Tuesday, November 16, 2004

‘Twit’ for tat

Tom Madigan has resigned as media and press relations coordinator of the Irish American Unity Conference (IAUC) after this column reported he labeled President Bush a “chimp” and “stupid little twit.”

“The electorate that decided to give this stupid little twit four more years will get exactly what it deserves,” Inside the Beltway quoted Mr. Madigan as writing to IAUC members the morning after Election Day.

“No more can the American people hide behind the administration and point to its colossal ineptitude and vacuous foreign policies and claim innocence,” he said. “The people have now chosen to put this chimp back in the White House for four more years. …”

Yesterday, John Fogarty, IAUC’s national board member, told this column: “We would not ordinarily discuss organizational matters outside the organization, but we are dragged reluctantly to answer your question: Tom has already communicated his resignation; I can confirm that Tom Madigan has resigned from the IAUC.”

The Washington-based wholly American 501c(4) lobbying group calls itself a “nonpartisan” chapter-based human rights organization working for justice and peace in Ireland.

On that note, Mr. Fogarty said: “The truth is many of our members come from both parties of the U.S., and probably several more parties after that, but they don’t guide the principles of either side of our organization.”

Observing Election Day

Common Cause said yesterday nearly 210,000 people prior to and on Election Day called a nationwide voter-alert hotline to seek information about their polling places, make a statement about their voting experiences, or connect to their local elections boards, yet “almost half of the callers” failed to connect.

That makes us wonder why the much-hyped bunch of international election observers — representatives from 55 member nations of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe— were in the United States monitoring on Election Day.

“Americans — why are you so fat?” Romanian observer Gyorgy Tokay, a 66-year-old Ralph Nader look-alike, asked Weekly Standard wordsmith Matt Labash while sharing Election Day lunch and beers at a Raleigh, N.C., restaurant.

“He also couldn’t stomach our smoking prohibitions,” Mr. Labash notes.

“It’s a free country,” observed Mr. Tokay. “And they do this for my own good? I want to die a sick man, not a healthy one.”

Mr. Labash was assigned to shadow a small group of foreign observers — including a non-English-speaking trio from Kazakhstan — in North Carolina, where they were charged with preventing another Florida presidential election fiasco like in 2000.

“At Kerry-Edwards headquarters, [observers] One and Two raided the candy jar for Dum Dums, while [observer] Three pointed to a picture of John Kerry, exclaiming ‘Vietnam! Vietnam!’” Mr. Labash writes.

“But mostly, as we were dragged to presentations by lawyers and board-of-election types, the day was an indistinguishable blur — hours of boredom, punctuated by moments of sheer ennui. Several of the speakers seemed to have no idea the Kazakhs couldn’t speak English …”

Nevertheless, Mr. Labash reveals the trio “would then put their heads together, bat the ball around among themselves, then come up with a question that called their fraud-spotting powers of observation into question. Usually along the lines of: ‘How many Democratic senators are running for John Edwards’ seat in South Carolina?’”

Inaugural bleachers

Temporary barricades set up around the U.S. Capitol aren’t just extra security measures or for the construction of the future underground visitors center.

For nearly two months — long before it was known whether President Bush would be re-elected to a second term — the lower terrace of the West Front of the Capitol has been closed for the construction of the 2005 presidential inaugural stands, which is no small task.

According to the architect of the Capitol, Alan M. Hantman, the West Front won’t be re-opened until mid-February 2005 — five months after its closing — following the inaugural activities and the removal of the bleachers.


In his inaugural address, President Bush might consider quoting one of just nine quotations and inscriptions etched in the halls of the U.S. Capitol.

Among the more pertinent that ring true today:

• William Allen White: “Whenever a free man is in chains we are threatened also. Whoever is fighting for liberty is defending America.”

• Franklin Delano Roosevelt: “We defend and we build a way of life, not for America alone, but for all mankind.”

• John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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