Posted: Feb. 18, 2003
'SNO JOKE, IS IT?
State Republican Chairman J. Everett Moore Jr.
was in all likelihood the first politician here to predict the
President's Day snowstorm.
At the Sussex County Lincoln Day Dinner last
Thursday evening, Moore left aside the dangers of Democratic
governors and liberals and such to warn that a snowfall of 18 to 22
inches was on its way to Delaware, even while the storm seemed to be
nothing but a faraway neon-colored gleam in a weathercaster's eye on
one of those radar maps.
Moore's prediction was met with the sort of
skepticism usually reserved for fish stories and politicians,
including from this writer, but Moore was right on. It turned out it
was not an ideal occasion to disbelieve someone who sports a beard
as Lincoln-esque as Honest Abe's himself.
It also turned out that Moore had an inside
track. His cousin is Jim Wilson, the owner of Wilson's General Store
east of Georgetown at the intersection of Delaware 47 and 30. It is
known for its sandwiches and guns -- including the .38-cailber gun
the owner has on his hip -- and for its willingness to stay open
around the clock when there is snow to feed hungry snowplow
operators from the Delaware Department of Transportation.
By Thursday evening, the DelDOT workers had
tipped off Jim Wilson to be ready for a monster storm, and he had
tipped off Cousin Everett. Who knew?
Moore outpaced the governor on this one.
Gregory B. Patterson, the communications director for Democratic
Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, said that while some word was spreading about
the snow on Thursday, the first serious conference call about it did
not take place in government circles until Friday morning.
Incidentally, Minner took her own advice after
she declared a state of emergency. She stayed home.
The governor was in Milford for the weekend,
spending time with her sons and grandchildren who all live close by,
and there she remained, Patterson said. She kept up with events
through periodic conference calls and also through the firsthand
accounts from her sons, who run the family tow truck business.
So make Moore a prophet in his own land.
"Everybody thought I was crazy," he said, "but I had an inside
# # #
MIKE CASTLE, FRONT & CENTER
If Republican moderates are to make a mark in
the U.S. House of Representatives this session, one of the best
known congressional observers is expecting Michael N. Castle, now in
his sixth term, to lead the way.
Norman J. Ornstein, a resident scholar with
the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, issued a challenge
to Castle and other moderate Republican congressmen in a column last
week in Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper. It was headlined, "GOP
Moderates Can Impact Policy -- If They Dare."
Ornstein did not seem to think they would. He
estimated there were 25 to 35 House members who could be considered
Republican moderates -- enough to influence tax, budget and social
policy where they differ with President George W. Bush and the
conservative Republican leadership.
"Every time in the past when moderates have
had the numbers and the opportunity to unite and move their party's
positions and policies to the middle, they have balked, collapsing
under the relentless pressure of their leaders and peers to toe the
party line," Ornstein wrote.
Even though that was Ornstein's conclusion, he
noted there have been occasional flashes of assertiveness from the
moderates, and he singled out Castle for showing it. Calling Castle
a "highly respected figure in the House," Ornstein said that
Delaware's lone House member recently had criticized Majority Leader
Tom DeLay, a Texas Republican formidable enough to be nicknamed "The
Castle objected to a $50,000 contribution that
DeLay gave in late 2002 to the Club for Growth, a conservative force
known for backing conservatives against moderate Republican
incumbents in primaries.
Castle's provocativeness is not exactly news
in Delaware. Before he was elected to the Congress in 1992, when he
was a two-term governor, it was sometimes possible to hear the
Legislative Hall regulars refer to him as "Rockhead."
Long before that, as Castle himself has told
the story, it was his attitude that got him into politics. As a
young prosecutor who had lost a case, Castle was asked by a judge
what he should do with the evidence. Castle thought he was making
his suggestion under his breath, but the judge heard him.
"That's when I decided to run for the state
House of Representatives," Castle said.
Castle's politics may be moderate, but no one
in Delaware ever would say his disposition is.
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