- The Washington Times - Friday, June 23, 2006

Worth quoting

“Politics, you know, really does end up being a family business. Everyone gets involved, whether they want to or not.”

— First lady Laura Bush, speaking frankly at a recent political fundraiser.

Prime real estate

That was Swedish Ambassador Gunnar Lund and his wife, former Swedish Deputy Minister Kari Lotsberg, inviting guests to a sneak peek of the first House of Sweden ever erected outside of Sweden — along the banks of the Potomac River in Georgetown, at 29th and K streets Northwest.

When the modern, airy building officially opens later this year, it will showcase the Swedish Embassy (two floors), the secretariat, an event center, representatives of Swedish commerce, a large rooftop deck with breathtaking views of the Washington Harbor and 16 apartments — what’s being called a “Swedish arena” to promote the country’s interests.

Just a few of those on hand for the Wednesday night architectural preview, co-hosted by Capitol File magazine, were Afghan Ambassador Said Jawad and his wife, Shamim; former U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic Charles Manatt; Rep. Mark Foley, Florida Republican; D.C. Council member and Georgetown neighbor Jack Evans; Kay Kendall of the Washington Ballet; Jim Glassman of the American Enterprise Institute; National Building Museum President Chase Rynd; and WMAL nighttime radio host Chris Plante.

Besides the embassy, we were intrigued to learn, Sweden has 30 consulates throughout the United States.

‘A loss for words’

Perhaps by today’s conclusion of the 2006 annual meeting of NDN, formerly known as the New Democrat Network, the Democratic Party won’t be so much “at a loss for words.”

Or at least that’s the headline in the latest issue of Mother Jones magazine, which writes: “If you voted for John Kerry — and you probably did if you’re reading this — you’re familiar with this decade’s favorite liberal parlor game. It goes something like this:

“Liberal A: All the polls say people like our positions. So why won’t they vote for us?

“Liberal B: It’s because we’re wimps. We need to get tough like Karl Rove.

“Liberal C: It’s because we’re prisoners of our interest groups. We need to whip them into line.

“Liberal D: It’s because people don’t know what we stand for. We need a vision, not a laundry list.

“Liberal E: No, no, no. You’re all wrong. It’s because we don’t talk right. We need to frame our ideas better.”

Ownership of language, the author, Kevin Drum, points out, is important if you’re going to win political battles, and “conservatives have recently gotten a lot better at it.”

Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, one of several Democrats said to be weighing a presidential bid in 2008, added his name at the last moment to the already influential list of speakers addressing the NDN conference yesterday and today at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel.

Other speakers include former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, three other potential candidates for the White House.


The 100th anniversary of the founding of Tea, S.D., was recognized on Capitol Hill this week by Sen. Tim Johnson, South Dakota Democrat. Indeed, Tea is the fastest growing city in the state. As for its unusual name?

Mr. Johnson said Tea came about when its residents were asked to submit 10 town names to the U.S. Postal Service. Only nine could be decided upon.

“A recess was called during a town meeting at which tea was served,” the senator says. “Someone suggested the name ‘Tea’ be added to the list. Shortly afterward, this tight-knit community was informed that their new name would be Tea.”

Tea was officially incorporated in 1906.

Saddam dump

If anything rings funny about the never-ending trial of Saddam Hussein, it’s been reading his personal trial Web log.

OK, it’s not really the ousted Iraqi leader’s blog. Instead, it’s the creation of National Lampoon, and for some time now it has addressed everything from the bearded one’s heckling as a workable defense strategy to his addiction (when he’s not on a hunger strike) to Doritos.

In fact, Scott Rubin, editor in chief of National Lampoon, is coming to Washington next week to promote his new book, “The Saddam Dump,” which carries the blog into hardcover.

Mr. Rubin jokes that he recently returned from Baghdad, where “Saddam has one weakness that I was able to observe in all of the time I spent with him: Doritos. We spent something like $200 billion trying to fight and defeat him when all we needed to do was drop 10 bags of Doritos in each palace.”

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

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