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Jewish World Review August 9, 2001 / 20 Menachem-Av, 5761

Michael Ledeen

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Consumer Reports

More Dithering Democrats -- ONE really shouldn't let Democrats from the Northeast walk around in the August sun; they get delusions of grandeur, and that produces an excess of drool. The chief slobberers are those Dems actively running for president, like Joe Lieberman. When his leader, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, announced that he probably wouldn't enrage the American people by trying to undo the tax cut, Lieberman said "don't be so fast." Joe can't win the nomination without the hard Left, and the hard Left's view of tax cuts is like the Pope's take on abortion. So Lieberman, who's never met an issue he couldn't both embrace and reject within minutes, produced his first summer drool.

But Lieberman trails other Democrats in the championship competition. Thus far, the frontrunner for biggest drooler of the month is Sen. Patrick Leahy. Just a few days ago, Leahy attracted attention by refusing to use the final clause "so help me G-d" while swearing in a government official. This sort of thing is reserved for the severely demented, who either think that America is peopled with atheists (when in fact we are the most religious people in the world), or never outgrew some adolescent irritation with the Almighty. Leahy is the Chairthing of the Judiciary Committee, and thus sits in judgment on nominees for the Justice Department, and for federal courts. He is probably one of those silly Democrats who thinks that "separation of church and state" is somewhere in the Constitution, and was written there by Thomas Jefferson to save schoolchildren from the predations of the Religious Right. Maybe he should be forced to memorize the First Amendment before Congress reconvenes later this month.

Leahy's antireligious gesture was just a warm-up for his world-class drool over the weekend, when he unloaded on the FBI, and its late director, Louis Freeh. Harking back to the Ruby Ridge affair, in which an FBI sharpshooter killed the wife of an FBI target, Leahy bemoaned the presence of an "old boy network" inside the Bureau, which, he said, protected top officials when they acted improperly.

I'm all for punishing malefactors, but Leahy's choice of target shows the nation a feeble mind at ease. Of all the top officials during the recent unpleasantness, Freeh was one of the most virtuous (a truly endangered species in those dark years), and the bravest. He called for the nomination of a special prosecutor for illegal campaign contributions, an investigation that would have imperiled the president and First Lady. He was turned down flat by the real leader of the "old boy network," the corrupt Janet Reno, who never met a Democrat scandal she couldn't ignore. No doubt the FBI became corrupt during the dark years, as did the rest of official Washington, but to blame Freeh for it is like blaming the little Dutch boy for the rising tide outside his dike.

Nonetheless, Leahy drones on. And since he's in a mood to talk about corruption, and the need for steely-eyed oversight, let's ask him a few questions about his own performance during Louis Freeh's tenure. Let's ask the senator why he didn't demand punishment for the Ruby Ridge killing at the time it happened, when his party controlled the Senate and the White House. Let's ask him why he failed to support Freeh in the matter of electoral corruption. Let's ask him why he didn't demand an investigation of Freeh's boss, the attorney general. And while we're at it, let's ask him why he, the very archetype of Democrat justice, didn't vote to impeach a perjured president.

Sen. Leahy can address these fascinating matters when he receives his Drooler of the Month trophy.

JWR contributor Michael Ledeen is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of Tocqueville on American Character . Comment by clicking here.


08/02/01: Delirious Dems
07/31/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit, cont'd
07/19/01: Be careful what you wish for
07/17/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit
07/05/01: Let Slobo Go
05/30/01: Anybody out there afraid of the Republicans?
05/09/01: The bad guys to the rescue
05/07/01: Bye-bye, Blumenthal
04/20/01: Handling China
04/11/01: EXAM TIME!
04/05/01: Chinese over-water torture
03/27/01: Fighting AIDS in Africa is a losing proposition
03/14/01: Big Bird, Oscar, and other threats
03/09/01: Time for a good, old-fashioned purge
03/06/01: Powell’s great (mis)adventure
02/26/01: The Clinton Sopranos
02/20/01: Unity Schmoonity: Sharon is defying the will of the people
01/30/01: The Rest of the Rich Story
01/22/01: Ashcroft the Jew
01/11/01: A fitting close to the Clinton years
12/26/00: Continuing Clinton's shameful legacy
12/21/00: Clinton’s gift for Bush

© 2001, Michael Ledeen