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For the week of July 12 through July 18, 2000

Recipe for Murphy stew: Hizzoner, Otter and McCain

Commentary by PAT MURPHY


Tsk, tsk. Ketchum Mayor Guy Coles should show more respect for old things.

The abandoned Louie’s Restaurant has become a burr under Hizzoner’s saddle. In his latest rejoinder, he testily called the venerable, century-old church-turned-restaurant-turned-preserved icon a "junky old building," even as preservationists are apace with plans to save and restore it as an historic structure.

Gracious. How would the mayor feel if people began dismissing him as too "old" (he’s in his 70s) to keep around?

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If Idaho’s big-talking lieutenant governor, Butch Otter, makes it to Washington as a freshman congressman, his swagger will leave the capital city crowd unimpressed.

Washington has seen Butch Otters time and again—the swashbuckling westerner astride his horse in campaign TV commercials, his Stetson jauntily cocked on his head, promising voters to tell Washington bureaucrats where to get off.

Oooooooo! Can one imagine 534 other members of congress, the cabinet and a couple hundred thousand Washington bureaucrats shaking in their boots as Otter arrives in town?

As a freshman congressman, Otter would be accorded the courtesies shown any greenhorn—which is to say he’d have less influence for awhile than most staff secretaries.

Outgoing Idaho Republican Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth was known in Washington for trying to bring the feds to their knees with such dire vows that they’d exercise authority "over my dead body."

Surprise. The feds went right ahead despite Rep. Chenoweth’s threats. They’re still in Washington, she’s returning to Idaho.

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When John McCain returned from a Vietnam POW prison cell, the intoxication of so much freedom got the best of him. His affairs with other women cost him his first marriage, he admits.

Now the intoxication of so much attention during his failed run for the Republican presidential nomination seems to have clouded his good judgment again.

McCain is taking the wraps off his celebrated "Straight Talk Express" bus and will ride it to the GOP convention in Philadelphia, inviting news reporters along the way to come aboard and chat with him.

"There’s some arrogance there," grumbles GOP strategist Lyn Nofziger, who was Ronald Reagan’s political adviser. "John McCain is having a tough time understanding that he lost the nomination," he told The Arizona Republic.

And from another corner: "This is just another example of McCain’s ego," says Larry Sabato, a University of Virginian political scientist. "This is being done for his real constituency—the national press corps. They re his real fans."

This may explain why George W. Bush isn’t rushing to invite McCain to be his vice presidential mate. McCain’s boorish final attempt to poke Bush in the eye illustrates how he’d be less than loyal as Veep.


Pat Murphy is the retired publisher of the Arizona Republic and a former radio commentator.

 

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