The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on March 25, 1998 · Page 15
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March 25, 1998

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 15

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Wednesday, March 25, 1998
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i THE PALM BEACH POST WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25, 1998 15A Republicans find slippery going in the mainstream Mr Fitzirerald. "If certain people in neonle in this community, and that only Mr Fitzgerald. "If certain people in the H trip extreme" This is snnnnsed to be a good vear for feared that, in a pro-choice district, a the Republicans if they don't ruffle feathers and, especially, if President Clinton's troubles deepen. But the early news from the field is of a party facing divisions in its ranks and a rebellion on its right wing. E.J. Dionne I The first piece of Republican bad news this month came from California, ' where Democrat Lois Capps won a special election for the seat of her late hus-hnnH Waltpr Shp defeated a staunch establishment savage conservative nominees," Mr. Bauer warned, "it will be hard to win general elections." Indeed. The Republican problem is that outside the Deep South, it's difficult to reproduce the Ronald Reagan formula of winning upper-middle-class votes with promises of tax cuts and blue-collar votes with socially conservative themes. In the Capps race, Democrats turned that formula on its head: Mr. Bordonaro's social conservatism turned off some in the upper middle class, and bread-, and-butter issues won Ms. Capps support from former Reagan Democrats. As a result, pollster Yang said, she did well in both upscale Montecito (home, as he put it, of "the Chablis Republicans") and Lompoc (where "the Budweiser Republicans"). The Republicans, of course, could still do well this year. But it won't be as easy as they hoped. EJ. Dionne Jr. is a political-columnist for The Washington Post. carries you so far," she said in an interview. What also worked for Ms. Capps, Ms. Howerton said, were the issues of health care, education and "the quality of life for children." Fred Yang, Ms. Capps' pollster, said those issues were important to the district's middle-income voters, and they worked especially well for Ms. Capps, a former school nurse and teacher. Mr. Bauer said in an interview that what mattered for the long term was not Ms. Capps' election, but the primary victories of pro-lifers Mr. Bordonaro and Mr. Fitzgerald. This demonstrated "a large-scale movement that's sweeping through the party" toward social conservatism. And in what could presage some rough Republican battles ahead, Mr. Bauer strongly criticized former President Gerald Ford for calling Mr. Bordonaro an "extremist," a charge picked up in both television ads and mail pieces for Ms. Capps. Mr. Bauer also rapped Mr. Dole for negative comments about 111UJ1K1U VUIU The Republicans were quick to write off Ms. Capps victory as a sympathy vote for a brave widow who carried on after her husband's death. Rep. John Under, R-Ga., who heads the National Republican Congressional Committee, noted that the last 38 times a widow sought her late husband's seat, the widow won in 36 cases. , . , . A Republican postelection analysis confirmed the importance of the sympathy vote for Ms. Capps. But it also found, as one Republican operative put it, that the outside spending by Mr. Bauer s group and others "framed the rest of the debate and our candidate was not able to overcome them." That was a polite way of saying that the abortion issue hurt, and so did a general backlash against outside money and negative advertising. "People in this area are really tired of politics as a blood sport," said Mayor Joyce Howerton of Lompoc, a blue-collar community in the middle of the district. Ms. Howerton agreed that there was a sympathy vote for Ms. Capps, whom she supported. "But these are pretty practical strong abortion foe sucn as Mr. uor-donaro would lose big among upper-middle-class social moderates. That's exactly what happened as Ms. Capps won over many of Mr. Firestone's voters. In Montecito, a wealthy Santa Barbara community that had given Mr. Firestone a strong vote, Ms. Capps won, something her husband did not do in 1996. Then came last week's Illinois U.S. Senate primary. The establishment again favored a more moderate conservative, this time openly and vocally. The state's popular Republican Gov. Jim Edgar and Bob Dole both campaigned for state Comptroller Loleta Didrickson. But she was beaten by Peter Fitzgerald, a conservative who strongly opposes abortion and gun control and spent heavily from his family fortune. Mr. Fitzgerald faces Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun, perhaps the most vulnerable of all Democratic incumbents, and