Jewish World Review Feb. 13, 2004 / 21 Shevat, 5764

Michael Graham

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But it helps | "He betrayed this country! He played on our fears! He took America, he took America on an ill-conceived foreign adventure dangerous to our troops, an adventure that was preordained and planned before 9/11 ever took place. And so I say to you…in the year of 2004, the truth shall rise again!" — Former Vice President Al Gore on President Bush, earlier this week.

"We know that [Saddam] has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country. Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter. We should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power." — Al Gore, September 23rd, 2002

Since the Iowa caucuses, the Democrats have been holding two parallel primaries: One to determine which candidate is the most electable; and one to decide which Democrat is most insane.

Interestingly, as Howard Dean's sanity has seemingly recovered since the infamous "Hawkeye Holler," his popularity as a potential candidate has declined. Wesley Clark is maintaining a respectable third place while abandoning any connection with reality. You don't have to be crazy to the be a Democrat, but…

And so, with Howard Dean abandoning his campaign of irrational exuberance, and Senatorial Stiff John Kerry falling back into a political prevent-defense, the Democrats' desire for a fire-breathing, spittle-flinging, choir-singing Bush Basher is being met by the most unlikely Democrat of all: Mister Excitement, Al Gore.

It is a telling observation on the health of the national Democratic Party that Al Gore is, in fact, one of their most passionate and inspiring figures. Imagine Janet Jackson as the most responsible chaperone at the Girl Scout slumber party, and you see the severity of the problem.

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For Al Gore is a walking political disaster area. He was the experienced politician and incumbent vice-president serving at a time of peace and relative prosperity, and he lost to relative political novice and borderline dyslexic George W. Bush. Gore endorsed front-runner Howard Dean, and 10 days later the Dean campaign was dead. He built his reputation as a levelheaded centrist Democrat, and then lost it with a shamelessly opportunistic switch to far-Left class warfare in 2000.

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And remember the good feelings you had about Gore after his classy concession speech after his loss to President Bush? Now there's the embarrassingly ridiculous claim that invading Iraq was part of a nefarious, government plot long before September 11th.

Uh, yeah Al, we know. It was a plot called "The Stated Foreign Policy of the Clinton Administration."

Something has happened to the Democrats that makes the usual political debate nearly impossible. They have rejected the idea that their opponents might simply be mistaken, that there might be some reasonable disagreement over ideas. Instead, they insist, President Bush and his allies must be agents of evil.

And so it is that the world's incomplete and inaccurate intelligence about Saddam's secret weapons' programs is part of the imperfect business of spying when presented by the French, German or U.N. intelligence communities. But when President Bush presents the same information, it's not an intelligence failure or a mistake. Bush LIED! He BETRAYED us!

And when President Bush served in the National Guard, he didn't merely get special treatment as a congressman's son, no way. Bush is a DESERTER! He went AWOL!

Were the Bush tax cuts the right way to revive the ailing economy he inherited from Bill Clinton? That would seem a legitimate point to debate. Maybe the deficits aren't worth it. Maybe we should have more social programs instead. Maybe.

But the Democrats find such a debate a waste of time. Don't we all KNOW that the tax cuts for the RICH are a scheme to hide his administration's involvement with the ENRON scandal?! So what if Enron's illegal activity occurred before Bush became president — WHO CARES! Bush is EVIL!!

And so it goes. There are plenty of reasons to disagree with President Bush: his out-of-control federal spending and border-weakening immigration policy both jump to my mind. But when was the last time you heard a Democratic candidate offering a different budget, or a new solution to illegal immigration or, or, well, anything?

Instead, Democrats advance the politics of Michael Moore: "If Bush does it, it's bad. We'll figure out why later."

And all too often, the "why" sounds like the plot of a bad Oliver Stone movie. We're in Iraq to steal the oil, even though Saddam would have happily sold it to us at any time. Bush lied about WMDs to trick us into going to war, but forgot to think up some way to explain their absence because he's the world's dumbest evil genius. We're in Iraq so Bush will win the 2004 election because running for re-election while American soldiers are dying in far-away lands is a big vote-getter. Just ask President Johnson in 1968.

This isn't political debate, it's political paranoia. And while the paranoid might live longer, do they really win more elections?

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JWR contributor Michael Graham is a talk show host and author of the highly acclaimed "Redneck Nation: How the South Really Won the War." To comment, please click here.


Howard be thy name
The Dems primary problem
Don't call us…
The wrong way to remember September 11
Le cirque du C.A.
Not in your right mind?
07/15/03: Keep your eyes on the lies
07/08/03: ‘LIBERIALS’
07/01/03: Our Strom
06/24/03: Like white on Rice
06/20/03: Security begins at home
06/16/03: DEAR HIL—
06/11/03: Madame Hillary's Lessons for Young Ladies
06/03/03: War games
05/28/03: A few small reparations
05/22/03: Springtime for Hitler?

© 2003, Michael Graham