Tuesday, November 20, 2001

Formal e-mail
“Due to challenges with the mail system in Washington, please accept this as our formal invitation to our reception.”
E-mail concerning a reception to be held next Wednesday for two new members of the Bush administration

Voting 101
A task force appointed by the National Council of State Legislatures has issued a list of voter responsibilities for Election Day, which hopefully will help prevent voter confusion like that experienced in Florida and elsewhere during the 2000 presidential election. Among the responsibilities:
1. “Know how to operate voting equipment.”
2. “Ask questions when confused.”
3. “Check completed ballot for accuracy.”

Stronger nation
Speaking of the 2000 presidential election, it turns out many more Americans than George W. Bush came out on top.
“Americans were more satisfied with their democratic process after the 2000 election than after the 1996 contest,” says John Samples, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Representative Government, quoting the findings of an election commission headed by former Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.
In an executive summary on election reform, Mr. Samples says the “anger and bitterness associated with the struggle over the 2000 presidential election have now passed for all but the most dedicated partisans.”
“In the end, that struggle did little or no damage to the American republic,” he contends. Rather, “the greatest threat lies ahead in what Congress does, or does not do” in addressing election reform.
Centralizing control of elections, as has been proposed, would damage the constitutional republic, according to Mr. Samples, by removing any sense of individual voter responsibility and hinder the process of discovery that is a vital aspect of federalism.
“Along the way,” he says, “many Americans may come to believe that their fellow citizens are either not capable of assuming the minimal obligations of citizenship or not to be trusted on Election Day.”

Pass the salt
Democratic congressional leaders Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota and Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri are being condemned for visiting Mexico this past weekend and conveying to Mexican President Vicente Fox their intentions to “legalize” the status of nearly 4 million illegal Mexican workers in the United States.
Scott A. Lauf executive director of CitizensLobby.com, a nonpartisan immigration, foreign policy and trade group says it is “frightening to see that the Democratic leaders of Congress have not learned the tragic lessons of the September 11 terrorist attacks.”
“Terrorists abused our weak immigration laws and open-borders policies to secure visas to enter America to kill Americans,” he explains. “At a time when national security and border control should be the nation’s top priorities, Mr. Gephardt and Mr. Daschle are having a little fiesta in Mexico and giving the green light for more illegal aliens to sneak across the border. Is this their idea of homeland security and an economic-stimulus package?
“They must have drank too many margaritas,” says Mr. Lauf.
Among other measures, the immigration group is urging Congress to create a new U.S. border-security agency and a new entry-exit system to track foreign visitors, students and workers. It also wants U.S. troops placed on the nation’s borders to supplement the U.S. Border Patrol and all illegal aliens currently in the United States aggressively tracked down and deported.

Gipper’s roots
Ronald Reagan lived in several houses while growing up in Illinois, but the one he considers his boyhood home is about to become a national historic site.
Congress has passed a resolution authorizing Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton to purchase the presidentially historic property in Dixon, Ill., and rename it “the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home National Historic Site.”
Mr. Reagan lived in the Dixon home from 1924 through 1928, and already the house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The future president also lived in homes in Tampico, Galesburg and Chicago.
The Dixon house is currently owned by the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home Foundation, a nonprofit organization that paid approximately $30,000 for the residence in the early 1980s and has since invested several million dollars in the home and adjacent properties, including a museum.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the federal cost of purchasing the property would be about $700,000 over the next two years, and thereafter between $250,000 and $500,000 annually to operate the historic property.

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