- The Washington Times - Friday, January 28, 2000

The 17-year boom

President Clinton was sure to take credit Thursday night for what is about to become the longest peacetime economic expansion in U.S. history, writes Lawrence B. Lindsey, a former governor of the Federal Reserve, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and an adviser to the presidential campaign of Texas Gov. George W. Bush.
"But when historians look back, they will date the current expansion from 1982 not 1991, when the last, brief recession ended, and certainly not 1993, when Mr. Clinton took office," Mr. Lindsey said in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.
"It was in late 1982 that a sea change occurred in the American economy. True, this 17-year expansion was briefly interrupted by two successive quarters of economic contraction in 1990-91, the shortest period that meets the definition of recession.
"But in terms of economic performance, government policy and effect on the thinking of professional economists, the 1980s and 1990s form a continuous era radically different from what preceded it. How this expansion ends will no doubt shape economic performance, policy and philosophy in the new century."

Reagan and Clinton

"On the day that George Bush was elected president in 1988, I sat with Ronald Reagan upstairs in the White House, gazing out across the exquisite geometry of the Mall," biographer Edmund Morris recalls.
"He did not seem disturbed by the ebb of power. 'This can be a lonely place, you know,' he said, sipping a cup of decaf. 'You feel so insulated here.'
"The tranquility of his voice belied his words. Never was there a president more content to be alone (as long as he could sense the nearby hovering of his wife), more certain of the rightness of his executive record, more sure that history would judge him well," Mr. Morris said in an op-ed piece in the New York Times.
"Mr. Clinton, apparently, lacks this majestic self-certainty for good or ill, a prerequisite of all true leaders. Hence, his reported late-night need to schmooze with friends and former aides by telephone, an instrument Mr. Reagan disliked. Hence, [Mr. Clinton's] insatiable desire to 'grip and grin.' I'm surprised he never tried to beat Theodore Roosevelt's White House record of 8,150 handshakes in a single day."
Mr. Morris, writing before last night's State of the Union address, said that whatever Mr. Clinton should propose, "such designs usually redound to the honor of the next man. Look how George Bush was celebrated for the fall of the Berlin Wall, and how Mr. Clinton himself has profited from 12 years of Republican economic reforms."

Clinton's fate

"Mr. Clinton should realize that, in all likelihood, his presidency won't even occupy much attention among historians a few years hence," writes Paul Kennedy, a professor of history at Yale.
"While there are plenty of biographies of 19th century capitalists such as J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller still coming out, who these days writes about Rutherford B. Hayes or Grover Cleveland? The presidents presiding over our peaceful, placid times are likely to get as short shrift as did those who oversaw the Gilded Age," Mr. Kennedy said in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.

Osborne's candidacy

Tom Osborne, who coached the University of Nebraska to three national football championships, announced Thursday he is running for Congress.
Mr. Osborne, a Republican, ended weeks of speculation with his announcement in his hometown at Hastings College, where he excelled as a three-sport star.
Mr. Osborne said he started contemplating a campaign when Republican Rep. Bill Barrett announced in October that he was retiring at the end of his fifth term. Republicans hold a 222-211 majority over Democrats in the House.
"I don't think this is an ego trip," Mr. Osborne said at a news conference with his family. "It would be a lot easier to go fishing."
Speculation that Mr. Osborne might run for office accelerated two weeks ago when Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey hinted that he would not seek re-election. Mr. Osborne said yesterday he never gave serious thought to a Senate run.
He faces several relatively unknown Republican candidates in a May 9 primary. Democrat Rollie Reynolds of Grand Island, a real estate investor, also has announced plans to run.

Sharpton sues tabloid

The Rev. Al Sharpton sued the New York Post for $20 million Thursday, claiming the tabloid libeled him in a column that called him a carpetbagger and in an editorial that said he had incited an arson fire that killed eight persons, according to the Associated Press.

A column by Andrea Peyser on Jan. 18 referred to first lady Hillary Clinton, "the carpetbagger from Washington by way of Arkansas and Illinois," visiting with Mr. Sharpton, "that carpetbagger from New Jersey."

In his lawsuit, filed in state court, Mr. Sharpton says he "is a resident of the city and state of New York."

Mr. Sharpton's lawsuit also claims that a Post editorial the next day said that before a fire at Freddy's Fashion Mart in Harlem in 1995, Mr. Sharpton "was exhorting his followers to oust a 'white interloper' " who owned the store. "He was taken at his word; there was an arson attack that left seven innocent people dead," the editorial said.

Mr. Sharpton said he told the Post the statements were false last August when the newspaper first published them. But the tabloid reprinted them "with gross and reckless disregard for the truth," his court papers say.

Bad advance work

On the day of the Iowa caucuses, Vice President Al Gore "went door-to-door in a Des Moines neighborhood, probably to prove to voters that he wasn't taking his victory for granted and was working hard to get Iowa Democrats to go to their caucuses," political analyst Stuart Rothenberg writes in Roll Call.
"Even though a Gore operative assured me that none of the people on the street were notified about the veep's visit, I couldn't believe that Gore would really waste his time visiting the homes of Republicans or committed Bradley supporters," Mr. Rothenberg said.
"So what's the first house he hits? A married couple, both Republicans. But it's even better than that. The woman of the house is a Republican precinct captain. Now this isn't exactly what we call great advance work."

Governor rebuked

The New Mexico Senate condemned Gov. Gary E. Johnson on Wednesday for supporting the legalization of cocaine, heroin and marijuana.
Senators voted 37 to 4 for the resolution, which was brought to the floor by Mr. Johnson's fellow Republicans in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
The House is considering a similar measure, the Associated Press reports.
Mr. Johnson's spokeswoman, Diane Kinderwater, said it was "a scary thought that New Mexico senators would advocate not allowing a governor to have freedom of speech, something this country was founded on."

Krulak backs Bush

Gen. Charles C. Krulak, the retired commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, endorsed George W. Bush for president Thursday.
While Gen. Krulak praised the other Republican candidates as a group, he singled out the Texas governor as "a man of character and leadership" with "a solid experience base."
"I have great confidence in his ability to manage the complexities associated with being the president of the United States," said Gen. Krulak, who as Marine commandant was a fierce opponent of mixed-sex training and open homosexuality in the military.

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