- The Washington Times - Friday, June 13, 2003

Rough stuff

Former political consultant Dick Morris, in an open letter to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton published yesterday on National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com), said her husband, Bill, “tried to beat me up.”

“In your new book, ‘Living History,’ you correctly note that when you asked me to help you and Bill avert defeat in the congressional election of 1994, I was reluctant to do so,” Mr. Morris said. “But then you assert, incorrectly, that my reluctance stemmed from difficulties in working with your staff. You even misquote me as telling you: ‘I don’t like the way I was treated, Hillary. People were so mean to me.’

“As you know, I never said anything of the sort. I had, in fact, no experience in dealing with either your staff or the President’s at that point, and had not yet met Leon Panetta or George Stephanopoulos. My prior dealing with Harold Ickes had been twenty-five years earlier,” Mr. Morris said.

“The real reason I was reluctant was that Bill Clinton had tried to beat me up in May of 1990 as he, you, Gloria Cabe, and I were together in the Arkansas governor’s mansion. At the time, Bill was worried that he was falling behind his Democratic primary opponent and verbally assaulted me for not giving his campaign the time he felt it deserved. Offended by his harsh tone, I turned and stalked out of the room.

“Bill ran after me, tackled me, threw me to the floor of the kitchen in the mansion and cocked his fist back to punch me. You grabbed his arm and, yelling at him to stop and get control of himself, pulled him off me. Then you walked me around the grounds of the mansion in the minutes after, with your arm around me, saying, ‘He only does that to people he loves.’

“I continued to work for Bill since I felt a responsibility to do so until Election Day in 1990. But our relationship was never close and never the same. After the 1990 campaign, we parted ways as a direct result of the altercation.

“When the story threatened to surface during the 1992 campaign, you told me to ‘say it never happened.’

“That, and not the invented conversation in your memoir, was the reason that I was reluctant to work for Bill again.”

Loving the deficit

Democratic Party leaders have been universally denouncing President Bush’s growing budget deficits as reckless and the result of bad fiscal policies that are undermining the U.S. economy. But not former President Bill Clinton’s secretary of labor, Robert B. Reich, who says the deficits are good and are helping the economy.

“Budget deficits are not a problem in the short term because they stimulate the economy,” Mr. Reich told Washington Times political reporter Donald Lambro in an interview during a visit here. “Over the long term, of course, they are not good.”

Mr. Reich is a devout believer in Keynesian economic theory used in the New Deal that maintains deficit spending puts more money into a weak economy and thus increases consumer demand. “What you want to do is stimulate spending and short-term deficits will help do that,” he says.

Movie remakes

“I was getting some popcorn and so missed the part of last week’s movie when Howell Raines resigned as executive editor of the New York Times,” Joel Engel writes at the Weekly Standard’s Web site (www.weeklystandard.com).

“Not that I was surprised; they’d telegraphed the payoff in the setup scene a couple of weeks before, after Pinch Sulzberger assured Raines he wouldn’t accept his resignation even if offered, which is the equivalent of a character coughing in act one and dying badly in act three. If that’s the best they can come up with, then anyone postponing a bathroom break should run out just as soon as the board of directors offers Pinch its ‘resounding’ vote of confidence. There’ll be just enough time to go and come back before we see him getting whacked,” Mr. Engel said.

“Similar predictability during scenes from the Middle East almost made me demand a refund on the grounds that I remember seeing this ‘Road Map to Peace’ thing 10 years ago, when it was called ‘The Oslo Accords.’ Though the roles have been recast and the dialogue updated, it’s still the same tired plot: Israelis are urged to make peace with people who announce they don’t want peace, and each time a bomber underlines the point by blowing up mothers and children in a cafe, some State Department official comments that this will only make peace more difficult. Film buffs will also notice the uncanny similarities to ‘Bridge on the River Kwai,’ with Ariel Sharon picking up for Ehud Barak as Alec Guinness, realizing too late that ‘Oslo’ and ‘Road Map’ are code words for ‘kill all the Jews.’ Of course, Yasser Arafat’s performance as Dr. Strangelove always brings down the house. Literally.”

The other Clinton

“Ready for this? Another Clinton rumor. No, not about Hillary Rodham Clinton running for president. About Bill Clinton running for mayor of New York,” Joyce Purnick writes in her Metro Matters column in the New York Times.

“You scoff. Well, of course, you scoff. There is plenty about which to scoff. Odds are it will not happen. But on the theory that New York is home of the improbable, that it is a place where a first lady can become a United States senator and a billionaire with political talents in inverse proportion to his wealth can become mayor, let us consider this latest bit of political gossip for a moment,” the columnist said.

“It is too enticing to let go, especially since the former president hasn’t rejected the idea. A New York Democrat who urged him to run this week reports that while he didn’t say yes, he didn’t say no. Being polite? Enjoying the attention? ‘He’s busy running his foundation, not running for office,’ his spokesman, James E. Kennedy said [Wednesday].

“The latest round of Clinton speculation surfaced in the June issue of Washingtonian magazine,” the columnist said.

Baiting Moran

It’s not unheard of for a congressman to lose his head during debate, but a colleague of Rep. James P. Moran suggested yesterday that the Virginia Democrat might be in danger of losing his — literally.

Mr. Moran is sponsoring a bill that would make it illegal to leave bait out for bears on federal land while hunters lie in wait, which is not sitting well with Rep. Don Young, Alaska Republican.

Mr. Young told Mr. Moran he wished he had his “native people” with him because if he did “you’d walk out of here with no head on.”

And that’s not all, the Associated Press reports. Mr. Young also demanded Mr. Moran tell him how many bears were in his suburban district, leading Mr. Moran to tell Mr. Young he knows full well they represent different constituents.

Mr. Young went on to insist Mr. Moran has “no right” to legislate what’s right for Alaskans. But Mr. Moran said shooting a bear in the back while it’s feeding on a pile of garbage isn’t his idea of a “fair sport.”

Dingell to run again

Rep. John D. Dingell of Michigan, the longest-serving member of the House, said yesterday that he intends to run for re-election in 2004.

Mr. Dingell, a Democrat, made his intentions clear in a letter to the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call. Earlier this week, the newspaper listed him as a member who was “expected to be considering retirement” before the 2004 election.

“My name on a retirement list? A Republican fantasy,” Mr. Dingell wrote. “While the thought of a Congress without me might make a few corporate malefactors sleep better at night, the only list I am on is the list of members who plan to be re-elected to the 109th Congress.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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