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INSIGHT

From The Times' Washington Bureau

SAME HYMNAL: It’s not supposed to work this way, but the Supreme Court agenda has turned out very similar to that of the new Republican majority in Congress. Returning to the bench this week, the justices will consider cases that give them a chance to restrict affirmative action, halt forced school desegregation, end automatic parole hearings for long-term inmates and give the states more freedom to reduce welfare spending and reform health care. Also awaiting a decision: an appeal urging they uphold term limits for members of Congress.

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DUKE IMITATORS: One interested observer at the Louisiana Republican presidential preference straw poll last weekend was David Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan who ran for U.S. Senate, Louisiana governor and President as a Republican in the early 1990s. Duke said he was pleased by what he was hearing from all Republicans. “I’m happy to see the way things are going,” he said, citing growing GOP emphasis on welfare reform, immigration and programs of racial preference. Watching Republican television ads last fall, Duke said, “about 80% of them look like they were taken directly from my television spots. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

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POLISHING BRASS: Having recently consulted with New Age personal growth gurus and motivational experts, President Clinton now seeks advice from a more traditional source--the U.S. military. Clinton is convening 23 retired generals and admirals for a White House lunch today to hear their views on military readiness, the use of force and the proper level of defense spending. Many of the invitees--including former Army chiefs of staff Gen. Edward C. (Shy) Meyer and Gen. John Wickham and former CIA director Adm. Stansfield Turner--supported Clinton in 1992 and Clinton is obviously hoping they will next year.

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BRINGING BACK HARRY: Remember the “Harry and Louise” advertising blitz against President Clinton’s health care plan? One of its creators is going to Capitol Hill. Charles Kahn, a top Health Insurance Assn. of America exec who helped draw up the ad campaign, has been tapped as staff director of the Health Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means panel. Kahn served as minority staff director for the subcommittee from 1986-1989.

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VOTING COUNTS: A poll by the Washington-based Times Mirror Center for The People & The Press finds that people who did not vote in November are more closely aligned with Democrats on some key issues than they are with the victorious Republicans. In the survey, half of the Democratic voters and half of those who did not vote in November agreed that “poor people have hard lives because government benefits don’t go far enough,” an opinion held by just one-fourth of Republican voters. Asked if “government is almost always wasteful and inefficient,” 78% of those who voted Republican said yes, while 57% of Democrats and an identical portion of non-voters agreed. Non-voters made up 67% of the voting age population in November, while voting Democrats were 16% and voting Republicans were 17%.


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