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The Orlando Sentinel

Forget Typing -- Do You Oppose Statehood For Puerto Rico?

Scott Maxwell

May 4, 2003
Copyright © 2003
The Orlando Sentinel. All rights reserved. 

Want to be a congressional intern?

Well, you'd better know how to schmooze a political action committee -- if you want to work for Ric Keller, anyway.

Yes, the first thing that Keller asks applicants to do is fill out a questionnaire from the Eagle Forum, a conservative group that "exposes the radical feminists" and gives money to like-minded politicians.

"This is just a good way to give us a feel for where the interns' politics are," said Keller's spokesman, Bryan Malenius.

I see.

And should we guess how the college students responded to question No. 9: "Will you vote to defund the Violence Against Women Act, widely known as `feminist pork?' "

Or foreign-policy question No. 1: "Will you oppose U.S. troops being forced to wear U.N. insignia and uniforms?"

"There are no right or wrong answers," Bryan said.

Now, Bryan. That's not very good training for aspiring politicians. Because if Ric gives the "wrong" answers when PACs come calling, he loses out on special-interest money. And we all know that Ric is not one to say "No thanks" when the special interests want to open their checkbooks.

Some of our other local members of Congress foolishly spend time asking potential interns questions about office skills and computer abilities.

Fellow Republican Tom Feeney makes the mistake of asking whether applicants are punctual and have data-entry skills -- when he could be asking if they "oppose statehood for Puerto Rico." (constitutional question No. 8)

Democrat Corrine Brown blows it big time. She just asks applicants to prepare a cover letter -- when she could have made sure they opposed "bureaucrats who are using our tax dollars to undermine English as our national language." (judicial question No. 7).

Those are the easy ones. College kids also are quizzed on "Kyoto Protocol," "United States v. Sandoval" and "Executive Order 13166."

"We don't expect the interns to know the answer to every single question," Bryan said, adding that Ric doesn't personally grade the quizzes. "But we're thinking of requiring this questionnaire for all Sentinel columnists before we do any more interviews."

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