Inside the Beltway

Happy anniversary

Considering the two Democratic House leaders were equated a few short months ago to an “unhappy married couple,” it was quite gentlemanly of House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland to lead the voices in commending House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on her 20th anniversary in Congress.

The silver-haired Mr. Hoyer described Mrs. Pelosi, the first female speaker of the House, as a “true leader” working hard to move the nation in a new direction, “and I am proud to call her my friend.”

Shortly after the Democrats had taken control of Congress, Mrs. Pelosi and the more moderate Mr. Hoyer publicly aired their several differences, particularly on her call for an early U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq.

Republican heat

So what do the Iraq war and climate change have in common?

For that answer, we turn to former Vice President Al Gore, speaking yesterday on behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee: “What the climate crisis and Iraq have in common is that in both cases Republican policies were badly mistaken, and in both cases there was overwhelming evidence to convince any reasonable person ahead of time that we should have done the exact opposite of what we did.”

Blooper squad

Saying it “posts video regularly on YouTube,” the Democratic National Committee yesterday appealed for Americans to grab their camcorders and send any and all Republican presidential “campaign gaffes” to its Washington headquarters.

“Just remember what happened during the 2006 campaign when former Sen. George Allen, a Republican from Virginia, called a young man by a racial slur — and got caught on tape,” says the DNC’s Internet team. “Within a matter of hours, the episode spread through the Internet to Virginia voters, who started asking new questions about Allen’s character and leadership.

“Senator Jim Webb defeated Allen by 8,000 votes — and the Democratic Party took back the Senate. That’s one example,” says the DNC. “You can bet that during the 2008 campaign there will be plenty more examples of this behavior — not to mention shameless misinformation, outright lies and blatant fear-mongering.”

Western bloopers

To coincide with the National Archives exhibit on the education of U.S. presidents, an array of public events are highlighting the various aspects of presidential lives.

For example, RonaldReagan’s personal diaries were discussed last week by a panel that included former Attorney General Edwin Meese III and ABC newsman Sam Donaldson. So why, at 11 a.m. tomorrow and again at noon on Saturday, is JohnWayne’s classic movie “Stagecoach” being screened at Archives’ William G. McGowanTheater?

It so happens that Archives is featuring “presidential film favorites” through Jan. 1, when the exhibit closes, and Mr. Wayne, by no surprise, was a favorite actor of Lyndon B. Johnson’s. The 1939 movie, nominated for seven Academy Awards and directed by John Ford, charts a dramatic journey through Apache territory, where nine diverse stage passengers try to avoid a run-in with Geronimoand his men.

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