Who says Republicans and Democrats can't work together? Who says our nation's lawmakers can't provide needed constituent services? No one who's read "Welcome to Washington; a Guide to the Nation's Capital," that's for sure.
The 72-page guide, with a foldout map of downtown D.C., is given out in Senate offices to constituents who come to visit. It's even mailed out to folks on request. And it's chock full, as they say, of useful addresses, phone numbers and tips for tourists to enjoy Washington's many attractions.
What's more, it is decidedly bipartisan. There's an introduction signed by both Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.), who tell you "we hope this guide will be helpful during your visit," and promising a "wealth of sights and activities."
The senators recognize that hotel rooms near the Hill can be scarce at certain times of the year. So they included a "Hotel Guide" with eight convenient hotels and they provided telephone numbers. The first hotel listed, the Red Roof Inn at 500 H St. NW, even has an 800 number, the guide reported, so callers won't have to pay to get reservations.
We called it, 800-234-6423, to check.
"You want it bad?" a husky woman's voice asks. "Come get it good. Dial 1-900-getmysex for wild one-on-one adventures."
Your tax dollars at work. Oops.
Ergo: No U.S. Dorm Cleaners for Timor
And now, the winner of the Loop Inappropriate Metaphor of the Year. The honor goes to White House national security adviser Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger, explaining to reporters Wednesday why there is no parallel between U.S. intervention in Kosovo and nonintervention in East Timor.
"You know, my daughter has a very messy apartment up in college; maybe I shouldn't intervene to have that cleaned up," he said. "I don't think anybody ever articulated a doctrine which said we ought to intervene wherever there's a humanitarian problem."
So as long as they stack the bodies neatly?
Bradley Snags a Staple
Most observers saw Bill Bradley's Wednesday speech declaring his presidential candidacy as an eloquent appeal to Democratic liberals and centrists. But it's clear Bradley was trying to reach out to all constituencies.
For example, there was the eloquent line at the close, when he said: "Americans are like that; ordinary people doing extraordinary things."
That phrase, or close variations, has long been a staple of speeches by the most-conservative Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Tex.), though Gramm doesn't claim credit for it. For example, Gramm nominated George H.W. Bush for president at the 1988 GOP convention, saying, "America has produced extraordinary results from plain, ordinary common people like you and me." Or when he told the Daughters of the American Revolution convention in 1994 that our freedom has meant that "ordinary people like us have been able to do extraordinary things." Or in 1996 when he told the Cato Institute that the next millennium will allow "ordinary people like us to do extraordinary things." Maybe Bradley learned a thing or two while he was in the Senate.
Up Close but on TV
It won't be a small wedding for Rep. Helen Chenoweth (R-Idaho), according to reports from her home state. She and husband-to-be Wayne Hage have invited more than 11,000 guests to their wedding in Meridian next month.
A tent will be erected next to the Capital Christian Center to handle the crowd, a spokesman says. Guests in the tent will watch the wedding on closed-circuit television. Just some close personal friends. . . .
The Pastor, Spirits and Smoke
Democrats are oft-criticized as politically correct enviro and health freaks who don't know how to get down and have a good time. Nothing, we now know, could be further from the truth, judging from our invitation from Rep. Ed Pastor (D-Ariz.) and the National Democratic Club to "Cigar Night," a Sept. 24 dinner with "fine spirits, wine & cigars provided by United Distillers & Vintners, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States and UST Public Affairs Inc.," the tobacco lobby.
Ah, back to the days of the smoke-filled room.
Warming Up Two Envoys to Be
On the ambassadorial front, the final touches should be done soon for the nomination of former senator Carol Moseley-Braun (D-Ill.) to fill the long-vacant post of ambassador to New Zealand. Former Connecticut representative Toby Moffett's nomination as ambassador to Argentina also ought to be ready to go to the Senate in a few weeks.
The State Department and the White House are still tussling over the Brazil ambassadorship. State wants career foreign service officer Donna Hrinak, while the White House wants retiring Adm. J. Paul Reason.
Former White House counsel Charles F.C. Ruff, now back in his private law practice, has been named chairman of the board of directors of the Fair Labor Association, a coalition of apparel and footwear companies and labor, consumer and human rights organizations to ensure that products made for U.S. consumers don't come from sweatshops.