- The Washington Times - Monday, December 31, 2001

It was a year we scarcely shall forget. It began with the Inauguration of the nation's 43rd president, George W. Bush, who staggered into office following a bruising election contest.

The president initially enjoyed the advantage of a Republican-controlled Congress, which looked favorably upon much of his legislative agenda, including his 10-year, $1.35-trillion tax cut.

However, that advantage was short-lived, as Vermont's Sen. Jim Jeffords abandoned the party of George Bush in June, giving Democrats a one-vote majority in the upper chamber.

Meanwhile, the nation's economy sank into recession for the first time in a decade. The major stock indexes lost ground for the second straight year, and more than 1.2 million American workers lost their jobs.

Of course, these and other news events of 2001 were completely overshadowed by the September 11 terror attacks that lay waste to the World Trade Center, destroyed a section of the Pentagon and saw another hijacked jetliner crash into a Pennsylvania field.

It was a dark and terrible day one that left a permanent scar upon the national psyche. Yet, the attack upon the United States brought Americans together like no single event since Pearl Harbor.

We will never forget 2001. But now it is onto the new year: Time to offer resolutions for those who figured prominently in the news.

• President Bush: To remain the strong, reassuring figure the nation needs during troubled times. To remind myself not to become so preoccupied with the war on terror that I completely neglect pressing domestic concerns, like the faltering economy. To fight for my nominees like Eugene Scalia and Otto Reich whose appointments are being held hostage by Senate Democrats.

• First Lady Laura Bush: To continue to stand by my man, the president. To keep a more watchful eye on our fun-loving twins, Jenna and Barbara.

• Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle: To reject the cynical advice of Democratic strategists James Carville, Stanley Greenberg and Bob Shrum to support the president in the war on terror while obstructing his domestic agenda. To find a synonym (or synonyms) for the word "disappointed," which I seem to use in almost every public statement I make.

• Vice President Dick Cheney: To play the "bad cop" role on Capitol Hill when necessary so that the boss can remain above the partisan fray. To stay healthy.

• Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton: To give the president a more respectful hearing when he appears before Congress. No chattering while he's speaking. No rolling of eyes. To apologize to Ernest Dymond for not stopping to see whether he was OK after a van carrying me to the Westchester County, N.Y., airport ran the police officer down.

• New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani: To take a well-deserved vacation. To start gearing up for a U.S. Senate race in 2004 against New York incumbent Charles Schumer.

• California Gov. Gray Davis: To stop trying to bolster my sagging approval ratings and my flagging re-election prospects by playing the terrorist card like the false alarm I issued last fall of "credible" threats against major bridges in the Golden State.

• Osama bin Laden and Mullah Mohammed Omar: To not be taken alive. To not be surprised when we end up in hell rather than in paradise, no 72 virgins awaiting us in the hereafter; no 28 young boys.

• Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat: To give peaceful co-existence a chance. To recognize that Jews and Palestinians are cousins, both tracing their heritage back to Abraham.

• John Walker: To forfeit my American citizenship because I identify with the Taliban. To be eternally grateful if I avoid the death sentence I deserve for taking up arms against my country.

• The American public: To forever remember Todd Beamer, Jeffrey Glick, et al, for their valor and self-sacrifice on September 11, which prevented the hijackers of United Flight 93 from crashing the jetliner into the White House, the Capitol or some other high-profile target.

• Robert Downey Jr., Paul Reubens (aka Pee Wee Herman), Paula Poundstone and Winona Ryder: To stay off the police blotter.

• Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf, Ashley Judd and Dario Franchitti, Kevin Costner and Christine Baumgarten, Brooke Shields and Chris Henchy, Jennifer Lopez and Cris Judd: To last longer than Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid, Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger, Drew Barrymore and Tom Green.

• Severino Antinori and Panayiotis Zavos: To abandon our plans to clone a human being. To heed the warnings of Dr. Ian Wilmut (who led the team that created Dolly, the world's first successfully cloned sheep) that human cloning will result in late abortions, dead children, and surviving but abnormal children.

• Rep. Gary Condit: To admit I had an adulterous affair with Chandra Levy.

•Chandra Levy: To haunt Gary Condit for the rest of his life.

Joseph Perkins is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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