It was a black day in 1985 when Dan Rostenkowski was seduced by respectability. I didn't think so at the time. Like other advocates of tax reform, I was delighted when the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee abandoned a lifetime of Chicago machine politics and Washington interest group hackery. His famous "write Rosty" TV address, endorsing reform efforts, won him plaudits for his high-mindedness and bipartisanship from which he apparently has never recovered. Now Rostenkowski stands as perhaps the principal obstacle to Democratic efforts to seize the political offensive with a tax
Last July Clarence Thomas attended a private dinner in Washington with a handful of NAACP officials. This was shortly after he’d been nominated to the Supreme Court, and Thomas hoped to soften the antipathy of the black civil rights establishment toward him. Not a chance. He was soon trashed in public statements as a snake, a black copy of David Duke, “Bork in blackface,” and putty in the hands of his conservative white wife. Gary Franks, the first black Republican elected to the House of Representatives since 1932, got better treatment, but not much.
Frederick Douglass remarked that “the Republican Party is the deck, all else is the sea.” It was the Republican Party, after all, that had been organized in 1854 to prevent the extension of slavery. It was Abraham Lincoln, a Republican president, who issued the Emancipation Proclamation. And it was the Radical Republicans during Reconstruction who issued the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments, outlawing slavery and granting citizenship and voting rights to blacks.
When Joe Biden, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, began interrogating Clarence Thomas last week, he arrived with ammunition provided by the leading liberal lights of legal scholarship: Walter Dellinger of Duke, Paul Gewirtz of Yale, Cass Sunstein of Chicago, and First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams, among others. But according to those involved, the ?minence grise at the Judiciary Committee was Laurence H. Tribe, Tyler Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard.
The Red plotters in Moscow preyed upon, and planned to exploit, two basic biological feelings: fear and hunger. For the former they had tanks; for the latter, sausages. Cynical imbeciles, that is to say, typical products of "materialistic philosophy," they regarded the people as Pavlovian dogs.
President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime by Lou Cannon (Simon and Schuster, 948 pp., $24.95) An American Life by Ronald Reagan (Simon and Schuster, 748 pp., $24.95) I. Maybe the local time just seems slower because the current occupant of the White House is a hyperactive gland case. Anyhow, it's hard to believe that only a couple of years have passed since the Reagans went away. It was a touching moment, we now learn.
ON A WARM and sunny spring day Bonnie Newman, then assistant to the president for management and administration of the Bush White House, ate lunch at the Occidental restaurant with two former presidential aides, Jonathan Miller and Christopher Hicks. The restaurant is one block from the White House. As 2 p.m. neared Newman announced that she had to get back to attend a Cabinet meeting. Miller and Hicks offered to walk her back. No need, she said.
Barry Goldwater says of Bill Movers, "Every time I see him, I get sick to my stomach and want to throw up." But the former senator is, yet again, either before or behind his times. Bill Moyers's standing as the conscience of America is one of the stipulated facts of our national life. The Texas Monthly says he is "the standard bearer of the best we see in ourselves." Jennifer Lawson, programming chief of PBS, says he is a "national treasure." Jackie Onassis calls him one of her heroes. Barbara Jordan takes it a step further: "I'd like to see him as president."She is not alone.
Kitty Kelley's achievement is extraordinary. She has provided a reason for sympathy with Nancy Reagan. She has taken one of the shrewdest, coldest, most manipulative women in American politics, a woman who broke new ground in spousal power, and transformed her into a victim. Kelley is a mean and greedy writer, so drunk on sensationalism that she lacks compassion and understanding. Her subject was a mean and greedy First Lady, so drunk on power that she lacked compassion and understanding. Both believe that nothing succeeds like excess and pettiness.
One sunny afternoon in the week of liberation, I went to the theater. The hall at Kuwait University's school of music and drama is a place of conspicuous civilization, a big cantilevered room with modestly elegant blue cloth seats trimmed in gold, rich wood-paneled walls, and a deep, broad stage set above a large orchestra pit. I expected to be alone there but instead found a British television crew videotaping the statement of 29-year-old Abdullah Jasman, Kuwaiti citizen, University of Pittsburgh graduate, and victim of a torture session in this unlikely place.