Politics: Re-electing Rooney

Few men on Capitol Hill generate as much fear and frustration as Congressman John James Rooney. In the 17 years that he has chaired the powerful House Subcommittee on Appropriations for State, Justice, Commerce, the Judiciary and related agencies, the diminutive Democrat from Brooklyn has made a career of slashing budget requests, especially those of the State Department. It was Rooney who coined the famous expression "booze allowance" for diplomats' representational allowance—money allotted for official entertaining. His blistering interrogations have left battered and bloodied almost two generations of officialdom. Despite his tortuous quizzings and penurious disposition, Rooney, 65, has...