- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 3, 2001

A war on conservatives

Some Senate Democrats plan to oppose virtually all conservative judicial nominees sent up by George W. Bush, according to a news analysis in yesterday's New York Times.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat and his party's ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, does not include himself among the hard-liners. But Mr. Leahy told reporter Neil A. Lewis that many Democrats are eager to battle the Republicans over judicial choices to a far greater degree than they had been in the past.

"I certainly expect them to be appointing Republicans more conservative than the Democrats would, but if ideology is going to be the first order of the day, it's just not going to fly," Mr. Leahy said.

Said the reporter: "Another Democratic senator, who is more prepared to go to war on judicial nominations, said Mr. Bush would soon learn that he would have to expend large amounts of political capital in the Senate if he wanted to nominate candidates with a hard-line conservative philosophy.

"The senator, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said it was time the Democrats made it as difficult for Mr. Bush as the Republicans had for President Clinton."

Party of the rich

After the last presidential campaign, the Republican Party can no longer be called "the party of the rich," William Tucker writes in the New York Post.

"The Democrats are now the party of the rich and the poor. the Republicans are the party of the aspiring middle class. This year, Al Gore won his majorities among people making over $75,000 and under $25,000. George Bush won everything in between," Mr. Tucker said.

"The over-$75,000s, of course, are mostly the educated elites on the East and West coasts. As David Brooks pointed out recently in the Weekly Standard, these foot soldiers of the Information Age grow rich but still vote Democratic to prove to everyone they 'haven't sold out.' At the other end of the spectrum, of course, is a heavily African-American population that now revels in their unanimity (93 percent for Gore) and seems content to be cheerleader for the educated elites. ('You Go Girl!' proclaimed the Amsterdam News of Hillary's victory.)

"But for everyone in between, the GOP formula of hard work, personal responsibility and less government has more resonance. Gore made his first pitch to 'working families,' but as the election wore on, it became clear that working families were Bush's main constituency. Married folks, people with less than graduate degrees, regular churchgoers all went strongly Republican."

Anti-Bush vandal

A vandal scrawled "fascist," "Nazi" and other epithets on cars parked outside the Palo Alto, Calif., home of Bill Evers, a former education adviser to President-elect George W. Bush.

An indelible marker and a sharp object were used to write the slurs and anti-Bush expletives on a black 1995 Mercedes-Benz convertible owned by Mr. Evers' wife, the Associated Press reports.

"My sense is, whoever did this associated the house in some important and symbolic way to them with the new Bush presidency," Mr. Evers said in an interview with reporter Justin Pritchard on Monday night. "Somehow they were trying through vandalism to make some sort of political statement."

Police in the neighborhood near Stanford University deemed the Friday night incident a hate crime because of an anti-homosexual message that also was left on the car.

"They seem to be broad brushstrokes against everybody. They don't seem to have worked out their political philosophies, whoever did this," police spokesman Dan Ryan said.

In 1999, Mr. Evers joined a Bush education team that included Roderick Paige, now Education Secretary nominee, and Lynne V. Cheney, wife of Vice President-elect Richard B. Cheney. He is a fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.

Mr. Evers said the vandal may have identified him with Mr. Bush because of campaign signs on his front lawn and because local papers have touted him as a potential high-level appointee to the incoming administration.

Police said they have no suspects.

Hollywood vs. heroes

Veteran newsman Eric Sevareid once predicted that Americans would some day lay flowers "at the grave of the U-2 pilot shot down over Cuba," the hero of "one of history's most decisive victories."

But dead pilots don't seem to fit Hollywood's idea of heroism.

A new movie called "Thirteen Days" stars Kevin Costner as JFK aide Kenneth O'Donnell during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Through several fictitious scenes, the film portrays Mr. O'Donnell as a major force in shaping the Kennedy administration's response to the secret Soviet missile deployment that threatened to provoke nuclear war.

The villain of the film, early reviews suggest, is neither Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev nor Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, but … U.S. Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay, portrayed as the head of the warmongering "hawks" at the Pentagon.

While glorifying Mr. O'Donnell's role, the movie all but ignores the hero of the real-life crisis.

Maj. Rudolf "Rudy" Anderson Jr. was the pilot of the U-2 reconnaissance flight on Oct. 15, 1962, that located the site of the medium-range Soviet SS-5 missiles in Cuba.

And Maj. Anderson was the only casualty of the crisis killed when he was shot down during a second mission over Cuba on Oct. 27, 1962, by Mr. Castro's Soviet-supplied surface-to-air missiles.

Unnecessary fights

President Clinton's spokesman offered this advice yesterday to his West Wing successor: Avoid our mistake of picking "unnecessary fights" with reporters.

"Obviously, we learned very early on here that you choose your fights judiciously. You pick your fights wisely if you're smart," Clinton Press Secretary Jake Siewert said. "I think people in the early part of the Clinton administration picked some unnecessary fights and paid a heavy price."

After Mr. Clinton came to the White House eight years ago, George Stephanopoulos, then the communications director, closed a hallway leading to his office and that of the press secretary, effectively cutting off reporters' access. That touched off a furor and press relations slid, Associated Press reporter Sonya Ross writes.

When David Gergen joined the White House staff to try to turn things around, he named Mark Gearan as communications director. On his way out, Mr. Stephanopoulos left Mr. Gearan a note: "Mark, I can only give you one piece of advice: Open the hallway."

During a meeting last week, Mr. Siewert said, he and President-elect George W. Bush's spokesman, Ari Fleischer, discussed the layout of the press operation. "He was very curious to know which hall had been closed," Mr. Siewert said. "He asked a lot of questions. He took some notes."

Don't call me 'General'

In an apparent attempt to reflect his move from the burly world of military might to that of subtle diplomatic tact, incoming Secretary of State Colin Powell has instructed his new charges at the State Department not to refer to him as "General," Agence France-Presse reports.

The former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff wants to be identified by his current, albeit temporary, title "secretary-designate" until he is confirmed by the Senate, according to a message sent to department officials from his office.

"The secretary-designate wishes to drop 'General' from his signature block," the brief message says, outlining how Mr. Powell wants official correspondence signed.

"Letters should now show: Sincerely, Colin L. Powell, Secretary-designate of State," said the message, a copy of which was provided to the wire service.

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