conference, being asked a question he didn't like. His face turned bright
red, you could suddenly see the five stars on the shoulders of his business
suit as he ordered the reporter, "Sit down!" The reporter sat. I
remember Harry Truman--Give 'em hell Harry, he was nicknamed--saying as an
ex-president, "I never gave anybody hell. I just told the truth and they
thought it was hell." Passion in the presidency. I liked it then. I
miss it now. I'd perk up a lot if Barack Obama showed some of it in his
State of the Union speech tonight. This president is unquestionably smart,
thoughtful, well-read, informed. Passionate? I don't know. His big issue
in his first year was health care, which hasn't gone anywhere. There's a
Senate bill, and a House bill but there isn't any legislation. Maybe a
compromise will happen, but it's hard to tell. I'd like to see the
president actively, visibly leading the fight. I'd like to see him kicking
Congressional butt. I'd also like him to consider that voters seem more
worried about jobs than health care, not that they wouldn't like to have
both. Anyway, please join the battle, Mr. President. This week's speech
would be a fine place to start. __________________________ Charles
"Mac" Mathias, a liberal Republican (we used to have some of those)
Congressman and then senator from Maryland died this week at 87. He was
never afraid to buck his party--was for civil rights, a ban on cheap
handguns called Saturday Night Specials, and for cleaning up the Chesapeake
Bay. He was a good man and a good legislator. I'll miss him.
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