The Senate and Madeleine Albright

Article excerpt

Lost in Sunday morning's gab fest on the subject du jour, the deeds of House Speaker Newt Gingrich, was the fact that the Senate, too, has some important business coming up this week. At least, it is important for the rest of the world, and so it should be for Washington. To wit: confirmation hearings for Secretary of State-designate Madeleine K. Albright. On Wednesday, Mrs. Albright will appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to answer questions about her record and about her views on the role of the United States in the world as the 20th century draws to a close.

It has, of course, been noted frequently since Mrs. Albright's nomination that she will be the first woman to hold this office. While this may cause flutters and palpitations at the National Organization for Women, the committee owes it to Mrs. Albright, to the president and to the people of the United States, whom she will represent around the world, to treat her no differently than they would a male candidate. It is already clear that Anthony Lake, nominated for Director of Central Intelligence, will have a rough time of it when his hearing comes up. And there will be many who are curious how Secretary of Defense-designate William Cohen plans to square his previous positions on defense with administration policy. Equally, there are questions that need to be asked of Mrs. Albright, who is after all a liberal Democrat, and it is the responsibility of committee chairman Sen. Jesse Helms to see to it that they are.

Mr. Helms, of course, is an old-fashioned southern gentleman, and word on the Hill is that he might just be chivalrous enough to have the committee vote on Mrs. …