he can't be written off. But Sen. Moseley-Braun was elated when she learned the identity of her foe, declaring the election a choice "between the conservative, Assemblyman Tom Bor-donaro. Mr. Bordonaro's victory over moderate Republican Brooks Firestone in the first round ot voting was naiiea as a triumph for social conservatives. Gary ; Bauer, the president of the Family Research Council whose political action f committee ran an expensive indepen-' dent campaign on Mr. Bordonaro's behalf, got much of the credit. Establishment Republicans had qui-ietly favored Mr. Firestone since they i Still behind Clinton, 2 strong women ' J '.wee ' . : tress l to leave i a message for your iguana I "Jellyfish never disturb you. If you leave the house for a week, it doesn't matter to them. I think that's why they , are popular with women who live alone and want to keep a pet." Hironobu Fujii, employee at a Tokyo pet shop You read it here first unless, of course, you read it elsewhere. The hot new trend in pet-keeping emanating from (where else?) Japan is jellyfish!! ' " People in Japan report that jellyfish are "soothing." They're "sort of like watching a lava lamp." Of course, I do not know the Japanese translation for "They never cough up hairballs." i Stephanie Brush 1 xsy If ' A i THE ASSOCIATED PRESS While women may be the bane of the president's existence these days, he can count on the counsel of two of the most powerful women in the world his wife and his secretary of state. By Marianne Means President Clinton is accompanied by his wife, Hillary, on his current 11-day, six-nation tour of Africa, where he was greeted by a friendly, if unruly, mob in Ghana that seemed just the ticket to distract him from the controversy over his marital fidelity. Distracting the rest of us at home, of course, is not so easily accomplished. Despite the journey's serious foreign policy purpose, it cannot compete for national interest with the tawdry tales and legal maneuvers of the investigations into the president's personal activities. For his wife, however, the trip may prove more politically and practically useful. With her own reputation already enhanced by her ardent defense of his character, her separate schedule in Africa will surely reinforce her growing credentials as a global spokeswoman for women's rights. Both Clintons want to encourage democracy and economic opportunity in that poor and struggling continent, but her public agenda is more focused on women's rights than his. She will continue her crusade to promote female equality abroad as a part of the administration's general commitment to the cause of human rights. Her ally in that crusade, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, will be tending to foreign policy business elsewhere, but their teamwork has laid the basis for the first lady's increasingly popular campaign to end discrimination against women around the world. What Vice President Al Gore is to President Clinton, Madeleine Albright is to Hillary Clinton. The two women are a formidable duo friends and comrades in political arms. They often appear together in international forums, dramatizing the unusual alliance that has grown up between the president's articulate, brainy wife and the highest-ranking female official also smart and savvy in U.S. history. Together and separately they wield unprecedented influence in an administration that has consciously pursued economic and so- Hillary Rodham Clinton tours a day-care center Monday in Accra with Ghanaian first lady Nana Rawlings. L '"(ST ri i J cial policies meant to win female voters' approval. This burgeoning feminization of national and foreign policy is way overdue but politically scary to those who prefer the status quo. Hillary Clinton has been her husband's outspoken defender-in-chief during the explosive controversy Madeleine Albright is holding down the foreign fort while the Clintons are in Africa. The team of Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright is not as close as that of the president and Mr. Gore, who are practically joined at the hip. But the two women jointly chaired and prepared for the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 and toured part of Central and Eastern Europe together. They have sat side-by-side at several human rights forums and spoken in sequence at events marking International Women's Day earlier this month. At a recent briefing that I attended, the first lady and the secretary of state deferred alternately and comfortably to each other, picked up on each other's remarks and generally seemed to enjoy each other's company. It is too early to understand what impact on the world, let alone on American policy, this female power couple may have. But they have already succeeded in calling attention to global indifference to discrimination against women. And