- The Washington Times - Friday, October 28, 2005

What’s next?

What a degrading month it’s been for the Republican Party, what with the barrage of charges and criticisms brought against top leaders and key aides.

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas has been indicted for conspiring to funnel corporate cash into state campaigns; Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee has been subpoenaed to turn over records amid charges of insider stock trading; top White House adviser Karl Rove is awaiting his fate in the CIA leak probe; ditto for Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby. And for that matter, Mr. Cheney isn’t out of the woods of late, either.

Add to those woes mounting aggravation over President Bush’s war in Iraq and the conservative wing’s unyielding criticism of Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers — until she was finally forced to withdraw her nomination to the Supreme Court yesterday — and one has to ask Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, what he makes of all this.

“I almost wish I was chairman again,” Mr. McAuliffe tells Inside the Beltway. “Almost.”

Birthday suit

Outfitted as she was in her eye-grabbing hot pink (or was it orange?) pantsuit, it was difficult for restaurant patrons of Cafe Milano in Georgetown not to gaze upon Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York as she celebrated her 58th birthday Wednesday night with two of her closest friends.

“There’s the birthday girl,” Terry McAuliffe said when a smiling Mrs. Clinton, born Oct. 26, 1947, arrived by her lonesome self just after 9 p.m., joining the former Democratic National Committee chairman and his wife, Dorothy, at a surprisingly accessible aisle table barely feet from the boisterous bar crowd.

Mrs. Clinton, who greeted numerous well-wishers throughout the evening — including rising D.C. mayoral candidate Adrian M. Fenty — declined to divulge her birthday wish.

“I’m just here having a good time,” she told Inside the Beltway.

Five stars

What better news to report by Tiffani Cailor, the new public relations director at the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown, than notification by the Mobil Travel Guide that it has added the Pennsylvania Avenue luxury property to its exclusive “five-star” list.

“This is extra sweet since it comes at the completion of a $25 million renovation and we are the first in Washington to receive this highly prestigious award,” says Four Seasons General Manager Christopher Hunsberger.

Black-and-blue

At a Capitol Hill breakfast yesterday sponsored by the Family Research Council, two dozen congressmen were presented with True Blue Awards, bestowed on lawmakers who vote 100 percent in defense of families and the sanctity of human life.

It’s also worth noting that Black & Blue Awards were presented this year for the first time, to members who voted “0 percent” on pro-family issues. Among those dealt a black eye was House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, for being “a longtime proponent of removing faith from the public square, prayer from public schools and [creation science] from academic studies.”

Reinventing the tree

One congressman at least, Rep. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican, is speaking out against a $2 million earmark in the House version of the defense appropriations bill to study “no flush” urinal technology.

“Talk about flushing taxpayers’ money down the toilet,” he says. The money would be drawn from the Navy’s budget.

Late again

Political satirist Art Buchwald takes on the Bush administration in the 32nd published book of his career, “Beating Around the Bush,” going so far as to say it’s “wonderful that everyone is getting indicted because that makes me a rich man.”

“It’s now time to let FEMA save the White House,” he suggests.

Our confusion

Will we ever develop the knack

Of remembering how to keep track,

Overcoming the “block”

Of resetting our clock:

To “fall forward” or, rather, “fall back”?

F.R. Duplantier

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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