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'Sly Character Assassination,' Other Thoughts on Washington

Arkansas Air National Guard sniper school instructors kept watch during open house at Little Rock Air Force Base. Air Force magazine said they were
Arkansas Air National Guard sniper school instructors kept watch during open house at Little Rock Air Force Base. Air Force magazine said they were "watching for any activity that might endanger spectators or Air Force resources." (By Master Sgt Jack Braden -- U.s. Air Force)

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By Al Kamen
Monday, December 4, 2006

And now, another Quick Loop Quiz: Name the well-known Republican who said this about the press: "The political game, as played by some writers, is a combination of gossip, innuendo, sly character assassination and outright lies, hackneyed criticism and accusations palpably based on misinformation and deliberate distortion."

Was it: (a) Donald Rumsfeld; (b) Karl Rove; or (c) Dwight D. Eisenhower?

It was Ike, in a letter he wrote to older brother Edgar N. Eisenhower on Jan. 27, 1954. It's one of 140 letters from that correspondence, valued at $270,000, that were sold last week by the Raab Collection in Philadelphia.

Nathan Raab would not reveal the seller's name, but the buyer was Americashistory.org, started a while back by a California collector, who should have it up shortly on his Web site. The letters, written from October 1941 to November 1967, are to be on display at a site to be chosen, Raab said.

For those who think America's image abroad has suffered in recent years, Eisenhower noted in November 1955: "We are believed to be bombastic, jingoistic and totally devoted to theories of force and power as the only worth while elements in the world."

But some things do change. In contrast to recent presidents, Eisenhower, in a letter dated March 27, 1953, had this to say about congressional oversight and investigations: "I am quite ready to admit the right and duty of the Congress to watch the Executive Department and to make such investigations as they may choose in order that their law-making function may be properly performed."

He clearly never met Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) incoming chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, or saw Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) in action as head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Someone to Watch Over Me

The above photo comes from page 13 of the December edition of Air Force magazine. The caption was: "Sniper school instructors from the Arkansas Air National Guard keep a close eye on the crowd gathered at a Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. open house in November. The airmen search for any signs of activity that could endanger spectators or USAF assets."

Don't try to scratch the planes.

Be There or -- Well, BE There

Here is one you won't want to miss even if you don't work at the Commerce Department. . . .

-----Original Message-----

From: broadcast@doc.gov [mailto:broadcast@doc.gov]

Sent: Thursday, November 30, 2006 8:45 AM

Subject: Speakers Forum - December 6th

FOR: All DOC Employees located in the Herbert C. Hoover Building

and in the Washington Metropolitan Area

"Please join Dr. Sampson as he hosts author, Steven Hayward, here at the Herbert C. Hoover Building on Wednesday, December 6th. Hayward will discuss his unexpected discovery, during his ongoing biographical research and writing about the Reagan presidency, of the startling number of parallels and similarities between Reagan and Winston Churchill, which led him to write an entirely separate book, Greatness: Reagan, Churchill, and the Making of Extraordinary Leaders. Hayward will outline these parallels and distill what can be learned and applied from them today."

Attendance will be noted.

Did-He-Say-That Dept.

Gaffe of the Week Award . . . This one goes to Kendall Myers, a senior analyst in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Myers said last week that the British have consistently gotten the short end of the "special relationship" between the two countries.

Myers, speaking at what he apparently thought was an off-the-record gathering at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, said the relationship "has been from the very beginning very one-sided."

What's more, he said that the Brits' role as a bridge between the United States and Europe is "disappearing" and that "we typically ignore them and take no notice. It's a sad business." The Iraq war left British Prime Minister Tony Blair"ruined for all time," Myers said, and he felt "a little ashamed" of Bush's treatment of Blair.

The Times of London on Thursday reported the gaffe, once famously defined by columnist Michael Kinsley as when a politician tells the truth.

Myers, who was said to be thinking about early retirement, reportedly got a talking-to from supervisors. State deputy spokesman Tom Casey told reporters that "the comments, frankly, I think could be described as ill-informed, and I think, from our perspective, just plan wrong." Not to mention way off-message.

Associated Press reporter George Gedda helpfully noted that the ill-informed Myers is a 30-year member of the civil service and is an expert in U.S.-British relations.


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