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 Jane Alexander on Duke Cunningham
Author: Dan Anderson 
Date:   2006-01-05 15:57:06

Jane Alexander is an actress who was chairman of the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) in the mid 1990s. She wrote a book in 2000 about her experiences called Command Performance: An Acress in the Theater of Politics.

Here's her recollection with meeting Duke Cunningham (pp. 224-225):

A leading Republican on the Economic and Education Committee, which had jurisdiction over our reauthorization in the House, was Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who hailed from San Diego, California. A "top gun" Navy flyer, he was a big robust fellow who seemed inclined to put his arm around this little lady in a gesture of goodwill and bon-homie. Duke Cunningham and I had one of the most bizarre talks of my visits to the Hill. His record in support of the NEA was nil, but he too was wreathed in smiles. What was it with our enemies, I thought? Killing us with kindness? He began coaching me in ways to win on the issue and ended by telling me that I should study A Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi. Perhaps he was attempting to reverse an inherent sexism, or maybe his twenty-year stint in the Navy had gotten to him, but we moved from a discussion of the arts to a discussion of the art of war, with which he was far more comfortable.

Of course I ran out and bought the book immediately, then read it from cover to cover that evening. I was mystified. I am all for spiritual and metaphorical aids to the difficulties of life, but try as I might I couldn't relate this 350-year-old book on the martial arts to my battle for the NEA. [. . . .]

I put the book on a shelf. This must be a "guy thing," I thought. Months later I received an eight-by-ten photo in the mail from Duke Cunningham, inscribed to me in gold ink, as if we had gone to the prom together. We are standing happily together, the promise of good times to come in our eyes. Duke never voted for the NEA once, not then, and not now.

 Re: Jane Alexander on Duke Cunningham
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-01-05 19:37:34

Cunningham on the Economic and Education Committee? What a stupid appointment! Having Cunningham on any committee that requires an intellect is like releasing the swine in the pearl shop. . . .

 Re: Jane Alexander on Duke Cunningham
Author: R. Middlemas 
Date:   2006-01-11 10:36:53


It seems that Duke was most interested in the form and process of governance (if it can be called such) and markedly less so on the substance.

Quite clearly, his record bears this out.

 Re: Jane Alexander on Duke Cunningham
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-01-11 11:29:11

Hello "R" - The only interest that Duke had in "substance" was that the "substance" be in his pocket!

 Re: Jane Alexander on Duke Cunningham
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-01-18 17:34:05

Hey Dan, I just purchased Jane Alexander's book. A good read, perfect for a plane trip. Thanks for the refernce. She was kind, she did not say that Dandy was a pig in his conduct towards her.

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