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Jewish World Review May 19, 2002 / 8 Sivan, 5762

Tony Snow

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Consumer Reports

Musings | Byron York of National Review uncovered an interesting bit of news the other day. He looked over the contributions to People for the American Way, the liberal lobbying and activist group, and discovered that many lions of the old press establishment have given money to the outfit.

Contributors included CBS, NBC, Disney -- the parent company of ABC; Time Magazine and America Online -- both part of the conglomerate that owns CNN -- and the New York Times Company.

People for the American Way is one of many organizations around the country that has found ingenious ways to cheat tax laws by engaging in political arm-twisting and calling it something else. Furthermore, it has become a major power in Democratic Party politics -- and played a key role in the sleazy attack on federal judge Charles Pickering. So, you want proof that liberal media bias thrives in some of the nation's most prestigious newsrooms? Don't take my word for it. Just follow the money.

It's doing some pretty eloquent talking.

Human nature endows each and every one of us with incompatible traits and tastes, which in turn give us the power to surprise others with the oddness and variety of our actions.

Consider the president.

George W. Bush is as exuberant a chief executive as this nation has seen in a century. In contrast to more formal predecessors, including the often rowdy and randy Bill Clinton, he seems unpolished and raw. He has an almost manic craving for action. Yet balanced against this restlessness is unusual patience when it comes to achieving long-term goals.

Lately, for instance, he has displayed Zenlike calm in the twin pursuits of Middle East peace and victory in the war on terror. In both cases, Republican partisans whacked him for moving slowly.

But his strategy worked in Afghanistan, and now comes word that he may be ready to broker a conference aimed at producing not peace talks, but peace.

This, coming from a guy who two years ago identified the leader of Pakistan only as "general."

At a time of global tumult, Washington D.C., the capital of the one remaining superpower, is turning into a sleepy backwater.

Democrats and Republicans are searching fruitlessly for issues that will ignite or passions -- but without success. They're partly to blame, since they insist on yammering about endlessly dreary topics.

Democrats are waving the bloody shirt about social security and Medicare; Republicans, about taxes and arming airline pilots.

It all seems tinny and irrelevant. Neither party seems able to make news, except when somebody says something riotously stupid.

There's a lofty reason for Congress's fall from grace: The United States, normally an insular power, finally has come to accept the challenge of world leadership. That burden that falls on presidents, not members of Congress.

So while heads of state race to the White House, few waste time talking with legislators. Proud Washington pols, like most of us, can only watch, and wonder with a sigh what it's like to be on the inside.

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