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Godspeed, Henry

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Poor Henry Hager. The young man set to wed first daughter Jenna Bush had better get in shape fast — be ready to retire early at night and rise before the crows, on Saturday and Sunday mornings alike, to pedal his wet bicycle through the mud — just one of the unusual hobbies his future father-in-law enjoys.


As first lady Laura Bush warned in an interview with CBS News yesterday, Mr. Hager is "going to be the son that George never had."

Query for Chelsea

"So Chelsea Clinton makes $200K a year doing whatever it is she does," writes Inside the Beltway reader Steve Smith of Denver, having read one of our items yesterday on the former first daughter. "Has anybody asked her if she thinks she's not paying enough income tax?"

Sing Sing and such

In one of the last columns written by William F. Buckley Jr., he took amusement in debates between Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, when "two antagonists are required by a scheduled event to speak to their opponent, and when it is clear that they would much rather tear out the eyes of their opponent."

The conservative writer and leader was reminded of the 1940 presidential election, when "Wendell Willkie characterized his observations about FDR, whom, during the campaign, he had said should be handcuffed, sent to Sing Sing, and deprived of bread and water."

Minding his 'kids'

Don't look now, but Fergal Murray is coming to town — and bless his heart, just before St. Patrick's Day.

Who, might you ask, is Fergal Murray?

Arguably he has the best job in the world — "Guinness Brewmaster." Otherwise, the makers of the legendary Irish stout are behind a new effort to make St. Patrick's Day a nationally recognized holiday in the United States via a petition to Congress known as Proposition 3-17. (That's the annual date of St. Patrick's Day, which — by the way — falls on a Monday this year, so you might as well plan now to make it a three-day weekend.)


We're told Mr. Murray will frequent various pubs while on Capitol Hill, teaching the six steps to pouring a perfect pint, which he equates to minding a child.

As for the petition, the goal is to get at least 1 million signatures by midnight on March 16 so that it can be presented to Congress on St. Patrick's Day. Readers can sign by visiting

Gun access

A pair of complaints filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Gun Owners of America (GOA) were dismissed this week.

The FEC says it finds no reason to believe that the NRA and its political action committee, the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund, violated the Federal Election Campaign Act by allowing the general public to have access to the fund's Web site, as opposed to only allowing NRA members with passwords to have access.

Similarly, the FEC found nothing wrong with a 2006 voter guide that appeared on the GOA Web site, which could be linked by separate e-mails. The FEC says the act was not violated because the guide did not contain words or explicit directives that urged the election of any identified candidates.

'Big mouth' McCain

"John McCain flew the A-4 Skyhawk. That dubs him 'attack pilot,' not fighter pilot," notes retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. G.M. Perna, a daily fan of Inside the Beltway.

"Back in my Navy days, pilots were identified as follows:


"You can tell a multiengine pilot by his big posterior. You can tell an attack pilot by his big mouth. You can't tell a fighter pilot anything."

Worth quoting

"OK, so one winter does not a climate make. It would be premature to claim an Ice Age is looming just because we have had one of our most brutal winters in decades. But if environmentalists and environment reporters can run around shrieking about the manmade destruction of the natural order every time a robin shows up on Georgian Bay two weeks early, then it is at least fair game to use this winter's weather stories to wonder whether the alarmist are being a tad premature."

— Lorne Gunter, senior columnist for the Edmonton Journal in Canada, where obviously the robins have yet to roost this winter

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