- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Die young, but late

If you haven’t already noticed, it’s stressful out there.

And what with all the anxiety in the world — from hurricanes and earthquakes to terrorism and dire warnings of a bird-flu pandemic — nobody is feeling the pressure more than President Bush.

No wonder the 65 worshippers at St. John’s Episcopal Church, across the street from the White House in Lafayette Square, were asked to pray “for George, our president” during Sunday’s services.

“When we’re in a heap of trouble,” church rector the Rev. Luis Leon told Mr. Bush in his sermon, remember the advice of the Apostle Paul: Don’t worry about things you cannot control, for it robs one of the ability to find joy in the present.

“Paul’s life is instructive for us,” said the preacher. “The art of life is to die young, as late as possible.”

Borked again

So, former Judge Robert Bork, tell us how you really feel: Are you impressed with PresidentBush’s choice of Harriet Miers to the nation’s highest court?

“Not a bit. I think it’s a disaster on every level,” Mr. Bork, himself a one-time Supreme Court nominee, told MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson in no uncertain terms. He called the nomination a “slap in the face” to conservative Americans.

Bush calling cards

“Well, it fell somewhere short of the severed horse’s head placed in my bed on prior occasions.”

— Republican activist Christopher C. Horner, referring to reaction from President Bush’s lieutenants after he publicly criticized the president and his choice of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court. Mr. Horner said the president, by his nomination, “punted” an opportunity to debate the role of the Supreme Court “and precisely how we want to bring it back to respecting the Constitution.”

Relevant credentials

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says there is a “culture of cronyism” in the Bush White House, but she’s not talking about the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

Mrs. Pelosi and fellow Democratic Rep. Henry A. Waxman, like other members of their party, don’t appear as upset as conservatives that President Bush nominated a person to the Supreme Court considered by many to be unqualified.

That said, Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Waxman did just introduce the Anti-Cronyism and Public Safety Act, which would prohibit the president from appointing unqualified individuals to critical public safety positions in the government.

“President Bush has handed out some of the country’s most difficult and important jobs — leadership positions in public safety and emergency response — to politically well-connected individuals with no experience or qualifications,” Mr. Waxman said.

The bill would require any presidential appointee for a public safety position to have “proven, relevant credentials” for that position.

Storm flags

Buoyed by a recent Zogby International poll showing her only slightly trailing incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson — by 3.8 points — Florida Republican Rep. Katherine Harris sees red flags being raised by Democratic leaders in Washington.

The cause for Mr. Nelson’s slump in the polls?

If you ask Mrs. Harris, it has to do with voters realizing that her Democratic opponent’s record is “more liberal than New York Senators Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer‘s.”

We checked in with the Nelson campaign yesterday, only to find that the latest poll it touts was conducted in late August by Quinnipiac University. That outdated survey showed the senator leading Mrs. Harris 57 percent to 33 percent.

Giving Leif his due

So, did you celebrate Columbus Day or Leif Ericson Day during this just-concluded holiday weekend?

Actually, to keep everybody happy, President Bush this year issued proclamations for both “holidays,” if you will.

In his Columbus Day 2005 proclamation, Mr. Bush observed that Italian Christopher Columbus‘ journey across uncharted waters in 1492 changed the course of history.

So, on Columbus Day, the president said, “we honor Christopher Columbus and the vision that carried him on his historic voyage.”

However, Mr. Bush pointed out that over 1,000 years ago — centuries before Columbus sailed the seas — Leif Ericson, son of Iceland and grandson of Norway, left the coast of Greenland on his journey to explore “new lands.”

“He … became one of the first Europeans known to have reached North America,” Mr. Bush educates.

For the record, Sunday was officially Erikson Day, allowing Columbus his usual Monday holiday.

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

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