- The Washington Times - Monday, December 18, 2006

‘Heck of a Year’

One of the most creative Christmas cards of the season is compliments of Democratic operative Bob Weiner, president of the public-affairs firm Robert Weiner Associates, whose career has taken him from the first youth vote director with the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate to the White House, while in between working as an aide to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, and Reps. Ed Koch, Claude Pepper, Charles B. Rangel, and John Conyers Jr.

Rather than Santa Claus, the photo on the card shows President Bush, disgraced former Florida Rep. Mark Foley and former FEMA Director Michael Brown touring hurricane-ravaged Florida together.

The caption beneath the photo: “Heck of a Year.”

Eggnog and Rummy

Inside the Beltway is pleased once again this holiday season to present the annual White House “basement” Christmas poem. It was penned this year by Salem Radio’s esteemed White House correspondent, Greg Clugston, who recited it at the invitation-only basement Christmas party.

(As a young man covering President Reagan in 1984 and 1985, this columnist was privileged to have worked alongside a distinguished group of reporters in the White House basement, as apprentice to the now-deceased great White House correspondent JeremiahA. OLeary.)

White House spokesman Tony Snow was among those on hand for Mr. Clugston’s reading of ” ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas: 2006 White House Press Basement Version.” Without further ado:

” ‘Twas the night before Christmas and at Jackson Place,

Not a creature was stirring in the press briefing space.

Stockings were hung in the White House with care,

In hopes Iraq ‘magic bullets’ soon would be there.

The president was asleep, all snug in his bed,

While visions of midterm elections danced in his head.

Rove predicted numbers that were good and dandy,

As he treated reporters to trays of fine candy.

Bush raised lots of money out on the road stumpin’,

But Iraq paved the way for a Democratic thumpin.’

The House and the Senate — both chambers were lost,

‘Staying the course’ came at a cost.

How could this be? GOP hopes were dashed,

Even with Tony Snow out raising cash.

Losing the elections sure did feel crummy,

But that was resolved by firing Rummy.

All of a sudden there arose such a clatter,

Dubya jumped up to see what was the matter.

Out on the lawn stood someone he could not neglect;

It was Nancy Pelosi — the new speaker-elect.

With a shift in power, Congress won’t be the same —

And she turned to her colleagues, calling them by name:

‘Now Hoyer! Now Reid! Now Biden and Kennedy!

‘On Schumer! On Durbin! On Murtha and Leahy!

‘To the top of the committees, to the top of them all,

‘Let’s stop the eavesdropping on every phone call,

‘Raising minimum wage is a bill we will pass,

‘We’ll target tax cuts at the middle class.

‘Impeachment, however, is strictly “off the table.”

‘But we’ll probe the White House whenever we’re able.’

Dubya was ready for the bruises and scrapes,

Even helping Pelosi pick out new drapes.

Opposition posturing didn’t phase Bush one bit,

He’ll just send Democrats on a Cheney hunting trip.

The new majority will sure cause him grief,

But he will remind them who’s commander in chief.

A ‘new way forward’ in Iraq he will steer,

But don’t expect details until early next year.

And I heard him exclaim as his smile grew wider:

‘Merry Christmas to all! I’m the decider.’ ”

Not forgotten

Adjunct professor Karen L. Bune, who teaches victimology at Marymount University, inspired her class this holiday season to recognize a victim of the September 11 attack at the Pentagon.

Louise Kurtz is lucky to have survived, though with severe burns on 70 percent of her body. She has required repeated surgery during what has been a difficult recovery process.

“The graduate class of forensic psychology students decided to purchase — and they all chipped in money — an inspirational picture that had a saying on it about the meaning of hope. They had the picture professionally matted and framed and sent it to Ms. Kurtz,” the professor tells Inside the Beltway.

“The Marymount class that studied victim issues wanted Ms. Kurtz to know that she is not forgotten, that she is an inspiration and that she is remembered this holiday season and always.”

• John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin @washingtontimes.com.

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