- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 18, 2004

Taking the club

Abraham Lincoln would be surprised to learn that the South is rising again — and barely a stone’s throw from the White House.

On the left wall in the entrance hall to the Metropolitan Club at 1700 H St. NW hangs a portrait of Union Gen. William Sherman, who today remains one of the most despised men in the South — particularly in Georgia, site of Sherman’s “March to the Sea,” and South Carolina.

But even Sherman standing sentry at the exclusive Washington address hasn’t prevented Metropolitan Club member Robert E. Lee IV from submitting for membership to the club the names of J.E.B Stuart IV and J.E.B. Stuart V.

Gen. Lee, come to think of it, would be proud that his great-grandson is a friend — and now sponsor — today of the Stuarts. Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, after all, was Lee’s most trusted and accomplished cavalry leader during the Civil War.

Days after the 37-year-old Stuart was mortally wounded May 11, 1864, at Yellow Tavern, Va., Lee remarked: “I can scarcely think of him without weeping.”

Amateur fight

Homeland security is too important to politicize, and Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Christopher Cox, California Republican, isn’t pleased with the tone of the political rhetoric in a 17-page memo released by his own committee’s minority on Friday.

“Substituting rhetoric for responsible oversight will ultimately harm America’s security,” warns Mr. Cox, who vows to work closely with Democrats and the Department of Homeland Security on solutions to remaining challenges.

“But backsliding from responsible oversight into one-page summaries of major initiatives and a laundry list of homeland security ‘gaps’ is unacceptable amateurism,” scolds the chairman.

He applauds Democrats for recognizing in the memo that “the Bush administration is correct to claim that we are safer now than we were on September 11,” but adds that the minority’s “pointed criticism of President Bush’s leadership is as unnecessary as it is counterproductive.”

Bush’s own caucus

All eyes, Democrat and Republican — or at least all but one Republican — are on today’s Iowa caucuses.

As one White House reporter observes in a conversation with White House spokesman Scott McClellan, President Bush “doesn’t speak much about the Democratic primaries.”

“In fact, he doesn’t speak at all on it. … He must be interested.

“Is the president following mostly what’s happening in Iowa?”

“We’ll let the Democrats worry about their own primary,” replies Mr. McClellan. “There will be plenty of time to talk about differences and discuss the election later on.”

Truth be told, given all the events transpiring during the past year — not the least being the war in Iraq — Mr. Bush knows that all eyes will have quickly turned from Iowa and onto him tomorrow evening as he delivers the most important State of the Union address of his presidency.

Mutiny on the Sierra

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance warns that “a man who flies the skull and crossbones on his sea vessel and has sunk nearly a dozen ships” in the name of animal rights has set his sights on one of the nation’s largest environmental organizations.

Paul Watson, co-founder of Greenpeace and founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, is “advocating the takeover of the Sierra Club,” charges the sportsmen’s alliance, which says Mr. Watson wants the organization to take a strong stance against hunting, fishing and other management of natural resources.

“Watson is known for his tactic of ramming and sinking whaling ships. Some of his actions have landed him in jail in foreign nations, but he claims he is not an eco-terrorist,” the group notes. “He said at the 2002 Animal Rights Conference that activists ‘should never feel like we’re going too far in breaking the law.’”

Mr. Watson was elected to the Sierra Club’s board of directors in April 2003, and critics contend he is now stacking the board with like-minded cronies.

King Day

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

—Martin Luther King

John McCaslin, a nationally syndicated columnist, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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