- The Washington Times - Monday, June 4, 2001

Heaven to Ted
Its been nearly a year since almost half of the U.S. Senate, including Democratic Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, journeyed to Atlanta to mourn the sudden death of Republican Sen. Paul Coverdell.
Mr. Kennedy now needs to inform his staff of Mr. Coverdells tragic passing.
A former top aide to Mr. Coverdell tells Inside the Beltway that for the past year shes been charged with monitoring any errant mail addressed to the late senator. Incredibly, one of the worst offenders is Mr. Kennedy, whose office despite her pleas to stop repeatedly sends personal correspondence to Mr. Coverdell.
The former aide, who asks not to be identified, says she has repeatedly telephoned and last week even paid a personal visit to Mr. Kennedys Capitol Hill office to remind them of Mr. Coverdells untimely demise last July.
She handed this column two recent letters from Mr. Kennedy to Mr. Coverdell, dated April 19 and May 1, 2001.
The most recent reads: "Dear Senator Coverdell: My assistance has been requested concerning the enclosed correspondence. I am respectfully referring this correspondence to you for your attention.
"Any appropriate consideration you will be able to render would be greatly appreciated. Please reply directly to the constituent.
"Thank you for your attention and consideration. With best wishes. Sincerely, Edward M. Kennedy."
Both letters even bear Mr. Kennedys signature mechanically forged, we hope.

Lifetime achievement

Ronald Reagans political enemies criticized him as a second-rate, B-movie actor, but according to an article appearing in the new issue of Claremont Review of Books, the critics got it wrong.
Washington-based author John Meroney, associate editor of the American Enterprise magazine, says those old enough to remember have probably forgotten and those too young could probably never imagine the criticisms that Mr. Reagan endured when he ran for public office.
Starting with his campaign for governor of California in 1966, when incumbent Edmund G. "Pat" Brown told two young black girls: "You know, Im running against an actor. Remember this: You know who shot Abraham Lincoln, dont you? An actor shot Lincoln."
The reviews didnt get much better after Mr. Reagan became president, with CBS News correspondent Bob Schieffer titling his book on the Reagan presidency "Acting President."
But Mr. Meroney contends that not only have historians and biographers missed the full significance of Ronald Reagans Hollywood life, "they have largely ignored the importance of the roles he played, and the themes and the storylines of his films."
The themes being "patriotism, liberty, justice, sacrifice, loyalty and idealism [which] are in keeping with the principles by which he lived his life, and the ones he used to shape the public policy of his presidency," the author writes.
"Reagan loved movies, and his work in Hollywood was as critical to shaping his presidency as practicing law was to Lincoln, or commanding the PT-109 was to JFK. Brass Bancroft, The Gipper, Drake McHugh, Grover Cleveland Alexander all of them are critical parts of Reagans lifes work."
However, it was footage far from Hollywood when Mr. Reagan was a film administrator in the Army Air Forces Signal Corps and became one of the first to process color footage of Nazi death camps filmed by combat camera units "that seemed to influence Ronald Reagan most profoundly," writes Mr. Meroney.
All of which furthered his drive to end the Cold War.
"Jesse Jackson, of all people, recently admitted: 'Henry Kissinger types bitterly argued that it was absurd to expect [that] a guy like Reagan could do anything with Gorbachev … and yet … Reagan made history that all those little wannabe Kissingers in the future will spend their working lives analyzing."
While Ronald Reagan never won an Oscar, concludes the author, "by any measure, that is a performance worthy of a Lifetime Achievement Award."

Aging nation

William D. Novelli, co-founder and former president of the worldwide marketing communications firm Porter Novelli, is the new executive director and CEO of the 35 million-member AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons.
"We have the opportunity to do great things for our members, for all older people and for all generations," says Mr. Novelli, who replaces the retiring Horace B. Deets at the AARP helm.


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