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Jewish World Review Jan. 5, 2001/ 10 Teves, 5761

Wesley Pruden

Wes Pruden
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Consumer Reports

Looking to the past
for a bad example -- NOBODY PLAYS the race card with more skill than a Southern Democrat.

The names once writ large are fading from memory now, but somewhere in that Valhalla of voodoo Gene Talmadge of Georgia, the early George Wallace of Alabama, Theodore G. Bilbo of Mississippi and Jeff Davis of Arkansas wait impatiently to welcome the Rev. Jesse Jackson, once of South Carolina and late of any point on the compass with opportunity for grift and scam.

Fresh from Florida, where he discovered the bodies of hundreds of black voters strewn about polling places, slain for trying to dimple their ballots, he has vowed to disrupt the inauguration of George W. Bush. After that he intends to intimidate the Senate, which is easily intimidated, to prevent the confirmation of the Bush Cabinet.

"Those who are with the civil rights agenda," he says, "must not choose collegiality over civil rights and social justice."

The noted Baptist cleric is getting some help, of course, but try as they might, his Democratic wannabes don't quite get the hang of race-baiting. Watching a Yankee politician race-bait is a little like watching a girl throw a baseball. He puts his heart (if not his shoulder) into it, but he can't get it over the plate.

The Rev has elected himself to take out John Ashcroft, George W.'s nominee for attorney general and the Democrats' designated No. 1 target among all the Cabinet choices. He's painting Mr. Ashcroft, a gentle and religious man with the killer instinct of a golden retriever, as a fiend who eats little black children for breakfast and tosses the bones to vipers and scorpions.

Tim Russert, the interlocutor on "Meet the Press," offered Sen. Tom Daschle, the Democratic minority leader who is the Democratic majority leader for a fortnight, this opportunity to hit a double to drive in the Rev with a run:

"You know Senator Ashcroft. You served with him. Is his record on civil rights and civil liberties abysmal?"

Mr. Daschle, a Southern Democrat in a way —he represents South Dakota — gave it a try, sort of: "Well, I don't — I don't — I, uh, wouldn't use that word. I'd say that I have very stark differences of opinion with him on a number of these issues, as many of my colleagues do, but, again, uh, ah, we have to show due deference to a president who has made these nominations."

One of Mr. Ashcroft's high crimes and felonious misdemeanors is that, discussing the Civil War with the Southern Partisan magazine, he had kind words about Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis, for whom streets, children, cities, schools, churches and colleges have been named in half the states over the past century. But decrying the assault of the arrogant and the ignorant on the nation's history is not only not politically correct, but not to be tolerated. We must make up whatever history is necessary to enable the self-righteously uninformed to feel good about themselves.

The Rev and his Senate confederates want to put Mr. Ashcroft on the wheel as punishment for opposing the confirmation of a black federal judge in Missouri, and to establish the precedent that Republican opposition to a black candidate is prima facie proof of racism.

Mr. Ashcroft's friends note that he supported 23 of the nominations of 26 black judges that came up for a vote during his Senate tenure. As governor of Missouri a decade ago, he signed the law mandating the Martin Luther King holiday, set aside the boyhood home of Scott Joplin as a historic site, created an award honoring George Washington Carver, named a black woman to a state judgeship, and led the effort to save traditionally black Lincoln University. Some racist.

Mr. Daschle and the Democratic avengers promise to ask "all the tough questions that need to be asked," by which he means all the cheap-shot questions they can dream up: "The most important question is whether [Mr. Ashcroft] will enforce laws that he's acknowledged publicly he disagrees with." This is a shameless question after Janet Reno's eight years of stalling, evading, dodging and avoiding her responsibility in enforcing campaign-finance law. There's nothing in Mr. Ashcroft's record to suggest that he looks to Janet Reno as a role model.

And there's nothing in Jesse Jackson's record to suggest that he looks to Martin Luther King as a role model. Just when America is eager to make amends for the sins and crimes of the past — no society in the history of the world has turned itself upside down and inside out like ours in an attempt to set things right — this man with a genuine talent to lead pursues instead, with the enthusiastic assistance of the Democratic Party, a career of wreaking ruin and ravage on his own people.

