- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Hardy lot
They are accustomed to snow, among other hardships, in Latvia, so the 3-foot-drifts that shut down the U.S. federal government yesterday did little to stop the motorcade of Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga, who ventured out for dinner Monday with no fewer than 16 guests.
Having huddled earlier in the day with President Bush at the White House, Mrs. Vike-Freiberga found refuge at Brasserie Les Halles which, unlike similar, upscale restaurants in Washington, managed to remain open despite near-blizzard conditions.
"The president of Latvia [made] a normal Washington entrance with motorcade," says Les Halles' Kerry Lynn Bohen. "Most of the business were out-of-towners stuck at downtown D.C. hotels. And because nothing else opened on Monday, a lot of the stranded travelers from Sunday night were back for seconds on Monday night."
Unlike France and Germany, Latvia and fellow former Soviet bloc countries, including Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, strongly back Mr. Bush's tough stance on Iraq.
"These countries, and especially the Baltic states, know what tyranny means and what the consequences of tolerating tyrants can be. We felt it, lived it, suffered it," Mrs. Vike-Freiberga told Reuters before departing for the United States.

Next question?
President Bush didn't flinch yesterday when a reporter asked, "What do you make of the fact that millions of people across the globe have taken to the streets to protest your approach to Iraq?
"And if you decide to go to war, how do you wage a campaign in the face of such stiff opposition?"
"Two points," Mr. Bush answered. "One is that democracy is a beautiful thing and that people are allowed to express their opinion. I welcome people's right to say what they believe.
"Secondly, evidently some of the world don't view Saddam Hussein as a risk to peace. I respectfully disagree. Saddam Hussein has gassed his own people. Saddam Hussein has got weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein has defied the United Nations. Saddam Hussein is providing links to terrorists. Saddam Hussein is a threat to America. And we will deal with him."
"I owe it to the American people to secure this country. I will do so."

Ostrich brigade
There were businessmen, kids, and their mommies
Joining ministers, imams and swamis.
There were people galore
Shouting 'no' to the war,
Giving aid to Saddam and the commies.
F.R. Duplantier

Tracking history
Talk about following history: Sen. Robert F. Bennett, Utah Republican, reveals that he knew his way around the hallowed halls of Congress decades before he was elected senator.
Offering a historical perspective into the controversial nomination of Miguel Estrada to sit on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the 69-year-old Mr. Bennett says this is not the first such nominee to watch his confirmation process commandeered "as a means to blacken" his record.
He cited similar presidential nominations before the Senate, including Judge Robert Bork's unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Supreme Court, when the opposing party said, "Let's do what we can to make this individual look far less qualified … and maybe in the process, even though it is damaging to him personally, we can succeed in preventing this president from being able to have his nominee confirmed."
And senators themselves aren't immune to such blackballing, Mr. Bennett adds.
"One of them is Joe McCarthy, and we now have the phrase 'McCarthyism,'" the senator notes. "Everybody knows what it means, even if they have never heard of Joe McCarthy."
Mr. Bennett, it turns out, knew McCarthy very well.
"When I was an intern in the Senate in the early 1950s, I used to follow Senator McCarthy around," he says. "That was my assignment, to follow him around. I would take notes and see how he was really performing, as opposed to how the press reported his performance."
In fact, Mr. Bennett says he attended every session of the Governmental Affairs Committee, then known as the Government Operations Committee, "where Senator McCarthy was presiding as chairman and paid attention to his methods as a chairman."
"I reported back to my senator that Senator McCarthy is smarter than the press gives him credit for; he is, when he is not on the issue of communism, a competent chairman, and runs his committee in a legitimate kind of a way," he recalls saying.
"My senator wanted to get that flavor because he knew McCarthy personally in other ways, but he was not a member of the committee and he just wanted some eyes and ears in the committee to see what was going on."
Nobody in Mr. Bennett's office we spoke to yesterday realized that their boss was a Senate intern 50 years ago interning no doubt, for his father, the former four-term U.S. Sen. Wallace F. Bennett.


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