Bruce Reed, the former Clinton adviser who’s now president of the Democratic Leadership Council, drew the ire of Major League Baseball by penning a recent op-ed in USA Today, which questioned the league’s purported financial difficulty and included this line: “If George W. Bush wants to become Teddy Roosevelt, baseball is the trust to start busting.” That probably didn’t sit well with baseball commissioner Bud Selig, whose ouster Reed proposed in a version of the piece which ran in the DLC’s magazine, Blueprint. It certainly provoked Baltimore Orioles owner and heavyweight Democratic contributor Peter Angelos, who sent the newspaper an intemperate response, pointing out that the commissioner’s Blue Ribbon Panel members—former Sen. George Mitchell (R-Maine), former Fed chair Paul Volcker, Richard Levin, and columnist George Will—studied and supported baseball’s economics. Angelos did not appear to support any of Reed’s reforms, several of them quite provocative, including Reed’s generous offer to fill the commissioner’s job, in the event that Selig steps down, until 2004 when baseball’s next commissioner can assume the seat: George W. Bush.
It appears that confessed spy Robert Hanssen was not only feeding the Russian war-machine abroad, but the conservative war-machine at home. A 13-month probe of security vulnerabilities and violations at the FBI and CIA, ordered by FBI Director Louis Freeh and headed by former CIA and FBI Director William H. Webster, revealed that on more than 20 occasions, Hanssen performed computer database searches for confidential information regarding Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton.
It is unclear exactly where the fruits of Hanssen’s labor landed, but a good guess might be the syndicated columns of Robert Novak. Last July, Novak admitted to using Hanssen as his primary source in a 1997 column accusing Attorney General Janet Reno and the Justice Department of covering up campaign scandals. Might the two have discussed more than just the former attorney general? Novak’s columns on “Filegate” and other Clinton scandals—an enthusiasm apparently shared by Hanssen—suggest that he might have. (Novak denies this.) That’s not all the pair have in common. Both are reputedly members of the ultraconservative lay Catholic order, Opus Dei.
The Washington Post’s David Broder recently paid a visit to Mel Martinez, President Bush’s Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and discovered … well, that Martinez isn’t doing much. Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising. Republicans’ general distaste for social programs often leads to HUD neglect. Remember the late Samuel Pierce, Ronald Reagan’s HUD secretary, whose tenure resulted in the criminal convictions of an astonishing 16 former HUD officials? The department got a break under Bill Clinton, whose secretary, Henry Cisneros, was uniquely qualified, having served as mayor of a large city and holding Harvard degrees in urban design, architecture, and planning. Sadly, HUD once again seems to be a turkey farm for political friends. Martinez has precious little housing experience (or applicable education—he’s a lawyer), having spent just two years as head of the Orlando Housing Authority in the early 1980s after a former law partner tapped him for the job. Many consider Martinez payback for Bush’s electoral victory in Florida, where he chaired Florida’s GOP presidential effort during the 2000 election.
Ever wish you could put the entire gaggle of right-wing pundits and politicos on a ship and send them packing to a distant land? Conservative eminence William Buckley, Jr.’s National Review has done it for you! Buckley is sponsoring a “Post-Election Mexico Cruise” featuring the likes of Ken Starr, Tom DeLay, Dan Quayle, Arthur Laffer, and more! The ship will set sail from San Diego on Nov. 16, stopping at various ports of call. But it won’t exactly feature Royal Caribbean-style fun and excitement. Instead of conga lines and shuffleboard, guests will be treated to Mass in the morning and a series of “Seminars & Smokers” in the afternoons. While Quayle has always had an air of “cabana boy” about him, we’re pretty sure the spectacle of Milton Friedman in Bermuda shorts would prompt even the staunchest conservatives to jump ship.