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Jewish World Review Jan. 12, 2001/ 17 Teves, 5761

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
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Consumer Reports

True colors in DC -- ALAN GREENSPAN, now in his fourth term as chair of the Federal Reserve, took the unusual step of reducing interest rates between meetings of that august group. As the car lots and aisles of Target show, the economy is stalled.

Except for that inexplicable marriage to NBC's Andrea Mitchell, Mr. Greenspan is the epitome of reserve, as it were. With his looks and clear disdain for the lightweight hacks he must walk among in DC, he is Walter Matthau goes to Washington. I cannot be convinced Mr. Greenspan ever respected Mr. Clinton save it be for Mr. Clinton's wisdom in not interfering.

I do believe Mr. Greenspan harbors resentment for Clinton braggadocio. A Reagan appointee, Greenspan surely seethes, "You little twit," each time the socialist president utters the phrase "longest economic expansion in history." Thus, Greenspan sends boy Clinton out with an economist's punch. Alan Walter Matthau Greenspan, so long above the political fray, entered it smirking, "I'm in charge, Sparky!"

True colors emerge under challenge, and Greenspan is not the only one in Panavision. Liberals are in panic mode. The self-righteous succumb to self-service and all manner of spinning skulduggery as power slips away.

Hordes of Clinton appointees headed into a sputtering economy are worried. These, the members of the most ethical administration in history, excepting the perjury, impeachment, obstruction and felony fundraising, were bound by an executive order of the Reagan and Bush era that prohibited departing executive branch employees from lobbying for five years. During the Christmas break, in spectacular color, Mr. Clinton repealed that executive order. Now the Clintonites can go right from the West Wing to K Street and lobby away for six figures.

Liberals' true colors are never brighter than when Republicans nominate qualified folks who are ideologically conservative. For example, when President Bush, the father, nominated Clarence Thomas for the Supreme Court, Julianne Malveaux, a liberal pundit, said, "I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early, like many black men do, of heart disease."

Ah, the old liberal hex of death by racially clogged arteries for strict constructionists.

The hues emerging in response to Bush-the-younger's cabinet nominees are rich. One would expect Sierra Club members to be jumping from windows over Christie Todd Whitman, governor of New Jersey, being slated to head the EPA. When one thinks of earth in the balance, Perth Amboy does not immediately come to mind. New Jersey firms buried radium tailings in back yards and their gov is to be Mrs. Superfund?

But, John Ashcroft and Linda Chavez, attorney general and secretary of labor nominees respectively, have Malveaux-like claws in pursuit. Mr. Ashcroft was the former Senator from Missouri who had the grace to lose to a dead guy without litigation. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago law school and been Missouri's attorney general, governor and Senator. By testimonials from both sides of the aisle, he is a man of integrity with more experience than Janet Reno, but his nomination is threatened by NOW, Jesse Jackson, Planned Parenthood and presumably the Rugrats. You would think Bush had nominated Colonel Klink to run the Justice Department. These are the same folks who saw no problems with Kimba Wood and ZoŽ Baird, two of Clinton's choices for AG, who failed to pay nanny taxes and feigned ignorance on green cards.

Ms. Chavez, a pundit and former EEOC official under Reagan, heads her own think tank and is defiantly independent, especially about unions. She may well be the sacrificial lamb in the cabinet confirmations.

How does Whitman escape scrutiny while Chavez and Ashcroft reel from venom? Mrs. Whitman was photographed smiling as she helped arrest a black man during a ride-along with state troopers during New Jersey's racial profiling hoopla. But Mr. Ashcroft has the "racist" label for nixing Clinton's nomination of Ronnie White, a black judge opposed by three-fourths of Missouri's sheriffs for his dissent in a death penalty case in which a deputy and a sheriff's wife were shot in cold blood before family members. The irrational distinction in exuberant opposition is nutty but consistent. Mrs. Whitman is pro-choice. An EPA director must respect the snail darter's right to choose. To spawn or not to spawn, that is the question.

Mr. Ashcroft and Ms. Chavez, like Clarence Thomas and Robert Bork, are pro-life. Their rough rides come from the tired one-issue agenda of the left. Experience, work history and all else are irrelevant. Mr. Clinton had no pro-life cabinet members. Republicans respected ideological differences. Democrats are in panic with transparent true colors.

They'd have my respect if they'd just admit it and spare us the lectures and indignation.

JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.


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© 2000, Marianne M. Jennings