Pressed by Press

Posted: Jun 13, 2008 10:15 AM
Pressed by Press

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein remains "amazed" by all the public intrigue surrounding the secret meeting held in her Washington residence last week between Democratic Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and onetime rival Barack Obama.

"What really happened?" Mrs. Feinstein, appearing at Wednesday evening's book party for broadcaster and pundit Bill Press at The Monocle, quoted inquisitors as asking. "Did you listen in?"

"Did you?" wondered Mr. Press, amid laughter from party attendees.

"No!" Mrs. Feinstein shot back.

The Democratic senator explained that Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama sat alone in two living room chairs facing one another while she was upstairs working. The candidates then called her downstairs after their hour-long meeting ended at 10 p.m., at which time she bid them good night.

Seduced again

"Sleep well in Chappaqua, Hillary Clinton."

So begins an op-ed piece published here for the first time, written by Rosalie Osias, chairwoman of the global-population provider Osias Foundation of Great Neck, N.Y.

"You didn't personally fail in your lost bid for the Democratic presidential nomination," Ms. Osias opines. "Your bickering advisors didn't fail you. Your morphing messages didn't fail you. Even your blundering political dinosaur of a husband didn't fail your campaign."

Ouch! So what failed Mrs. Clinton?

"American women failed Hillary Clinton," she continues. "In a political tragedy not seen since the Women's Christian Temperance Union pushed that fatally flawed social experiment, Prohibition, this enormously powerful voting bloc has become a fragmented, disoriented and confused force that just abdicated its political future for a generation.

"With genuine power within our grasp, with American history about to be rewritten by a woman, enough of us became so distracted, even seduced, by a charismatic male that we destroyed this unprecedented opportunity."

The foundation's chairwoman says Mrs. Clinton's candidacy "represented a new era to every woman who works, every woman who has a vision for her daughter, and every woman who contemplates her own professional potential. ... We had come to think that this was the time, this was the place and this was the woman who would create that new chapter in American democracy. And then Democratic women across the country punted."

Now, Ms. Osias urges the New York senator to "run, don't walk, from any talk of becoming vice president. Instead, own the Senate. Seek to become the majority leader of the United States Senate based on the mandate that 18 million Americans voted for you during the primary process. ... Make the women who supported you during this failed primary bid particularly proud of what happens next."

As for the senator's husband?

"Observe in spirit and fact ... the public policy excommunication of Bill Clinton from any of your Senate deliberations. He represents his own agenda, not that of your supporters," she says.

Webb surfaces

"I'm still climbing out," Webster L. Hubbell joked to Inside the Beltway at Wednesday evening's book party for broadcaster Bill Press, author of "Trainwreck: The End of the Conservative Revolution (and Not a Moment Too Soon)."

The former associate attorney general under President Clinton, who was sentenced to prison in 1995 for mail fraud and tax evasion, says he works these days in the insurance sector.

Church and state

Right but not religious?

British policy analyst Matthew Sinclair observes on his Internet blog: "Fifty-three percent of Americans see religion as an important part of their lives against just 21 percent of Britons. Eighty percent of Americans believe there is a God against 39 percent of Britons (I didn't know Britain had an atheist/agnostic majority). We wouldn't care if the prime minister were an atheist, Americans would care if the president were one. ...

"I don't think, as some American conservatives suggest, that you can't be conservative without being religious. I'm conservative and not religious, so clearly it is possible."