public exposure is a good start toward remedying social and cultural wrongs. Marianne Means is a columnist for Hearst Newspapers. the only woman in a roomful of men. It does not hurt Ms. Albright's clout that one of her best friends happens to be the president's powerful wife, who is never timid about meddling privately in affairs of state. (It doesn't hurt that Ms. Albright gets along with crusty, right-wing Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Jesse Helms either.) Friends say the two women genuinely respect and like each other. They are both Wellesley graduates, although a decade apart. The first lady prodded her husband to appoint Ms. Albright, then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to head the State Department two years ago. Together the two women developed the current White House campaign to insert women's rights into the mainstream of American foreign policy priorities. The first lady now speaks out all over the globe about the problems women face, from legal and financial discrimination in many developed nations to sexual exploitation and violence in much of the Third World. Ms. Albright backs her up by integrating the subject into general State Department activities, policy statements and official speeches. over other women in his life. But Ms. Albright runs her "And why are people always looking for new trends in pets? Simple. Pets are a pain in the derri-ere. Pet codependency in this country has gone completely through the roof. It's out of control. It seems that not a week goes by that I don't hear ' some normally intelligent person say, "Why, I can't possibly do that. What about my poor KITTY?" Or (I'm not making this one up) "I do not think my boyfriend and I will be getting married after all. I just did not know that his iguana was going to be part of the package." The woman called me in San Francisco when I was on a business trip to say, "Steph. I am really, really not dealing with the iguana." ' "Do you love Stephen, or don't you?" I asked. "Well, yeah," she said. "But it just never really hit home how the iguana was part of the package." For what it's worth, I have actually met the iguana-in-qiiestion in person, and he seems to be a perfectly polite little fellow. He has his own little iguana leash and keeps his own counsel most the of time. So I do not really get what the big issue is. But, then, I ought to confess something here: Immediately before receiving the call about the iguana, I had called my own home from San Francisco to leave a message on my answering machine for my cat Nick. I had been feeling extremely guilty about going out of town for two days, OK? Plus, I knew that Nick . would know there was a man involved. Animals al- ways know these things. The situation is deteriorating by the minute, too. (Even as I write this, I am in the middle of a dueling-pets situation of heroic proportions, which I did not create, but which seems to be tearing my very soul asunder. I ran into a sweet elderly couple 1 1 know, Betty Lou and Dale. ! "Steph, we are going to have to cancel our trip to 1 Hawaii this year," they fretted, codependently. "We simply can't go off and leave our cat, Mittens, all by herself." (The thought of them having to cancel their trip filled me with sadness, since I know that i their Hawaii vacation is always sort of an annual j honeymoon for them and they are nearing 80.) "I'll stay at your place with the cat," I told them impulsively. "Are you sure?" they asked. "What about Nick?" "Well," I said. "I guess I can bring Nick along." "Mittens would eat him," Betty Lou said. "And s spit out his eyeballs." "Well . . . that's OK," I said. "I'll just keep them in , separate rooms. I will just make sure that they never meet in person." And so, I concentrated on canceling all my appointments for about three days and I worked nonstop on the process of keeping the two cats in separate rooms. Then, the moment I dreaded: I opened one door ' too many. The cats sighted, and walked toward, each other . . . and . . . kept on walking. It was a complete and utter non-event Now, I feel rather silly because I've been allowing these two cats to ruin my career, and one of them is not even my cat But now I've been invited to speak at a very important convention in Washington, a genuinely career-making event, in fact and the Lawrences aren't due home for another week. So now, I am in the position of abandoning both of our cats. Luckily for us all, there is a woman in our community who is known to be a bit on the lonely side and who dotes on animals. "Of course," she told me. "I would be happy to watch both pets. For a mere $20 a dav." "Steph," I hear you saying, "based on the amount of time you 11 be gone, do you realize youll be paying this woman $100 to watch someone else's cat??" And yes, fine, you could look at it that way, if you want