Inside Politics

Article excerpt

MIRROR IMAGES

In recent days, much has been made of Rep. Dan Burton's partisanship and how it might despoil investigations of the Clinton administration by the the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee.

Mr. Burton, Indiana Republican, is the new chairman of the committee.

However, few pundits have mentioned that the ranking Democrat on the panel - Rep. Henry Waxman of California - is also known as one of the most partisan figures in the House.

"Given the experience of this last Congress, I think we can expect some fireworks," Mr. Waxman said Monday in an interview with Dori Meinert of Copley News Service. "[Mr. Burton's] reputation is one of being a very hard-edged partisan."

The reporter observed: "In fact, the two are nearly mirror images. While Burton's votes won him a 100 percent rating from the American Conservative Union, Waxman received a zero in 1994. And Waxman scored high with a liberal vote-rating group, Americans for Democratic Action, which gave Burton a zero."

In addition to a future working together - or fighting each other - on the committee, the two congressmen have offices directly across from each other on the fourth floor of the Rayburn building.

STONEWALL RIDES AGAIN

The Clinton administration is back at work "building the biggest stonewall in the history of American politics," the Wall Street Journal says.

The newspaper, in an editorial, pointed out that "the Clinton Justice Department one week after the election came up with a blanket argument whereby the White House doesn't have to answer any pending congressional subpoenas: It claims that after a Congress adjourns, its subpoenas cease to have any legal effect."

The Journal added: "This is quite something. Observers specializing in the study of the Clinton stonewalls will recall that we have analogized them to Dean Smith's famous, clock-killing four-corner offense at North Carolina. This latest gambit might be called the Cinderella offense, by which subpoenas become pumpkins at the adjournment bell. Clinton Justice wants to force new subpoenas to be issued by the next Congress, a procedure that could take two to three months. But by then no doubt new legalistic boulders would be rolled into place against the details of those subpoenas. This one could get interesting."

Meanwhile, the National Security Council refuses to let Congress look at 33 of 36 trade documents taken from the office of the late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and stored in a safe at the Small Business Administration. That refusal is thus far not even dignified by a claim of executive privilege, the newspaper said.

DRAFT ELIZABETH

Some Republicans already are touting a Dole for president in 2000 - Elizabeth Dole.

Associated Press writer Sandra Sobieraj reports that Mrs. Dole's future was a prime topic at a recent "small cocktail party of conservatives."

"There was a lot of talk about that - Dole again, Elizabeth Dole, at the top of the ticket," said Bill Bennett, co-founder of the Empower America think tank that hosted the Doles at one of their first postelection outings.

Added California GOP strategist Ken Khachigian: "I don't think there's any question if she doesn't run for president in 2000, she'll be No. 1 in line for vice president."

Mrs. Dole has already "moved pretty high up the list of potential candidates for 2000," GOP pollster Linda DiVall told the wire service. "And anybody who dismisses her would be seriously underestimating her appeal, particularly among women and older voters."

Mrs. Dole is not encouraging such talk. "I have no plans to run. None at all," she said on election night. Already she's begun shipping file boxes to the American Red Cross, where, after a year off to help with her husband's run for the White House, she will resume the helm by year's end, the reporter said. …