Friday, November 26, 2004

Language expert

“Adios that means goodbye.”

President Bush, pulling away in his pickup truck from a gaggle of reporters at his Texas ranch this week.

Turn right

What’s the best way for the left to right itself? By following the right, of course.

Eminent historian Alan Brinkley, writing the lead essay in the December issue of the American Prospect, argues that Democrats can’t just sit around “waiting for the Republicans to fail” — they must “emulate, at least in some ways, the great success of the right in turning itself from a frail ‘remnant’ (as some conservatives liked to call themselves in the 1950s) into a mighty force that now dominates American politics.”

Mr. Brinkley offers four prescriptions, including building an internal infrastructure and making peace with the military, that if swallowed could once again move the Democratic Party toward majority status.

European take

We’ve all read in the newspapers that Europeans were “aghast” that American voters could re-elect President Bush — and in record numbers, no less.

Next Tuesday at the St. Regis Hotel, Washington plays host to European leaders who will expand on those reports by providing a “European Take on the 2004 Election.”

Gayle Smith, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, will moderate a panel that includes Robin Cook, a member of the British Parliament who served as British Foreign Secretary and former leader of the House of Commons; former Portuguese Prime Minister António Manuel Oliveira Guterres; and former Danish Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen.

Can’t commit

How crucial was the women’s vote in the 2004 presidential election?

That depends on whether they are married or not.

A Democracy Corps survey for the group Women’s Voices/Women Vote finds that unmarried women increased their share of the electorate substantially from 2000 to 2004.

“Roughly 7.5 million more unmarried women voted in 2004 than in 2000 (22 to 23 percent of the electorate in 2004 versus 19 percent of the electorate in 2000),” the survey finds. “This represents the single largest increase in share of the electorate among any demographic group.”

Ironically, despite the impressive increase, unmarried gals still represented the largest demographic group underrepresented at the polls.

Postal budgeteer

Former Office of Management and Budget Director James C. Miller III has been confirmed by the Senate to a full term as a member of the Board of the United States Postal Service.

“I am honored to have been chosen by President Bush to serve on this board,” he reacts. “I believe a strong, viable, and efficient postal service is critical to both commerce and the quality of life in this country, and I intend to contribute in any way I can to that realization.”

Also a past chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, Mr. Miller was appointed to a term that won’t expire until 2010.

Not all aboard

The United Rail Passenger Alliance, a policy institute focusing on solutions and plans for passenger-rail systems in North America, is critical of government-owned Amtrak for not being visible enough.

“This week marks the official beginning of what’s predicted to be a record setting holiday travel season. Already the news stories have begun about local airport congestion and highway congestion,” URPA President Bruce Richardson notes. “Conspicuous by its absence outside of the Northeast is any mention of Amtrak in the holiday rush stories.”

He says Amtrak “has got to start getting in front of the news media on a more aggressive basis to remind Americans there are passenger trains. Amtrak is losing millions of dollars a year in revenue because it doesn’t take the news media seriously unless it’s begging for more free federal money.”

• John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or

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