- The Washington Times - Monday, May 19, 2003

All about Bill

“Could someone please tell these people to shut up?” liberal columnist Susan Estrich writes, referring to Bill Clinton, his wife, Hillary, and former Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal.

“The Democrats might have a chance of electing a new president if they could get the last one, and his defenders, to clear the stage. It doesn’t matter if they’re right or wrong. They should be history,” Miss Estrich said in her syndicated column.

“The Clintons suck up every bit of the available air. Nothing is left for anyone else. They are big, too big. That’s the problem.

“The 2004 candidates need a chance to get some attention, to rise to Clinton’s level, which they’ll never do so long as the likes of Sidney Blumenthal are playing into the hands of conservatives in insisting on debating the scandals of the 1990s.”

Miss Estrich added: “If the issue is ethics, no one has less than Sidney Blumenthal. He used to call me, during the Dukakis campaign, which I was running and he was supposed to be covering, to offer covert advice, which if accepted might result in better coverage. Much later, when I criticized him, he tried to get me in trouble with my editors. All the while, I was defending his boss. That’s Sidney. He’s Hillary’s best friend. No wonder Republicans are delighted to see his return to the spotlight. It raises money for their causes.”

Glover’s complaint

Actor and MCI pitchman Danny Glover complains it is “sinister” and possibly “maniacal” that a group is calling for a boycott of the phone company to protest Mr. Glover’s support for dictator Fidel Castro.

Mr. Glover denounced what he referred to as right-wing factions and self-appointed thought police, the Associated Press reports.

“It’s basically this rabid nationalism that has its own kind of potential of being maniacal, in some sense. As we march down and wave the flags, we must be sure of what we’re waving them for,” Mr. Glover said in an interview with the wire service.

“The whole idea is to crush any kind of dissent,” he said. “Something is happening now that is very dark and very sinister in this country, and for us to not admit it is happening is, in some ways, for us to be blind.”

Mr. Glover recently joined 160 artists and intellectuals in signing a two-paragraph statement that appeared in Granma, the Cuban government newspaper.

That statement, addressed to “The Conscience of the World,” called the Iraq war an unprovoked invasion and said there is “a strong campaign of destabilization” against Cuba that could provide “a pretext for an invasion.”

On May 8, the conservative group Judicial Watch called for the MCI boycott, saying Mr. Glover lent tacit support to Mr. Castro’s brutal crackdowns on dissidents when he signed the document. Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said the boycott is not about Mr. Glover’s right to free speech.

“He has those rights. But we have the right to criticize him. We have the right to try to criticize MCI for endorsing those views through his contract,” Mr. Fitton said. “Glover is coming out in support of a terrorist murderer, Fidel Castro. People who are against murder and torture are repulsed by his support, and MCI is slow on the uptake.”

Donahue speech

Liberal talk-show pioneer Phil Donahue drew both catcalls and cheers with a politically tinged commencement address at North Carolina State University.

A handful of the nearly 4,000 new N.C. State graduates walked out of the ceremony Saturday at the RBC Center when Mr. Donahue began listing “what liberals believe.”

Mr. Donahue, 67, whose most recent talk show, on MSNBC, was canceled in February after six months, said constitutional rights and privileges have been eroded. He also made a backhanded reference to the war in Iraq, the Associated Press reports.

“Only Congress can declare war,” he said to some cheers and boos, “and not just one man, the president.”

What liberals believe, he said, “is that no one in authority should tell you to ‘shush’; [and] that executing retarded teenagers is wrong.”

Matalin’s book

Republican strategist Mary Matalin is writing a book — but not on politics.

Mrs. Matalin, who was Vice President Dick Cheney’s top public-relations strategist until she resigned in December to spend more time with her young daughters, is writing the book for Matty, 7, and Emma, 5, the Associated Press reports.

The book, slated for publication for Mother’s Day 2004, is tentatively titled “Letters to My Daughters.” Mrs. Matalin says it will be filled with motherly advice about life, “everything I want them to know [after Im gone].”

“I want to crystallize my own value system for them,” said Mrs. Matalin, 49, whose mother died at age 50.

Judging the Bard

Once in a while, even Supreme Court justices get to act up, the Associated Press reports, with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer donning their judicial robes to hear a tongue-in-cheek legal case about a William Shakespeare play.

As high school English students know, or should know, the Bard paints the title character in “Richard III” as a scheming, murderous power monger. But the medieval English king won at least a symbolic victory more than 500 years after his death.

Justice Ginsburg and a lower-court judge, Harry T. Edwards of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, upheld a fictitious lower court’s finding that a production of the play by the Washington-based Shakespeare Theatre defamed, libeled and slandered the monarch. Justice Breyer dissented.

Former independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr argued the production was slanderous, while former acting Solicitor General Walter Dellinger defended the play.

Richard must not have been all bad, Justice Ginsburg told theater supporters at a dinner held at the high court, since Richard ordered that legal opinions be written in English instead of the then-customary Latin.

The theater was ordered to pony up $1 in damages, said Jennifer Barrett, the theater’s corporate-relations manager.

Santa Fe to Everest

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson hopes to reach the 29,035-foot summit of Mount Everest this week if the weather cooperates.

“Believe it or not, but the time has come to summit Everest,” Mr. Johnson wrote recently in a mass e-mail to friends and family from an Internet cafe at the Everest base camp at 17,600 feet. Mr. Johnson, who left office Dec. 31, has been acclimating in Nepal since late March, the Associated Press reports.

Hundreds of people are trying to reach the summit to mark the 50th anniversary of the first ascent, on May 29, 1953, by New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Nepalese guide Tenzing Norgay.

Dean goes to town

Sharpening his attacks on President Bush’s policies, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean asserted yesterday that the nation will face an economic depression if Mr. Bush is re-elected.

Mr. Dean said that 2.5 million jobs have been lost during Mr. Bush’s term, laying the blame on the White House’s handling of an economy that has remained sluggish.

“Two and half million jobs in 2 years,” Mr. Dean said. “If we re-elect this president, we’ll be in a depression. That’s 8 million jobs in eight years.”

Mr. Dean sounded a sharply liberal theme as he sought to differentiate himself from others in the nine-member Democratic field, the Associated Press reports. He spoke during the latest forum sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin, Iowa Democrat.

Although he focused his fire on Mr. Bush, Mr. Dean didn’t spare his Democratic rivals, saying most support the “irresponsible” tax-cut legislation moving through Congress. Mr. Dean argues that he has the best chance of defeating Mr. Bush because he can draw the sharpest differences with the president.

“If you make me the Democratic nominee, I’ll make you proud to be a Democrat again,” he told Iowans at yesterday’s forum.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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