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Jewish World Review Jan. 5, 2001 / 10 Teves, 5761

Joseph Perkins

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New roles for newsmakers -- TALK ABOUT an eventful year.

The 2000 presidential election was the closest in more than a century. And when the last chad was counted, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush became the first father and son to separately capture the White House since John Adams and John Q. Adams pulled off that presidential double play 175 years ago.

On the economic front, there were harbingers of bad times to come. The Standard and Poor's 500 stock index lost ground for the first time in a decade. And the specter of an energy crisis haunted the nation's consumers, with prices of electricity, gasoline, heating oil and natural gas reaching records in different regions of the country.

From the scientific world came news that the entire human genome has been decoded successfully, a breakthrough rivaling Albert Einstein's completion of his general theory of relativity.

But enough about 2000. We can think of no better way to start off 2001 than by offering resolutions to our favorite (and not-so-favorite) newsmakers.

President-elect Bush : To keep faith with my core supporters, who voted for me on Election Day and who stood by me during the post-election contest. To reach out to Democrats of goodwill; to demonstrate that it is possible to find bipartisan cooperation on certain issues. To recognize that there are certain highly partisan special interests -- civil rights groups, Big Labor, feminist groups -- with which I simply will not be able to do business.

Laura Bush: To re-redefine the role of the first lady. To be less political than my predecessor. To shield my twin daughters from the rapacious news media.

President Clinton: To yield the spotlight gracefully to my presidential successor. To do nothing in retirement to bring further disrepute upon the high office I occupied.

Senator-elect Hillary Rodham Clinton: To recuse myself from voting on the ethical conduct of any fellow senator, given my ethically questionable book deal. To surprise everyone and make myself more influential in the Upper Chamber by positioning myself in my party's moderate wing.

Al Gore: To take solace in the fact that, while I did not win the all-important Electoral College, I did win the popular vote. To get used to having my name mentioned in the same breath with Samuel J. Tilden. To work on that exaggeration thing.

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan: To acknowledge that the six interest rate increases I pushed through in recent years have brought the U.S. economy to the precipice of recession. To help the new president by finding a way to endorse his promised tax cut.

Sen. John McCain: To remember that the Republican Party chose Dubya over me to be its standard bearer. To bear in mind that campaign finance reform is the No. 1 issue of a mere 1 percent of Americans.

Russian President Vladimir Putin: To reconsider my nation's recent decision to abandon its 1995 pledge not to sell tanks and other battlefield weapons to the ayatollahs in Iran. To sit down with George W. Bush and work out mutually agreeable amendments to the outdated (1972) Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, allowing both nations to develop and deploy national missile defense systems.

Chinese President Jiang Zemin: To desist from the mercantilist trade practices that have enabled my country to run up a larger trade surplus with the United States in 2000 than any other nation, including Japan. To stop destroying churches and temples in my Communist government's merciless campaign to quash religious expression in China.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor: To feel free to retire from the U.S. Supreme Court, as long as it's within the next four years.

Attorney General Janet Reno: To admit that I was fatally wrong to order federal agents to storm the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, wrong not to name an independent counsel to investigate illegal fund-raising by the president and vice president when I knew I had an obvious conflict of interest, and wrong to send heavily armed storm troopers to snatch frightened young Elian Gonzalez away from his Miami relatives.

Pollsters John Zogby, Frank Newport (Gallup), Scott Rasmussen, Harry O'Neill (Roper), Kathleen Frankovic (CBS News), Lou Harris: To acknowledge that our craft is more guesswork than science. Rainbow Coalition president Jesse Jackson, NAACP chairman Julian Bond, NAACP president Kweisi Mfume: To refrain from playing the race card every time George W. Bush does something with which we politically disagree.

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates: To not worry about the Justice Department's antitrust action against my software company; help is on the way.

Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones, Billy Bob Thorntonand Angelina Jolie, Madonna and Guy Ritchie, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston: To make our marriages last longer than those of Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley, Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford, and Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett.

Alec Baldwin, director Robert Altman, Cher: To start packing.

JWR contributor Joseph Perkins is aSan Diego Union-Tribune columnist and television commentator. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


12/27/00: Anti-Bush media bias starting early
12/20/00: Bush should reach out, not bend
12/12/00: What Jesse stands for
12/08/00: Will history call Gore a sore loser?
11/29/00: Election 2000 racks up casualties
11/01/00: Buying bridges and believing polls
10/26/00: Undecided? Before voting, make sure you answer these questions
10/20/00: No losers with Bush tax plan
09/06/00: Global warming?
08/23/00: Posh bashes by 'party of the people'
08/01/00: Liberal media spinning convention
05/18/00: The biggest threat to children
05/11/00: AlGore should keep silent if he doesn't have the facts
04/28/00: The people won't forget
03/24/00: You don't need to be paranoid to be wary of the census
03/24/00: Gotcha! Treasury Dept. spills the beans about Bubba's bull
03/16/00: Al Gore's glaring hypocrisy
03/07/00: John McCain is a fraud
02/17/00: The only thing that will rein in NFL criminals is negative public opinion
01/27/00: Linking marriage and the income gap
01/12/00: Black blind obedience
12/21/99: Tripp's courage was punished
12/09/99: Politics gets in the way of food
12/02/99: Washington isn't speaking English
10/14/99: Using sexual harassment as a weapon
10/04/99: What about victims' rights?
09/17/99: Feel like you're being watched?
09/02/99: Our air traffic system is out of control
08/26/99: We need another Manhattan Project
08/13/99: Tempest in the PETA pot
08/05/99: Utilizing junk science for big payoffs

© 2001, NEA