Round Rock, Texas)
- "I, Howard Dean, resolve to be the candidate for conspiracy theorists, militant pacifists and those who only take their foot out of their mouth to shoot it." (Nate Coates, Washington)
- "I, Hillary Rodham Clinton, resolve to get a tow cable longer than Howard Dean's cliff." (Paul Sarvis, Elk Grove, Calif.)
- "I, Howard Dean, resolve to find a taller cliff." (Ditto)
YOU NEVER KNOW
What with the president's highly secretive visit to Iraq on Thanksgiving Day, who can blame reporters standing guard over the vacationing George W. Bush in Crawford, Texas, for not trusting the White House scheduler.
Take this week, when a reporter posted in the otherwise sleepy Texas town asked White House spokesman Trent Duffy: "Could you confirm or knock down reports out of the Middle East that the president may go to Libya next year?"
Mr. Duffy: "I don't have any updates on the president's schedule at this time."
Reporter: "Can you assure us he's not going this week, though?"
Mr. Duffy: "I don't have any updates on the president's schedule."
Reporter: "That was a joke."
Citing yet another eye-opening reason for the Senate to reject the omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal 2004 - hoping to force congressional appropriators to strip out "thousands and thousands" of pork-barrel projects - Rep. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican, draws attention to this week's earmark: $100,000 for the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tenn.
LOTS OF STORIES
The Republican Study Committee's Money Monitor keeps track of how Washington spends your money. And is Washington ever on a spending spree this year compared with last.
Here's year-to-date totals of net one-year costs of House-passed appropriations:
Fiscal year 2003: $476,378,900,000.00
Fiscal year 2004: $873,990,730,000.00
It's noteworthy that Americans cast more than 300,000 votes as part of a National Archives initiative, "The People's Vote: 100 Documents That Shaped America."
The 10 documents, in order, that received the most votes: Declaration of Independence (76 percent), U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, Louisiana Purchase Treaty, Emancipation Proclamation, 19th and 13th amendments to the Constitution, Gettysburg Address, Civil Rights Act and Social Security Act.
But perhaps more interesting, the paper ballot included an opportunity for voters to "write in" documents not on the Archives' printed list of 100, and at the top of the write-in votes is President Reagan's 1987 speech before the Berlin Wall, in which he said, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."
Other documents not listed among the original 100 that received multiple write-in votes were President Bush's speech responding to the Sept. 11 attacks, the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, and Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech.
The Garden State could soon be known as the Clone Capital.
New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey, a Democrat, has signaled he will sign into law the nation's most sweeping pro-cloning legislation to date, which doesn't please the Washington-based Family Research Council.
"If ever there was a piece of legislation which tramples the sanctity of life, it is the one Governor McGreevey is poised to sign," says Connie Mackey, the organization's vice president for government affairs.
She says the law would authorize New Jersey's large biotech industry to clone a human embryo, implant that embryo into a woman's womb, develop the embryo to the fetal stage, and then kill it for "research purposes."
Yes, People for the American Way says it "helped bring the provocative 'Trumbo' to the New York stage this fall, with its timely echoes of writer Dalton Trumbo's persecution in the McCarthy era, and free speech advocates/actors including Alec Baldwin, Tim Robbins, Chris Cooper, Nathan Lane, Ed Harris, Anthony LaPaglia, Gore Vidal and others in the role."
But Laurie Boeder, media relations director for PFAW, says contrary to our item in Monday's Inside the Beltway column it isn't yet known whether those same actors/activists will participate in the PFAW's renewed fight against "Patriot Act II" antiterrorism legislation.
Also, Boeder says, the past year's expanded network of regional PFAW offices includes Houston, Chicago and Tallahassee, Fla., which join existing offices in New York, Los Angeles and Miami.
Among the more intriguing political observations as we approach the Democratic presidential primaries is candidate "backpedaling" on the issues of guns and gun control.
Alan M. Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, says the priority of his gun lobby this 2004 election year is to make sure "none" of the declared anti-gun rights candidates "gets near the Oval Office and gets the chance to reinstate Bill Clinton's gun-grabbing agenda."
"Even Sen. John 'I'm not the gun lobby' Kerry had his photograph taken on a pheasant hunt in Iowa," notes Mr. Gottlieb, who also recalls that the Democratic Leadership Council held a meeting with candidates in Atlanta to explain how to show that they are "friends of the Second Amendment" without turning off their liberal Democratic base.
Says the lobbyist: "We gun owners know what that's called: camouflage."
Now that Osama bin Laden apparently has reared his murderous head again, we thought it timely to publish the official U.S. Counterterrorism Policy, obtained yesterday from the State Department's coordinator for counterterrorism, Ambassador J. Cofer Black:
"First, make no concessions to terrorists and strike no deals;
"Second, bring terrorists to justice for their crimes;
"Third, isolate and apply pressure on states that sponsor terrorism to force them to change their behavior; and
"Fourth, bolster the counterterrorism capabilities of those countries that work with the U.S. and require assistance."
CLOSING THE CIRCLE
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is only the most recent native Austrian to make waves in American policy circles.
The "liberty" philosophies of the late F.A. Hayek and Ludwig von Mises and other modern philosophers of the "Austrian School" of economics - being icons of the American center-right - helped guide the coalition on the heels of the 1976 elections into a governing bloc that continues today.
(The story of the Austrian School begins in the 15th century, when the followers of St. Thomas Aquinas, writing and teaching at the University of Salamanca in Spain, sought to explain the full range of human action and social organization.)
Now, with the help of another Austrian economist, Gunther Fehlinger, these pioneers' labors, having helped transform the American conservative grass roots and intellectual base, are making their way full circle to Europe just as that continent escalates its own supra-nationalist revolution into a growing European Union.
Fehlinger is director of the new think tank of the EU Parliament's governing center-right European People's Party, the European Enterprise Institute. Modeled largely on Washington-based think tanks and resonant of the Republican Revolution of 1994, EEI is tackling barriers to the all-important "SME" (small and medium enterprise) sector, or entrepreneurs, who can be more readily crushed by a rigid, centralized and ever-growing bureaucracy.
Through his visits to Washington, Fehlinger has cultivated the support of such policy-makers as then-chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee, Republican Sen. Christopher S. "Kit" Bond of Missouri, and current House Small Business Committee Chairman Rep. Donald Manzullo, Illinois Republican.
The fiercely pro-American wonk, operating on the premise that to successfully continue spreading economic freedoms worldwide both Atlantic bookends must control overly intrusive bureaucracy, has now reached out to American experts to provide counsel on the European Union's burgeoning regulatory state.
Christopher C. Horner, Washington lawyer and senior fellow at the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute, is one of those with whom EEI is working to address governmental efforts to limit the citizenry's access to, for example, affordable energy and automobility on the premise of one erstwhile catastrophe or another.
"EEI and the forces it represents disprove yet again the general media spin, of a 'Europe' strongly at odds with America and its deregulatory bent, which leaves it out-of-step with the social paradise supplanting individual freedoms with the all-wise and benevolent state," Horner tells Inside the Beltway. "Could there be a worse time for the big government, gloom-and-doom left?"