- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Black and white

Former Defense Secretary William S. Cohen tells Inside the Beltway that he and his wife, Janet Langhart Cohen, are putting final touches on a memoir surrounding the unique life they share despite incredibly different backgrounds.

“It’s been an amazing book to write,” Mr. Cohen says of “Love in Black and White: A Memoir of Race, Religion and Romance,” due out in February.

“Janet’s previous [2004] book, ‘From Rage to Reason: My Life in Two Americas,’ became the basis of my interest in writing this memoir. What I wanted to do was draw parallels between Janet’s life and my own,” Mr. Cohen said in an interview yesterday.

“It parallels our lives — two people of two different races, religions and cultures — me as a young boy and Janet as a young girl, the things she encountered, and how we met, eventually married, and served together at the Pentagon, representing this country internationally and domestically …

“This book will show how America has grown, from when Janet was born to a single mother in Indiana during a time when racism and segregation were pretty rampant in this country, and my own background, being half-Jewish and growing up in Maine and the conflict I had to encounter.”

In a synopsis of her own book, Mrs. Cohen recalls the cross burning on her grandmother’s lawn; how her father proudly fought Nazis during World War II, yet was afraid to wear his military uniform in his own hometown; and how as an Ebony Fashion Fair model during the 1960s she was sent walking to the “Colored Only” facilities.

Yet she took her anger, she writes, and turned it into something positive, for her life and for those she encountered along the way.

Ordinary Joe

As confusing as voting already is for certain sectors of the country, suddenly being listed as an “independent” is presenting a whole new challenge to Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman.

During his three previous successful elections to the U.S. Senate, Mr. Lieberman saw his name positioned prominently on the general election ballot as the candidate of the Democratic Party.

Not this time. Now that he’s been upset by entrepreneur Ned Lamont in the Aug. 8 Democratic primary, the senator’s campaign suddenly realizes that the Democrat gets top billing. And this time, it ain’t Joe.

So, the incumbent’s campaign strategists are rushing to line up volunteers to “adopt a polling place” from dawn to dusk, explaining to voters where to find the incumbent’s name on the ballot.

“Due to Joe’s unusual placement on the November ballot, we need to make sure every voter knows where to find his name,” Crystal Cook, the campaign’s volunteer coordinator, explains in a memo.

Return to sender

New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, on behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, scolds Republicans on every front in his latest fundraising letter that reached the mailbox of Darren McKinney of Washington.

As a Democrat, Mr. McKinney has heard it all before, and now writes back:

“Dear Chuck: You may recall I was a House communications director back in the mid-90s just after we Dems got swamped by Newt [Gingrich’s] tsunami. As such, I participated in countless morning message meetings wherein you and Rosa [DeLauro] and George [Miller] and Dick [Gephardt] and Sheila [Jackson Lee] and Alcee [Hastings] would sit around concocting lies about GOP intentions.

“From ‘Medi-scare’ and ‘they’re gutting student loans’ to ‘privatizing’ Social Security and ‘America is less safe,’ you’ve been lying like rugs ever since, and the left-wing media have aided and abetted you at every turn. If the Republicans have to spend millions or billions on some dirty politics of their own to counterbalance all that, it seems only fair.

“When you’re willing to tell the trial lawyers, lazy no-good union bums and out-of-wedlock breeding machines to go get lost, I’ll again take you and your party seriously. Until then, save your breath and postage, I’ll have nothing to do with you.”

Difficult times

Former Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security C. Stewart Verdery Jr. has just started a new government relations and federal strategy consulting firm called the Monument Policy Group.

The firm already represents 10 clients.

“I was lucky enough to be in the middle of some of the toughest issues for almost a decade inside the government, from the Patriot Act to technology to transportation security,” Mr. Verdery tells Inside the Beltway.

“I’ll be on the other side of the desk, but the issues that I expect to be working for Monument Policy’s clients will be just as difficult.”

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

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