I dragged myself out of bed, met my pal Mark Markey from the National Association of Variable Annuities, and went up to Capitol Hill. I was there to testify about retirement planning and the value of annuities before the Senate Select Committee on Aging. I had been told that Hillary Clinton was going to be there and I had something to say to her.
However, she was apparently at another function and did not show up. Several other very kind and attentive Solons were there and I think the hearing was useful. Many, many interns asked for autographs and photos. (I was an intern there in 1963 for Joseph D. Tydings of Maryland, who has a beautiful daughter.) I was sorry Mrs. Clinton was not there because this is what I was going to say to her:
“Senator Clinton, my father was a well-known and well-respected economist and commentator on fiscal policy and public policy generally for sixty years in the Nation’s Capital. He, like me, voted for Republicans and worked for Republicans in the White House. When he died on September 8, 1999, his funeral was the very next day.
“Your husband, President Clinton, sent his Treasury Secretary, Larry Summers, and a major White House figure in economic policy, a fine man named Gene Sperling, to the funeral. They also delivered to me and my sister a letter from Mr. Clinton and you, Mrs. Clinton, praising my father for his integrity and his commitment to the public welfare. It was probably the kindest letter any high official sent me. For you and Mr. Clinton to have sent that to my sister and me under the circumstances was an astonishingly kind and elevated act. I humbly thank you.”
However, she was not there, so after the hearing, my friend from junior high school (the loathsome Montgomery Hills in wonderful Silver Spring) Nolan Rappaport, a Democrat, took me over to meet someone I had wanted to meet for a long time, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston. She is a feisty character and a frequent critic of Mr. Bush. But she was super friendly to me. She noted that she had been at Yale College when I was at the Yale Law School, and we both smiled at how much time had passed. She gave me a big hug and I went on my way.
Lunch at the restaurant at the Watergate Hotel with my wifey and Mark Mackey, and a fine meal it was too. Then a long nap, and a trip up to the Federal Trade Commission for a speech about economics and the FTC. My host was a major smart guy named Michael Salinger, a professor of economics at Boston University, who is an expert in anti-trust and is now director of the Bureau of Economics of the FTC. Big, big, big job. Major responsibility.
I spoke to maybe 200 lawyers and economists in a room on New Jersey Avenue near Georgetown University Law School. A number of the economists had worked with my father and had kind words to say about him, which made me ultra-happy. The questions were uniformly intelligent and thoughtful. I really hated to leave. Then it turned out that my driver had been working at the FTC back in ‘72-3 when I worked there and we remembered each other. Brought tears to my old eyes.
I really hate the way conservatives trash bureaucrats. Most bureaucrats that I know work hard, don’t get paid a lot, and try to do their jobs as well as they can.
Anyway, then another short nap, and then off to dinner with Karl Rove. At his home. With his wife Darby, and his sister-in-law cooking and his son Andrew setting the table. Naturally, the conversation was off the record, but I can say a few things:
First, Karl Rove has lost weight, although he was never fat to start with. He’s amazingly fit and trim now. Rep. Murtha, who commented on Karl’s posterior as large, has obviously never met Karl.
Second, Karl is probably as important as any human being on this planet except Mr. Bush. He is a world-class political figure. Yet he helps wash the dishes. He helps keep the house clean. He walks the dogs. I have never heard him say one mean word about anyone on the other side. Not once. He is probably the most humble human in a position of high authority I have ever met.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?