- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Ford postmark

Hats off to Rep. Mark Udall, Colorado Democrat, for beating to the punch congressmen from Michigan, Virginiaand California — all states where Gerald R. Ford lived during his illustrious career — by introducing legislation to name the post office in Vail after the 38th president.

“I believe this legislation is appropriate as another means of honoring the legacy of President Ford, in large part because of his special connection to Colorado and the Vail Valley,” Mr. Udall says.

Mr. Ford and his family first visited Vail in 1968 to ski and celebrate Christmas. They later bought a home there, dubbed the “Western White House” after he became president.

Utmost sacrifice

We’d written recently about the confusion surrounding two congressmen now serving on Capitol Hill named “Mike Rogers.” Both are Republicans to boot.

Rep. Mike D. Rogers represents Alabama, whereas Rep.MikeRogers hails from Michigan.

Now we learn that the latter Mr. Rogers was absent from the formal swearing-in ceremony in the House last week. What could have been more important?

“I was unavoidably detained,” he later explained to the speaker, “while paying my respects to a fallen soldier from my district at his funeral in Arlington National Cemetery.”

Mr. Rogers took his oath upon his return to the U.S. Capitol.

Safe ‘bunt’

They own the majority in the 110th Congress, but already Democrats and their leader, House SpeakerNancy Pelosi, have gone on the defensive with an unprecedented threat to block any proposal by President Bush to send additional U.S. troops to Iraq.

Not that Republican Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia was impressed with their agenda.

“The Democrats were getting a lot of good credit for what I would say is kind of a ‘golden oldies’ agenda, bringing out no original ideas: minimum wage, stem cells and student loans,” he opined during recent floor debate.

“And I understand those are safe things. But it is kind of like starting out the World Series by bunting instead of trying to get on base with real serious hits. The reason why I submit that criticism is there is nothing in your agenda about immigration reform, Social Security reform, Medicare reform, the heavy-lifting ideas of entitlement.”

Quidditch, by golly

For several years, Inside the Beltway has observed the mysterious bike-riding habits of President Bush.

Members of the White House press corps, who regularly accompany the president deep into the woods of suburban Maryland or else onto the dusty terrain of his Texas ranch, seldom if ever actually see Mr. Bush atop a bicycle.

The big question is why? Could something secretive or covert be taking place that doesn’t involve two wheels?

For instance, did Mr. Bush in 2004 really fall off of a bicycle and cut his chin, upper lip, nose, both knees and right hand (when his Democratic opponent, Sen. John Kerry, inquired: “Did the training wheels fall off?”), or did something more unusual cause his injuries?

Was the president actually “enjoying” a bike ride so much during a major terrorist scare in Washington that the Secret Service, or so we were told, didn’t bother to tell him that his own wife, Laura, and Vice President Dick Cheney had been rushed into a secure bunker?

And how about the Sunday morning not long ago when Mr. Bush’s church attire was unusually “bulky”? Immediately after the sermon, the president in the space of seconds had shed his suit of clothes and appeared in a brightly colored outfit that the White House insisted was “bike-riding gear.”

‘I’ve never seen a man who hasn’t been drinking get out of a suit faster,” noted Julie Mason of the Houston Chronicle.

Now, we learn of yet another bizarre twist involving a presidential biking trek this past weekend. Mr. Bush had been participating in an “extended” intelligence briefing in the Oval Office with his national security team, when suddenly a half-dozen young men and women showed up dressed in the same colorful gear worn by Mr. Bush.

The entire group, including the president, immediately climbed into several heavily protected vehicles and sped off. But wait, there’s more, discovered in the official White House pool report:

“Four of them carried rakes and brooms along with their riding gear; why they had the rakes and brooms with them was unclear.”

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

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