- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Boston in common

What occasion brought Rep. Edward J. Markey, Massachusetts Democrat, Undersecretary of StateR. Nicholas Burns and TV talkmeister John McLaughlin together last night?

A reception for alumni and friends of Boston College — at the Jordanian Embassy, no less — with guest of honor the Rev. William P. Leahy, the college president.

Jordanian Ambassador Karim Kawar, who grew up in Amman, graduated from the Jesuit university in 1987. By the time he was 20, he had established his first company. He later led an umbrella group of 10 computer software companies and information systems.

Catholic chaos

We turn to the spring issue of Boston College Magazine, which tells of an intriguing campus discussion on Catholicism by a panel of well-known Washington Catholics: NBC “Meet the Press” host Tim Russert, Democratic strategist James Carville, former Republican National Committee head Ed Gillespie, former Ronald Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan and Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne. The highlights:

Ms. Noonan wasn’t shy to say that liberals claim to speak for “the little guy,” but that “there’s no guy who is littler than someone who might be aborted tomorrow.”

Mr. Gillespie, meanwhile, argued that “marriage is the union between one man and one woman.” But Mr. Dionne observed that his homosexual cousin in Massachusetts has now married his partner of 31 years, adding: “I did not think that was a moral evil.”

As for the ever-entertaining Mr. Carville, he maintained that “the Church’s position on birth control in marriage is ridiculous” and termed himself “the ultimate cafeteria Catholic.”

Perhaps this mixed-up panel was best explained by Ms. Noonan: “I’m not sure it’s easy to be a Catholic and a Democrat or a Catholic and a Republican, just because it’s hard in general to be a Catholic. But I think it’s worth the struggle.”

Eye the opponent

Like an eager football coach waiting to see which team he’ll play in the Super Bowl, Virginia Republican Sen. George Allen, son of legendary Washington Redskins football coach George Allen, monitored returns from yesterday’s Democratic Senate primary so he could see who his challenger will be in November.

There was even an open house last evening at the Friends of George Allen Campaign Headquarters in Shirlington, and the event included watching election results.

“Timing is everything, as Senator George Allen knows all too well, not just in football plays, but in politics as well,” one supporter told Inside the Beltway.

Ironically, one of the two Democratic candidates, James Webb, a Navy secretary under Ronald Reagan, had endorsed Mr. Allen in the 2000 election.

‘Byrd droppings’

Does anybody find it rude that on the day that Sen. Robert C. Byrd became the longest-serving senator in U.S. history he was named “Porker of the Month” by Citizens Against Government Waste?

We didn’t think so.

The West Virginia Democrat has sat on the Appropriations Committee since 1959, his first year in the Senate. He has been chairman and now is ranking member. In 1991, CAGW began tracking federal pork, and in those 15 years, West Virginia has received $2.95 billion in pork — ranked in the top four per capita for five years running.

Not surprisingly, 33 projects in West Virginia bear Mr. Byrd’s name, including the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, the Robert C. Byrd Highway and the Robert C. Byrd Hardwood Technologies Center.

“West Virginia has always had four friends: God Almighty, Sears Roebuck, Carter’s liver pills and Robert C. Byrd,” or so the senator once boasted.

Meese and men

Those were lieutenants from Ronald Reagan’s unsuccessful 1976 presidential primary campaign against Gerald R. Ford who gathered for a 30-year anniversary at the former Reagan Ranch outside Santa Barbara, Calif.

Fond memories were recalled by former Attorney General Edwin I. Meese III, seconded by authors of numerous Reagan books in the crowd, including Martin Anderson, Peter Hannaford, and Craig Shirley, who says he has been appointed to the board of the Young America’s Foundation, which now owns the ranch.

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

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