- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 19, 2002

'Ambling into History'
Everything we've come to know about George W. Bush, and then some, is found in the pages of "Ambling into History: The Unlikely Odyssey of George W. Bush" (HarperCollins, March 5, $23.95), by New York Times reporter and Washington resident Frank Bruni.
Mr. Bruni covered Mr. Bush's tortuous 2000 presidential campaign from start to finish as well as much of his first historic year in the White House. And while the scribe kept careful notes of the colloquial twists and verbal bloopers as Mr. Bush was getting his feet wet (some of these we've never read before), he also detected in the colorful Texan an impromptu cleverness, genuine empathy, deep spirituality and profound respect for the office of the president.
"Listening to him," Mr. Bruni says of Mr. Bush in the days after September 11, "I was struck anew by the oddity of his journey, by how unlikely it was that Bush had ended up where he was.
"Only two years earlier," the author recalls, "he had still been receiving foreign policy tutorials from the various experts that his advisers had assembled to bring him up to speed. So many times during his campaign, he had tripped over or blanked on the names of foreign countries and the names of foreign leaders. He had often seemed least sure-footed when it came to global issues ….
"And now he was putting himself forward as the one who would teach the rest of us about the world at a time when it was maddeningly difficult to understand it and urgent that we did. Bush had taken an unusual trip to what seemed, for him, the unlikeliest of destinations."

Highest authority
What is it about President Bush that most impresses Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat?
His knees.
"When it is all said and done, I have to remember that here is a man who preaches and practices, as far as I have seen, his faith," says Mr. Byrd. "It is unfortunate, but these are times when few men and women, relatively speaking it seems to me, recognize God in their lives and in the life of the nation.
"So I respect President Bush for his humility, for his willingness to call upon God, to express a faith, to express a strength that can only come from calling upon the Creator of us all. It just touches my heart and makes me feel good that the chief magistrate of our country talks about getting on his knees."

Select blessings
Speaking of the Creator, at the close of one congressional hearing late last week Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, West Virginia Democrat, is said to have offered God's blessings to those who believe in steel tariffs, that is.
Paul Nathanson, senior vice president and managing director of the PBN Company in Washington, who works on the free-trade side of the steel issue, reminds us that Mr. Rockefeller has been a passionate advocate of the domestic steel industry and is currently pressing President Bush to slap 40 percent tariffs on steel imports.
Last Thursday, as Mr. Nathanson tells the story, Mr. Rockefeller was presiding over a Senate Finance Committee hearing on steel and lumber issues.
"He has so much disdain for steel consumers who are opposed to these tariffs," Mr. Nathanson said, "that after berating them throughout their testimony, he closed the hearing by stating 'God bless most of you.'"

Animal house
American University this past weekend played host to the National Student Animal Rights Conference, featuring prominent animal rights activists from around the country.
Paying close attention was Lyn Bouchey, adjunct fellow at Frontiers of Freedom, who is currently writing an expose on the proliferation of radical animal-rights curriculum in America's school system. Which doesn't begin in college.
His report, to be released this spring, will detail the philosophies and tactics of animal rights activists as they infiltrate not just colleges and high schools, but elementary schools, peddling their agenda to impressionable young children often without parental knowledge.
Consider the words of Mohan Embar, president of the Animal Rights Counterculture: "Only by … getting the kiddies while they're young can we try to limit the damage and eventually reverse it."
According to Mr. Bouchey, such activists and groups frequently send out so-called educational packs to teachers encouraging them to teach a radical animal-rights agenda and invite teachers to push children into aggressive letter-writing campaigns against companies that engage in animal testing.
For instance, Alfred Zeien, chairman of Gillette Co., opened this letter from a sixth-grader: "Let this be a warning to you. If you hurt another animal, if I find out, one month from when this letter arrives to you, I'll bomb your company."

Anonymity protected
Regarding our item last week about those whose names were added to or dropped from "The 2002 Washington A List," syndicated columnist Cal Thomas writes to Inside the Beltway: "The nice thing about never being on the 'A' list is that you never have to suffer the indignity of being dropped!"


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