There was Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman walking his beagle, Reuben, yesterday morning in Northwest D.C., when he spotted Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan motoring by in his chauffeured sedan.
"Hey Alan! Hey Alan!" Glickman called out and waved. Greenspan ignored him completely. This set Glickman to worrying about what had he done to farm prices that had incurred the powerful chairman's pique.
Not to worry. Apparently others in Greenspan's car spotted Glickman. A handwritten fax from Greenspan came over Glickman's machine at 8:30 a.m.
"Dear Dan," it began. "Unless my colleagues are mistaken, I found the Wall Street Journal more gripping than watching you walk your dog. My apologies, especially to your dog. Best, Alan."
A relieved Glickman responded with his own handwritten note: "Dear Alan. Thanks for your kind note. It was very thoughtful, especially for my beagle.
"Quite frankly, I was a little worried that you'd only stop for a bull or a bear. Thank goodness you're more complicated than that. Have a good Thanksgiving. Dan."
Contents, However, Made in U.S.A.
The U.S. trade representative finally got briefing books to the Hill Friday afternoon with information that some 60 House members and 12 to 20 senators will need for the big trade conference in Seattle next week.
They are snappy-looking gray, three-ring, 1 1/2-inch-thick binders crammed with useful information. And where were these binders produced? "Made in Canada."
Talk about giving "away the store before you start," said one House aide.
Armey Assesses GOP's Successes
Pundits on the right and left seemed in agreement that President Clinton and the Democrats had the better of the Republican Congress in the session that just ended.
But House Majority Leader Richard K. Armey (R-Tex.), in a lengthy e-mail "For Republican Colleagues," insists that is all wrong. It was "the most successful year, in both legislative and political terms, that our congressional majority has had since 1995," he says.
The year didn't begin well, Armey acknowledged, noting a "chaotic fall recess." Armey apparently was referring to first a House speaker and then a speaker-in-waiting resigning and a political debacle after Clinton adroitly forced the House to impeach him despite the voters' objections. Then the Senate "focused on impeachment."
"Reports of our imminent legislative demise were rife," Armey said, "and as it turns out exaggerated. Things actually went pretty well," with the GOP blocking Clinton "and his left-wing allies" from raiding Social Security and boosting tobacco taxes.
The polls are up, "the momentum is with us," he said. "We are in the process of winning this election. But to achieve victory, we need to carry our message to the nation relentlessly, day in and day out, from now until November 7, 2000."
And stop believing what you see and hear. "We need to avoid engaging in idle defeatist talk," Armey said, "which our opponents love to hear--but which is plain off-base." He reeled off a list of accomplishments, noting that "the key to our success in the '99 budget negotiations was our diligence. . . ."
But it wasn't all touting accomplishments for Armey. There were blasts at the "Do-Nothing Democrats" who tried to "obstruct us every step of the way."
Of course if you're in the minority, it's a bit harder to be a Do-Something.
Commission in Partial Remission
Great news! The Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, also known as the Beast That Would Not Die, lives on. The seven-member commission, set up to oversee U.S. Information Agency programs, was set to disappear now that USIA has merged into the State Department. Critics argued that the commission was now pretty much useless.
But Rep. Timothy J. Roemer (D-Ind.) led the battle to save what he and commission members call a body that's "needed now more than ever." Fortunately for the fate of public diplomacy, they succeeded, though with the commission's four-person staff and $450,000 budget cut in half. And the compromise legislation calls for the commission to go out of business in two years.
What will become of us then?
Slow Trip for Safety Board Nominee
Carol Carmody, whose aviation experience includes work at the Federal Aviation Administration, the Senate Commerce Committee and the International Civil Aviation Organization, has been nominated for the National Transportation Safety Board. Despite her credentials, it took the White House a couple of years to get around to it. If confirmed next year, as expected, Carmody will be the first woman on the five-"man" board in years.
Moving On . . .
Laurie Moskowitz, who has been working at the Department of Housing and Urban Development as Secretary Andrew M. Cuomo's special adviser and director of operations, is off to Nashville to run the delegate shop for Al Gore's campaign operation.
At the Peace Corps, Arlison Osborne, deputy press director, has moved on to be director of public relations for Share Our Strength. Gloria Johnson, who had been the Peace Corps' director of congressional relations, is working on communications and intergovernmental relations matters for the District's inspector general, Charles Maddox.