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Jewish World Review Feb. 13, 2001/ 20 Shevat 5761

Wesley Pruden

Wes Pruden
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Some of our riots
seem to be missing -- SOMEBODY in Washington is getting rolled, but we're three weeks into the new administration and not everybody has figured out who.

Here it is mid-February and we're still waiting for the disaster Al Gore's friends confidently predicted if George W. Bush prevailed in the Electoral College.

There's no rioting in the streets (the Rev. Jesse Jackson having been busy changing diapers elsewhere). Small children have not been lashed to their factory looms, barefoot feminists pregnant or not have not been driven back to their kitchens (if any), the concentration camps for gays, lesbians and blacks are still under construction (if not still on the drawing boards), the new president is talking in dulcet tones to Democrats and the loudest weeping and wailing is coming from the generals at the Pentagon.

The only visible threat to the nation's security on the eve of St. Valentine's Day is the continuing crime wave out of Chappaqua, N.Y., that has overwhelmed law-enforcement agencies across the Atlantic seaboard. Authorities have so far not even managed to inventory all the burgled loot, and householders from Connecticut south to the Carolinas are warned to keep their doors securely locked and to tell their neighbors when they leave town.

The only misstep of the new presidential administration, and George W. quickly fixed that, was made when the president's chief of staff said the White House office for AIDS policy would be closed and its functions folded into another program. He foolishly assumed that the office for AIDS policy was about AIDS policy, which could have been managed from another agency. There was the predictable outcry from AIDS activists, not necessarily distributors of the virus, who jealously guard its status as the nation's most fashionable disease. George W. said no, no, he would keep the office open after all. (Breast cancer and heart disease, far more ambitious killers, have no such cachet.)

Nobody yet knows what to make of this president. He astonished Washington by inviting himself to the Democratic midwinter congressional retreats, joining senators at Williamsburg and then the Democrats of the House in Farmington, Pa. He showed up at Farmington without the usual retinue of handlers, seconds, go-fers and hangers-on who usually tag along in the wake of presidents to hum Hail to the Chief, accompanied this time only by Andy Card, his chief of staff, and Bobby Koch, his brother-in-law and onetime aide to Richard Gephardt, the leader of the Democratic minority.

Some of his hosts figured this would be their only opportunity to harangue and harass him and jumped him at once with demands that he allow the Census Bureau to join the Democratic scheme to cook the new census numbers. This is the so-called sampling scheme, to add fictitious numbers to maximize the count of black, Hispanic and other reliable Democratic constituencies. Rep. Carolyn Maloney was so rude that some of her colleagues winced. Some Democrats, columnist Robert Novak reports, even called the White House to apologize.

Other Democrats interpreted George W.'s bonhomie and good manners in what was intended as a courtesy call as a lack of preparation and an unwillingness to engage in the kind of brawling that passes for civility in certain Democratic circles. But this is how he did it in Texas, where he was outnumbered by Democrats frustrated and angry over their declining influence, and he eventually taught the brawlers about other ways to get things done.

The new president might eventually learn that breaking up whatever furniture the Clintons left at the White House is the only way to deal with adversaries in Washington. Republicans, who can be notoriously slow learners, have a miserable history of making nice with adversaries who prosper by making nasty. Or he might be correctly gauging the public appetite for a little less angry yada-yada and a little more results.

Even the frustration of congressional members of his own party over his stiffening resistance to the Pentagon generals shows an unexpected tough side of George W. The new team seems to understand that there's a lot wrong with the military that billions won't fix. The declining morale of the troops among pilots in the Air Force and the Navy, for example is more than a matter of low pay and a shortage of 9 mm bullets. The generals who are so surprised by George W.'s resolve have willingly submitted to the political correctness imposed by the feminist and homosexual lobbies over the past decade, terrified of putting their perks, promotions and big-ticket weapons systems at risk. They're learning, like everyone else, that there's no free lunch, not even in the officers' mess.

JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.


