Burke, who famously became a kind of Medusa figure to conservatives in the early '90s for her interest in pushing a national health-care plan in line with the goals of the Clinton White House and her seeming antagonism toward Reagan Republicans, is currently serving as a senior director of the Smithsonian Institution. According to several Senate sources, Burke has been actively participating in the vetting process of résumés and candidates, looking for moderate Republicans with extensive Hill experience to fill several senior positions on Dole’s staff.
It’s not surprising that Burke would lend Dole a hand. After all, few know the Hill and the Senate better then Burke, and her contacts remain top shelf after spending time teaching at the Kennedy School and working with old contacts now with the Bush Administration. But conservatives were hopeful that Dole would remain true to the conservative platform she ran on last fall. Burke’s reemergence would suggest otherwise.
Recall that Dole was not the conservatives’ first choice to run for Senate in North Carolina. In fact, the NRA had initially decided not to endorse anyone in that race out of concern that Dole was not strong enough on gun-owner rights. Likewise, pro-life groups were hesitant to strongly back her candidacy. But Dole, perhaps sensing her political opportunities slipping away, went out of her way to say she’s support NRA members and pro-life issues, and she was able to roll to victory.
“She hasn’t done anything egregious yet,” says a well-known conservative activist. “But to my mind it’s only a matter of time if the people that were surrounding Bob Dole are the people advising her.”p> MEATHEAD OF MINDS br> Former Vermont Gov.
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