- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 18, 2007

Merry Fitzmas

“Back in 2005, there was a holiday called Fitzmas. It came in November of that year, and revelers hoped it would return again and again,” Byron York writes in the Hill newspaper.

“But they were destined to be disappointed. Months passed, a year passed, and there was no sign of Fitzmas’s return.

“Until now.

“In case you haven’t heard, Fitzmas is the name for the giddy excitement that arises among fans of CIA-leak prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald — left-wing bloggers, mostly — when they anticipate that it will finally be proven that the Bush administration conspired to leak the identity of former CIA employee Valerie Plame Wilson in order to smear her husband, the former ambassador Joseph Wilson, because he dared to criticize the grounds for the Iraq war.

“Fitzmas first came for the Fitzgerald groupies — also referred to as Plameologists — with the indictment of Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.

“Now Libby’s trial is beginning, and Fitzmas is back,” Mr. York said. “The trial, Plameologists hope, will finally — finally — reveal the ugly truths at the center of the Bush White House.

“They’ve been hoping that for a long time.”

Tax temptation

The new Democratic majority in Congress appears to be off to a surprisingly strong start, but the Democrats “are by no means home free,” Thomas B. Edsall writes in the New York Times.

“Many Republicans see Democrats undermining themselves with the adoption of pay-as-you-go budget rules, which require new expenditures to be accompanied by equivalent spending reductions or tax hikes. At some point, Republicans argue, Democrats will be forced to make unwelcome cuts, raise taxes or go back on their word. With these rules, argues Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, Democrats have set the stage to once again become the ‘tax and spend’ party.

“Mr. Norquist may have a point. A yet-to-be-released post-election poll of 36,000 respondents by the Cooperative Congressional Election Survey showed virtually no public support for a tax increase. Asked to pick alternative ways to reduce the deficit, 49 percent said they would cut domestic spending, 32 percent said they would cut defense spending and only 15 percent said they would raise taxes. For freshman Democrats who won seats in centrist states like Indiana and Kansas, support for a tax increase would probably be political suicide,” Mr. Edsall said.

Alone with Obama

“The last time I saw Sen. Barack Obama, he was without a coat, joking about not needing one in Hawaii, where he was headed to consider the inevitable on a warm beach,” Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass writes.

“He was by himself, in a blue suit on a cool, sunny afternoon, thin, angular, descending the stairs to lower Michigan Avenue, into the shadows, where even a political rock star/future president could sneak a smoke in relative peace,” Mr. Kass said.

“We’d been talking about how he deals with being fawned over by reporters. And again I mentioned a favorite line from the movie ‘Patton,’ in which the general discusses the Caesars of Rome, how even as the great men were crowned triumphant with laurel wreaths, there was always an attendant to whisper in their ears: ‘All glory is fleeting; all glory is fleeting.’

“And after a bit, Obama walked away down those stairs near the Tribune Tower, a likable man, the long stride, the thin silhouette, crisp collar, the back of his head and those ears of his giving hope to parents of big-eared kids everywhere.

“And then he was gone. He was alone. And that’s when I realized I’d never see Obama alone again. …

“From now on, and especially when he formally announces his candidacy on Feb. 10, he’ll have mobs around him, security people and media people, and handlers, and party and money people, and the Daleys, and reporters, all prancing about, endlessly excited.”

Laugh ‘til you cry

The Onion (www.theonion.com) is famous for parodying the news, but apparently the proprietors aren’t joking when they say they intend to distribute their free weekly humor newspaper in Washington beginning in April.

The Onion Inc., “which now makes the satirical paper available in nine U.S. cities, plans to distribute 100,000 copies in Washington,” Bloomberg News reported yesterday.

Based in Madison, Wisc., the Onion’s expansion to the nation’s capital will boost its circulation to about 700,000, Bloomberg reports. The newspaper has editions in New York, Chicago, Madison, Milwaukee, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Denver-Boulder as well as in Minnesota’s Twin Cities.

Gala rocked

Hours after Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, kicked off his second full term in office, Ted Nugent helped him celebrate at a black-tie gala, but not all attendees were pleased by the rocker’s performance.

Using machine guns as props, Mr. Nugent, 58, appeared onstage as the final act of the inaugural ball wearing a cutoff T-shirt emblazoned with the Confederate flag and shouting offensive remarks about non-English speakers, said people who were in attendance.

Mr. Perry’s spokesman, Robert Black, downplayed the Tuesday night incident.

“Ted Nugent is a good friend of the governor’s. He asked him if he would play at the inaugural. He didn’t put any stipulation of what he would play,” Mr. Black said.

Others said the appearance was inappropriate, the Associated Press reports.

Mistaken reading

Pundit Dick Morris has apologized for mischaracterizing a vote by Sen. Barack Obama. This column on Thursday quoted from Mr. Morris’ errant opinion piece, which appeared in the Hill newspaper.

“I want to retract the allegations in my column yesterday that criticized Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for voting against a bill to prohibit campaign committees and PACs from paying spouses and relatives. In fact, he voted against tabling the bill,” Mr. Morris said.

“I sincerely apologize to the senator for my mistaken reading of the record and want to commend him for his correct vote on the issue, unlike the majority of his fellow Democrats, including likely presidential candidates Sens. Joseph Biden Jr. (D-Del.), Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.),” Mr. Morris added.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes. com.

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