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July 30, 2004

The impostures of pretended patriotism

It’s National Baked Bean Month, and the pretenders were in full regalia in Beantown Monday night as the Demo-lition Party launched its parade of their proudest, most pompous propagandists and praters in front of 4,300 delegates. Full of beans, one and all!

But the infotainment started the eve prior to the DNC’s confab, when phony frontrunner John “Fastball” Kerry snuck into town to throw out the first pitch for Sunday’s game between the Red Sox and Yankees. Against a backdrop of competing cheers and jeers, Kerry wound up and hurled one into the dirt well in front of his catcher, a 23-year-old Massachusetts native and Afghanistan/Iraq War veteran.

Apparently, Kerry’s medal-tossing arm (or were those ribbons he tossed?) isn’t what it used to be. Nonetheless, he proved he can still come up short when delivering to America’s military personnel.

Earlier, when asked who his favorite Red Sox player was, Kerry responded, “Manny Ortez.” The Sox do field Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, but there is no “Manny Ortez” on the roster. (We hasten to add, however, that “Manny Ortez” was closer to the mark than the response Kerry gave the last time he was asked that question: “My favorite Red Sox player of all time is ‘The Walking Man,’ Eddie Yost.” Yost never played for the Red Sox.)

Not to be outdone by her husband’s sneak preview, Ms. Teresa (Tuh-RAY-zuh) Heinz (or “Kerry” depending on the audience) was across town telling her home-state (Pennsylvania) delegates that some of the rhetoric coming out of the Democrat Party is “un-Pennsylvanian – and sometimes un-American.” A few minutes later, Colin McNickle, editorial page editor of the conservative-leaning Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, questioned Ms. Heinz about what she meant by “un-American,” to which she responded angrily, “I didn’t say that. You’re putting words in my mouth. I didn’t say that.”

When pressed by McNickle, whose paper is published near one of the many Heinz-Kerry estates the opinionated ketchup heiress let loose with, “You said something I didn’t say. Now shove it.” (Not quite as eloquent as Dick Cheney’s recent rejoinder, but close.)

Fortunately for the Demos, the Heinz-Kerry handlers whisked them out of town before they could provide any more embarrassments ahead of Monday’s opening ceremonies. But unfortunately for the Demos, they failed to take convention speaker Christie Vilsack, wife of Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, with them. Indeed, Ms. Vilsack provided plenty of amusement Monday morning in a Boston Herald Op-Ed, observing, “I am fascinated by the way some African-Americans speak to each other in an English I struggle to understand.” She then added that Southerners seem to have “slurred speech,” and “the only way I can speak like residents of Pennsylvania and New Jersey is to let my jaw drop an inch and talk with my mouth in an ‘O’ like a fish.” Thank you, Ms. Vilsack!

Apparently the DNC circulated a memo to all convention speakers that they were not to speak ill of the Bush administration, but everyone else was fair game. Vilsack, for one, is confident that Pennsylvania, New Jersey and black folk everywhere are in the Demo- bag. But, John Edwards notwithstanding, we don’t think Kerry should count the Deep South just yet.

There was plenty of entertaining print elsewhere, like this Washington Post front-page headline promoting its special section on the 2004 Democratic National Convention: “ELECTION 2000” – we kid you not – in a very LARGE font! But the Post headline was not quite as big as the font on the banner hanging prominently behind the convention speakers’ podium under the al-Jazeera Arabic news network’s press skybox. That would be the same al-Jazeera network, which regularly broadcasts (read: promotes) the torture and execution of American military and civilian personnel by al-Qa'ida terrorists in Iraq.

Al-Jazeera’s 20-foot-tall, $30,000 banner was quickly replaced with another that promoted “” (Our convention moles suggested a “” banner, but the DNC declined, citing their extreme aversion to truth-telling.) Convention spokeswoman Peggy Wilhide insisted that al-Jazeera had not been singled out. “Frankly, we’re not providing a forum for companies to advertise, we’re trying to create the kind of atmosphere we want to best present John Kerry and the Democratic [sic!] party.” Of course, the large Leftmedia banners for NBC, CBS, ABC and CNN remained in place.

