- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 8, 2000

Door's open, Bubba

It's been rumored that Bill Clinton could succeed Jack Valenti at the helm of the Motion Picture Association of America.

Nearing 80, Mr. Valenti has been president of the trade organization for almost 35 years. He's been quoted as saying that Mr. Clinton would be a natural in the position, drawn as he is to the glitzy world of show business.

At last week's Republican National Convention, Mr. Valenti told this column another possible successor Bill Baker, the MPAA's No. 2 man and its "token Republican" recently resigned after nine years in the post.

Formerly the No. 2 man at the FBI under former Director William Webster, Mr. Baker was overheard discussing the Clinton rumors at last year's Cannes Film Festival. Still, he tells this column his departure is unrelated.

"It's something personal for me," he says by telephone from Los Angeles. "For 40 years, I've been in organized, but challenging work, and now I'd like to do things more on my own."

He says he sits on several boards, plus is helping to lead an independent probe into corruption within the Los Angeles Police Department.

Mr. Valenti told us he won't be filling Mr. Baker's slot, but divide its responsibilities among the association's top deputies which would leave the door wide open for Mr. Clinton.

"I don't think that is really where he will end up," Mr. Baker says of the president. "I know Jack wants to stay there with his boots on until St. Peter collects them."

President Lieberman

Uh oh. It appears Vice President Al Gore is taking a hint from former "Saturday Night Live" satirist Al Franken.

In his recent best seller, "Why Not Me?", Mr. Franken wins a surprise victory in the 2000 presidential contest. His vice presidential running mate: Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat.

"I figured that it was more important to have a Cabinet the president would be comfortable with an all-Jewish one, in my case," Mr. Franken explained after the book was published last year.

But wait, there's more to contemplate in Mr. Gore's … er, Mr. Franken's selection of Mr. Lieberman.

Mr. Franken lasted only 144 days in office (he pardoned himself), which leads to a White House dynasty for Mr. Lieberman and his administration.

Quote of the day

"Many Americans have never met a Jew in person for themselves. However, [TV's Jerry] Seinfeld and others have made them more comfortable with diversity. Alan Greenspan and Robert Rubin have shown that Jews are an active part of creating a strong American economy.

The people in America who will vote against [Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman] because of his religion were already voting Republican anyway. They are the same people who are not comfortable with gays and minorities and who know that Bush's 'inclusiveness' is only a show."

Democratic pollster Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, speaking yesterday to Inside the Beltway.

Perfect beach day

Telegram just in from one Inside the Beltway reader tanning herself on the golden (as in money) sands surrounding the Hamptons in New York:

"The beaches were crowded, parking lots filled, as massive crowds trekked to the beaches after 13 days of raining on everybody's parade. The weather was great, skies clear and 85 degrees. One by one, planes with banners went by without fanfare. Some were big colorful ads.

"As I let my guard down, I heard a gasp from the crowd of beach-goers. I then looked in the direction of the planes, not expecting them to come from that direction, and there they were 'YOU'RE NOT LISTENING,' then right behind the second plane with 'GO HOME, HILLARY.' The crowd was pointing and laughing and clapping."

The airborne assault against Senate candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton was orchestrated by the group Free Republic, which periodically pickets outside the White House.

City of Angels?

Protests fizzled in Philadelphia during last week's Republican National Convention, due in large part to a massive display of police force. As for next week's Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles?

"A disruptive transit strike by three unions during the [Democratic] convention was averted thanks to an injunction requested by Gov. Gray Davis," notes Labor Watch, a publication of the non-partisan Capital Research Center.

"However, unlike the unions, labor's Seattle allies are refusing to play nice. Besides railing against Al Gore ('Plasticman') and new Gore campaign chief Bill Daley ('the Evil Prince of Free Trade'), activists plan a candlelight march featuring banging pots and pans during Gore's acceptance speech."

Meanwhile, convention host committee spokesman Ben Austin has declared if people "show up and disrupt things, they're no longer protesters, they're criminals," writes Labor Watch.

"Adding to the fun, the North American Anarchist Conference meets in Los Angeles the same week."

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