- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 6, 2005

Clarke’s new perch

Richard A. Clarke, the Bush-bashing former White House adviser on terrorism, has been given a weekly column in the New York Times Magazine.

Based on Mr. Clarke’s first effort, published yesterday, he will be using his new perch to continue his assault on Mr. Bush, which began before last year’s presidential election with testimony before the September 11 commission and publication of a book.

In yesterday’s column, called “The Security Adviser,” Mr. Clarke insisted that, contrary to President Bush’s inaugural address and State of the Union address, Islamic terrorists oppose democracy in Iraq only because it is being imposed by the United States. He also argued that the advancement of democracy in the Middle East and elsewhere will do nothing to discourage terrorism.

Mr. Clarke concluded his column with this swipe at the administration: “Because of the enormous resentment of the United States government in the Islamic world, documented in numerous opinion polls, we will have to look to nongovernmental organizations and other nations to lead the battle of ideas.”

The undertaker

Peggy Noonan, writing in the Wall Street Journal about the Democratic response to President Bush’s State of the Union address, said, “Harry Reid looks and talks like a small-town undertaker whom you want to trust but wonder about, especially when he says the deceased would love the brass handles.”

The columnist added: “Although Nancy Pelosi continues to look startled, even alarmed, her comments are predictable and pedestrian. Both seemed eager not to agree with Ted Kennedy’s recent ‘Iraq is Vietnam’ statements, which more and more seem not just stupid but scandalously so. Absent endorsing radical defeatism, however, Mr. Reid and Ms. Pelosi had little to say. They made Important sounds. Neither seemed sincere or serious. The president seemed both.”

Bayh’s vote

“On the morning of Thursday, January 27, The Washington Times ran across the top of page one pictures of Democrats [Barbara] Boxer, [Robert C.] Byrd, [John] Kerry, [Edward M.] Kennedy and the nine others who voted against confirming [Condoleezza] Rice” as secretary of state, Noemie Emery notes in the Weekly Standard.

“What was wrong with this string of pictures? It was made up of 12 hacks, has-beens, never-weres and certified losers — and Evan Bayh, one of the four main sponsors of the Iraq war resolution and until Wednesday a real star in his party, one of the few with a shot at being president, because of the trust he had amassed on the right and in the center, and the chance he could have had to peel off some red states. As of Thursday morning, that trust was gone.

“‘Say it ain’t so, Evan,’ wrote Andrea Neal in the Indianapolis Star a week later. ‘After six years of building your centrist credentials … causing even hard-core skeptics like me to brand you the genuine article, you turn around and vote against a distinguished, conservative nominee for secretary of state. After backing President Bush in the Iraq war, and presenting persuasive arguments for ousting Saddam Hussein, you take a stand against the only administration official who can seamlessly pick up [Mr. Bush’s] foreign policy. … After boasting on your Web site to be someone who cares more about doing the right thing than the expedient thing, you become one of 13 senators to vote against President Bush’s nominee.’

“Neal quotes a former Bayh backer who calls the senator ‘self-serving’ and says further, ‘I am appalled.’ So are the many who formerly saw Bayh as the one Democrat they could possibly vote for and, right now, are changing their minds. This is a vote that will not be forgotten: As we speak, some Republican doubtless is running up spots morphing Bayh into Boxer and Teddy.”

Reynolds ousted

A former Illinois congressman who resigned after being convicted of having sex with an underage campaign worker has been ordered to leave his Chicago home, because it is near an elementary school.

Police gave Mel Reynolds 30 days to move out of the house because of a state law that prohibits convicted sex offenders from living within 500 feet of a dense concentration of children, police department spokesman Dave Bayless said.

Reynolds, 53, has lived at the home on the city’s South Side since 2001, according to public records.

Authorities discovered that Reynolds was living near the Salem Christian Academy when he checked in with police as part of a mandatory annual visit. New computer software identified the problem last month after comparing his address to nearby schools, day care centers and playgrounds, Mr. Bayless said.

The Chicago Democrat resigned in 1995 after being convicted of sexual misconduct with a 16-year-old campaign worker. In 1997, he was convicted of fraudulently obtaining bank loans and diverting money intended for voter-registration drives into his campaign fund. He was sentenced to five years in prison in that case.

Reynolds served a total of 2 years in prison before President Clinton commuted his prison term in 2001.

Comeback kid?

Former Arizona Gov. Fife Symington, a Republican who resigned in 1997 after a bank fraud conviction that was later overturned — and won a pardon in 2001 from President Clinton — says he is considering another run for governor.

The one-time real-estate developer who reinvented himself as a pastry chef when he left office said he began thinking about a challenge after Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano’s State of the State address.

“She lacks vision and leadership,” Mr. Symington told the Associated Press on Friday. “I can’t think of anything she has done in office that is significant.”

Mr. Symington dismissed Mrs. Napolitano’s reference to the state’s all-day kindergarten program as “one of the largest school-choice programs in state history” — echoing language many Republicans use in arguing for school vouchers.

“When I heard that, I thought, ‘My heavens, who is she kidding?’” Mr. Symington said.

The possibility of another Symington candidacy was first reported in the Arizona Republic.

Chef to depart

After cooking for two presidents over 11 years, White House chef Walter Scheib has been fired, he told the New York Times on Saturday, adding that his ouster followed the appointment of a new social secretary to serve the first family.

“We’ve been trying to find a way to satisfy the first lady’s stylistic requirements,” Mr. Scheib, 50, told the paper, “and it has been difficult. Basically, I was not successful in my attempt.”

Mr. Scheib, who was hired 11 years ago by first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, said he was asked to resign on Wednesday, a few weeks after White House social secretary Cathy Fenton was succeeded by Lea Berman, the wife of a wealthy contributor to the Republican Party.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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