- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Still a child

First lady Laura Bush recalls one overnight visit with her husband to the home of his parents, the former president and Mrs. Bush.

“And George woke up at 6 a.m. as usual and went downstairs to get a cup of coffee,” Mrs. Bush says. “And he sat down on the sofa with his parents and put his feet up. And all of a sudden, Barbara Bush yelled, ‘Put your feet down!’

“George’s dad replied, ‘For goodness’ sake, Barbara, he’s the president of the United States.’

“And Barbara said, ‘I don’t care. I don’t want his feet on my table.’”

The president promptly did as he was told, for as Mrs. Bush observes: “Even presidents have to listen to their mothers.”

Mr. Intelligence

President Bush plans to appoint Patrick Marshall Hughes, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, to be assistant secretary for the new Department of Homeland Security. Before directing the DIA for some four years, Mr. Hughes served as director of Intelligence for the Joint Staff, director of Intelligence for U.S. Central Command, and commanding general of the U.S. Army Intelligence Agency.

International guard

President Bush this week realized firsthand how many men and women of the National Guard are off serving their country in the war against terrorism.

While touring the BMW Manufacturing Corp. in Greer, S.C., Mr. Bush learned that 26 of the plant’s employees are currently stationed in Iraq.

Dulls the senses

Republican Reps. Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania and Sue Myrick of North Carolina fired off an angry letter to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority after reading ads — placed free, it turns out — in the Washington public transit system: “Enjoy Better Sex: Legalize and Tax Marijuana!”

Ironically, a recent study finds that smoking pot decreases the sex drive.

Amateur leaders

Not happy of late with “the venting of frustration” by leaders on the minority side, Sen. Mitch McConnell reminds Democrats of the hallowed and historic halls in which they serve.

“I suggest it is unworthy of the Senate when those in it — members of the Senate — fail to heed to the role of this body, which is to provide cool, reasoned and less passionate judgment as we do the people’s business,” says the Kentucky Republican.

He calls attention to “callow, petulant characterizations” directed of late at Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, including the term “amateur.”

How does one cool the Democratic rhetoric?

“When the Constitution was written, Thomas Jefferson was away in France,” Mr. McConnell notes. “He wrote George Washington asking him to explain the function of the Senate. Jefferson understood the role of the House to be a place of great passion and quick reaction, but he wasn’t quite sure what this Senate was going to be like.

“So Washington used a Southern analogy of drinking tea, where folks in those days would pour the hot tea down into the saucer, let it cool, and then pour it back into the cup. Washington suggested that the Senate was the cooling saucer — a place where things cooled off — of this new federal government they were creating, where the heated passions that might bubble over could cool down.

“That,” says Mr. McConnell, “is the way the Senate has worked for over 200 years.”

Black boots

Black Americans were singled out on Veterans Day — their service to the nation beginning with the Revolutionary War, when 5,000 fought for independence.

Many filled boats on Christmas night in 1776 and crossed the Delaware River with George Washington, notes Rep. Danny K. Davis, Illinois Democrat, going on to fight in the War of 1812, the Civil War (23 blacks were awarded Medals of Honor for bravery and gallantry fighting Confederates), the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II (more than 1 million blacks were in uniform, one of the most famous being Dorie Miller, a steward aboard the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, who saw his captain fall, pulled him to safety, manned a machine gun, and downed several Japanese planes), Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, the Gulf war, Somalia, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq, to name many.


“My husband, Ed Bradley Jr., has coined a new word to describe the current field of [Democratic] candidates in the presidential election: Camplaigning,” writes Dari Bradley of Niceville, Fla.

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

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