Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hazel, Newt Shows May Be Tragedies

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hazel, Newt Shows May Be Tragedies

Article excerpt

Ah, yes. Washington is the governmental capital and New York is the cultural capital, but there is one kind of theater in which Washington excels. I am referring to psychodrama, a spectacle in which a riveted audience watches as someone in power obsessively hurts himself. This has been a particularly good theater season.

First let us focus our opera glasses on Hazel O'Leary who, for some reason, is still secretary of energy. I am prepared to be told that she is the best energy secretary of all time and she has, as Al Gore alleged, created literally "thousands of American jobs."

But the fact remains that those jobs might still have been created if she had - just perhaps - not traveled quite so regally. Only the court astrologer was left behind.

O'Leary, the Los Angeles Times revealed, is not only the most traveled Cabinet member not involved in international relations, but when she goes she really goes first class. On at least one occasion, she chartered the plane sometimes used by Madonna which, from what was shown on television, looks like a Cali Cartel rec room.

As psychodrama this is hard to beat.

A parakeet could tell you that foreign trips are often called junkets and are loathed by the public. To take such trips repeatedly with an astounding number of staff (52 to South Africa) and, at the same time, to charter a plane that looks like a flying bordello is, really, epic psychodrama.

Given that O'Leary just recently had to explain why she hired a firm to rate reporters who cover her agency, hers is truly a classic performance. At one time, this would have been a perfect part for Bette Davis.

Playing just down Pennsylvania Avenue from O'Leary, is the Newt Gingrich show. Here, too, is a classic of psychodrama. Bright, talented, enamored of ideas and a master legislative strategist, the speaker nevertheless seems compelled to tear himself down. His reckless statements have enabled the Democrats to make Gingrich into the GOP Grinch who stole Medicare. In fact, he is far more complicated than that.

Gingrich, too, cannot help himself. Periodically, he vows to assume a lower profile. Then, somehow, he escapes and is found uttering something idiotic about an awful murder. …

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