- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 29, 2002

'Ahead of the radicals'
We're proud to count former President George Bush among our growing number of Inside the Beltway readers, with the nation's 41st president weighing in on a return of the ROTC to the Yale University campus.
Mr. Bush had read our recent column item headlined "Yale's Turn." The item dealt with Yale's Class of 1937 issuing a call for the ROTC banned at Yale since the Vietnam War to be restored to the campus (Mr. Bush graduated Yale in 1948; his son, President George W. Bush, was in the Yale Class of '68).
Albert Bildner, a former Navy ROTC member in the Class of '37, had pointed out that today's world and its inhabitants, "including the Yale faculty and students, are notably different in spirit and temperament than those of the late 1960s, when Yale banned the ROTC program in the throes of the Vietnam war."
Mr. Bush says he couldn't agree more.
"I read your column 'Yale's Turn,' and I just want you to know that I totally agree with the idea that it is time for Yale to restore ROTC to the campus," the former president writes. "It is my strongly held view that ROTC should not have been kicked off the campus in the first place.
"I love Yale," Mr. Bush continues, "but they sometimes, especially back in the '60s, seemed to try to jump out ahead of the radicals, totally turning off a lot of loyal alumni like me in the process. I honestly believe things are very different there now."
Mr. Bildner stated rather bluntly that "Yale should not expect other people to carry the burden of defending the country while Yale students do nothing in defense of the United States."
Mr. Bush certainly did his share of defending. He served as a U.S. Navy pilot during World War II, said to be the youngest of all Navy pilots in the war theater. He flew 58 missions off carriers in the Pacific and was rescued at sea twice, dodging Japanese capture within minutes. He was decorated for valor.
Ironically, shortly after Mr. Bush lost the presidency to Bill Clinton in 1992, two highly influential Yale alumni recommended that he return to his alma mater as president. Wouldn't you know, up until Election Day, Mr. Clinton's name had also been on the list of Yale alumni being considered to replace former Yale President Benno C. Schmidt Jr.
For obvious reasons, Mr. Clinton's name was scratched.

Butterfly exhibit
Our favorite acquisition of late by the Smithsonian Institution: "Votomatic voting machine (complete with chads) and official butterfly ballot from Palm Beach County, Florida."
The machine, chads and infamous butterfly ballot designed by Palm Beach County elections supervisor Theresa LePore, a registered Democrat during the 2000 presidential election are now on display beneath the roof of the National Museum of American History's Behring Center.
Democrats, readers will recall, partly blamed Miss LePore's "confusing" ballot for Al Gore's ultimate loss to George W. Bush. Angry at how she was being treated by members of her own party, Miss LePore has since changed her voter registration from Democrat to independent.

Cough it up
Enron-funded pundits.
That's what columnist Andrew Sullivan, senior editor of the New Republic, has labeled those journalists who pocketed Enron cash before the company collapsed in bankruptcy. The list of scribes includes:
Bill Kristol, Weekly Standard editor (paid $100,000 for serving on an Enron advisory board); Lawrence Kudlow, National Review contributing editor (got $50,000 from the Houston company); Paul Krugman, New York Times columnist (received $50,000 for serving on Enron's advisory board); Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal columnist (pocketed as much as $50,000 for helping prepare Enron's annual report and one speech for former Enron CEO Kenneth L. Lay).
So, what's a journalist with his or her hand stuck in a crumbling Enron cookie jar to do?
"Let's say these Enron-funded pundits did nothing illegal or unethical," writes Mr. Sullivan. "Let's say they just took $50,000 minimum from this company for legit extracurricular work. Maybe they didn't know what a scam Enron was at the time. The point is at some point in the future any big corporation could be a scandal.
"And what does the pundit do then? He can disclose, sure, as Krugman and Noonan have," he observes. "But that doesn't get rid of the problem, unless they actually return the money."
No, there's an even bigger problem. One that smacks against the integrity and ethics that should have been remembered from Journalism 101.
"Haven't these pundits essentially undermined themselves as independent watchdogs of the culture?" Mr. Sullivan asks. "Isn't the entire point of the press to be independent observers of problems, not part of them?"

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