- The Washington Times - Friday, June 27, 2003

Nobles: Tony Blair, the freedom-loving homing pigeon, for his trans-Atlantic flight.

When Tony (formerly known as Billie) launched from France’s Brittany region, he was supposed to head for Liverpool. However, perhaps following a more primal yearning, he headed for America instead.

At least America is where he ended up — after covering 3,300 miles. Two weeks after he flew his French coop, Tony landed at New York’s Staten Island, where he found his way to the home of Joseph Ida. Mr. Ida, who keeps pigeons, recognized Tony’s British registration band and took him under his wing while he tried to home in on his original owner.

While it would have been more appropriate if he had landed on Ellis Island instead of Staten Island, the tempest-tossed Tony Blair would have been welcomed by Emma Lazarus just the same. As it was, he was celebrated by New Yorkers, who nicknamed him Tony Blair.

John Warren, Tony’s British keeper, agreed to keep the new name. He won’t have to pine for his pigeon much longer, as Tony is winging his way back. He’ll go first class, courtesy of British Airways. Still, like many trans-Atlantic transplants, Tony may always consider America as his proper nesting place. London’s Daily Mail reported that Tony seemed to favor the New World to the Old, and there’s little doubt that his instincts for freedom were true, even if his navigation was just a bit off.

Knaves: Rep. Patrick Kennedy, poster child for the anti-tax-cutting liberal establishment.

During his long tenure as a representative from Rhode Island, Mr. Kennedy has acquired a reputation as an outspoken — or at least loudmouthed — liberal. He may have officially pushed past the tipping point to the latter, thanks to some recent tippling.

While speaking to a gathering of Young Democrats earlier this week, Mr. Kennedy slipped up and said exactly what he thought. “I don’t need Bush’s tax cut,” he told the crowd. “I have never worked [an expletive deleted] day in my life.”

Some might say that Mr. Kennedy was simply besotted by his unbottled brilliance. Had he indulged liberally in the libations available? Was he simply been caught up in the moment?

Mr. Kennedy is a public figure, not just a member of Congress but a Kennedy. He was speaking in a public place about an issue in the public debate. The question is not what was in his liver at the time, but rather if he believed in his mind what he spoke from his heart.

He probably did. While there’s little truth in the whining that limousine liberals like Mr. Kennedy have been doing against the administration’s tax cuts, there’s often truth in wine — as the Latin proverb makes clear. The obscenely privileged Mr. Kennedy is not so different from the Democrats who bewailed Mr. Bush’s reforms but still cashed their refund checks.

But unlike them, certainly unlike Mr. Kennedy, most Americans do work hard every day. Most of them appreciate any break they can get from one of life’s two inevitable auditors. (The Grim Reaper extracts a lot too, but at least he only comes around once in a lifetime.) In fact, when April 15 comes around again, most Americans will wish that their refund was larger.

Not the anti-tax-cutting Young Democrats who heard Mr. Kennedy speak. They all heard him out, even after his profane outburst.

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