- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 9, 2006

Life goes on

President Bush, reminded yesterday that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi assailed him as “oblivious, in denial” and even “dangerous,” replied he doesn’t “hold grudges.”

As Mr. Bush put it, political opponents say mean things during campaigns, but he knows when the campaigning ends and governing begins.

That said, Pennsylvania Republican congressional nominee Diana Irey telephoned her opponent, outspoken Democratic Rep. John P. Murtha, to congratulate him on his successful campaign, during which the pair exchanged numerous pleasantries.

“One of the glories of our democracy is this tradition — and it’s a rather odd one in the history of the world, I’ll readily acknowledge — that we spend months and months banging each other on the head, and then on election night we shake hands and congratulate one another,” Mrs. Irey noted.

“And life goes on. All over the world, people envy us. We settle with ballots what others are forced to settle with bullets.”

‘Lost their soul’

Don’t applaud Democrats too loudly for being able to take back the House and perhaps the Senate. Capitol Hill, after all, was virtually handed to them.

“While some will say that the D’s achieved a mandate, I think a fairly good case can be made that the story of Election 2006 is more about poorly led House Republicans losing than Democrats winning,” writes National Taxpayers Union President John Berthoud, who also doesn’t dismiss the longtime trend of the majority party losing seats in Congress in the sixth year of a presidency.

“But that’s a small part of the story,” he says. “The Republicans had incredible amounts of baggage.”

He cites the names of several disgraced former congressmen and others “hanging around the necks” of Republican candidates and incumbents — Mark Foley, Bob Ney, Randy “Duke” Cunningham and Tom DeLay — not to forget former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

“Beyond these individual characters, the party often prostituted itself to corporate interests,” Mr. Berthoud adds. “In the process of pleasing their corporate friends, the House Republicans lost their soul … and their base.”

Time to celebrate

When the Redskins win over the weekend, it’s always a better Monday night football dinner. Thirteen players showed up at Morton’s in Tysons Corner to eat steaks and watch football, including kicker Nick Novak, who brought down the house when Redskins stadium announcer Mark Kessler used his raspy vocal cords to announce the player’s name to the steakhouse’s guests.

In case you slept through Sunday, Mr. Novak kicked the game-winning field goal against the dreaded Dallas Cowboys.

Skunks and such

Check out this passage from yesterday’s CO2 Science magazine:

“Contrary to all the horror stories one hears about global warming-induced mass wastage of the Antarctic ice sheet leading to rising sea levels that gobble up coastal lowlands worldwide, the most recent decade of pertinent real-world data suggest that forces leading to just the opposite effect are apparently prevailing, even in the face of what climate alarmists typically describe as the greatest warming of the world in the past two millennia or more.”

Of course, by publishing this paragraph, Inside the Beltway could be accused of the “climate-change denial strategy” that Republican Sen. Olympia J. Snowe of Maine and Democratic Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia say exists, the pair citing a “small number of professional skeptics working through scientific-sounding organizations to funnel their viewpoints” through various media.

One such climate-change denial front group, according to the pair, is the Washington-based Competitive Enterprise Institute. The group doesn’t deny that global warming exists; it’s just skeptical whether man is to blame rather than Mother Nature.

We dropped by the CEI to get a reaction to the senators’ charges from senior fellow and counsel Christopher C. Horner, who oversees litigation on topics such as government science, environment and energy issues, international environmental treaties and climate policy. Wouldn’t you know, he was busy at that moment answering to concerns in Colorado about the hog-nosed skunk expected to multiply because of climatic warming.

Actually, Mr. Horner is going to have a difficult time convincing one political group in Colorado otherwise. It so happens that the headquarters for Democrat Jay Fawcett’s campaign for Colorado’s 5th Congressional District was vandalized on Election Day. One report says that when workers arrived at campaign offices, they were greeted with a vile “skunk” aroma, which made it impossible to get any work accomplished.

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

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