- The Washington Times - Monday, January 22, 2007

Brunch bunch

The tall brunette brunching with John McLaughlin at the Peacock Cafe in Georgetown over the weekend was Courtney Dolan, the TV talkmeister’s former “right-hand man — but there’s no proper way to say that,” she points out.

These days, Miss Dolan is busy in New York (and elsewhere) running the public relations department for the Financial Times, the popular “salmon pink” newspaper currently celebrating its 10th anniversary as a U.S. edition. Founded as the London Financial Guide in 1888, the broadsheet is printed in almost two dozen cities around the globe.

As for Mr. McLaughlin, his topics of late are the 2008 presidential election and the war in Iraq. He pointed out to his familiar gang of pundits recently: “If we stay [in Iraq] one more year, 12 months, we’ll lose over 1,000 Americans who will die, military who will die. … Now, do you think that a thousand American lives … is worth it?”

Oh, and before we leave the Peacock, ordering brunch at a table near the makeshift “McLaughlin Group” was former three-term Sen. Larry Pressler, the South Dakota Republican who now heads his own Washington law firm.

In 1996 — unlike 2006 — Mr. Pressler was the only incumbent Republican senator to lose re-election, ousted by Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson, who underwent surgery last month at George Washington University Hospital to stop bleeding in his brain.

Big jump

Cato Institute President Ed Crane is more than “delighted” to welcome Daniel J. Mitchell, the Heritage Foundation’s esteemed McKenna Senior Fellow in Political Economy, to his think tank’s scholarly team as a senior fellow.

Commenting on his cross-over after so many years with Heritage, Mr. Mitchell says Cato will be an ideal platform for him “to argue for less spending and a simple and fair low-rate tax system,” while at the same time fighting “international bureaucracies that want to harmonize tax systems and create an OPEC for politicians.”

Eight more years

One question now that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has announced her intentions to “win” the White House in 2008 is how to distance herself, if at all, from disgraced former Clinton National Security Adviser Samuel R. Berger, who has served in an advisory capacity to the New York Democrat.

Meanwhile, former Republican Cabinet member Bill Bennett continues to see that circumstances surrounding Mr. Berger’s classified-document heists from the National Archives finally get the attention and scrutiny they deserve.

Now a nationally syndicated radio host, Mr. Bennett just sponsored a coast-to-coast contest to see who could write the best lyrics to a song surrounding the Berger saga. The winner, chosen from 1,000-plus entries, is Ron Allen of Oak Park, Mich., whose gets $1,000 cash for his recorded entry “Sandy Berger Can,” sung to the tune of the 1960s Johnny Rivers hit “Secret Agent Man.” (The winning entry can be heard at bennettmornings.com.)

Hats off as well to syndicated columnist and author Mark Steyn (he gave a great Cole Porter impression when he sang live on “Bill Bennett’s Morning in America”), as well as National Review contributor and Radford University professor Matt Franck, and former Rep. Ernest Istook, Oklahoma Republican.

Without further ado, here’s Mr. Allen’s winning lyrics:

“Bill and Hillary lookin’ for a legacy

But the National Archives held a vast conspiracy

They thought about a plan

Asking who would be their man

Who can we now trust to crack this quandary?

Sandy Berger can

Sandy Berger can

He can stuff that troubling history into his socks and pants

Now Bill and Hillary met with Sandy Berger

They talked about the plan … now it’s not murder

They gave him all he’d need

They thought he could succeed

It’s simple, just go in and get those files

Sandy Berger can

Sandy Berger can

He’ll stuff those troubling files into his socks and pants

The day had come, and it was time to do it

If he is caught, the press can misconstrue it

It’s not that big a deal, it had a presidential seal

And he said he’s sorry so that ends it

Sandy Berger can

Sandy Berger can

He’ll get us eight more years so we can implement our plan.”

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

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