It should be noted, however, that the Demos made amends with al-Jazeera by allowing Islamist imam Yahya Hendi to give a closing “prayer.” Interestingly enough, this is the same Yahya Hendi who was a character witness for Sami al-Arian, the Florida “professor” who was indicted by the Justice Department after 9/11 on 50 counts of terror-related charges.

Monday night was a blast from the past, featuring (not coincidentally) a lineup of Southern White House occupants and near-misses including Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and, of course, Albert Gore. And it was downhill from there.

Having endured four long nights of hot air, concluding with Kerry’s stiff Algorian acceptance speech Thursday evening, we offer the following rogues’ gallery of Demo-goguery, the retread politics of division masquerading as messages of unity and optimism.

On division (read: “Demo modus operandi” – this from the Party whose theme is “Two Americas”)… “We are constantly told America is deeply divided. [Republicans] need a divided America. But we don’t.” –Bill Clinton “Yet in our own time, there are those who seek to divide us. … America needs a genuine uniter – not a divider. We have seen how they rule – they divide and try to conquer. They know the power of the people is weakened when our house is divided.” –Teddy Kennedy “Reject Republican efforts to exploit our differences and divide our nation.” –Roberta Achtenberg “There are choices – the politics of ‘Jim Crow’ or of civil rights, the politics of imprisonment or of liberation, the politics of division or of one America.” –Marcia Bristo “Together we can…transcend our differences and divisions.” –Hillary Rodham-Clinton-Rodham “Sooner or later, voters in places like that [the South] are going to grow tired of voting on guns, god and gays and start voting on education, health care and jobs. …We can’t be a national party unless we are willing to take our base to Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. …We need to send a progressive message and stop being afraid of going to Utah or Idaho or Alabama or Texas.” –Howard Dean (AAARRRGGGGHHHH!!!!) “Between now and November – you can reject the tired, old, hateful, negative politics of the past.” –John “Two Americas” Edwards “I want to address these next words directly to President George W. Bush: In the weeks ahead, let’s be optimists, not just opponents. Let’s build unity in the American family, not angry division. This is our time to reject the kind of politics calculated to divide race from race, group from group, region from region. Maybe some just see us divided into red states and blue states, but I see us as one America – red, white, and blue.” –John Kerry (Tell a lie often enough….)

On taxes (read: “class warfare” division)… “[T]his year, in this election, there is a candidate who understands the middle-class squeeze. Instead of just helping those at the top, I think we ought to give everyone a chance to reach the top.” –Dick Gephardt (So, there’s a middle class between the “two Americas” after all…) “Today, the middle-class squeeze has become a way of life for millions of American families.” –Tom Daschle “[We’re] standing up for middle class and working Americans who got a tax increase, not a tax cut.” –Howard Dean “We are tired of seeing our hard-earned tax dollars go to haves and have-mores, while the must-haves, could-haves, should-haves, maybes and have-nots have not at all.” –Stephanie Tubbs-Jones “And why had the powerful been allowed to doggedly cut taxes for the most privileged, knowing there was little left for the most vulnerable.” –Rosa de Laura “[T]he truth is, we still live in two different Americas. We are going to keep and protect the tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans – 98%. We’re going to roll back…the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. We can build one America where we no longer have two healthcare systems. We shouldn’t have two public-school systems in this country: one for the most affluent communities, and one for everybody else…. We shouldn’t have two different economies in America: one for people who are set for life, their kids and grandkids will be just fine, and then one for most Americans who live paycheck to paycheck.” –John Edwards “I will roll back the tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals who make over $200,000 a year, so we can invest in job creation, health care and education. … [H]ere at home, wages are falling, health care costs are rising, and our great middle class is shrinking. People are working weekends; they’re working two jobs, three jobs, and they’re still not getting ahead. … We value an America where the middle class is not being squeezed, but doing better.” –John Kerry (The Bush economy is so bad, we’re surprised anyone can find just ONE job.)

