- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 7, 2004

No. 28

Still taking the mound in Washington is Vic Gold, former press secretary to Vice President Spiro Agnew, and who collaborated with Lynne Cheney on the 1988 political novel “The Body Politic.”

In fact, Mr. Gold and Democratic political honcho Frank Mankiewicz today will co-host another of their annual meetings of the Stan Musial Society of Washington, D.C., which they co-founded and named for the St. Louis Cardinals’ baseball great.

“We’re giving [former House Majority Leader] Dick Gephardt an award for fan loyalty,” Mr. Gold says of the Missouri Democrat, who will retire at the end of this year.

So how did Mr. Gold and Mr. Mankiewicz, two men on opposite ends of the political spectrum, come to create the Stan Musial Society?

“Frank was a Bobby Kennedy and George McGovern man, and I was a [Barry] Goldwater and Agnew man, and obviously, we had very little in common politically, to say the least,” Mr. Gold told Inside the Beltway yesterday. “He worked for Bobby Kennedy at the time I was working for Barry Goldwater, and he was working for George McGovern at the time I was working for Spiro Agnew.

“Well, one day I read in the paper that Frank was a St. Louis Cardinals fan, one of my great passions,” he continues. “Frank is from Los Angeles, and I grew up in New Orleans, but in those prehistoric days, there were only eight teams in baseball, and the Cardinals were the furthest western and southern team.

“Sports brings people together,” Mr. Gold concludes the story. “The rule of the club is that politics stops at the door, for obvious reasons.”

In fact, the society’s 150 or so members are about equally divided on party lines. And Mr. Musial thinks so much of the club that he’s come to Washington on several occasions to attend society gatherings.

“This is a great year for the Cardinals,” Mr. Gold adds, “so we wanted to do something special. And [former House Minority Leader] Bob Michel [of Illinois] has agreed to present the award to Mr. Gephardt. And Bob Michel is a die-hard [Chicago] Cubs fan. What better show of bipartisanship?”

At a luncheon today, the society will present Mr. Gephardt with a red-and-white Cardinals team jersey, embroidered with his name and the number of years he served in Congress — 28.

Free advice

We caught up yesterday with political pollster Frank Luntz, who’s been keeping busy conducting election focus groups on MSNBC, and got his take on the swing vote and what President Bush will need to do to maintain his post-convention bounce until Election Day.

“Six things,” Mr. Luntz replied.

1. Focus on 9/11. Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry can talk about leadership in times of crisis, but only President Bush can actually show it. Moreover, the events of 9/11 help explain the deficit, the jobs picture, and the need for continued investment in national security.

2. Emphasize that nothing is more important than national security. Without national security, you can’t have personal security, economic security or financial freedom.

3. The two most important words when describing John Kerry: flip-flop. It’s a believable charge and undercuts his credibility greatly. Swing voters want a leader with consistency, and the flip-flop charge is hard for Mr. Kerry to refute. Better yet, use his own words to prove the charge.

4. Tax simplification and lawsuit-abuse reform are important domestic priorities that should be talked about often between now and Election Day. Better yet, link the two to a better economy and more jobs.

5. Put former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger together on a plane and send them to campaign in swing states with swing voters.

6. Focus on the future rather than on the past. Swing voters are more interested in what Mr. Bush (and Mr. Kerry) plan to do than what they have done.

Tailing Frances

You can’t even watch a hurricane blow into town without it being politicized in this stormy 2004 presidential campaign season.

“While monitoring Hurricane Frances, I searched the Internet for Florida beach webcam sites. One site I found was the Vero Beach Surfcam,” a Virginia resident writes to Inside the Beltway. “After viewing the beachcam picture, I noticed that below it were the words ‘BTW, If you need an alternative to Faux News, try here.’

“The link then transferred you to a left-wing … site insulting President Bush as ‘the smirking chimp,’ etc. Even though the citizens and local government of Vero Beach have much more pressing concerns at this time, I wonder if they are aware of this disgusting link placed on their Vero Beach Surfcam.”

Peace for once

There’s been so much mud-slinging, flying from all sides during this 2004 presidential campaign, that Bennett Roth of the Houston Chronicle wrote in the latest White House pool report: “No news committed.”

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]

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