- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 13, 2005

Woeful prose

When Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers was head of the Texas Bar Association, she wrote a monthly column, President’s Opinion, for the Texas Bar Journal.

“It is the largest body of public writing we have from her, and sad to say, the quality of thought and writing doesn’t even rise to the level of pedestrian,” New York Times columnist David Brooks writes.

Mr. Brooks gave many examples of Miss Miers’ writing. Here’s one:

“We have to understand and appreciate that achieving justice for all is in jeopardy before a call to arms to assist in obtaining support for the justice system will be effective. Achieving the necessary understanding and appreciation of why the challenge is so important, we can then turn to the task of providing the much needed support.”

Mr. Brooks commented: “I don’t know if by mere quotation I can fully convey the relentless march of vapid abstractions that mark Miers’ prose.”

Golf or presidency?

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said yesterday he might run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, unless some candidates promote his ideas, the Associated Press reports.

“There are circumstances where I will run,” Mr. Gingrich said at a press conference before a speech at the University of Mobile in Alabama.

Earlier this year, Mr. Gingrich told the AP: “Anything seems possible.”

The 62-year-old former House speaker yesterday said, “My hope is that five or six candidates are going to jump up, steal all of my ideas, and I will be able to relax and go golf.”

Asked under what circumstances he would enter the race, the former congressman from Georgia said if nobody picks up on the ideas and the country thinks they are significant, a campaign is possible.

‘Immoral’ GOP

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and two religious leaders said it was immoral for Republicans to propose cuts in Medicaid, food stamps and other programs for the poor in order to pay for Hurricane Katrina relief.

“America can do better than this,” the Nevada Democrat said, calling the proposed cuts, combined with $70 billion in suggested tax cuts, “an embarrassment.”

Mr. Reid’s sentiments were echoed by Frank Griswold, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, and the Rev. John Thomas, president of the United Church of Christ. The three held a conference call with reporters yesterday.

Both religious leaders said Republican leaders who tout their Christianity should look to the Bible and have more of a concern about the poor in America. “Nothing could be clearer in the Gospel than Jesus’ identification with the poor,” Bishop Griswold said.

Mr. Reid said he needs to persuade six or seven Republican senators to vote against the spending cuts and tax cuts.

Commander Condi

Americans for Rice, a group that hopes to draft Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a presidential candidate in 2008, has paid for a 60-second ad to run in Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday night during ABC’s “Commander in Chief,” a new show about a female president of the United States.

Iowa, of course, traditionally holds the first presidential contest, a caucus system. The same ad appeared in New Hampshire, on WMUR-TV, during the Sept. 27 broadcast of “Commander in Chief.” New Hampshire, of course, traditionally holds the first presidential primary.

The ad, which shows a man and a woman discussing a possible presidential bid by Miss Rice, is timed to gain the attention of Iowa Republican officials and activists who will gather on Oct. 21 for the state party’s annual dinner.

Frist subpoenaed

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has been subpoenaed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to turn over records in a probe of suspected insider trading, sources close to the case said yesterday.

Authorities are looking into Mr. Frist’s recent sale of shares of hospital operator HCA Inc., co-founded by his family. The sales were completed just days before HCA’s stock price fell sharply on a disappointing July 13 profit outlook.

“I’m fully cooperating with the inquiries. I am certain they will conclude I acted properly,” Mr. Frist said in a telephone interview with The Washington Times yesterday from Texas, where he was touring the U.S.-Mexico border.

He said any further questions should be put to his attorneys.

Frist spokesman Bob Stevenson said subpoenas are routine in SEC inquiries, Reuters news agency reports.

Dornan’s mission

Former Rep. Robert K. Dornan, California Republican, is going to work for the American Life League, a pro-life group.

“I made up my mind to quit my broadcast career and do what I’ve been talking about doing for years, working with the only national pro-life organization that has always held true to the principle that not even one baby’s life can be sacrificed for political compromise,” Mr. Dornan said.

The organization said Mr. Dornan’s primary mission will be focusing attention on the Right to Life Act, legislation that would define life as beginning at fertilization. The bill has been introduced in the House by Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican, and has more than 60 co-sponsors, the group said.

Americans for Life is hoping that the House Judiciary Committee will hold hearings on the legislation.

“I’m eager to get back into pro-life action as I did in the House of Representatives, and I promise you that I will use my new position to generate lots of congressional and grass-roots support for the Right to Life Act,” Mr. Dornan said. “With the grace of God, we will not let the babies down.”

Earring comes off

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has decided to drop his trademark diamond earring.

“That little insignificant thing in my ear gave off a bad spirit of rebellion,” the 35-year-old Mr. Kilpatrick, who is locked in a tight race for re-election, said Wednesday.

“And it overshadowed the fact that I have a law degree, that I was leader of the [Michigan] House, … that I’m able to do things like put together the best emergency operations plan in the country.”

Mr. Kilpatrick showed up without the stud Wednesday at a church event organized to announce his endorsement by several religious leaders. The mayor also removed the earring two weeks ago before speaking to a group of business leaders, the Associated Press reports.

He stopped wearing the earring during his 2001 campaign after a poll showed that women ages 40 to 55 didn’t like it.

“As long as I’m mayor of this town, I’ll never put it back in,” he said.

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

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