- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Contract extension

A trio of influential former congressmen, Newt Gingrich, Richard Armey and John R. Kasich — among the chief architects of the Republican Party’s “Contract With America” 10 years ago — will convene at the American Enterprise Institute Monday morning to discuss an extension of the contract through the 21st century.

Moderating the discussion will be Tony Blankley, editorial-page editor of The Washington Times and former communications director for Mr. Gingrich when he was House speaker.

The contract was adopted in 1994 by the Republican majority of the 104th Congress, its aim being to “restore the bonds of trust between the people and their elected representatives” through government accountability and efficiency, fiscal responsibility, U.S. sovereignty in national security issues, legal reform, welfare reform, strengthening families and personal responsibility, job creation, and middle-class tax relief.

“There was full legislation for each proposal, not just slogans,” Mr. Blankley recalled yesterday. “Minute by minute, hour by hour, we were punching away at the world — what I remember being a furious battle to turn the world around.”

Blunt words

House Majority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri celebrated a “decade of accomplishments of the House Republican majority” yesterday by criticizing congressional Democrats for being no different than presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry. None has a campaign message that resonates with Americans, he said.

House Democrats, Mr. Blunt said, are “frustrated” by their decade in the minority and have “turned to Madison Avenue and Hollywood to help them develop a catchy election-year slogan.”

Thus, he said, the 2004 election will come down to Madison Avenue vs. Main Street.

Republican bastion

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, will be happy to learn that his alma mater, Episcopal High School in Alexandria, most likely has the largest club of National Teen Age Republicans (TARS) in America.

“They are certainly among the top, if not the top,” says an impressed Barby Wells, TARS’ national director.

“We have 223 members out of 420 students at EHS,” confirms G. Craig Stewart III, the school’s associate director of development who oversees the club. In fact, the Republican club has gained such prominence that recent guest speakers have included CNN political commentator Tucker Carlson, Virginia congressional candidate Lisa Marie Cheney, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, and former Rep. Bill Paxon of New York.

“We do election tracking, daily e-mails to our members on election issues, have a presidential debate with the Young Democrats — a small, but lively band at EHS — planned for October, a couple of online polls planned, and other fun and educational activities, including an Election Week Bash,” says Mr. Stewart.

And it’s not all politics.

“Our main community service projects for this year are raising money for the Beslan School Fund and for AIDS awareness, providing hats for Children’s Hospital in our Lids For Kids program, and staffing the Northern Virginia Special Olympics in the spring,” he says.

Founded in 1839 as the first high school in Virginia, Episcopal was — and still is — known throughout the South as “the High School.” When Alexandria was occupied by federal troops in 1861, the school was closed — if for no other reason than because 500 of its students enlisted as Confederate soldiers. For five years, the Yankees used the boarding school as a military hospital.

Since then, the school has produced congressmen, governors, Rhodes scholars and Pulitzer Prize winners.

Mind piracy

Is enough being done to protect U.S. innovation abroad?

Congress doesn’t think so, and today will take a long-overdue look at “intellectual property” piracy. That’s a major area of concern since Americans are the dominant producers of “creations of the mind” — inventions, literary and artistic works, computer software and designs for consumer and industrial products.

All of which, needless to say, drive economic growth.

Such creations are protected from misuse in this country by copyright, patent and trademark laws, but overseas piracy and counterfeiting of U.S. inventions and products is rampant. The U.S. Office of the Trade Representative estimates between $200 billion and $250 billion was lost by U.S. companies to piracy in 2003.

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 [email protected]washingtontimes.com.

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