02/07/01: When a hate crime is something to love
02/07/01: Lifting a few spoons, cutting a few taxes
02/02/01: A few small surprises and a large lesson
01/31/01: Serving fried crow in the press mess
01/26/01: The gathering storm over Jesse Jackson
01/23/01: A graceless getaway, a graceful beginning
01/19/01: Once more to wave the bloody shirt
01/16/01: Bring on the lions, the clowns are ready
01/12/01: The dastardly plot to restore slavery
01/10/01: Mr. Lott's generosity to the Dems
01/05/01: Looking to the past for a bad example
01/03/01: A modest proposal for Arkansas folk
12/19/00: The reflexive sneer at George W. Bush
12/15/00: Taking inspiration from John Birch
12/12/00: It's time to raise high Florida's standards
12/08/00: A President Bush, and about time, too
12/05/00: Here come the judge --- and he's got a hook
11/28/00: Cry no tears for Al, lawyers are the losers
11/21/00: The useful loathing of America's sons
11/17/00: When this is all over, we spray for lawyers
11/14/00: Something murky in the twilight zone

11/10/00: Something sinister in Palm Beach

11/07/00: Low days in the life of the ruptured duck

11/06/00: A little race baiting in the final hours

11/01/00: Creator gets a hard time on the hustings

10/27/00: The sorcerer rides to rescue his apprentice

10/25/00: The founding father with a story to tell

10/23/00: A lonely passion for religious rights

10/16/00: Spending blood on the folly of fools

10/11/00: A big night for the embellisher-in-chief

10/06/00: AlGore's black problem

10/04/00: In headlong pursuit of the bigot vote

10/02/00: A modest proposal for Rick Lazio

09/27/00: When folks at home give up on a scamp

09/25/00: Gore plot exposed! The secret minutes

09/18/00: Playing politics with the blood supply

09/14/00: Al sets out to find his 'tolerance level'

09/12/00: When it's time for a thumb in the eye

09/07/00: Making a daughter a campaign asset

09/04/00: A footnote to the lie: How he beats the rap

08/30/00: Unbearable lightness of a cyberjournal

08/21/00: Clinton chickens on AlGore's roost

08/16/00: The long goodbye to California's cash

08/09/00: Innocence by proxy is a risky scheme

08/07/00: After insulin shock, an authentic rouser

08/02/00: When it gets hard not to get a little giddy

07/31/00: George W.'s legions of summer soldiers

07/26/00: He's set a surprise --- or a trap for himself

07/24/00: How do you serve a turkey in August?

07/19/00: Would Hillary sling a lie about a slur?

07/17/00: Process, not peace, at a Velveeta summit

07/12/00: The Texas two-step, a nudge and a wink

07/10/00: The Great Mentioner and his busy season

07/05/00: No Mexican standoff in these results

07/03/00: Denting a few egos in the U.S. Senate

06/28/00: Bureaucracy amok! Punctuation in peril!

06/26/00: The water torture of American resolve

06/21/00: The happy hangman is a busy hangman

06/19/00: Dick Gephardt finds a Dixie dreamboat

06/14/00: Taking a byte out of innovation

06/12/00: 'Go away, little boy, you're bothering us'

06/07/00: When a little envy is painful to watch

06/05/00: Fire and thunder, bubble and squeak

05/31/00: South of the border, politics is pepper

05/26/00: Running out of luck with home folks

05/24/00: The heart says no, but the head says yes

05/22/00: A fine opportunity to set an example

05/17/00: The Sunday school for Republicans

05/15/00: Hillary's surrogate for telling tall tales

05/10/00: Listening to the voice of an authentic man

05/08/00: First a lot of bluster, then the retreat

05/02/00: Good news for Rudy, bad news for Hillary

04/28/00: The long goodbye to Elian's boyhood

04/25/00: Spooked by Castro, Bubba blinks

04/14/00: One flag down and two memorials to go

04/11/00: Consistency finds a jewel in Janet Reno

04/07/00: Here's the good word (and it's in English)

04/04/00: When bureaucrats mock the courts

03/28/00: How Hollywood sets the virtual table

03/24/00: Dissing a president can ruin a whole day

03/20/00: When shame begets the painful insult

03/14/00: The risky business of making an apology

03/10/00: The pouters bugging a weary John McCain

03/07/00: When all good things (sob) come to an end

© 2000 Wes Pruden