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LAST WEEK CONGRESS RUSHED through an appropriation for the Commission, including enough money for a round-the-world fact-finding tour to study how other nations handle the problem of unsafe sledding. The first stop will be Tahiti, announced Rep. John Murtha (D-Penn.) which, he pointed out, “has no, that’s none at all, injuries from sledding. We’ve got to figure out how they do it.”
The importance of the new initiative to the administration was evidenced by the First Lady’s decision to serve as an ex officio member. “How can children read books if they’ve suffered a concussion out on the slopes,” asked Laura Bush?
The response among conservatives was muted. Presidential candidate John McCain said that he “shared the President’s commitment to safe sledding” and hoped “the Congress and administration could work together.” He warned “right-wing political activists” that criticism of the idea would fall under the campaign restrictions which he had pushed through Congress.
Blogger Hugh Hewitt signed on without reservation: “The Bush administration is the gold standard for conservatives,” he explained. Hoover’s Victor Davis Hanson wrote that caring for children is a principle that runs back to Pericles.
Others, however, were less certain. National Review editorialized that “we understand why the president cares about children, but the Commission easily could go too far.” The idea was criticized at a weekly conservative meeting last Wednesday. “Whenever I think it can’t get any worse,” one declared as he left the off-the-record session, “it gets worse.”
Press Secretary Tony Snow rejected such criticism. He explained: “Conservatism is dead. Long live conservatism. We now define what conservatism is.”
The Commission’s first meeting is scheduled for April 1.