Jewish World Review July 30, 2004 / 12 Menachem-Av, 5764
The cranky convention
The other night, at the most stupendous gathering of oddballs since the last time the Democrats assembled en masse, Mrs. Teresa (pronounced Ter-aayzah) Heinz Kerry took the cake for weirdness and for a pretentiousness that Dickens could not have captured at the height of his powers.
It all began when she greeted the assembled in five languages. Perhaps she thought she was the Pope. Yet the Pope speaks multilingually because his audience abounds with souls from many lands. Ter-aayzah had few Italian-speaking Democrats in her audience, even fewer Portuguese-speaking Democrats there, and the only French-speaking Democrat I know of is embarrassed about his inescapable Gallic maniere. That is why we refer to him as Sen. Jean-Francois Kerry. We are pulling his leg.
It is understandable that Ter-aayzah would address her remarkable audience in Spanish. There are many Spanish-speaking Americans, and she speaks Spanish with a lovely accent. She speaks English with an accent, too, which I personally find quite charming. Al fresco, in the cafes of her youth, I can envision her as a lot of fun. On the far side of middle age, however, intent on one-upping the many poseurs of the Democratic Party, she is a little hard to take. No wonder her Gallic husband looks so grim.
The complaint about the Democratic Convention from critics is that it is boring, hence television ratings have been exiguous. There is another reason. Most of the speakers engage in ceaseless doubletalk. They promise not to disparage the president, even as they do. They accuse the Republicans of "dividing" America, even as they divide America. They say they will fight terrorism and also the insurgents in Iraq, even as they express ambivalence.
Such equivocalness has got to drive viewers away. The Democrats' speakers also say things that are obviously untrue: that the Florida vote in 2000 was stolen from them, that George W. Bush has some arcane relationship with Enron, that the Republican Party is the Party of The Rich, though most of their speakers seem to be millionaires.
Frankly, the only candid voice I have heard at the Democratic Convention was that of an editor from the Arab network Al Jazeera, and he was only being interviewed by CNN's Wolf Blitzer. The Al Jaz chap told us that the whole Arab world prefers the candidacy of Monsieur Kerry because he is opposed to the war. On this, of course, the inimitable French-Irish-Jewish-American has been ambiguous, but the journalists at Al Jazeera have gotten his message. There is an antiwar party in the United States, and it is the Democratic Party.
The Democrats are indeed antiwar, and their increasingly wide-ranging criticism of the war must inspire hope in the Iraqi insurgents, the terrorists and the anti-American Islamofascists everywhere. There was a time when foreign policy remained off-limits to politicians during wartime. During World War II, criticism of Pearl Harbor and of President Roosevelt's two-theater war was the domain of political cranks on the outer fringes of left-wing and Republican politics. Today, criticism of 9-11 and of our (successful) campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan are the rhetorical staples of the Democratic Party. No wonder they consider Republicans "extremists."
How will the cranks at the Democratic Convention proceed, if their candidate wins? Well, they will patch up relations with the cowardly and negligent Germans and French. Then they will cooperate with the uncooperative and corrupt United Nations. And what will they do in Iraq? How will they stop the suicide car bombers? Presumably they will wave the United Nations' magic wand.
Yet, the United Nations is utterly useless, save for enriching its employees with graft, most recently graft from the Oil-for-Food scheme. Garry Kasparov, the Russian chess champion who is also one of Russia's finest political observers, recently wrote in The Wall Street Journal that "giving authority to the United Nations practically guarantees that the problem will only get worse." He notes the United Nations' futile negotiations against the spread of nuclear technologies and against terror in general. And he concludes that "the obsolete U.N. needs to be replaced by an international body built on a foundation of Western values, a club that will not welcome those who sponsor terrorism and deny basic human rights."
Kasparov is right. Reviewing the recent behavior of the United Nations, we see rampant corruption, contempt for the very Western values it was founded upon, anti-Semitism comparable to that of Nazi Germany, and a hatred for the United States and its allies that puts one in mind of the Soviets in their glory days. This is the instrument that Monsieur Kerry would use to tranquilize the Middle East? He must be a Frenchman.
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