to be . . . not-insane, or whatever.) If the logic of w hat I'm doing escapes you, I feel very, very sorry for you. Pets are an important part of our lives, and sometimes, I wonder if there's ever enough of ourselves we can give, short of opening a neck vein. But mavbe vou don't get where I'm coming from. Fine. You're probably the kind of person who would go out and buy a jf!yfish. and not even buy it its own lounge chair and TV. Stephanie lirmM is a syndicated humor columnist. a close second. From the beginning, the secretary took the lead among the Cabinet members in firmly standing behind the president's version of events. "I believe that the allegations are completely untrue," she said, leaving no room for doubt Ms. Albright, by all accounts, is a strong and successful secretary of state, fully backed by the president and unafraid to defy the male establishment that has for too long dominated foreign policy. At conference after conference and meeting after meeting, Ms. Albright is Unionist can make or break N. Ireland peace talks tions to both help the island's growing economy boom even more and to be one island if not one country. An agreement can easily be approved in referendum without Gerry Adams's signature. Sinn Fein's republican essence can. however, coexist with a decision not to condemn or campaign against it The tougher question is Mr. Trimble. He leads the North's largest party. He can negotiate and sign or hold back and oppose, with pivotal consequences. Over the next month, we shall see if he is a leader or a pike. Thomas Oliphant is a columnist for The Boston Globe. to Mr. Trimble. He behaved poorly in it here at what would ordinarily have been seen as an astonishing, breakthrough and symbolic affair a lunch at the British Embassy the day before St. Patrick's at w hich the leaders of all the parties. Mr. Trimble and Mr. Adams included, were present As usual, the petty Mr. Trimble refused even to acknowledge his counterpart's presence, which is also how he misbehaves at the peace talks. Given what is at stake, and given that peace is at hand, the tolerance for his antics and w hining was very low. As Mr. Trimble emerges from his party's conference this week, there is a widespread resolve not to let him dictate the pace or substance of the unfolding endgame. This resolve stems largely from the "tantalizingly close" agreement Important details remain to be nego-tialed. but the basic outline already exjsjs a new assembly in the North with proportional representation for Catholic and IYotestant communitcs; and a series of cross-border institu- the republic itself this spring. Or, if Mr. Trimble chooses, he can be just another rejectionist, as ostrich-like as the lowest Arab militant or Serb boor, one more "leader" who proved unable to play in the big leagues, not worth the risk of either political or investment capital. The mild surprise, and a pleasing one, is that the same spotlight has not had to shine on Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein, the infamous Irish Republican Army's political iceberg tip. Indeed, as the endgame begins, Mr. Adams has not got anything near the notice over here he merits for having taken the step that can produce the confidence that can produce a historic agreement publishing a long-overdue essay in which he at last acknowledged reality. No chance of a united Ireland in any possible deal, Mr. Adams vmte, and that may not be ideal, but it is tolerable. Coming off Sinn Fein's two-week suspension from the peace talks due to apparent IRA involvement in two recent murders, it was a major event But it also served to turn the spotlight By Thomas Oliphant David Trimble has got a right hand at the end of his right arm. I know, because I've shaken it But the self-limited leader of the biggest Unionist coalition in Northern Ireland has been spending weeks he spent St Patrick's week in Washington making a pathetically elaborate effort not to show his hand. As peace talks in the world's most fractious six counties move "tantaliz-ingly close" to agreement in British IVime Minister Tony Blair's phrase, and face a very real if nonexact deadline of around Easter, it is (mild surprise) Mr. Trimble who has emerged as the politician who can do the most to wreck or seal a deal. Mr. Trimble can emerge as a peaceful Northern Ireland s major political leader. He can get the benefit economic as well as personal, from being the Protestant pol 'ho transcended sectarianism, i le can be feted in U.S. business and political circles. President Clinton can't wait to go campaign for approval of an agreement in rrferendums in the NiHlh and McEvoy recuperating George McEvoy. a columnist for The Palm Beach Post, has undergone heart bypass surgery. His column will resume en e as recovered. - i .. - . .

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