- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Shopping with Newt

A battle for the title of the finest neighborhood is brewing — historic Georgetown versus suburban McLean — although it’s starting to smell of politics.

We turn to the current issue of the Georgetowner, a local newspaper that didn’t take kindly to the New Republic’s recent magazine headline: “So long, Georgetown. McLean is the new home of America’s ruling class.”

Wouldn’t you know The Washington Post next ran with the story “and all but declared it official,” the Georgetowner notes in an editorial.

Not to be outdone, the editors of the local paper are offering their own partisan perspective on the two diverse communities, stating in part: “When you enter McLean, Va., … one of the first things you see is a huge green sign declaring, ‘George Bush Center for Intelligence.’ This is your clue to turn around and go no further. …

“When you grocery shop at the McLean Safeway, you run into Newt Gingrich, Ken Starr and Bill Kristol. When you shop at the Georgetown Safeway, you run into the likes of George Stephanopoulos, Elizabeth Taylor, Kitty Kelley, and Madeleine Albright. Now, I ask you, whom would you rather say hello to?”

The editors go on to recall that John F. Kennedy once lived in Georgetown, while “Dick Cheney and his wife lived in McLean when he was a top official at Halliburton. Colin Powell, secretary of state under George W. Bush, lives in McLean. Madeleine Albright, secretary of state under Bill Clinton, lives in Georgetown.”

Finally, nobody should be surprised to read that Georgetown has a population of 14,000, 12,000 of whom are Democrats.

Open for discussion

Five months after June’s flooding rains swept into the National Archives, causing millions of dollars in damage, the building’s William G. McGowan Theater will have its grand reopening Thursday night.

And no better time at that, given all the latest shenanigans on Capitol Hill, for archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein and historian Robert Remini to discuss “The U.S. Congress: History and Turning Points,” starting at 7 p.m. Mr. Remini happens to be the official historian for the U.S. House of Representatives.

In fact, he’s been teaching history for more than 50 years and writing books about American history for nearly as long — more that a dozen books in all, including a three-volume biography of Andrew Jackson, and biographies of Henry Clay and Daniel Webster.

No change

Every two years, in the course of each election cycle, this column turns to Curtis Gans, director of American University’s Center for the Study of the American Electorate (CSAE), for the bad news.

Indeed, it’s worse. It’s now official that U.S. voter turnout for the 2006 statewide midterm election primaries has hit another low — this, mind you, during a year when Democrats keep telling us that Americans are fed up with their elected officials and are demanding change.

The turnout in recent weeks actually fell 17 percent from the midterm levels of 2002, with barely 15 percent of the eligible electorate going to the polls. The previous low was in both 1998 and 2002, when less than 19 percent of voters cast ballots. As for the high watermark during the past half-century? That would have been 1966, when slightly more than 33 percent of the nation voted.

Bush architect

That was senior Bush White House aide Karl Rove scheduled to headline an Oklahoma City fundraiser last night for Oklahoma gubernatorial nominee and Republican Rep. Ernest Istook.

Price of admission to hear Mr. Rove speak: $100 per person. Cost to get him to pose for a photo: $1,000.

Early bloomer

Former Texas Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes, a Democrat, will tell a National Press Club audience tomorrow night that the extensive waging of partisan politics by both parties threatens to tear apart the fabric of the country.

Referring to scandals that continue to plague Capitol Hill, Mr. Barnes says the pursuit of retaining and/or gaining seats during this midterm election year “has become more important than doing what is right.”

Not surprisingly, he will encourage more young people to get involved in politics and run for public office. He himself was elected to the Texas House at age 21, became speaker by age 26 and lieutenant governor when he was only 30.

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

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