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Jewish World Review July 12, 2002 / 3 Menachem-Av, 5762

Robert L. Haught

Robert L. Haught
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Beat the Bush -- WASHINGTON Maybe the scorching summer temperatures are to blame, but it seems as though a lot of public figures are really getting hot under the collar these days. And guess who's the main target of their steamy comments? President Bush, of course.

Democrats, with an eye toward the next election, have been turning up the heat on corporate scandals and other issues. As Bush was about to undergo a colonoscopy recently, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle made a surgical strike in a lunch with Washington Post reporters and editors. He said the president had been a "great disappointment" on domestic issues. He used the term "disaster" to describe the Bush record on the economy, fiscal policy and education.

Daschle even went so far as to accuse Bush of being the most "political" president in history -- spending more time on political decisions and fund raising than even his predecessor, Bill Clinton. Now that's getting downright mean.

But Daschle's remarks sound mild alongside those of several black leaders breathing fire at the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Houston. Rev. Jesse Jackson called the president's comparison of a recent Supreme Court ruling favoring school vouchers to the 1954 desegregation order "unliterate" and referred to Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft as "the most threatening combination in our lifetime."

Earlier NAACP Chairman Julian Bond had said Bush was selling "snake oil" and was part of a "right-wing conspiracy" -- presumably the same conspiracy that Clinton's wife, Hillary, blamed for all of her husband's scandalous misdeeds.

While Bush's civil rights record was under attack in hot and humid Houston, he was in a meeting in Washington with foreign leaders, sitting at a table with Secretary of State Colin Powell and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice -- two of the nation's best known African-Americans.

Even Jackson and Bond weren't as vitriolic in their attacks as the London Daily Mirror, which called the U.S. president a "criminal" at the helm of "the world's leading rogue state" in a front- page tirade July 4. Despite angry protests from the newspaper's major American shareholders, editor Piers Morgan said defiantly he would continue to run Bush-bashing articles by leftist columnist John Pilger.

Also tossing fuel on the fire was Gore Vidal, author and critic -- or to use a more colorful description, "loud- mouthed literary lunkhead," as the New York Post tagged him. In an interview with L.A. Weekly, Vidal called Bush a "mindless" clown, a "cheerleader" who "shows very little capacity for learning," running a war that is not about terrorism but rather is "an imperial grab for energy resources." To his credit, Vidal also branded the New York Times as a spreader of "disinformation."

With all of the hot words flying, wouldn't you know that Michael Jackson would get into the act? Not at the NAACP meeting, of course, but in New York, the beige prince of pop threw down his glove in a duel with Sony Music, accusing the record label of racist treatment of black artists. He called Sony head Tommy Mottola "the Devil." Roger Friedman of Fox News challenged Jackson to "take off your mask" and "give an honest interview (with the network's Bill O'Reilly) about your plastic surgery, your skin tone, the child molestation charges."

These people have been out in the sun too long. Speaking of the sun, here's a report from fire-ravaged Arizona. To prevent disastrous wildfires, an environmental group named Forest Guardians has suggested thinning the forests using "solar-powered chain saws." Ask your local hardware dealer.

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JWR contributor Robert L. Haught is a columnist for The Oklohoman. Comment by clicking here.


06/21/02: Dubya and Dick; Elvis and Ozzie!?
04/30/02: Donkeys and elephants: Is it really art or is it politics?
02/22/02: Warm-up time for political spoof
01/29/02: Tax dollars working wonders
01/09/02: While Congress is away, look at the laws it has made
12/28/01: 2001: A year of achievements, but some are disputable
12/21/01: Gifts for many public officials came a bit early this year
11/29/01: Animal rights group would like to tan Osama's hide
11/20/01: Are Americans too spaced out?
10/12/01: There's something fishy going on in the U.S. Congress
10/05/01: Lincoln had some memorable things to say about war
09/21/01: Washington's guidelines on how to tickle a terrorist
08/31/01: Two Garys, going the same road
08/24/01: Dog days are laughing matter, stories set tails wagging

© 2001, Robert L. Haught