Sunday, December 23, 2001

Checking off twice on year in politics




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        Some Christmas thoughts and wishes for the pols, some who are naughty but a few who are nice.

        Christmas with Kenny. “Kenny” is a reference to U.S. Rep. Ken Lucas, and not that kid always kicking the bucket on South Park.

        It's also what Republican President George W. Bush has taken to calling Mr. Lucas, a Boone County Democrat who is reveling in having a Blue Dog Christmas.

        In Washington, Blue Dogs are moderate Dems, and Mr. Lucas — at least in the president's eyes — is the Bluest of Blue.

        Kenny — I mean Mr. Lucas — was the only House Democrat at the table last week during a congressional leadership meeting on the economic stimulus package that eventually died without a vote.

        Hoping to jump-start a vote, Mr. Bush showed up at the meeting, held in the office of House Speaker Den nis Hastert, an Illinois Republican, another venue foreign to most House Dems.

        “We talked, and I told the president I would be supportive of the bill,” Mr. Lucas said. “He said, "I really appreciate that, Kenny.'”

        Wonder how Geoffy, as in Geoff Davis, the Republican running against Mr. Lucas in next year's 4th Congressional District race, feels about that?

        Think he is on first nickname basis with the president? Think the president knows who the heck he is?

        Funny, Mr. Lucas wouldn't get near Bill Clinton when he was president. Now, he's buddies with Mr. Bush.

        The Mitch who stole Christmas. Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, a Louisville Republican, once had the reputation of being a sort of aloof, cold fish in Washington.

        But now he is a quote machine, a media darling who always has a tough zinger to deliver.

        Here's his take while on Larry King's talk show last week, when asked about a CNN taped interview with John Walker, the California native who was captured fighting with the Taliban.

        “It's hard to contain your anger,” Mr. McConnell told Mr. King. “This guy deserves a lot more than a shave and haircut. I mean, you have to try to overcome your desire to strap him on a cruise missile and fire him at Tora Bora.”

        Don't mince words, Mitch. What do you really think?

        Mr. McConnell actually played Santa Claus last week, delivering more than $500 million in federal mon ey to Kentucky. Kentucky's other U.S. senator, Republican Jim Bunning of Southgate, secured about $40 million.

        According to the Associated Press, the Washington-based Citizens Against Government Waste ranked Kentucky 15th last year in securing pork.

        In typical McConnell style, the senator offers no apologies.

        “If the money is going to be there, I'm going to get what I can for Kentucky,” he said.

        The breakfast club. Just what was that group of young Republicans talking about last week at the Crescent Springs Bob Evans? A couple of them looked like they swallowed a sausage link the wrong way when a reporter walked in.

        Can somebody say “party coup?”

        A Blue Beer Christmas. Finally, let's hoist a couple of blue draft beers to a group of city officials and employees. You know who you are. Merry Christmas.
        E-mail at pcrowley@enquirer.com. Past columns at Enquirer.com/columns/crowley.

       



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