- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 2, 2000

Bayou delegate

Barely 18 months ago, then-Rep. Robert L. Livingston had risen to the top of the congressional ladder, House speaker designate handpicked to replace the controversial Newt Gingrich.
Then, in what one congressman labeled "a surrender to a growing sexual McCarthyism," the Louisiana Republican and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee suddenly resigned his speakership before it even began snared in the Clinton impeachment sting by revelations of past extramarital affairs.
Highly popular among lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, Democrats reacted as furiously as Republicans.
"This place is dysfunctional," said Rep. David R. Obey, Wisconsin Democrat. "How many more good people will be destroyed?"
Mr. Livingston may no longer lead his party, but he's far from destroyed. He's here in Philadelphia for the Republican National Convention, telling this column in an interview he's pleased to be among his former constituents one of the people again, a not-so-ordinary delegate from Louisiana, far removed from the GOP stage he helped build.
"It's relaxing, I'm having fun," says an upbeat Mr. Livingston, who accepted a post on the GOP platform committee in advance of the convention. "This way, I get to walk around and schmooze."
We couldn't help but ask him, like we did four years ago at the last convention, about his party's chances of recapturing the White House.
"In the election four years ago, I would have told you I was 'hopeful' of [Bob Dole] winning the White House, even though deep down, I knew then it was not likely," Mr. Livingston reveals. "The mood is totally different at this convention. This year, I am confident we can win."

Where's Clinton?

They ought to call this place the City of Brotherly Love.
Earlier, we wrote that former Clinton strategist Paul Begala is at the Republican convention, as is Democratic cohort James Carville.
But we were even more surprised to be invited into Republican National Committee Chairman Jim Nicholson's private skybox sprinkled with strawberries and crab cakes, with its sweeping view of the convention floor, only to come face-to-face with President Clinton's former mouthpiece, Mike McCurry.
"This does not mean I'm a Republican," the former White House press secretary tells Inside the Beltway, explaining he's ventured into enemy territory to provide on-air commentary for CNN.

Bernstein dot-com

Nearly three decades ago, the nation was embroiled in Watergate. Ever since, politics and how reporters cover it hasn't been the same.
"There have been many problems with post-Watergate journalism," says Carl Bernstein, the former Washington Post investigative reporter who's come to the GOP convention sporting a new hat.
Or should we say cap, since that's what the new breed of "dot-com" journalists are sporting.
"There's been too much sensationalism in reporting since Watergate," Mr. Bernstein, newly crowned executive vice president and executive editor of www.Voter.com, tells Inside the Beltway in an interview.
"We're here to resurrect the traditional standards of journalistic excellence," says Mr. Bernstein, 56, whose career has carried him from newspapers and magazines, into radio and television, and finally cyberspace.
"The Web is transforming journalism," says the editor, who joined Voter.com four months ago. "We're not limited by time and space like you are with television and print. Nor are we biased; we can provide original content and documents.
"For instance, on a gun bill, we can not only carry our story and include three paragraphs from [the National Rifle Association's] Charlton Heston and [Handgun Control's] Sarah Brady, but on the Web we can print the full text of both remarks, with video, and also carry a full text of supporting documents. This way, people can reach their own conclusions.
"We can put out more of a complete editorial report than the New York Times and The Washington Post," says Mr. Bernstein, whose first byline appeared before he was out of high school. His Voter.com colleagues today aren't much older.
"I love this, working with young people," he said. "I went to work at age 16, and I'll never forget the older guys who took me under their wing. Now I can give a little something back."

George's other brother

Rep. John R. Kasich of Ohio, who in departing the 2000 GOP presidential contest enthusiastically endorsed George W. Bush by gushing, "I feel I have a soul brother," is tightlipped about his future in an interview with this column.
All he'll say is he's leaving Congress after his ninth term expires "and I'm expecting to go into the private sector."
At the same time, Mr. Bush's intentions for his soul brother, chairman of the House Budget Committee, await what the voters say in November.

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