Who are the racists?

JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.


01/03/01: A modest proposal for Arkansas folk
12/19/00: The reflexive sneer at George W. Bush
12/15/00: Taking inspiration from John Birch
12/12/00: It's time to raise high Florida's standards
12/08/00: A President Bush, and about time, too
12/05/00: Here come the judge --- and he's got a hook
11/28/00: Cry no tears for Al, lawyers are the losers
11/21/00: The useful loathing of America's sons
11/17/00: When this is all over, we spray for lawyers
11/14/00: Something murky in the twilight zone

11/10/00: Something sinister in Palm Beach

11/07/00: Low days in the life of the ruptured duck

11/06/00: A little race baiting in the final hours

11/01/00: Creator gets a hard time on the hustings

10/27/00: The sorcerer rides to rescue his apprentice

10/25/00: The founding father with a story to tell

10/23/00: A lonely passion for religious rights

10/16/00: Spending blood on the folly of fools

10/11/00: A big night for the embellisher-in-chief

10/06/00: AlGore's black problem

10/04/00: In headlong pursuit of the bigot vote

10/02/00: A modest proposal for Rick Lazio

09/27/00: When folks at home give up on a scamp

09/25/00: Gore plot exposed! The secret minutes

09/18/00: Playing politics with the blood supply

09/14/00: Al sets out to find his 'tolerance level'

09/12/00: When it's time for a thumb in the eye

09/07/00: Making a daughter a campaign asset

09/04/00: A footnote to the lie: How he beats the rap

08/30/00: Unbearable lightness of a cyberjournal

08/21/00: Clinton chickens on AlGore's roost

08/16/00: The long goodbye to California's cash

08/09/00: Innocence by proxy is a risky scheme

08/07/00: After insulin shock, an authentic rouser

08/02/00: When it gets hard not to get a little giddy

07/31/00: George W.'s legions of summer soldiers

07/26/00: He's set a surprise --- or a trap for himself

07/24/00: How do you serve a turkey in August?

07/19/00: Would Hillary sling a lie about a slur?

07/17/00: Process, not peace, at a Velveeta summit

07/12/00: The Texas two-step, a nudge and a wink

07/10/00: The Great Mentioner and his busy season

07/05/00: No Mexican standoff in these results

07/03/00: Denting a few egos in the U.S. Senate

06/28/00: Bureaucracy amok! Punctuation in peril!

06/26/00: The water torture of American resolve

06/21/00: The happy hangman is a busy hangman

06/19/00: Dick Gephardt finds a Dixie dreamboat

06/14/00: Taking a byte out of innovation

06/12/00: 'Go away, little boy, you're bothering us'

06/07/00: When a little envy is painful to watch

06/05/00: Fire and thunder, bubble and squeak

05/31/00: South of the border, politics is pepper

05/26/00: Running out of luck with home folks

05/24/00: The heart says no, but the head says yes

05/22/00: A fine opportunity to set an example

05/17/00: The Sunday school for Republicans

05/15/00: Hillary's surrogate for telling tall tales

05/10/00: Listening to the voice of an authentic man

05/08/00: First a lot of bluster, then the retreat

05/02/00: Good news for Rudy, bad news for Hillary

04/28/00: The long goodbye to Elian's boyhood

04/25/00: Spooked by Castro, Bubba blinks

04/14/00: One flag down and two memorials to go

04/11/00: Consistency finds a jewel in Janet Reno

04/07/00: Here's the good word (and it's in English)

04/04/00: When bureaucrats mock the courts

03/28/00: How Hollywood sets the virtual table

03/24/00: Dissing a president can ruin a whole day

03/20/00: When shame begets the painful insult

03/14/00: The risky business of making an apology

03/10/00: The pouters bugging a weary John McCain

03/07/00: When all good things (sob) come to an end

© 2000 Wes Pruden