- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Yo, Tony!

For the sake of White House press secretary Tony Snow — and for that matter, everybody who works with him — it’s a good thing Brendan G. Melley is no longer toiling at the White House. After all, it’s difficult to tell the two men apart.

The latest mix-up?

“We were at Mai Thai restaurant [in Old Town Alexandria] when a woman came up to him and said, ‘Excuse me, Tony, I’m sorry to bother you at dinner, but it’s my girlfriend’s birthday, and it would be great if you could come by and wish her happy birthday,’” recalls Mr. Melley’s wife, Stella. “Brendan had to get his driver’s license out to prove to her who he was. However, on the way out, ‘Tony’ did go by the table and wish the woman’s friend happy birthday.”

Until January 2005, Mr. Melley had served for three years on the White House National Security Council, most recently as director for Counterproliferation, Proliferation Strategy, and Homeland Defense.

Today, he manages to keep his distance from Mr. Snow — although they work within blocks of each other, and both live in Alexandria — as associate vice president of the Cohen Group, chaired by former Defense Secretary William S. Cohen.

Sun burned

Wow, talk about having no confidence in the integrity of a major newspaper.

“Recently, the Baltimore Sun’s Editorial Page asked me to complete a 10-question survey on issues affecting Maryland,” Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, writes this week to supporters. “After careful consideration, I have decided not to submit to the Baltimore Sun my responses to its candidate survey.

“I believe the public deserves to know exactly where I stand on issues affecting Maryland,” he explains. “That’s why I have decided to share my responses directly with you — to view my responses in their entirety — unfiltered and without bias …

“In 2002, The Sun editorial board concluded that I brought ‘little to the team but the color of [my] skin.’ And although I have spent my years as lieutenant governor … their attitude toward me and my campaign has progressed little.”

Follies of the left

Northern California writer and blogger Keith Thompson is defecting from the Democratic Party, terminating a relationship forged as the nation’s youngest George S. McGovern delegate in 1972, and later as aide to former Ohio Sen. Howard M. Metzenbaum.

What began as a 2005 essay for the San Francisco Chronicle has led to a soon-to-be-published memoir: “Leaving the Left: Moments in the News That Made Me Ashamed to Be a Liberal.”

Those moments feature everybody from Bill Clinton (“robbed children all over the world of their innocence with his tawdry Monica Lewinsky escapades”) to Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (“claimed Abu Ghraib [prison in Iraq] had simply ‘reopened under new management.’”)

Pass the ink

Few men play the part of George Washington as passionately as Virginia historian James Renwick Manship Sr.

Indeed, Virginia General Assembly Delegate R. Lee Ware, a longtime history teacher, observed: “What David McCullough and others are doing between the covers of printed books, Mr. Manship is doing in person … the substantive information combined with pageantry of costume is an extraordinary entry into the life and times of an era.”

Given that as background, we find amusing the text of an e-mail Mr. Manship sent this week to a woman who had inquired about a certain book on the first president. Obviously, the computer age as a means of communication is proving difficult even for the modern-day Washington, who still prefers his correspondence via quill and ink:

“Dear Martha,

“I just received your e-mail sent today, 7 August, asking if I had received your e-mail of last week. Apparently I had, but had overlooked it, or it was delayed in arrival as sometimes happens, so that I missed it, for it was below the ones I had already checked.

“This is an e-mail management issue I must master. I must talk with my buddy Ben Franklin on how he handles this new type of post, being he is used to handling large volumes of mail as Postmaster General.”

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

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