- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 27, 2000

General's stripes

Retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, was once asked by a Rice University student about the latest scandal engulfing President Clinton.

Always careful not to show his political stripes, Gen. Schwarzkopf replied that Mr. Clinton's romp with a White House intern "put a severe blemish on our national character."

"Inevitably it is going to, I think, diminish our ability to lead in the world, diminish our ability to deal with crisis," he said.

Leadership, he continued, included two components: competence and character. Ninety-nine percent of the failure in leadership, he said, is because of a failure in character rather than in competence.

Now, Gen. Schwarzkopf is shedding more light on his stripes, underscoring the importance of military readiness for the Republican National Convention via satellite from the deck of USS New Jersey.

Usually off-limits to political stumping, the Jersey the most decorated battleship in naval history was decommissioned in 1991. Docked in Camden, N.J., it's being fitted as an educational museum and memorial to honor veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Middle East.

Irish wake

The last time we wrote about the National Assembly of Irish American Republicans (IAR), we caught them plastering bright-green "N" letters atop the "R" on "CLINTON GORE IN '96" campaign posters.

Obviously, the IRA, er IAR, wasn't successful in that campaign.

At the previous GOP convention in San Diego, the Irish Republicans held up at Kenny's Irish pub, decorated with hundreds of still photos from "The Quiet Man." As for next week's Republican gathering in Philadelphia?

"Finnegan's Wake at Third and Spring Garden streets," says IAR leader Frank Duggan. "United Distillers [Harp, Hennesy and Bailey's Irish Cream] and Guinness are co-hosting our party, and wanted a place that would hold 500 people, which the four floors of Finnegan's Wake will accommodate."

This wake will honor six senators and 28 congressmen of Irish descent, all Republicans obviously, along with Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, chairman of the GOP Platform Committee, which is about to adopt the IAR plank.

"The Gore campaign did not respond," says Mr. Duggan. "Unfortunately, the political operatives in the AOH [Ancient Order of Hibernians] still tilt to the Democrats, as does much of the Irish-American press. Not too much we can do about that, but we try."

Periodic players

That was Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America; Cathleen Black, president of Hearst Magazines; Terry Adamson of National Geographic; Robin Bierstedt of Time; Gregory Coleman of Reader's Digest; and Michael Klingensmith of Sports Illustrated huddling at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill yesterday.

All of the above, it turns out, are on the board of the Magazine Publishers of America, whose chairman is Ms. Black.

Highlight of the meeting: update by Mr. Valenti on a U.S. Postal Service program to increase postage for periodicals.

Trading alone

Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Colorado Republican, was one of hundreds of lawmakers who observed a moment of silence this week honoring slain U.S. Capitol Police Officers Jacob J. Chestnut and John M. Gibson, killed in the line of duty two years ago Monday at 3:40 p.m.

It was fitting that the silence was ultimately broken by Mr. Campbell, policeman before politician.

"I collect shoulder patches," the senator said, referring to police insignia of states and townships.

He then revealed of one of the slain officers: "John [Gibson] had a collection, and we used to trade shoulder patches. If he had two of a patch I didn't have, or if I had two of one he didn't have, we would trade, back and forth."

More than once, in fact, the senator personally intervened to assist Capitol cops. Like when a man leaped at elderly Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina in the basement of the U.S. Capitol. The man turned violent, and Mr. Campbell grabbed a police radio lying nearby and radioed for additional help. By then, the senator had already helped tackle and handcuff the assailant.

Another time, out for a stroll on Capitol Hill, Mr. Campbell was accosted by a man who said he had a gun. The lawmaker demanded to see the weapon, and when none was produced, Mr. Campbell a judo champion displayed a few deadly moves, and the man ran for his life.

Enough said

"Now, if that is not enough to barf up your vodka."

Rep. James A. Traficant Jr., Ohio Democrat, upon word that the CEO of the Bank of New York admitted to laundering $7 billion, most of it apparently Russian money sifted from the International Monetary Fund.

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