- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 14, 2003

Lowest form

Now that Saddam Hussein has reared his ugly head, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee wants a leading Democratic congressman to issue an apology.

In a briefing with reporters this past week, Rep. Robert T. Matsui, California Democrat, insisted that the U.S.-led mission to dethrone the Iraqi dictator was a charade.

“The war was, to an extent, to take attention from the economy,” charged Mr. Matsui, who has served on Capitol Hill for 26 years.

Later today, we’re told, NRCC Chairman Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds, New York Republican, will issue a statement calling on Mr. Matsui to retract his remarks and apologize.

“Members of Congress have a responsibility to exercise good judgment in all that they do,” Mr. Reynolds tells us. “The American people have a right to expect more of their elected officials than unfounded accusations.

“The spreading of rumors and innuendo is the lowest form of politics,” he adds. “It is beneath an elected representative, and it should be condemned by members of both parties. I believe he should apologize to the president as well as the American people.”

Dick’s ready

He might not be leading in the polls, but Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri was the first of the Democratic presidential wannabes to issue a statement yesterday on the capture of Saddam Hussein. And for good reason.

Unlike the other contenders, Mr. Gephardt all but embraced President Bush’s mission in Iraq. And now, says the Missouri Democrat, it’s time for him to finish what Mr. Bush started.

“I supported this effort in Iraq without regard for the political consequences because it was the right thing to do. I still feel that way now, and today is a major step toward stabilizing Iraq and building a new democracy,” says Mr. Gephardt, who was told of Saddam’s capture when waking up yesterday in Sumter, S.C.

But he cautions that the war on terrorism is in its early stages.

“For many years, we will be confronted with a war on terrorism that is unfinished,” says the former House minority leader. “This will be a long and difficult struggle, and we need a president who has the credibility to unite the American people and our allies in an effort to make our nation and our world safe.”

Referring to himself, of course.

God and Gipper

We’ve just reviewed an uncorrected proof of “God and Ronald Reagan: A Spiritual Life” (Regan Books), in which presidential historian and author Paul Kengor argues that the former president, albeit privately, embraced Christianity with fervor.

Mr. Kengor says Mr. Reagan kept his personal religious beliefs — shaped in his childhood by his Protestant mother, Nelle Reagan, and retained with extraordinary consistency — relatively quiet while in public life. But eventually his religious framework became a presidential one that ran head-on with the antireligious regime in Moscow.

The author says nothing more strongly clashed with Mr. Reagan’s belief system than Soviet communism, believing that the United States was a divinely ordained beacon of freedom. That conviction compelled the former president to a series of challenges that would eventually bring down the Iron Curtain.

When he took the oath of office as the 40th president, Mr. Kengor recalls, Mr. Reagan chose to use Nelle’s old wrinkled Bible, opened to 2 Chronicles 7:14, her favorite verse and one her son treasured equally:

“If my people, which are called by name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Reveals Mr. Kengor: “The Bible Reagan used at the Inauguration bore an annotation next to the verse, in Nelle’s hand: ‘A most wonderful verse for the healing of a nation.’”

Letter of the week

“I just received a letter from former Washington Post writer Ann O’Hanlon this afternoon. She is now [with] NARAL Pro-Choice America,” writes Matt Waters, vice president of public education and development for Care Net, Pro-Life Ministry of Pregnancy Centers.

“But what I thought was amusing was her choice of words, that as she builds a pro-choice caucus and rapidly growing membership, she says these efforts are ‘just our baby steps!’ My question is, what in Toledo does NARAL know about ‘baby’ steps?”

NARAL is formerly the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League.

John McCaslin, a nationally syndicated columnist, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide