- The Washington Times - Friday, February 18, 2000

Columnist's parody of poem unfair to men

Maggie Gallagher is absolutely right when she decries the rise in cohabitation in our society ("False valentines," Commentary, Feb. 13), but her logic goes awry when she says that only women are hurt by this type of living arrangement.

More disturbing is her woman-as-the-perpetual-victim rewrite of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's timeless sonnet. I would like to offer the following riposte:

I love thee…

n "While scrubbing your dishes and washing your floors…" Dishwashers were invented over 40 years ago, and most women (and men) use vacuum cleaners these days.

n "And having your babies…" In Rowe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court negated a father's right to participate in his girlfriend's (or wife's) decision to abort his own child.

n "While you claim your freedom, your leisure, your paycheck and my paycheck as your own." If the woman gets pregnant and has a baby, guess who is on the hook for child support for 18 years?

I'm sorry to say, but Miss Gallagher has substituted emotion for logic this time around. If this is how we commemorate Valentine's Day, then we need to put romance on the endangered species list.

EDWARD E. BARTLETT

Derwood

An egotistical self-promoter, not a 'heroic' victim

After reading James G. Zumwalt's column "It takes a village to save a child" (Feb. 13), I, as one of the prosecutors of Hadden Clark, am left completely speechless at his complete disregard for the truth about Edward Jagen and the role he played in the search for the killer of Michele Dorr.

Mr. Jagen never, at any time during this investigation, told the police he suspected Clark as the murderer of Michele. To the contrary, he did everything he could to convince the police that Carl Dorr, Michele's father, had killed her.

His "heroic" efforts were nothing more than finger pointing, humiliations and blame casting, all in an effort to persuade the police and Michele's family that Carl Dorr was guilty of this heinous crime. To call him a "victim," as was done in the column, is both untrue and reckless.

If you really want to know about Mr. Jagen the man, and the role he and his "child find organization" played in the investigation of this little girl's tragic death, you need only read a transcript of Mr. Jagen's testimony during Clark's trial in October.

On cross-examination, Mr. Jagen was thoroughly exposed for what he is a man with a big ego who will stop at nothing to promote himself and his pocketbook.

I suggest that the next time The Washington Times trumpets someone such as Mr. Jagen in the pages of your newspaper, you make sure your columnist gets his facts straight.

DEBBIE DWYER

Rockville

McCain's bus should be renamed the 'Double Talk Express'

As the head of a national senior citizens organization, the 60 Plus Association, I listen carefully to what candidates say about Social Security.

Sen. John McCain calls his campaign bus the "Straight Talk Express." But after his false charges that Social Security will be hurt by Texas Gov. George W. Bush's tax cut, I think he should rename his bus the "Double Talk Express."

Barry M. Goldwater must be spinning in his grave over this distortion by his successor, Mr. McCain. Goldwater was savaged by this big-lie tactic in the 1964 election, when President Lyndon B. Johnson claimed that Goldwater would "endanger Social Security."

The charge was phony then, and it's phony now. This LBJ tactic has been developed into a fine art form by the Democrats, so for a Republican to use it against a fellow Republican is reprehensible.

When Mr. Bush unveiled his tax-cut plan late last year, I was impressed that he made it very clear that the $2 trillion in Social Security surpluses would be "locked away" for future retirees, the same position that Republicans in Congress, including Mr. McCain, took.

Mr. Bush pledged "to fulfill the solemn commitment of Social Security with no reduction in benefits for retirees or near retirees and no tax increase for Social Security."

Other concerns 60 Plus has with Mr. McCain involve two issues of special importance to seniors repeal of the death tax and his so-called campaign finance reform.

Mr. McCain received the 60 Plus Award in the past by scoring in the 90s on our evaluation, but now he's down to 60 percent. Here's why:

His Arizona colleague, Sen. Jon Kyl, has introduced a bill to abolish one of the most inequitable of taxes the federal estate or "death tax." (Rep. Christopher Cox introduced it in the House and has more than 200 co-sponsors.) When he came to the Senate in 1995, Mr. Kyl introduced his measure with one co-sponsor. By the end of the 105th Congress, Mr. Kyl's bill had the support of a majority of his Republican Senate colleagues, including the senior Republican senator, Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, but not Mr. McCain.

Seniors are outraged to discover that after they worked all their lives to save assets and are then ready to pass them on to their survivors, the first claimant in line with outstretched hand for up to 55 percent of their assets will be Uncle Sam. In a recent poll, 77 percent of seniors said this tax was unfair because they already have paid taxes on their assets, sometimes twice or more.

Mr. Kyl's bill eliminates this tax; unfortunately, Mr. McCain is AWOL on this issue. The 60 Plus Association's Scorecard "double counts" co-sponsorship of this measure, so Mr. McCain loses 20 points unless, of course, he decides to co-sponsor the bill.

On so-called campaign finance reform, Mr. McCain and Sen. Russell D. Feingold are co-sponsors of a bill that would unilaterally disarm not only the Republican Party, but independent groups seeking to inform their members on voting records. A similar measure in the House is the Shays-Meehan bill.

Doesn't it seem strange that more than 90 percent of Mr. McCain's Republican colleagues oppose this bill, while more than 90 percent of Mr. Feingold's fellow Democrats support it?

The legislation leaves untouched the vast power of labor-union money and resources (which supports liberal Democrats) while seriously restricting not only Republicans, but groups such as 60 Plus by interfering with our freedom of expression under the First Amendment to the Constitution.

On other issues important to seniors, Mr. McCain's position gives concern. He criticizes Mr. Bush's tax-cut proposal as too much, even though it reflects the approach of Republicans in Congress and has been called "Reaganesque" by none other than The Washington Post, not known for its warmth toward Republicans.

Mr. McCain's tax cut, however, is closer in amount and structure to the proposal supported by the Clinton-Gore White House and leaves a large part of the surplus available for spending in Washington by liberals.

If the Republican version supported by Mr. Bush comes up for a vote in the Senate, how will Mr. McCain vote? 60 Plus will evaluate this vote closely, as seniors deserve a tax cut. If Mr. McCain votes like he talks, he will lose another 10 points in our evaluation.

Most of all, Mr. McCain's disgraceful scare tactics on Social Security will not endear him to seniors who remember when this same fear-mongering was used so maliciously against the late Mr. Goldwater.

Mr. McCain needs truth in advertising: Changing his campaign bus slogan from the "Straight Talk Express" to the "Double Talk Express" is more accurate.

JAMES L. MARTIN

President

60 Plus Association

Arlington

Police column correct

Just wanted to let Fred Reed know that I thought his Police Beat column in Monday's Washington Times, "Police 'racial profiles' based on street instincts, not bias" (Metropolitan) was really good. I guess that it really takes a police-beat journalist to get the message out to the public. Now if the public will only read it and comprehend it. I operated the same way for the 22 years I was in law enforcement. Mr. Reed's column is so on the mark that it should be reprinted as a front-page story. Thanks, Mr. Reed.

PAUL C. LOW

Riverdale

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