- The Washington Times - Friday, June 6, 2003

Exposing congressmen

Rep. James P. Moran, Virginia Democrat, says “none of us favor abortion” — except for him (he previously opposed partial-birth abortion) and 132 other Democrats, five Republicans and the lone independent in the House, who voted Wednesday in favor of it.

This after the Catholic lawmaker initiated a heated one-on-one verbal exchange on the issue of abortion with his own parish priest outside Mass at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Alexandria last month.

“I have voted for the ban on partial-birth abortion at every other point when it has come up,” Mr. Moran said this week. “Every one of us wants abortions to be rare; none of us favor abortion.”

But, he announced, “I am changing my vote, and I could suggest it is for legalistic, intellectual reasons.” The Democrat cited a court case striking down the partial-birth abortion law in Nebraska, and several Supreme Court justices deeming it unconstitutional.

“But my decision is not coming from the mind as much as the heart,” he said, saying Uncle Sam has no right to “barge into [a couples] bedroom, to sit down at their kitchen table and put our hands on our hips and preach to them what they should do. … They have the right to make this decision, and only they do in the context of their religion, their family.

“They know best. They know better than we do.”

The majority of Congress disagreed, by a 282-139 vote, and now the ban on partial-birth abortion will soon become law. Congress twice passed it before, but both measures were vetoed by President Clinton.

Meanwhile, the Arlington Catholic Herald last week condemned Mr. Moran in an editorial for undermining the teachings of the Catholic faith.

“You have a perfect right to do so,” a reader wrote to the newspaper yesterday, “and an obligation to inform Catholics in this diocese when their representatives are acting contrary to their wishes.

“Moran is very smug about all this, and his constituents very probably are not aware of his continuing efforts to knock Church doctrine. … He needs to be exposed to every Catholic in the Eighth Congressional District.”

Wizard of research

He’s one of the least well-known yet most revered men in Washington.

Now, next Tuesday evening, 82-year-old John E. Taylor, the longtime historian of the National Archives (we’re talking nearly 60 years), will be presented with a “lifetime achievement” award by the Scone Foundation, set up by New York scholar-philanthropist-lawyer Stanley Cohen to honor unrecognized professionals of importance.

Former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey will be on hand for the presentation, as will Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Caro, who will speak about “Archives and the Historians’ Craft.”

Also of renown in the esteemed audience will be Richard Baker, historian of the Senate, who is traveling to New York for the presentation, and authors Richard Reeves and David Kahn (“The Codebreakers”).

Ten or so years ago, this newspaper’s Ann Geracimos wrote a profile of the historian, whom one colleague at the National Archives called “a national treasure.”

“He’s like a magician pulling a rabbit from a hat,” said Mr. Kahn, who noted that Mr. Taylor was able to retrieve “amazingly useful documents from the immensities of the archives [that] makes all of us writers look like wizards of research.”

Mr. Taylor has been a lifeline to numerous investigative authors and reporters, especially pertaining to declassified material, intelligence and warfare. One writer was so impressed he made him a minor character in his 1979 novel.

But it’s not all about fiction. The late CIA Director William Casey would stop by his office and quiz Mr. Taylor for hours on the latest intelligence.

He even welcomed singer/actress and political activist Barbra Streisand in 1993 (her pal Bill Clinton’s first year as president), who wanted to see the Emancipation Proclamation.

Mr. Taylor, who could have retired 27 years ago, graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1945. He began working at the archives that Sept. 5, and hasn’t found time since to stop.

Entertaining the left

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton won’t be reading her own long-awaited memoir, so she might as well pick up the just-released book of a former White House colleague.

A retired FBI agent, and now president of the Patrick Henry Center, Gary Aldrich previously took readers into the myriad nooks and crannies of the Clinton White House with his No. 1 best seller, “Unlimited Access: An FBI Agent in the Clinton White House.”

His new book, “Thunder on the Left: An Insider’s Report on the Hijacking of the Democratic Party” (Allegiance Press, $25.95), caps a five-year investigation in which he reveals how the “hard left,” led by Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota, worships everything from political correctness to big government.

And, adds the author, when people dare call left-handed politics by its real name, centrist Republicans often come to their defense, saying those on the left are merely patriots with other opinions.

“Nonsense,” Mr. Aldrich writes. “For too long, the soft-hearted right has been far too polite. We need to expose the hard left for the dangerous threat they represent.”

Which is? “Gutter tactics,” he says, “including a ‘nanny state’ mentality: the hard left sees a need to regulate everything from SUVs to cell phone use by drivers.”

He also says the left is responsible for turning the media into a massive “entertainment machine,” designed to slant the news and move the culture ever leftward. That’s why the former G-man labels today’s journalism “Big Entertainment.”

Make yourself at home

It’s not likely to happen, but a Colorado congressman and outspoken watchdog of illegal immigration in this country wants President Bush to tell his friends south of the border that our two governments are not one and the same.

Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo says several foreign governments are now distributing identification cards to their nationals living illegally in the United States.

“Some of these governments — specifically, one of them, Mexico — has taken this one step further and decided to begin to use their consular offices here to lobby state and local governments in the United States to get them to accept these cards, thereby aiding and abetting people living in this country illegally,” he says, labeling the lobbying outrageous.

“If the United States had asked its consular offices in Mexico or any other country to undertake such a practice, there would be a storm of protest, and rightly so. Consular offices would be closed; officials would be recalled. It would be appropriate for governments to respond that way.”

“Our government has not said a word about this,” the congressman adds, calling on Mr. Bush to issue a “formal protest to the government of Mexico for this egregious, outrageous behavior, and it is time for this government to take control of its own immigration policy.”

John McCaslin, a nationally syndicated columnist, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected].

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