Washington’s Holiday Season Upstaged

  • Capital Connections ®
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  • December 18, 1998

by Karen Feld

Washington’s Holiday Season Upstaged by Iraq and Impeachment

Washington is in turmoil. Operation Desert Fox has postponed the House of Representatives vote on impeachment. It would be in bad taste to impeach a President while the U.S. is striking Iraq. But that hasn’t stopped the buzz. House Speaker-designate Bob Livingston told me he’s concerned that the Republican Congressmen who accompanied President Clinton to the Mid East would get the “Stockholm Syndrome” and not vote against him when they return. But one, New York Congressman Rick Lazio, surprised the Speaker-to-be by saying he’ll vote the party line. Meanwhile, some Democrats are already calling Bob Livingston a “one-term Speaker” pointing to his not permitting a vote on presidential censure as a serious mistake. Strategists on both sides of the aisle fear that neither party has an exit strategy and the chips can fall either way.

And a “cold war” between President Bill Clinton and Mrs. Clinton is also taking center stage. America’s First Couple even stayed in separate compartments on Air Force I during their trip to the Middle East earlier this week. Hillary Clinton, who has “stood by her man,” in the past, has been surprisingly mum on her husband’s problems in recent weeks. She is clearly pushing her own agenda, has been very visible, and is exceedingly popular. She’s also a smart lawyer who has had a hand in preparing her husband’s legal defense on the Ken Starr investigation. After all it’s in her best interest to serve out her term as First Lady leaving a legacy of which she is proud. She was actively involved in plans for Thursdays evenings star-studded concert celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Special Olympics.

Even President Clinton’s pastor, the Rev. Philip Wogaman has capitalized on the White House sex scandal with a books-“From The Eye of The Storm: The Pastor To The President Speaks Out”–offering a spiritual perspective to a national tragedy. Profits go to his Foundry Methodist Church in D.C. Republicans might want to read his chapter on forgiveness.

Vice President Gore’s schedule is filled with high visibility policy-related appearances from promoting minority businesses and benefits for the disabled to toy safety, but he and Mrs. Gore took time out to participate in the annual Christmas in Washington NBC-TV special at the National Building Museum with entertainers Kenny Loggins, Smokey Robinson, and Brooke Shields. It benefitted Children’s Hospital. The Christmas spirit is not totally lost on the U.S. capital city. Senator Ted Kennedy hosted his annual bash where dressed in cape and mask, he surprised guests as the Phantom of the Opera. The Clintons may not be in a festive mood but the Christmas parties go on. . . they are entertaining the press–friends and foes alike– at the White House, Monday evening.

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