- The Washington Times - Monday, January 16, 2006

Lott’s decision

Sen. Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican, says he will announce tomorrow whether he will seek re-election.

Mr. Lott, the former majority leader, in an appearance yesterday on CNN’s “Late Edition,” told host Wolf Blitzer that he will make the announcement in his Mississippi hometown of Pascagoula.

“I spent the Christmas holidays in my state visiting with the people that I love the most, my relatives, my neighbors, people on the Mississippi Gulf Coast that were devastated by Katrina,” Mr. Lott said.

“It has been a complicated decision because of all that we’ve been through in the last year. But my heart is with the people there, and I’m going to do everything I can to be helpful to them as long as it’s necessary and I have that capability.

“But, any announcement on that, I plan to begin with announcements in my hometown of Pascagoula, Mississippi, on the Mississippi Gulf Coast Tuesday and then in Jackson later on in the day.”

Mr. Blitzer said, “So, you’ll make an announcement one way or another whether you’re going to seek re-election or retire?”

Mr. Lott replied, “That’s right.”

Any ‘there there’?

Internet tipster Matt Drudge (drudgereport.com) says independent counsel David Barrett is finally ready to release the report of his office’s 10-year, $23-million investigation of Clinton-era corruption.

According to Mr. Drudge, today’s New York Sun will outline “the report’s details surrounding the alleged illicit activity and cover up … involving former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros before and during his time in the Clinton administration. …

“The full report, more than 400 pages, with more than 100 pages of redacted material, hits the street on Thursday morning at 9 a.m.”

To which syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin (michellemalkin.com) responds: “For $23 million, there better be some there there. But with the Democrats having successfully fought to redact one-fourth of [the report], I’d recommend managing your expectations.”

All-star team

Terry Eastland, publisher of the Weekly Standard, has added his name to a fairly long list of distinguished people connected to what Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats — and an obeisant media — depicted as one of the most wretched groups formed on this continent: the Concerned Alumni of Princeton.

“Sitting in the press section in Hart 226, mere feet away from the table where Sam Alito was insistently queried about CAP, I reflected on the oddity that I knew far more about CAP than Alito and his interrogators. Once upon a time, I drew a paycheck from CAP. I never thought I’d have an occasion to write about those long ago days. But here I am,” Mr. Eastland writes in the latest issue of the Weekly Standard.

Mr. Eastland said that although he was a graduate of Vanderbilt University, CAP hired him to work on its magazine, Prospect, which battled the leftward tilt of Princeton. So Mr. Eastland ended up at Princeton during the 1974-75 academic year.

“By the time the spring semester ended, I was ready to move on, and so I eventually took a job at the afternoon newspaper in Greensboro, N.C. I didn’t keep up with CAP and Prospect, though I later learned about the non-Princetonians who succeeded me at the magazine — among them David Asman, Bob Royal, Dinesh D’Souza, and Laura Ingraham,” Mr. Eastland said.

“Asman, along with Andrew Napolitano, a CAP board member, is now with Fox News. Royal is president of the Faith and Reason Institute in Washington. D’Souza has written book after book, and Ingraham, who clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas, has a radio talk show with a national audience.”

Senatorial arias’

“I rise to defend Joe Biden, who is being attacked for his verbosity during the Alito confirmation hearings,” New York Times columnist David Brooks writes.

“Some have concluded that Biden is a blowhard, though I assert he is thoughtful, just at Wagnerian length,” Mr. Brooks said.

“After years of study, I have come to recognize that it is wrong to regard Biden’s committee room interventions as questions. They are senatorial arias of immense emotional range. At times he will ascend to heights of rage and contempt; at other times he will wander like Lear through the desolation of undesirable policies.

“At one moment, he will lean in toward the witness like a late-night drinking buddy and share some intimate truth. At the next moment — and this is when he is at his best — he will play the beaten warrior, battered but unbowed. In this twilight mood, his voice grows husky and his shoulders slump. He knows that some nominee or bill is about to roll over him, but like the last Spartan at Thermopylae, he registers his noble objection before succumbing manfully to the inexorable will of fate.

“Then he flashes his jarring grin, which says that we are all friends despite the circumstances of our disagreement.”

‘Laugh track’

The grand hulk of Ted Kennedy ranted that he wanted to subpoena the papers of former National Review publisher William Rusher to get to the bottom of Samuel Alito’s membership in the Concerned Alumni of Princeton. At this moment, one sensed that perhaps at last the ghost of Robert Bork had finally been laid to rest,” Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Henninger writes.

“Borking was once a Democratic smear tactic. This [past] week — amid intellectually exhausted and politically befuddled Democrats — it became a laugh track,” Mr. Henninger said.

The columnist added, “The left-wing opposition groups are reported to be frustrated that their standard-bearers are ‘letting Alito off the hook.’ What hook? Neither Sam Alito nor John Roberts remotely represents Ted Kennedy’s famous ‘Robert Bork’s America’ speech. Reasonable people can disagree on the views of these conservative jurists, but first we need reasonable people.”

Out on the town

“Don’t cry for Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.

“After his toughest day of Senate Judiciary Committee questioning last Wednesday, the one that pushed his wife, Martha-Ann, to tears, the couple didn’t hole up in a hotel room and lick their wounds. They went out on the town, hitting one of the city’s best steakhouses, Sam & Harry’s. And they didn’t surround themselves with the normal cadre of handlers. ‘It seemed surreal that they were so calm, and alone,’ says our tipster.”

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

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