- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 29, 2004

Lincoln family

All 228 House Republicans are in Philadelphia today holding their annual retreat — and playing “Family Feud”?

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds, said a Republican aide, is planning a humorous skit for Republican members based on the old “Family Feud” TV show, a popular rerun on the Game Show Network.

“Members of Congress will play the families, answering questions like ‘Who is going to be campaigning for us?’ and ‘What do the new campaign finance laws mean going into the upcoming elections?’ ” the aide said.

“Reynolds is a hysterical guy and he will play the show’s old host, Richard Dawson. The only difference is Reynolds isn’t going to be making out with the contestants,” he said, referring to Mr. Dawson’s penchant for kissing all the ladies on the show.

As for the main message delivered at the closed-door retreat — given it is a presidential election year — it will be every man and woman for themselves going into the November election.

“President Bush will be busy getting himself re-elected, so we can’t rely on anybody but ourselves when it comes to re-election,” the aide said. “We will have to focus on the Democrats ourselves.”

Mr. Reynolds, meanwhile, is confident Republican majority numbers will remain solid in the House, especially with the economy on the rebound. Yesterday, the NRCC chairman credited Republican initiatives for helping to push the Dow Jones Industrial Average over 10,000 points.

“We told Americans if they put their trust in us, we’d deliver,” he said. “The terror attacks of 2001 hurt us economically like nothing before. American resilience, along with the hard work of congressional Republicans, has paid off in droves.”

Ideological missions

New York-based reporter and pundit John Podhoretz said George W. Bush is perhaps the most personally conservative individual to hold the presidency in modern times.

“He is a teetotaler, an ex-smoker, a relentless exerciser, a punctilious man who goes to bed at 9:30 every night after spending 15 minutes reading an entry in his Tyndall House Page-A-Day Bible,” he wrote. “He doesn’t like movies with cursing in them. (He does swear like a sailor in private, as his father did, but will not take the Lord’s name in vain). And he prays daily for guidance.”

And in his soon-to-be released book, “Bush Country: How Dubya Became a Great President While Driving Liberals Insane,” Mr. Podhoretz will attempt to shatter the “liberal myth” that Mr. Bush is also “a liar.”

The author will argue that the possibility Iraq obtained large stores of uranium from Niger, as reported by British intelligence and cited by Mr. Bush in the 2003 State of the Union address, was credible at the time.

Former CIA official Joseph Wilson claimed that the information was exaggerated to support going to war against Iraq.

“That the United States might choose to accept the conclusions of British intelligence rather than the conclusions of Joseph Wilson does not mean we went to war under false pretenses,” Mr. Podhoretz wrote. “The very fact that Wilson could claim such a thing is evidence either of vanity run amok or — what is clearly the case — a political and ideological mission to invalidate the war with Iraq after the fact.”

Stick to potatoes

An election “primary” hosted over iVote.com invites voters to participate in a nonsanctioned protest vote to demonstrate the “flawed undemocratic nature” of the nation’s current presidential primary process.

“The current primary process virtually empowers Iowa, New Hampshire and the Super Tuesday states to unilaterally ordain who the presidential nominees will be,” said iVote architect Larry Ward.

“California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont all vote on March 2, nearly one month after Super Tuesday and long after the presidential nominee will have been selected.”

Mr. Ward, president of Interactive Political Media, said if enough voters cast protest votes in the 2004 Internet primary, the disenfranchised may have a vote that counts in 2008.

One Internet voter from Idaho wrote: “I am glad someone finally is standing up for the voters here in Idaho. For the last 20 years, my candidate has been erased from the presidential primary before I was able to vote. That is unjust.”

Idaho’s primary isn’t until May 25.

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

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