Is It Time for Kofi to Turn Out the Lights?
Sure, he's got only a few more months before giving up the reins of the United Nations, but if Americans had a say, they'd have Secretary General Kofi Annan turn out the lights right now, lock the doors, and call in the Wrecking Corp. of America. "A majority of Americans," pollster Frank Luntz tells Whispers, "are saying that if the U.N. doesn't shape up, it should be shipped out." Republican Luntz isn't making it up. His firm, Luntz, Maslansky Strategic Research, this week releases a huge benchmark survey done for the Hudson Institute that finds Americans sick and tired of U.N. corruption, irked at their tax bill for the sprawling institution, and ready to junk it if the world's diplomats don't show a lot more accountability and a smidge more respect for Uncle Sam.
The figures from his bipartisan poll provided exclusively to Whispers: Fifty-seven percent say the U.N. should be "scrapped altogether" if it isn't reformed fast; 62 percent say it's ineffective in stopping wars; 70 percent want the U.S. contribution slashed; and only 34 percent say it promotes America's security interests. Luntz says it should help embattled U.S. Ambassador John Bolton make his case for radical reform and help Bushies beat back those in the Senate trying to fire him. "It's an indictment of the way the U.N. runs," says Luntz, "and a huge endorsement of Bolton's reforms."
43 Days, Already in Upgrade Heaven
With a 50,000-mile requirement, it normally takes years for United customers to gain entry into the "Premier Executive" club. But new U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab has done it before her 100-day anniversary on September 16. A Foreign Service brat who fans say feels more at home on the road, she's logged 67,000 miles in 43 days of travel to nine countries. "That's a lot," says an aide. And, yes, she does travel on United, though almost always in coach. Reason: The Bushies won't pay for business class unless a trip is 14,001 miles or more. But with all those miles, upgrades shouldn't be a prob.
Bidding 'Hooroo, Mate' to Croc Man
Few on Capitol Hill were as busted up about Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin's death by stingray last week as Sen.John Kerry. Friends tell us that the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee used to spend early mornings in Iowa watching Irwin, even mimicking the Aussie's accent, a game of impressions he'd play with stepson Andre Heinz. Seems he did a bee's knees "crikey," an Irwin fave. Kerry, a huge Jacques Cousteau fan, says Irwin "was my kid's own Cousteau."
A Few to Cross the Aisle For
Connecticut Democratic Senate candidate Ned Lamont is pretty blunt when it comes to his politics. "My dad was a Republican. I've never been a Republican," he tells us. But that doesn't mean he doesn't admire a few in the enemy camp. Like? Maverick Sens. Chuck Hagel, who's tough on Bush foreign policy, and John McCain, who questions some tactics in the war on terrorism. "I admire a guy who stands up" for his views, says Lamont, who will face independent Sen. Joe Lieberman again, this time in the general election. Lamont knows mavericks: His socialist uncle and banker dad used to fight it out over dinner. "We had some pretty good kick-ass discussions."