- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 17, 2000

Bush bash

We wrote jokingly yesterday that our readers would be the first to know if Health and Human Services Secretary Donna E. Shalala hosted a second book party in her home for feminist author Molly Ivins, whose latest hardcover is "Shrub: The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush."
Loyal reader that she is, Miss Shalala rang Inside the Beltway yesterday to say while she isn't hosting another book party, she and Alice Rivlin, chairman of the D.C. financial control board, were taking Miss Ivins to dinner last night at Nora restaurant in Northwest Washington to celebrate.

Summoning Moses

John Meroney, associate editor of the American Enterprise magazine in Washington, tells Inside the Beltway he was poking his nose around the Hotel Bel Air in Los Angeles and caught a whiff of cigar smoke.
"You're not going to believe this," George, for over 40 years the hotel's bartender, told the editor. "Nestled in this oasis of refined elegance in the winding streets off Sunset Boulevard, late at night when everyone else has gone home, the ghosts of Ronald Reagan's 'Kitchen Cabinet' meet here for cigars and martinis."
At first, Mr. Meroney didn't believe him. But the bartender, a longtime friend of the three old Reagan honchos wealthy car dealer Holmes Tuttle, businessman Justin Dart, and Union Oil President Cy Rubel invited him to listen in on that night's conversation.
Mr. Meroney found himself taking copious notes.
"Fellas, the handwriting's on the wall," says Mr. Dart. "We've got to get us a sure thing. After the last seven years, Ronnie wouldn't settle for anything less. I think I may have just the man for us. Somebody who'd make Ronnie real proud."
He pauses to take a drag on his H. Upmann for dramatic effect.
"Charlton Heston," he says finally. "He was president of the Screen Actors Guild, too, you know."
Mr. Tuttle raises his eyebrows.
Mr. Rubel moves to the edge of his seat.
Mr. Dart continues: "All of them Washington boys are always saying things like, 'The question for America isn't whether God's on our side, it's whether we're on God's side.' Chuck brought them Ten Commandments down off Mount Sinai. Just imagine the contrast of Al Gore debating the man who parted the Red Sea. Plus, Chuck ain't a lawyer."
"I believe you're on to something," says Mr. Tuttle.
"The Christian Coalition folks would love him," says Mr. Rubel.
"And he'll bridge the racial gap," adds Mr. Dart. "In 1963, when Al Gore was sneaking smokes behind the gym at St. Albans, Chuck was leading the Hollywood contingent to Washington for Rev. King's 'I Have a Dream' speech."
"A Republican who marched in the civil rights movement," says Mr. Tuttle. "Imagine that."
"I believe he's a supply-sider, too," says Mr. Rubel.
"Didn't they give him an Oscar for 'Ben Hur'?" asks Mr. Tuttle. "Even Ronnie never won one of those."

Flunking Hillary

"Take the Hillary Quiz," invites the Hillary2000 campaign. "Test your Hillary knowledge."
It consists of 23 multiple-choice questions, sent to Inside the Beltway and other "supporters" of first lady and New York Senate candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.
We breezed through part of the quiz, knowing the title of Mrs. Clinton's 1996 book, that she has two brothers, graduated Wellesley College, donated more than a million bucks to children's hospitals, that her parents were named Hugh and Dorothy, her cat and dog Socks and Buddy, and that her mom taught Sunday school.
Then, suddenly, confusion. Our palms began to sweat like they did when Holy Cross Sister Marie de Carmel, pointer stick in hand, maneuvered slowly between desks, test sheet to test sheet, checking whether a comma was placed before a conjunction introducing an independent clause.
Maybe we don't know Hillary after all.
We thought it was Cesar Chavez, not Martin Luther King, whom Hillary met as a youth and who became her role model. Wrong.
We assumed playing softball, not "baby-sitting the children of migrant farm workers," was the activity Hillary enjoyed as a young adult. Wrong.
We thought Hillary, at the age of 15, dreamed of being a movie star, not an astronaut. Wrong.
And finally, we thought Hillary's favorite card game as a child was "war," not pinochle.

Explain, your honor?

A resolution urging state and federal courts of appeal judges to provide reasoned explanations for their decisions, introduced by the D.C. Bar Association, has won approval of the American Bar Association.
A number of organizations of judges opposed the resolution, as did the American Bar Association board of governors, which argued that the courts do not have the resources to give reasoned explanations. But after extended debate, the ABA House of Delegates passed the resolution.
"Our resolution sends the message to the judiciary that litigants and their lawyers deserve to be told why they have won or lost a case," says D.C. Bar Association President Jack H. Olender.

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