A few resolutions for Washington

Most resolutions are not worth much, but as we face what we all hope
and pray will be a far better year than nasty 2005 was, it’s a near
certainty what some resolutions made in Washington will be.

Here’s predicting that President Bush will resolve to spend a little
more time vetting his next Supreme Court nominee, who won’t be named
Harriet, and will be careful what he says about what’s been
accomplished when he gets on board an aircraft carrier. And the next
time there’s a natural disaster and he’s on vacation, he’ll be quicker
to leave the ranch.

Vice President Cheney is resolving to strip
the word “torture” from his vocabulary and will refuse to lobby anyone
on Capitol Hill about what methods the CIA needs or doesn’t need to get
information from detainees. He will never again hire anyone named

Senior White House aide Karl Rove will be extremely
careful before he talks with reporters about anyone with the name of
“Valerie” or who works or has ever worked for the CIA.

The folks
at the National Security Agency, who have been listening in on
Americans’ conversations with people overseas, will be more assiduous
in using that black crayon they’re supposed to use in blocking out
American names from reports they forward to other agencies.

Defense Chief Donald Rumsfeld, if he remains chief of defense, will not
throw around phrases such as “old Europe” so glibly. When his generals
tell him they need more troops, he will smile and pat them on the back
before he says “no” and fires them.

The next time there is a
move to consolidate 22 fractious agencies into one department, such as
the unwieldy Department of Homeland Security, members of Congress are
resolved to ask more questions.

The next time Tom DeLay tells
fellow Republicans that a good way to get the public’s ear is to show
up in a hospital room of a comatose patient and try to second-guess a
bunch of doctors, GOP leaders are resolved to run in the opposite

It’s a good bet that the new school board members in
Dover, Pa., have resolved never to string together the words
“intelligent” and “design.”

Samuel Alito Jr. is resolved that
during his confirmation hearings on his Supreme Court nomination he
will not repeat his impassioned 1985 ridicule of the idea that the
Constitution guarantees a right to privacy that is used as a legal
basis for abortion.

Retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day
O’Connor, who will be the grand marshal for the 2006 Rose Parade,
following Mickey Mouse who reigned in 2005, is resolved not to be a
referee in the next heavyweight boxing championship of the world.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is resolved not to “double dog dare” transit workers to strike.

All White House aides are resolved never to tell the president that
anything at all about Iraq, Saddam Hussein or weapons of mass
destruction is a “slam dunk” case.

Martha Stewart is resolved
that if she is ever again confronted by federal officials, she will
offer them cookies and milk and nothing more until she talks to her

Civil libertarian Democrats resolve never more to
permit the word “patriot” to be stamped on the title of a piece of
legislation that has anything to do with law and order.

United Nations undoubtedly is resolved not to get into any more
“oil-for-food” scams, after investigations showed its contract with
Iraq was mired in abject corruption.

Charismatic Illinois
Democrat Barack Obama, is resolved not to peak too soon after a solid
first year as a new senator. He also is determined to keep his sense of
humor, which he displayed by noting that he was so overexposed he made
even Paris Hilton look like a recluse.

And that other Democrat,
Hillary of New York, certainly is resolved to keep the guessing game
going on whether or not she’ll run for president in 2008. Once she
declares, the mystery is over and the gloves will come off.

And, finally, after a bad year for the press, we journalists resolve to
be more accurate, more balanced, more thoughtful, more insightful and
more resolute about finding out the truth.

Who knows? Unlike losing weight, exercising and saving more money, perhaps such resolutions will even be kept.

(Ann McFeatters is Washington Bureau chief of the Pittsburgh
Post-Gazette and The Toledo Blade. E-mail