On race (read: “race-card” division) “In all due respect, Mr. President, read my lips: Our vote is not for sale.” –Al Sharpton (Wonder how Tawana Brawley is voting…?) “In my hometown of Cleveland, the unemployment rate is over 11%. In our black and Hispanic communities, the unemployment rate is higher, entering into the double digits.” –Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (And we thought 11% constituted “double digits.”) “I have heard some discussions and debates about where, and in front of what audiences, we should talk about race, equality, and civil rights. Well, I have an answer to that question. Everywhere. This is not an African-American issue, not a Latino issue, not an Asian-American issue, this is an American issue. It’s about who we are, what our values are, what kind of country we want to live in.” –John Edwards

On healthcare (read: “Hillary-care” division) “We need to rededicate ourselves to the task of providing coverage for the 44 million Americans who are uninsured and the millions of others who face rising costs.” –Hillary Rodham-Clinton-Rodham “John Kerry won’t sit back and watch while premiums rise four times faster than workers’ wages.” –Tammy Baldwin (Oh, really? Kerry has protected malpractice lawyers like John Edwards for the last three decades, while Edwards and his ilk have padded their pockets with largess paid for by those very premiums!) “John believes that we can, and we will, give every family and every child access to affordable health care.” –Teresa Heinz “You know what’s happening. Your premiums, your co-payments, your deductibles have all gone through the roof. … When I’m President, America will stop being the only advanced nation in the world which fails to understand that health care is not a privilege for the wealthy, the connected, and the elected.” –John Kerry (John Edwards knows why premiums are so high, and isn’t Kerry a U.S. senator?)

On “partners” (read: “gender neutrality” division) “[E]specially my beloved partner in life, Tipper.” –Albert Arnold Gore “I found a true partner in life….” –Dick Gephardt “John Kerry will guarantee the right to family-health benefits to all our families – including domestic partners.” –Tammy Baldwin “In addition to being a Senior Vice President of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, I am a lawyer, a mother, and a lesbian. I am proud to be all of those things and one thing more: a Democrat!” –Roberta Achtenberg

On Demo-leadership (read: “Dem and dumber”) “To those of you who felt disappointed or angry with the outcome in 2000, I want you to remember all of those feelings. But then I want you to do with them what I have done: Focus them fully and completely on putting John Kerry and John Edwards in the White House.” –Albert Gore (And we thought he’d endorsed Howard Dean…) “[T]onight, we’re all here to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic (sic) party.” –Howard Dean “We went all the way to Herbert Hoover, and we never got the 40 acres [Lincoln promised]. We didn’t get the mule. So we decided we’d ride this donkey as far as it would take us.” –Al Sharpton “With John Kerry as president, global climate change and other threats to the health of our planet will begin to be reversed.” –Teresa Heinz “Our struggle is with the politics of fear and favoritism in our own time, in our own country. Our struggle – like so many others before – is with those who put their own narrow interest ahead of the public interest. … I intend to stay in this job until I get the hang of it.” –Teddy Kennedy (Mary Jo Kopechne was not available for comment.) “I think I know a great leader when I see one and so does America. [Bill] showed Democrats how to win again. And so will John Kerry.” –Hillary Rodham-Clinton-Rodham “For four years, we’ve heard a lot of talk about values. But values spoken without actions taken are just slogans. Values are not just words. And it is time for those who talk about family values to start valuing families.” –John Kerry

On military service (read: “The JFK legacy project”) “If you have any question about what he’s made of, you need to spend three minutes with the men who served with him then…. They saw up close what he’s made of.” –John Edwards “Most importantly, they [Vietnam vets] know the real deal, they know the genuine article, they know the truth….” –Carol Moseley-Braun “I’d like a commander-in-chief who supports our soldiers and our veterans, instead of cutting their hardship pay when they’re abroad, and their health benefits when they get home.” –Howard Dean “On one occasion [as a kid], I rode my bike into Soviet East Berlin. And when I proudly told my dad, he promptly grounded me.” –John Kerry (The Manchurian Candidate?) “I ask you to judge me by my record…”

In summary – so, what do we take away from all of this Demo-babble? We thought Bill Clinton was good at faking right and running left, but Kerry and company make Clinton’s antics look like child’s play. George Washington warned that future generations must “Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.” Indeed.

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