HILL OF BEANS: Republican Roundup

Before long, someone is sure to remark that Hormel comes in cans. The President's appointment of the openly gay San Francisco ham heir James Hormel as ambassador to Luxembourg has led to a wave of Republican outrage. Less noticed has been the flurry of double entendre that has followed in its wake. When Trent Lott refused to hold a vote on a nominee his colleagues call the "meat-packing mogul," the President resorted to a constitutional provision that allows him make "recess appointments" during emergencies, when Congress is out of session.Republican radicals (and The Wall Street Journal) urged President Reagan to resort to an appointment like that to get Robert Bork onto the Supreme Court, but such stunts were considered pretty much beyond the pale until last year, when President Clinton appointed the unconfirmable race-radical Bill Lann Lee "acting" assistant attorney general for civil rights. Hormel is pretty much the final straw. So now Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe has threatened to hold up all Clinton nominees until the President reverses this ... this ... "back-door appointment," as the conservative Washington Times so colorfully calls it.Last week we discussed Pat Buchanan's allusion to The Camp of the Saints, the anti-immigration novel by the French rightist Jean Raspail. This week he was in South Carolina, claiming Republicans needed "a choice, not an echo." Now there's a blast from the literary past: That was the book by the Goldwater feminist Phyllis Schlafly that put her on the right-wing map back in the early 1960s. The man is a walking library.Better that than a walking cliche factory like Elizabeth Dole. Elizabeth was asked last week whether she thought she had the money-raising clout to stay in the campaign with Dubya. That's because the big development in Republican primary politics last week was that the Bush campaign made it known that it would go without federal matching funds in the primaries. How come? Because, having already lapped the entire rest of the Republican field by tens of millions of dollars (two huge fundraisers in Massachusetts last week), they plan to break all the spending caps they'd have to obey if they took the federal money. But Mrs. Dole isn't worried. "I feel we're going to have the money we need to be a viable candidate," says the Stepford Candidate. Who's "we"? It reminds one of those Kremlinologists who talk about the "Collective Yeltsin." One gets the impression that Elizabeth, ˆ la Yeltsin, isn't even compos mentis enough to tie her own shoes in the morning without some kind of committee intervention.Some kind of intervention is going to be necessary before too long in the Louisiana KKK mailing scandal, which is growing into gothic complexity. Louisiana's Republican Gov. Mike Foster has faced a great deal of press heat since he was found to have secretly bought David Duke's Klan mailing list with $150,000 of his own money, for use in the last election. No one made bigger hay of the discovery than Foster's Republican nemesis, ex-Gov. Buddy Roemer, who has viewed Foster as a crude opportunist ever since Foster switched party registrations in the wake of the 1994 Republican landslide and trounced Roemer in the race for governor the following year. Roemer has been running around hinting that the Duke list means the race was fixed. It now begins to look as if during that race Roemer rented the Duke list himself.

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