- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 30, 2003

Time always tells
"Time and time again over the 20th century, the West learned that the scale of crimes committed by totalitarian regimes was far worse than we even knew. It was not until those brutal regimes fell and their victims documented the full extent of the monstrous abuse that we learned the truth.
"We saw it in Hitler's Germany. We saw it in the Soviet Union. We saw it in Cambodia, and eventually we will see it in Cuba. And once Saddam fails and falls, the Iraqi people will shock and disgust the world by revealing the full, ghastly scope of Saddam's oppression."
House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, Texas Republican, speaking from the House floor this week

Call him Max
Rep. Max Burns, Georgia Republican, isn't your typical politician just arrived in Washington.
Perhaps fellow newly elected congressmen recognized this when honoring him as president of the 108th Congress' freshman class.
"Let me make this clear, my first name is 'Max.' People think my first name is 'Congressman.' It's not, call me Max," Mr. Burns told Inside the Beltway just before President Bush's State of the Union address Tuesday night.
Elected as the first congressman to represent Georgia's newly drawn 12th Congressional District (stretching from Athens to Augusta to Savannah), Mr. Burns holds both master's and doctorate degrees. Even more impressive, he was a Senior Fulbright scholar, teaching in Sweden, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
But Mr. Burns never forgot his rural Georgia roots. The married father of two grown sons ultimately returned to his family's beef and timber farm, where he still works and lives today. When he wasn't called to duty as a first lieutenant in the Army Reserves, he could be found in the Jackson Baptist Church in Sylvania, where he remains a deacon today.
Mostly, though, he's proud of his work on behalf of the youth of his community. In fact, his biography lists the 20-plus years he's spent as a coach and high school football referee far above any mention of his Fulbright scholarship.
Given his tremendous leap to Capitol Hill, Mr. Burns is now looking out for the parents and grandparents, too.
"I've been honored by these folks to represent them," says the congressman, until recently a professor at Georgia Southern University. "One of the things that has helped me become successful in my life is that I share with my constituents the same background, the same values, the same goals and objectives."
A strong supporter of President Bush in the nation's fight against terrorism, he doesn't hesitate to point out that the top issue in Georgia right now is a weak economy.
"Like many around the country, my constituents have suffered economically," he says. "NAFTA [the North American Free Trade Agreement] has not been kind to Georgia. We need to be more fair when stimulating the economy."
Which he hopes to help grow, albeit in due time.
"Not until we have a secure and safe nation," he says. "Right now, we are rightfully preoccupied with the security and safety of this nation, and I have confidence in this president."
Once the country's borders are better secured and the terrorists in check, "then we will come back and deal with the economic challenges," he says, "along with issues like prescription drugs, Medicare and Social Security.
"And in two years," Mr. Burns says, "I'm confident we will see a stronger economy, throughout Georgia and the nation."

Love hurts
Former White House adviser Mary Matalin continues to toil for the Bush administration, albeit from home where she can spend more time with her two children.
That no doubt means she's been seeing more of her husband, former Clinton strategist and Democratic guru James Carville.
Asked this week by nationally syndicated radio host Sean Hannity how she trusts her hubby not to sneak a peek at any confidential White House files she's carried home, NewsMax.com quotes Mrs. Matalin as saying of Mr. Carville:
"He has the span of concentration of a hummingbird or mosquito. He couldn't look at it long enough to know what it was."

Scoundrels and Helen
We were swamped with phone calls and other correspondence after quoting former longtime United Press International White House correspondent Helen Thomas as saying that George W. Bush is "the worst president in all of American history."
Perhaps the most restrained of the angry readers who weighed in was Lonnie Shoultz of Foley, Ala., who in part writes: "Helen Thomas had a long career that saw her cover many presidents and their administrations. She does not, however, have any training as a historian that would allow her to stand back from her subject and give it any context in time.
"[I]t is an overreach to call President Bush the 'worst president ever.' Ms. Thomas has not known them all, has no record of study in the field of history, and is generally unqualified to make such a statement. History cannot be learned by those living it or by osmosis from those around you. It takes years of dedicated effort in the field on which you want to comment.
"When a lady such as Ms. Thomas makes a statement like [that], she lessens herself and her profession. To be the 'worst president ever,' President Bush would have to jump over some real scoundrels who have held that office."


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