- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 12, 2004

Wears boots

Have our eyes deceived us — has Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, been named one of the Top 25 “Toughest Guys” in America by Men’s Journal?

“Is there anyone who doubts that the toughest penalty Bill paid for the Monica scandal was at home?” ask editors of the men’s magazine.

And yes, Mrs. Clinton — who tied for 25th — is the only woman on the list, appearing with some of the strongest, toughest, bravest men in business, sports, politics and journalism.

Ranked No. 1 is Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, followed by Michael Weisskopf, the 57-year-old Time magazine correspondent who two months ago lost his right hand while covering the war in Iraq.

An insurgent had lobbed a hissing grenade into the back of the army patrol Humvee he was riding in with a photographer and four soldiers, the magazine notes. But instead of diving for cover, Mr. Weisskopf “grabbed it and volleyed it away just as it exploded — taking his right hand with it but saving the lives of everyone in the vehicle.”

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, a former Vietnam prisoner of war, is the only other politician to make the annual tough guy list. As for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, he tied with Mrs. Clinton for 25th.

Not Walter’s words

“I now wish I had paid more attention at the time to the speeches of Walter Mondale, because I am sure they were absolutely first rate.”

— Vice President Dick Cheney, speaking at this week’s American Enterprise Institute salute to Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Charles Krauthammer, who quit as chief resident in psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital and came to Washington to serve as a science adviser in the Carter administration and, later, speechwriter to Vice President Walter Mondale.

Ideal brides

Teresa Heinz Kerry has said, “Men with opinions are well informed and smart. But women with opinions are opinionated. If I didn’t have opinions … I couldn’t have … done what I have. I refuse to be categorized.”

Once was the time the general public was largely ignorant of political wives. Not anymore. In fact, the political widow and heroine of a new Regency-era novel, “The Ideal Bride,” is said to reflect the influence Mrs. Kerry, widow of Sen. John Heinz of Pennsylvania, has on husband John Kerry’s political aspirations.

“[T]here is a potent correlation that can be made between the novel’s heroine and Teresa Heinz Kerry,” publisher William Morrow says of bestselling author Stephanie Laurens’ soon-to-be-released book.

The book’s heroine is the widow of a legendary diplomat who finds herself facing the question of whether she wants to return to the political sphere by marrying another rising politician.

“Such considerations would doubtless have played a similar part in Teresa Heinz Kerry’s life,” agrees Miss Laurens, who says then or now, when it comes to “influencing policy and the way policy is communicated, the input of an experienced political wife in such arenas is a constant that can be found behind most successful politicians.”

Uncle Sam cited

For the first time in its history, or so it was announced this week on Capitol Hill, the United States is found guilty of “a major human rights violation.”

An 11-year investigation by the Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States has just been completed, its ruling seized upon by D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the city’s nonvoting representative in Congress.

What on earth did Uncle Sam do wrong?

“The commission concludes that the state has failed to justify the denials of the petitioners of the effective representation in their federal government and, consequently, that the petitioners have been denied an effective right to participate in their government, directly or through freely chosen representatives and in general conditions of equality, contrary to Articles XX and II of the American Declaration,” says OAS.

The body, if you didn’t guess, is referring to the denial of voting representation in Congress to approximately 600,000 residents of the District of Columbia.

Mrs. Norton is not allowed to cast votes, even though her D.C. constituents rank second per capita in federal income taxes paid to support the U.S. government.

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

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