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Jewish World Review Dec. 27, 2002 / 22 Teves, 5763

Robert L. Haught

Robert L. Haught
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Consumer Reports

Would you look at 'Fristy' go! -- WASHINGTON President Bush calls him "Fristy." The president is fond of nicknames, and that's the one he applied to Sen. Bill Frist, the new Senate majority leader.

Frist is a wealthy surgeon who raised huge sums of money for Republican Senate candidates in the last election. In other words, he knows how to rake in the dough.

All of which inspires a parody on a popular tune of the holiday season:

"Fristy, the dough-man was a very happy soul,
"When the GOP won the Senate back from the Democrats last fall.
"Fristy, the dough-man was a king on Capitol Hill,
"And when the leader fell, everyone could tell that the job should go to Bill.
"There must have been some magic in that golden Senate crown,
"For when they placed it on his head, he began to come around.
"Fristy, the dough-man said that he would like to play.
"He'll give it his best shot, and he's no Trent Lott, "He made the Republicans' day."

Frist isn't the only senator making headlines as the Democrats prepare to resume their role as the minority in Congress. In this season of good will to everyone, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., had some nice things to say about a very well-known figure. She made her remarks to a group of school children and here's part of what she said:

"We've got to ask, why is this man so popular around the world? Why are people so supportive of him in many countries that are riddled with poverty?"

(Sounds like she was talking about Santa Claus. But wait.)

"He's been out in these countries for decades," she said, building schools, roads, infrastructure, day-care facilities, health-care facilities, "and the people are extremely grateful." (Good old St. Nick only works one night a year and he does well to get all the gifts delivered, let alone doing any construction projects.)

It turns out Murray was referring to America's enemy No. 1, Osama bin Laden. She held up this mad terrorist as a model citizen, compared to Uncle Sam.

"We haven't done that," she said, ignoring the vast amounts of U.S. foreign aid sent to countries overseas, including Afghanistan. "How would they look at us today if we had been there helping them with some of that rather than just being the people who are going to bomb in Iraq and go to Afghanistan?"

We'd like to think the students were smart enough to know this screwball statement came from someone who either was just plain ignorant of the facts or just had to make a partisan attack on the Bush administration. At any rate, she got a well-deserved backlash.

This is the time of year when new movies are released, but you'll have to wait until February to see "Gods and Generals," a Civil War film that has a high-profile Democratic senator playing the part of a Confederate general. Somehow Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., got the role instead of his Republican colleague from Mississippi, and the casting interview must have gone something like this:

Q: Senator, how do you feel about wearing the costume of a defender of slavery? A: Doesn't bother me. You'll see by my resume that I used to be a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Q: Aren't you concerned this portrayal of a rebel might harm you politically?

A: No way. I even used the "n" word recently and didn't get much criticism. Of course, a Democrat can get away with saying things that a Republican can't.

Q: Have you had much acting experience?

A: I have been in the U.S. Senate for 44 years. Does that answer the question?

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JWR contributor Robert L. Haught is a columnist for The Oklohoman. Comment by clicking here.


12/20/02: Some gifts to please political pals
12/13/02: It's Snow time at White House
11/15/02: Who's Congress' lamest duck?
10/18/02: Bush can blame woes on bad 'chi'
09/27/02: Enemy list too good to be true
07/19/02: Party animals are inviting targets
07/12/02: Beat the Bush
06/21/02: Dubya and Dick; Elvis and Ozzie!?
04/30/02: Donkeys and elephants: Is it really art or is it politics?
02/22/02: Warm-up time for political spoof
01/29/02: Tax dollars working wonders
01/09/02: While Congress is away, look at the laws it has made
12/28/01: 2001: A year of achievements, but some are disputable
12/21/01: Gifts for many public officials came a bit early this year
11/29/01: Animal rights group would like to tan Osama's hide
11/20/01: Are Americans too spaced out?
10/12/01: There's something fishy going on in the U.S. Congress
10/05/01: Lincoln had some memorable things to say about war
09/21/01: Washington's guidelines on how to tickle a terrorist
08/31/01: Two Garys, going the same road
08/24/01: Dog days are laughing matter, stories set tails wagging

© 2002, Robert L. Haught