A Tossup on Reagan Tribute
By Al Kamen
Wednesday, June 9, 2004; Page A19
Might appear unseemly to some, but a spirited disagreement has broken out among Hill Republicans about what coin or bill should bear the likeness of America's 40th president.
At lunchtime Monday, Marcus C. Dunn, legislative director for Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), sent an e-mail to top Hill staff asking for co-sponsors to Miller's bill to put Ronald Reagan on the half-dollar coin. The bill had been drafted in the fall and held pending Reagan's death.
A couple of hours later, Rick Dykema, chief of staff to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), sent an e-mail to the same group, saying Rohrabacher had a bill to put the late president on the $20 bill. "Not only is the $20 bill much more prominent than the half-dollar coin," Dykema said, "we believe that replacing Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill will prove to be more defensible and less controversial than replacing John F. Kennedy on the half-dollar coin or FDR on the dime." ( Nancy Reagan scotched the dime maneuver a while ago.)
"Honestly, we didn't think of it as a JFK versus Reagan battle," Dunn quickly replied. "The Kennedy coins are not going to be suddenly recalled and melted," he said. They'll continue to circulate -- new ones just won't be made.
Rohrabacher, meanwhile, introduced his bill yesterday. With Tennessean Jackson's family all gone, it seemed there'd be no problem. But, sure enough, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) thought maybe Reagan deserves a higher denomination.
Another suggestion is to bump first Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton off the 10-spot, since he wasn't even a president. But lots of lawmakers admire him.
What about the quarter? The back side's already been messed with, and it's only got George Washington on the front. He'd still be on the $1 bill. And besides, there's precedent, since Reagan already kicked him out of the local airport.
But it looks as though Hamilton's the most vulnerable. Hmmm . . . Jefferson's revenge?
Alumni Ties That Don't Bind
Eyebrows shot up at the Yale class of '59 reunion last weekend when Winston Lord, former ambassador to China, assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific and president of the Council on Foreign Relations, ripped into the Bush administration's foreign policy.
At a policy symposium, Lord told his classmates he was generally supportive of his fellow Bonesman's foreign policy on China and North Korea. But his overall assessment was decidedly different.
Lord, a McCain Republican and political appointee under Presidents Reagan and Bill Clinton, said he voted for W. last time around and supported the Iraq invasion.
This administration's foreign policy has been "incompetent" and "dishonest," Lord said, our source recalled, adding that, as a result, now "America was less secure."
Democracy, he added, "was given a bad name and our standing in the world was greatly diminished."
© 2004 The Washington Post Company
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