- The Washington Times - Monday, October 27, 2003

Happy 50th

How does a person today define conservatism?

The same way they used to, says five-term Rep. Mark Souder, who encourages Americans to dust off the 1953 book “The Conservative Mind.”

“Indeed, some of us may be in this very chamber because of its great influence,” the Indiana Republican says of the “masterpiece” penned by the late Russell Amos Kirk, the foremost philosopher of the modern conservative movement.

“His writings — not to mention his Piety Hill seminars — served as part of the philosophical foundation for such important moments in American political history as the 1964 Goldwater presidential campaign, the Reagan Revolution of 1980, and, most recently, the Republican Revolution of 1994,” he says.

As for defining a conservative, Mr. Souder says one can start — as Mr. Kirk did — by stating what it is not.

“He wrote that the conservative abhors all forms of ideology promising a ‘terrestrial paradise.’ An ideology is anathema to the conservative, who knows it to be the tool and weapon of the coffeehouse fanatics — a substitute for religion — that will ensure an ‘earthly hell.’ No manual for partisan action, then, ‘The Conservative Mind’ does not — cannot — point the way to Zion.”

Instead, Mr. Kirk explained one must turn to “custom, convention, constitution and prescription.”

Morale swing

A popular green-camouflage button reads: “Support the military, vote Republican in 2004.”

Yet on the flip side, one wonders now if armed forces stationed in Iraq could be the next swing voters?

Some pundits say yes — President Bush will certainly lose military support at the polls — while the White House maintains military morale overall remains high to finish the Iraqi mission.

Meanwhile, a panel discussion to be held Nov. 5, sponsored in part by the New America Foundation, will address whether the Republican Party as a whole could lose the military vote in 2004.

Given the significance of military votes during the 2000 presidential election, the 107th Congress directed the Pentagon to ensure that absentee military ballots are processed quickly come 2004.

New adage

Ironically, the same day the Bush administration announced a record $374.2 billion deficit for fiscal 2003, the House went on a 24-hour spending spree — authorizing $3.6 billion in spending.

Worse yet, taxpayers got stuck with the bill by voice vote, meaning members never voted on record.

Instead of the old adage “another day, another dollar,” Rep. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican, provides an updated version: “Another day, another $3.6 billion.”

Coping with cost

Speaking of taxpayers footing federal fiascos, Inside the Beltway was the first to tell you about a Federal Emergency Management Agency “celebration of trees, gardens and other healing spaces” to help Northern Virginians cope with the aftermath of September 11.

Given other critical demands on FEMA, 18 congressmen have now written to agency Undersecretary Michael D. Brown, demanding he provide “the rationale” for spending $13.4 million for “healing spaces” and similar peace workshops.

Somebody’s profession

House Republicans have repeatedly criticized the National Institutes of Health for funding sex-research projects, including a nearly quarter-million-dollar grant to the Kinsey Institute.

What kind of research are taxpayers funding? To get an idea, take a look at the Kinsey Institute’s just-announced fall “Interdisciplinary Seminar Series.”

• Oct. 31: “An Erotic Curriculum? Launching a Comparative Study of Collegiate Sexual Cultures.”

• Nov. 12: “Intersexuality in 19th Century America.”

• Dec. 5: “Testing the Effects of Exposure to Virtual Child Pornography on Viewer Cognitions and Attitudes toward Deviant Sexual Behavior.”

Pursuing prosperity

Nancy Pfotenhauer, an executive of Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) in the 1990s who helped defeat Hillary Rodham Clinton’s health care reform proposal, has been tapped to head a new national advocacy organization to protect “every American’s fundamental right to pursue prosperity.”

Americans for Prosperity replaces the CSE Foundation, in existence for nearly 20 years.

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

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