- The Washington Times - Monday, October 18, 2004

Washington George

Baseball — and political — junkies from across the country have happily stepped up to the plate to help Inside the Beltway choose a suitable moniker for Washington’s still-nameless baseball team, the first to take the field since the Washington Senators played their final game here on Sept. 30, 1971.

“I also was at that game — 17 years old — right on the third base line by the Yanks’ dugout,” recalls Jim Reiter, vice president of the American Hospital Association. “I will never forget … an old African-American man behind me who couldn’t control his tears when ‘Hondo’ [Frank Howard] hit that [home run]. I shook his hand or high-fived him or something, and he held on for dear life he was so emotional — and got me that way, too.”

As for a suitable team name to replace the former Montreal Expos?

“I’d love to go with the Washington Van Winkles, since baseball’s been asleep here for so long,” says Mr. Reiter. “And I’d love the Senators for nostalgia’s sake.”



Other reader favorites: Switch Hitters, Right Wingers, Monuments, Gippers, Wonders, Lobby, Pundits, Porkers, Statesmen, Insiders, Generals, Candidates and Minutemen.

But some preferred the Red, White & Blue Sox, Waffles, Interns, Gridlocks, Gates, Elite, Devils, Foggy Bottoms, Lobbyists, Bureau Cats, Taxers, Spinners, Leakers, Agendas, Red Tapes, Panderers, Powermongers, Incumbents and Liberals.

Also named were Beltway Bandits, Beltway Boys, Bats, Reagans, Nationals, Homers, Partisans, Girlie Men and … George.

Elitist party

Images of America’s two major political wings have been frozen for generations — Democrats: the party of the little guy, Republicans: the party of the wealthy. Or are they?

“No more,” says Karl Zinsmeister, editor in chief of the American Enterprise and a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.

In an AEI paper, he says whole blocs of “little guys” — ethnics, rural residents, evangelicals, cops, construction workers, homemakers, military veterans — began moving into the Republican column as early as the 1960s and 1970s.

“And big chunks of America’s rich elite — financiers, academics, heiresses, media barons, software millionaires, entertainers — drifted into the Democratic Party,” Mr. Zinsmeister continues.

John Kerry is a perfect embodiment of the takeover of the Democratic Party by wealthy elites. If elected, he would become the richest man ever to sit in the White House,” he says, citing such Democratic senators as Jon Corzine of New Jersey and John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia as “simultaneously at the top of the heap in wealth and on the left in politics.”

As for the party shift across the American landscape, an Ipsos-Reid study comparing counties that voted strongly for George W. Bush to those that voted strongly for Al Gore in the 2000 election found that in pro-Bush counties only 7 percent earned at least $100,000, while 38 percent had household incomes below $30,000.

In pro-Gore counties, fully 14 percent pulled in $100,000 or more, while 29 percent earned less than $30,000.

Keystone Kops

It was a wild ride late last week for reporters whose press vans — which were supposed to tail President Bush’s limousine to the airport in Las Vegas — somehow became separated from the presidential motorcade.

“Moments later, a bald, burly officer stopped and further delayed the vans at a police roadblock that had been erected at an intersection,” reads the official White House pool report. “After he relented and allowed the pool to pass, the vans sped down a deserted highway, screeching to a halt just in time for the confused lead driver to ponder whether to take an exit ramp.

“Finally deciding to exit the highway, the vans were again halted at the foot of the ramp by another gaggle of police. After much dashing around and opening and closing of van doors by Secret Service agents, the forlorn little caravan proceeded another 50 yards down the wrong way of a one-way street.

“The vans managed to turn around and proceed in the other direction for 100 yards or so before being stopped at, yes, [another] police roadblock. Think Baghdad, with fewer potholes.”

Fans of this column will enjoy John McCaslin’s new book, “Inside the Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans From Around the Nation’s Capital.” Mr. McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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