- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 31, 2001

Hypocritical oaths

"Should a man who misrepresents the facts under oath be our Attorney General?"

That was the question posed yesterday by the liberal watchdog group People for the American Way, in a full-page ad carried by several major newspapers across the country.

It was referring, of course, to John Ashcroft's sworn testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which yesterday voted 10 to 8 to approve his nomination as attorney general of the United States.

Yet isn't it ironic that when the liberal lobbying blitz against President Clinton's impeachment was heating up, it was People for the American Way leading the charge contending that Mr. Clinton's perjury under oath wasn't such a bad crime, and certainly not grounds for impeachment.

Rather, Ralph Neas, president of People for the American Way (who was actually running for Congress in Maryland at the time of Mr. Clinton's perjury scandal) took out a similar ad to yesterday's saying he'd prefer to "censor" the president and move on.

That's right: censor, not censure (either way, Republicans knew what he meant).

Yesterday, Mr. Neas spent the entire day in Senate Judiciary Committee chambers, reminding all who would listen what Mr. Ashcroft "says" and what Mr. Ashcroft's "record" shows.

Mr. Neas chose not to talk to us, but Elliot Mincberg, vice president of People for the American Way, told this column after last evening's committee vote that his organization "never condoned what President Clinton did; we always felt he should be punished in some fashion."

However, Mr. Mincberg added, Mr. Clinton's perjured testimony dealt with his "personal behavior," while Mr. Ashcroft's record and so-called "misleading" remarks came while "a senator or attorney general nominee, and appropriately, he should not be awarded with a new office as attorney general."

Letter of the week

"Would Marc Rich's pardon be considered a tax break for the wealthy?"

Inside the Beltway reader Michael W. Hansrote, referring to the fugitive financier pardoned in the dying hours of his term by President Clinton, who all but burned the evidence in the country's largest tax-fraud case.

Do not collect $200

We're not sure who is more at fault the person passing the obviously bogus $200 bill bearing the likeness of President George W. Bush or the dizzy Dairy Queen cashier who accepted the money.

Police in Kentucky are searching for the person who used the phony bill to buy $2.12 worth of food, driving away in tears, no doubt with $197.88 in real change.

The cashier no doubt assumed that each new president is honored with his own currency, even with a gushing Texas oil well on the back.

What if?

"My personal eating habits will not be discussed from this podium, but thank you for your concern," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer responded yesterday, after a reporter inquired: "Are you a beef-eater, Ari?"

Another reporter had just observed that "in Europe, children are dying of the 'mad cow' disease," and wondered what the Bush administration would do if the disease cropped up in the United States, "because it would hurt, badly hurt Texas cattle farmers."

Not to mention the children.

Loyalty lapse

The Democratic Party, in light of the 2000 elections, is being asked to re-evaluate policies that "alienated" party members.

"The once-majority party now cannot win the presidency or control both houses of Congress, the solid Democratic South is now the solid Republican South, because party leadership has asked the membership to be more loyal to the party than to their own moral judgment, and many have refused to do that," said Dr. Lois Kerschen, who represents Democrats For Life of America.

"The party of the people, the party of inclusion, the party that has historically championed civil rights and respect for individual opinion has become, in truth, a party that demands adherence to a platform that is out of step with the American people," she said.

Six of 50

Getting passed around Capitol Hill are "50 Things You Can Do to Annoy the Politically Correct" by Edward Mick. There's not space to fit all 50, but here's a six-pack:

1) Keep a framed photo of Oliver North on your desk at work.

2) Launch a petition drive to carve Ronald Reagan's visage into Mount Rushmore.

3) Your Christmas card? A photo of you shaking hands with Newt Gingrich.

4) Buy a gun …

5) … as a present for your 10-year-old …

6) … to celebrate his Junior NRA Membership.

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