Jewish World Review June 20, 2003/ 20 Sivan 5763


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Consumer Reports

Where Have All the Flowers Gone? | There must be a new hallucinogen that's making the rounds at the Nation. The weekly's lead editorial of June 30, which calls for "progressive" Democrats to light the torch of solidarity, virtually endorses Rep. Dennis Kucinich to square off against President Bush in 2004.

A right-on nod is given to Howard Dean, a slap at Joe Lieberman and mild rebukes of John Edwards and John Kerry as well. Kerry, by the way, is desperately attempting to convince the media that he's still the front-runner. (Actually, that status belongs to Dick Gephardt.) Reminiscent of Bill Clinton's famous conga-line picture of him shaking hands with President Kennedy as a teenager, a front-page 1962 photo was printed in Sunday's Boston Globe that showed a young Kerry sailing with JFK in Narragansett Bay. The accompanying story's headline read: "Candidate in the Making: A privileged youth, a taste for risk."

I suspect in the next month, he'll reprise Harry Truman's "The buck stops here" in his standard stump speech. And if things get desperate, he can always fall back on the script of Robert Redford's The Candidate.

The Nation celebrates a June 4-6 "Campaign for America's Future" held in Washington where the "party's heart and soul," including Bill Moyers (who's rapidly heading into the same orbit as Ramsey Clark) called for the democrats to "Take Back America."

The editorial proceeds to imitate Sidney Blumenthal (Clinton's man in the steno pool) in its flattery of Cleveland's former boy mayor. "Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Dennis Kucinich was the candidate who most successfully channeled the spirit of William Jennings Bryan. [Editor Katrina vanden Heuvel must have a parallel universe handbook of U.S. politics that lists Bryan's terms as president.] Kucinich, who drew nine standing ovations, gave a speech that promised to withdraw the United States from the economically devastating North American Free Trade Agreement. He also said he'd shift dollars from a bloated Pentagon budget to healthcare and education, and he dismissed proposals to privatize Social Security with, 'That money belongs to Main Street, not Wall Street.'"

Finally, the Nation channeled the rhetoric of Norman Thomas with a conclusion that must've tickled Karl Rove, if not moderate Democrats who actually want to take back the White House. "Bush has made it clear where loyalties lie in the class war the GOP started. If Democrats get into the fight, they'll find they have not just the message but the troops-millions of newly inspired voters-they'll need to win."

Where those millions of "newly inspired voters" are located is a mystery to me, but then again I also have no idea how to conduct a seance with Adlai Stevenson, Eugene Debs or Eleanor Roosevelt.

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JWR contributor "Mugger" -- aka Russ Smith -- is the editor-in-chief and CEO of New York Press ( Send your comments to him by clicking here.

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