- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Tequila embargo?

In his 1998 book, “The Next War,” Ronald Reagan’s Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger predicted that the United States by 2003 would be at war — albeit not with Iraq, Iran, North Korea or anybody else found in today’s “axis of evil.”

Rather, Mr. Weinberger, who died March 28, surmised the United States would be at war with Mexico, of all vacation destinations.

He based his belief on growing social unrest along the U.S. and Mexican border, exacerbated by illegal aliens.

Now, in his new book, “In Mortal Danger,” Rep. Tom Tancredo, Colorado Republican, points out that while Mr. Weinberger’s scenario has yet to play out, “there are signs that ‘Cap’ knew what he was talking about.”

Ford tough

That was former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and veteran presidential adviser David Gergen paying tribute yesterday morning to former President Gerald R. Ford, who was not on hand for the National Archives observance.

While the Ford presidency wasn’t the longest — just more than two years — it certainly was significant historically, both men agreed: the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam, the arrival of Vietnamese refugees in America, an offer of amnesty to draft-dodgers, the signing of the Helsinki Accords, and the pardon of former President Richard Nixon.

Mr. Ford was the first vice president chosen under the terms of the 25th Amendment and, after the Watergate scandal, succeeded the first president ever to resign.

Lessons in levity

Hundreds, if not thousands, of congressional news advisories are forwarded each day to reporters, lobbyists and other interested parties by the staff of senators, congressmen, committees, commissions, caucuses and task forces.

For these quotidian mailings to warrant even a second glance often requires some unique creativity on the part of the sender.

This column has observed for several months how Andrea LeBlanc, deputy director of communications for the House Committee on Government Reform, begins the committee’s weekly schedule update with personal greetings and other completely unrelated observations, as if she was chatting with a group of close friends or old college chums.

“How are you? I hope you are well,” Ms. LeBlanc writes this week. “Has your favorite old 70s or 80s band come back for a reunion yet? Who would you pick? My friend just bought Journey tickets. Love to hear if you have a good or bad story about your old favorites making a trip back to ‘spandex.’ Attached & below our schedule for Government Reform.”

In other words, only after she grabs your attention (this column now actually looks forward to receiving the committee’s schedule) does she segue into the official business at hand, such as tomorrow’s full committee hearing on federal procurement and Alaska native corporations, chaired by Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, Virginia Republican.

“I feel so strongly about the work of our chairman, Tom Davis, and the Committee on Government Reform,” Ms. LeBlanc explained when reached yesterday. “In addition, I know that the media is barraged with many e-mails, and I want them to know that I appreciate their consideration of the committee schedule. If I can add some levity to their day, great.”

Quote of the week

“You know, I like strong women. I was raised by one, I married one. … And sometimes — they all listen, and sometimes they do what you ask them to do, and sometimes they don’t.”

President Bush, waxing on the subject of women in recent days.

‘Factor’ fans

That was “The O’Reilly Factor,” hosted by Bill OReilly on the Fox News Channel, that all the president’s men were tuned in to in the forward cabin of Air Force One, as it prepared to whisk President Bush back to Washington after his most recent trip to New England.

Big business

Amount of money the National Republican Congressional Committee and National Republican Senatorial Committee expected to raise from last night’s President’s Dinner in Washington, attended by President Bush and a crowd of 5,000: $23 million.

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

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