- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 6, 2000

Two bad jokes: President Clinton and the news media

Thank you, Tony Blankley. I, too, failed to see humor in President Clinton's performance at the White House Correspondent's Dinner ("No laughing matter," Op-Ed, May 3). What I observed was a fool among fools.

The great majority of people believe all politicians are as morally and legally corrupt as Mr. Clinton. The Washington elites don't care because, in some way, the president's behavior justifies their own behavior. Democracy has been in grave danger since Mr. Clinton and Vice President Al Gore took office.

As to the Washington elite providing the public with wise, moral guidance, it is the people who should insist their elected leaders conduct themselves in a wise and moral manner.

To be elite you must be superior and favored. Many in leadership positions have been favored perhaps with higher rank, but few have superior qualities and ability, and none are intellectual giants.

Thanks again for a great column.

MILDRED M. FISCHER

Fredericksburg, Va.

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I am grateful to Tony Blankley for articulating what I thought as I watched President Clinton, once again, disgrace his office.

The liberal news media and the Clintons routinely scold Americans for their lack of "compassion." But where was the compassion for the spectacular abuse of Billy Dale and the other "little people" in the Travel Office scandal? Exactly how do you uphold the sacred virtue of compassion when you joke or laugh about an innocent man's life being deliberately destroyed because he is inconvenient to a politician?

At least Mr. Clinton seemed to admit he is an unrepentant scoundrel as he went through his comedy act. Would that the liberal news media could discover that modicum of integrity.

JOE GLANDORF

Boston

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Thank goodness someone in the news media has the brains and the integrity to call the right shot on Saturday's shindig where media moguls and mavens got to laugh along with our presidential comedian as he made a mockery of justice and the law.

Tony Blankley got it right about the White House Correspondent's Dinner. The behavior of the news media in joining President Clinton at the alter of cravenness was disgraceful. Sadder still is that most of the news media seem not to get it.

FRANK PARKER

Williamsburg

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I couldn't agree more with Tony Blankley's opinion of President Clinton's performance at the White House Correspondent's Dinner. I saw a few clips of his "jokes" and was appalled. Members of the news media should be ashamed of his shamelessness.

I just don't get it: Mr. Clinton flaunts his amorality and the press enables his crimes. A single, illegally obtained FBI file during the Nixon administration landed Chuck Colson in jail. How far we've come. Thanks to Mr. Blankley for his sane voice in all of this.

LIZ HASBROUCK

Trappe, Md.

Administration ignores a terrifying problem

The decision to leave Pakistan off the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism seems a purely political one ("Seat of terrorism shifts to South Asia," World, May 2).

Attacks by Pakistani-based militants and army regulars on Indian targets kill more Kashmiri civilians than they do government security forces. If the Clinton administration accepted the view that this constitutes a terrorist threat, then Pakistan would have to be included on the list and subjected to even further sanctioning.

The assertion that Pakistan is cooperating with the United States on terrorist issues, citing the isolated extradition of a few high-profile terrorists, is specious. That these terrorists found initial refuge in Pakistan helps demonstrate that where there is smoke there is fire.

But for the administration to admit that a nuclear-armed state also is a terrorist one would constitute a serious failure in U.S. nonproliferation and security policies. Therefore, such a designation cannot be accepted. Until more courage is taken to combat what we know to be threats, then those threats will continue to exist.

MERVYN DYMALLY

Washington

Mervyn Dymally is a retired congressman.

Campaigns can't worry about voter registration

Debra Saunders' column, "Where the votes aren't" (Commentary, April 29), was shortsighted on two points.

First, Congress has had no shortage of legislation aimed at younger voters. Second, campaigns are won by using a strategy of getting 50 percent plus one vote cast in an election.

The column says that "seniors … will get to spend the surplus, and young taxpayers … will get to pay for the new bennies." I guess Miss Saunders missed the votes on repealing the marriage penalty that directly affects young married couples and the elimination of the death tax that stands in the way of young people's inheritance of their parents' businesses and farms. I suppose Miss Saunders doesn't think Social Security reform is important to young people, either.

I have learned over the course of several campaigns that when you go duck hunting, you go where the ducks are. Voters over age 50 vote and voters 18 to 39 don't.

Campaigns don't have the luxury of spending cash and manpower on voter registration and education. The first goal of a campaign is to identify likely supporters and woo the undecided voters. Its second goal is to turn out its favorable voters on Election Day.

Maybe Miss Saunders and Third Millennium, the nonpartisan Generation X advocacy group she mentions in her column, should spend their time educating and registering voters instead of bemoaning reality.

Young voters have a stake in our nation's success and should get involved in elections. It is not up to campaigns to do this; it is up to such pontificators as Miss Saunders, such groups as Third Millennium and such folks as the young people themselves.

W. PATRICK SEFTON

Washington

Polluted data in Earth Day story

As the founder of Earth Day, I have heard a lot of things said about it in the past 30 years, but I have never heard what The Washington Times reported: " '[T]he popularity of Earth Day has been declining' since 1970" ("Ecological problems no longer as visible," April 21).

Earth Day events were held this year in 180 countries, compared to one in 1970. In our country, you would have to look awfully hard to find a school that didn't have at least one activity related to this year's Earth Day. Untold numbers of companies placed ads or took other actions tied to Earth Day. It has become an institution.

The only way somebody could claim that it has become "less popular" is perhaps by comparing the number of people who marched down Fifth Avenue on the original Earth Day to the number who have done so on April 22 in subsequent years. Comparing turnouts for such demonstrations, however, is no way to measure changes in public sentiment.

The source of the quote was identified in the article as the Earth Day Information Center. I had never heard of this organization, but I would imagine readers of your story assumed an outfit with that name would be somehow tied to the environmental movement.

It turns out, however, to be part of the National Center for Public Policy Research, found on the Web at the Reagan Information Interchange.

I'm not sure I would consider this an objective source of information on Earth Day.

GAYLORD NELSON

Counselor

The Wilderness Society

Washington

Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day founder, is a former U.S. senator and governor of Wisconsin.

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