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By Stefan Kanfer

The Voodoo That They Did So Well: The Wizards Who Invented the New York Stage.

Soundings

Stefan Kanfer
What Ails the Dems?
Anger is not a program.
Summer 2005

America celebrated its 229th birthday this month. Flags flew, veterans paraded, fireworks lit up the skies. But at the national banquet, the folks on the left side of the table were not happy.

The whining started when Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin got hold of an FBI report on Guantánamo. Expanding upon a foolish recent charge of Amnesty International, he compared conditions at Gitmo to those imposed by “Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime—Pol Pot or others—that had no concern for human beings.” After a week of backtracking, Durbin apologized. His voice quavering, the senator added, “I’m also sorry if anything I said in any way cast a negative light on our fine men and women in the military.”

Democrats tried to get back on track by holding up the nomination of straight-talking John Bolton for UN ambassador. Surely this was a winnable fight; surely the idealism of the UN was something on which all could agree. But maybe not: the House voted 221–184 to withhold one-half of assessed UN dues—some $441 million per year—if that organization failed to root out corruption.

Hardly surprising, given recent UN scandals. First came the Oil for Food business, in which Saddam & Co. ripped off profits intended for the Iraqi people, and funneled millions to officials of UN member nations—the multinational partners so valued by the Kerry Democrats—that later refused to join the U.S. in enforcing the UN’s own resolutions on Iraq. Then came the rapes by UN “peacekeepers” of women—girls, really—in the Congo. And now the New York Sun has discovered that UN chief of staff Mark Malloch Brown, the man charged with cleaning up the UN mess from within, does not appear purer than Caesar’s wife. Turns out he’s the tenant of billionaire George Soros, George Bush’s angriest political enemy. The rent for Malloch Brown’s Westchester house is $120,000 per annum. His salary: $125,000. Even if he is paying the rent himself, the diplomat’s behavior is hardly diplomatic.

As for the war in Iraq that the UN refused to fight, it had become, to Teddy Kennedy, the new Vietnam. Declared the Massachusetts senator, “We are now in a seemingly intractable quagmire.” Two generals in the field sharply disagreed. As army general George Casey countered, “[T]o represent the situation in Iraq as a quagmire is a misrepresentation of the facts.”

This was all too much for Karl Rove. The White House deputy chief of staff issued a stinging indictment, quoting the editor of the liberal American Prospect: “Liberalism is at greater risk now than at any time in recent history. The risk is of political marginality, even irrelevance.” Rove went on: “Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers.”

If Democrats needed proof of that statement, they had only to interview relatives of those murdered on 9/11 and who resent something called the International Freedom Center, proposed for Ground Zero. The IFC plans a multimedia tutorial about man’s inhumanity to man—covering America’s treatment of the Indians and slavery—anything to avoid telling the truth about Muslim fanatics and their attack on America. IFC’s advisors include Eric Foner, the Columbia professor whose Marxoid babblings indict the administration’s “apocalyptic rhetoric” as no less “frightening” than “the horror that engulfed New York City,” and—you guessed it—Bush-hating George Soros.

Six Democrats, including New York senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton, demanded a Durbin-style apology from Rove for his “divisive comments.” Retorted GOP chairman Ken Mehlman: the Dems “have a pre-9/11 view and I think that’s one of the biggest reasons President Bush was reelected.”

And so the losers at America’s birthday party could only sulk and wait for some bad news—any bad news—that might put Bush in the shade. It was not exactly a program, but this summer it would have to do until something worse came along.

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