Blood on the tracks.
Washington is a place of murder. Recently an elderly woman was found in her house wrapped in a rug, her throat slit. Dealers kill dealers almost every day; innocents get caught in between. A gang member opened fire on young children in a city swimming pool. And in the Oval Office the President, to send a signal to Saddam Hussein, ordered a bombing raid that he knew could well result in, as they say in the business, "collateral damage." As payback for a foiled murder plot, the United States killed innocent people. The President should be so indignant about the actual murders in his own 'hood. As of this writing, 22 people have been slain this year in a city where teachers are being laid off and drug rehab centers cannot accommodate all those seeking help. Days after he attacked Iraq, Clinton, who as a campaigner called for treatment on demand, stood by silently as Congress cut $100 million from his budget for drug treatment. That means about 45,000 addicts will have to do without help. It's easier to kill foreigners to make a geopolitical point than it is to ease the paid of neighbors.
I am off to California for part of the summer to escape the abstractions of Washington, give a break to the White House friends I needle and catch a few waves. The column will resume in September. No doubt by then the Gergen experiment will have failed and a born-again populist Clinton will top 70 percent in the polls. And my three-picture at Tri-Star will be final.