Nixonian? -- In dropping out of the race for president, Al Gore may just be facing reality: Nobody really wants to go there again. But if history offers any clues, don't count him out.
Back in 1960, Richard Nixon lost a very close race to John F. Kennedy. Nixon left politics -- in a huff, actually, telling reporters they "wouldn't have Dick Nixon to kick around any more." (Oh, but they would.)
Milhous came back on the scene with a vengeance in '68, and won the first of two terms -- although his second would be cut short by his resignation over the tiny matter of hiring thugs to burglarize the offices of his enemies.
So the lesson for Gore might be that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Just think, he gets to say to himself, "Maybe I can be just like Nixon!"
What About Ashcroft? -- We've all heard so much about Trent Lott and his nutty ideas lately, but what about John Ashcroft, our Attorney General? When he was getting confirmed by the Senate, he was asked about his association with a Thomas Bugel, a leader of the Council of Conservative Citizens -- the same group Lott is in trouble over. Ashcroft told them he wasn't aware of Bugel's affiliation with the CCC. The Senate let it slide, but it's hard to believe, as Bugel was a vocal segregationist on the St. Louis school board for many years -- a fact Ashcroft must have known as both governor and AG of Missouri.
But it would be harder for him to dodge the printed evidence. Ashcroft was quoted in Southern Partisan magazine as saying he admires Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy. Southern Partisan has praised the asassination of Lincoln.
With calls from even the hard right to remove Lott from his leadership position, Ashcroft's past begs the question: Are Republicans serious about standing up for racial harmony or do they just want a quick makeover?
$396 billion -- That's the defense budget asked for by the White House -- and insiders predict Congress will agree. It's more than three times the combined defense spending of Russia, China, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Cuba, Sudan and Syria.
550,000 -- That's how many disabled veterans will be affected by that budget's fine print. Those vets can't get both retirement pay and disability benefits. A Senate bill would have rescinded that, but the new budget overrides their plan. Now only those with 20-plus years or a Purple Heart will qualify to "double dip." Only about 33,000 out of that pool qualify. We can only hope that will save us enough to test another Star Wars missile.