- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 8, 2004

Banning ‘bureaucrats’

Barely a week goes by that the word “bureaucrat” doesn’t appear in Inside the Beltway — given that we write regularly about bureaucrats and all that they accomplish for this great democracy of ours.

Now we are politely encouraged to refrain from repeating the word.

“We need to talk about government workers differently,” advises the latest report from the Partnership for Public Service. “Using the word ‘bureaucrat’ has a devastatingly negative impact.”

How so?

“The word ‘bureaucrat’ is used frequently by politicians, the media and others as if it were a neutral descriptor, when in fact it carries very strong editorial freight,” the report states.

An accompanying study finds that 71 percent of Americans view federal government workers favorably, but that number drops a whopping 50-plus percentage points to a dismal 20 percent when those same people are referred to as “federal government bureaucrats.”

Public servants rest assured: Regardless of how you’ve been labeled in the past, Americans have an overwhelming sense of the value of your service.

No less than 91 percent of respondents say that the jobs and duties of federal workers are important to their daily lives, and these favorable views cut evenly across both partisan and ideological lines.

Beating the devil

It’s no secret that, as a collective body, members of Congress have been threatened with extermination by al Qaeda terrorists.

Still, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) is questioning security precautions undertaken by 72-year-old Sen. Jim Bunning, Kentucky Republican, a baseball Hall of Famer who became the first pitcher to record 100 wins and 1,000 strikeouts in both leagues.

The DSCC is disseminating local newspaper articles expressing surprise that Mr. Bunning, in his campaign for re-election, is actually “shunning” media attention, not even telling reporters in advance when he will visit a Kentucky community. Upon arrival, he supposedly makes certain that adequate security is in place, whether provided by state or local police officers.

Recently, for example, the senator received police escorts while in Danville and Lexington, while the Paducah Sun reported that its police force was on hand to guard against “al Qaeda or other terrorist attacks.”

But one story being peddled by the DSCC in Washington, published in the Lexington Herald-Leader, questions whether Mr. Bunning is using the security to avoid “vocal Democrats” gathered on the campaign sidelines.

“This behavior isn’t new for Bunning,” opines the Herald-Leader, recalling that during his 1998 Senate race, two of the senator’s sons “ran interference” for their father by planting themselves between him and reporters.

“Who is he trying to be protected from? A real terrorist threat or the voters of Kentucky?” Democratic state party Chairman Bill Garmer asks the newspaper.

Mr. Bunning says he doesn’t care what his opponents say about him.

“My goal is to beat the devil out of whoever is my opponent,” he says, terrorists obviously included.

A classy lady

Several hundred of her best friends gathered at the National Graduate University the other night to celebrate the induction of Dorothy Height into the Democracy Hall of Fame. In fact, Wednesday was “Dorothy Height Day” in the District.

Mrs. Height, 92, was, for many years, president of the National Conference of Negro Women and was a contemporary of Martin Luther King, Roy Wilkins, Whitney Young, A. Phillip Randolph and others in the civil rights movement. She sat on the stage, decked out in an aqua outfit with a matching hat — a stylish hat is her trademark — to listen to tributes from the likes of Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Maryland Democrat and chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus; the Rev. Walter Fauntroy, a Baptist clergyman; Carol Schwartz of the D.C. Council; and Wesley Pruden, editor in chief of The Washington Times.

Mr. Pruden cited her as an example of “a classy lady of dignity and decorum in an era of growing coarseness and rampant vulgarity” and recalled her description of the vision that she pursued over her long career of expanding the rights of all: “We have to improve life, not just for those who have the most skills and those who know how to manipulate the system, but also for and with those who often have so much to give, but never get the opportunity.”

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

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