- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 20, 2001

Bubba's gems

Even after eight years in office, former President Bill Clinton will only have three quotes in the 17th edition of Bartlett's Familiar Quotation, the high and mighty source of who said what.
Curious? The quotes are:
"I experimented with marijuana a time or two. And I didn't like it, and I didn't inhale and never tried it again." March 1992.
"I am going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." January 1998.
"It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is. If the if he if 'is' means is and never has been, that is not that is not the only one thing. It means there is none. That was a completely true statement." August 1998.

Judge grudges

President Bush is "starting to act like a bona fide conservative," writes MSNBC columnist Jay Severin, after Mr. Bush said he hoped to eliminate the American Bar Association from the selection process for federal judges.
Mr. Severin recalled the travails of Judge Robert Bork in 1987, when a third of the ABA screeners declared Mr. Bork unfit for the Supreme Court for a "profound flaw: he is a conservative."
But a president whose party controls Congress can "restock the federal courts with like-minded judges. When Republicans do this it is called 'stacking the courts with extreme right wingers.' When Democrats do this, it's called 'restoring the balance,' " Mr. Severin writes.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, "called Bush's ABA-free nomination process 'a real indication that they want to pick judges of the hard right.' "
But it was Sen. Patrick Leahy, Vermont Democrat, who commanded attention.
He "declared that eliminating the ABA from the nomination system would are you ready 'bring ideology into the judicial process.' Gee, Mr. Leahy, you mean that somebody might get Borked?"

Say ah-h-h

American doctors will lecture patients about the risks of gun ownership if Doctors Against Handgun Injury has its way.
Dr. Jeremiah Barondess, president of the New York Academy of Medicine and the group's leader, says there are no political motivations, though the group is going to start lobbying Congress.
"We are neutral politically, academically and intellectually," Dr. Barondess said. "Getting shot and being dead is certainly a clinical issue."
Meanwhile, the pro-gun 1,300-member Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership has accused the group of pushing politics rather than health.
"Handgun ownership is not a medical issue and never has been," said spokesman Dr. Tim Wheeler.

Mad hatter

Sen. Christopher S. Bond, Missouri Republican, is pretty furious over the recent Army beret hoopla.
In a letter to the Department of Defense yesterday, Mr. Bond asked Pentagon officials to explain why a lucrative contract to outfit 3 million soldiers with new black berets was given to foreign manufacturers rather than American small businesses.
"It makes no sense to me that a contract of this size and type could not be supplied by small businesses right here in the U.S.," said Mr. Bond, chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business. "I am deeply concerned that DOD did not follow protocol and offer businesses on our main streets a crack at this huge contract. At $23 million, it had the potential to help sustain thousands of jobs and to create many new ones."
Mr. Bond wants all memoranda and internal Defense Department documents, and has ordered an investigation. The Pentagon has until April 5 to respond.

Feminine ways

Are women tough enough to run for governor or president, asked pollsters Celinda Lake and Mary Hughes, both Democrats, and Linda DiVall, a Republican.
They surveyed some 1,400 voters to find that men and older voters were more likely to prefer a male candidate for a top office; Republicans and Republican-leaning voters were more likely to vote along party lines, regardless of sex. Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters were more likely to include sex as a factor, the research suggested.
Democratic constituencies such as blue-collar workers and senior Democratic men were less likely to support female candidates. The pollsters advised aspiring women to aggressively court younger voters, and more educated voters.
The poll suggested female candidates top male counterparts on issues like social programs, education and "people" issues. First and foremost, though, they must counter concerns that they can't "take charge."

'Lawmaker babes'

Two years ago, there were no women in the Arkansas state Senate. Now there are four, and they've caused "the vast majority of male senators to be more careful about what they say and how they say it," the Arkansas Democrat Gazette noted yesterday.
Senate president Mike Beebe, a Democrat, went so far as to describe the Senate as a "kinder, gentler place."
One of the female senators has her own take on things, though. Sharon Trusty, a 55-year-old Republican owner of a car repair shop in Russellville, said that the four ladies have formed an "old girls club."
"You know they call us the babes of the Senate and that's to our face and all in fun," she said of her male peers.
"How many times can a 55-year-old grandma be called a babe? I accept it."

Going South

What's up with Arnold bashing?
Recently, Democratic strategist Garry South chief spinmeister for Gov. Gray Davis clipped two dubious articles which claimed that actor Arnold Schwarzenegger had groped several women. Mr. South then blast-faxed the stories to 200 political reporters across the country.
It was not as if the articles came from lofty political journals. Mr. South gleaned them from the National Enquirer tabloid and Premiere, a movie magazine.
"Premiere has drawn the most media attention because it's considered the most credible publication," noted the Los Angeles Times yesterday. "It cites mostly anonymous sources" which claimed the actor is a womanizer.
Arnold is, incidentally, considering a run for governor. But that's not all.
"South didn't stop at faxing out the articles. He tacked on some pithy sarcasm on the cover sheets. The most controversial alluded to the magazine's assertion denied by doctors that pig valves were implanted in Schwarzenegger's heart," the Times continued.
According to the paper, Mr. South hoped to "startle 'family values' Republicans about to gather at a state party convention."
Was the strategist out of bounds? He showed "bad taste boorish behavior … badgering The Barbarian and spreading the ugly stories."
"In the political business, you can be smacked by a dirtbag," the paper concluded.


Meanwhile, a Fox News poll released yesterday reveals that 40 percent of those surveyed said Bill and Hillary Clinton would not be married in five years; 35 percent felt they would remain in their current state of wedded bliss.
The poll also asked respondents if they would vote for Bill Clinton if he ran for mayor of their own city. Sixty-five percent said no, 30 percent yes.
Incidentally, some folks cite the previous White House occupant for the shaky state of the economy: 11 percent blamed Mr. Clinton. But 11 percent blamed Congress, 17 percent Alan Greenspan, 20 percent "the American people" and 25 percent a "combination." Just 6 percent blamed President Bush.

Forest delay

A federal judge yesterday rejected a Bush administration request to delay a hearing on a lawsuit challenging former President Clinton's ban on road-building in a third of U.S. national forests.

Justice Department lawyers had proposed suspending the ban until Idaho's request for a preliminary injunction was resolved.

U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge instead told parties to file court papers by today as planned, the Associated Press reported.

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