A Historic News Week In Washington From An Eye Witness Perspective -- Past, Present and Future
Last week my husband and I were back in our hometown of Washington D.C. where we both had business and events to attend. Normally I do not write about my personal travel adventures but this trip had a rather unique “historical time capsule” element that makes it worth recanting.
My husband, a retired State Department Foreign Service officer is now an executive with Cross International/Cross Catholic Alliance, both an international Christian and Catholic humanitarian organization that improves the lives of the poor in 40 countries around the world.
He also serves on the board of an advocacy group which is comprised of similar Christian faith-based organizations.
Mid-week while attending a conference of the advocacy group, my husband told me they spent an entire afternoon discussing how Christian groups are being increasingly squeezed/harassed by the Obama Administration in matters such as hiring policies, health insurance coverage and IRS audits. (Cue the foreboding music.)
Meanwhile, Thursday on Capitol Hill, I attended a luncheon held by the Republican Women's Federal Forum, a group in which I am a long time member and where Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) was the speaker.
We all know that Senator Paul is putting out feelers as to whether he should make a run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, but first he must increase his name identification, make some headlines and develop his brand image.
On Wednesday, the day before the Rand Paul luncheon the Congressional Benghazi “whistleblower” hearings had occurred, showering the entire town with political fall-out. So naturally, Rand Paul saw fit to weigh in on this hot topic.
Senator Paul in his Thursday lunch speech said that Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's handling of the terrorist attack in Benghazi should "preclude her from holding higher office." I immediately turned to a friend sitting next to me and said, “Now that was a headline.” It was obvious that Rand Paul had just fired his first warning shot of the 2016 presidential campaign.
Then later on, more 2016 Republican presidential campaign antics were yet to come.
In the early evening, I attended an event called POLITICO’s Playbook Cocktails with MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough.
The event was supposed to be about Mika’s new book called Obsessed, America’s Food Addiction – And My Own, but of course politics soon entered the discussion. Joe Scarborough said something like President Obama should have remained a U.S. Senator in order to have gained more experience, and Senator Marco Rubio was not yet ready to run for president in 2016 and should stay in the Senate. (I strongly agree with both assessments.)
As Joe was talking about the future of the Republican Party, Mika’s cell phone rang and she immediately says, “Hi Chris.” Big surprise! N.J. Governor Chris Christie called in to join the discussion and upstaged everyone on stage. Truly it was an entertaining moment and you can watch as it happened here.
During the call, Christie said his recent secret weight reducing LAP-BAND surgery was a difficult personal decision based on health and family issues, not future political considerations. He was referring to his assumed 2016 presidential run for the GOP nomination.
However, if this surgery is successful Christie will emerge physically smaller but politically larger with an image more suitable for a jog on the national campaign trail. Therefore, Christie feels the need to justify, re-justify and further defend his “tough personal” medical decision.
So my Thursday in DC could be summarized like this: Rand Paul vs. Chris Christie vs. Hillary in 2016.
Then it was Friday and ABC News revealed that there were 12 versions of the Benghazi talking points. I cheered this “breaking” news because finally the mainstream media (MSM) were on to Benghazi, after months of Fox News being ridiculed by the MSM for its non-stop pursuit of this unresolved story. (Kudos to PJM as well, along with Steve Hayes of the Weekly Standard who was the first to report the Obama Administration’s multiple Benghazi talking-points. But as we Conservatives know, news is only real news when the MSM reports it.)
Then over the weekend the Benghazi story had fully evolved to where Republicans want the whole truth while Democrats accuse Republicans of using Benghazi to target Hillary for 2016. Here are two pieces I posted last week in Washington on this exact issue.
My big question is, "Why in Washington D.C. in May of 2013 does every lunch, event and hearing have to be about the 2016 presidential election?" Could it be that Washington is such a forward thinking city? (Try not to laugh.)
While my husband’s conference finished up I had a two free hours and decided to visit the American History Museum which I had not been to in years.
On my way there, news broke that the IRS had just admitted targeting Tea Party groups who were applying for perfectly legal tax-exempt status.
How timely that the group of Christian aid agencies my husband helps represent, just two days ago in their Washington meeting had discussed how their faith-based group members were being targeted for audits by the IRS. (My husband’s organization among them.)
As I entered the American History Museum my thoughts turned to Nixon and Watergate. Remember how Nixon used the IRS to harass his political enemies? In fact, that was one of Nixon’s 1974 impeachable offenses. There are, as of this writing, no direct ties to Obama, but after all, the IRS is part of his administration.
Now the American History Museum was swamped with school kids and at one point the crowd broke into a spontaneous singing of the Star Spangled Banner while unfurling a huge flag in the lobby. This outbreak of patriotism renewed my faith in the American people even as news about the IRS will undoubtedly contribute to the growing distrust Americans have towards their government.
With my museum time short, I wandered into the American war exhibits and was shocked to see that WWI and the Korean War were stuffed into very small corners. Certainly these wars deserve more space than currently allotted.
However, WWII was the exact opposite with endless rooms covering all aspects of the war. In the Home Front exhibit there were WWII posters hanging on the side of a battleship. As an owner of a small collection of WWI and WWII posters, I was delighted to see one of my own posters on display.
So now my new definition of growing old (semi-gracefully) is seeing stuff you own hanging in the Smithsonian. And to further add friends to this definition, I spotted the name of a close friend on a movie exhibit. Instantly I sent him an image of the display, exclaiming that he was “Smithsonian” famous, as opposed to just Hollywood famous. He immediately thanked me because he had not known this and was thrilled.
Finally, on Saturday we are at Reagan National heading home and in the terminal we stumble upon a group of WWII veterans arriving as part of an Honor Flight. If you are not familiar with Honor Flights they are an organization that brings WWII veterans to Washington D.C. to visit the WWII memorial.
Greeting them at the gate was a full band and much flag waving. Random passengers like us instantly formed lines in the terminal clapping and cheering as these heroes of the "Greatest Generation" got the welcome they richly deserved.
This spontaneous demonstration of patriotism and respect was a remarkable sight, especially after I had just visited all those Smithsonian exhibits dedicated to their struggles.
After arriving home, I had a good laugh on Sunday as Meet the Press moderator David Gregory, quoted Rand Paul’s controversial remark about Hillary that he repeated again in Iowa over the weekend. It seems 2016 is looming very large.
Then I walked into our guest room and looked lovingly at my Smithsonian WWII poster hanging on the wall. After what I consider a “time capsule” trip to Washington with so much breaking news, the poster’s slogan took on new meaning. Its stirring message is just as applicable today, whether Americans are fighting a foreign enemy or raging against their own government.
My WWII Government Printing Office poster dated 1942 says: Strong in the strength of the Lord we who fight in the people's cause will never stop until that cause is won.
Perhaps I should send the IRS and the Obama Administration a photo of this poster? But I am sure that the poster would be outlawed today as a violation of church and state and I would be audited for even sending it.