Jewish World Review July 17, 2003 / 17 Tamuz, 5763

Tony Blankley

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Spanish fest mirrors U.S. elections


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | In Pamplona, Spain, this week, brave men are being gored and trampled in the traditional running of the bulls. The 400-year-old ritual goes on for a week. Each day, ill-tempered bulls are let loose in the street and take three to four minutes to run the half mile to the bull ring, where they will eventually face battle with a professional bullfighter. The sport usually involves drunken men of all ages throwingthemselves in the imminent path of the bulls, and then trying to avoid death or a certain act that is no longer illegal in Texas.

According to the ancient rules of the run, despite the danger (which is even greater than inhalingsecondhand smoke), any person over 18 may take part. Participants are allowed only a rolled-up newspaper to fend off the bulls. This is curious. Even if a newspaper is as slanted as the New York Times, it is hard to see it having much effect on a Spanish bull. Even if one concedes the power of the press and that the pen is mightier than the sword — this would be taking literalism too far. The runners would seem to be on the horns of a dilemma.

Meanwhile, here in the States, another ritual is being played out: The traditional running of the dwarfs through the quaint newsrooms and meeting halls of Iowa and New Hampshire. In this tradition, the running dwarfs — who are usually drunk only on their delusions of grandeur — dash about desperately for a full year before one of them reaches the national bull ring, where he will meet the professional bull fighter, George W. And, in our tradition, the Des Moines Register and Manchester Union Leader, whether rolled-up or not, can take a terrible toll on the cattle.

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With the former vice president out of the race, at least none of the participants is going to be gored. But there is still the danger that late in the year the wandering dwarfs may yet be trampled by the late entry of Hillary "Cattle Futures" Clinton. From the seat of her pants to the crowning hair on her head, she is no dwarf. In every poll of every sample of Democrats in every state that has polled, she would win every election against every other Democratic candidate. In short, the Democratic nomination is hers for the asking. But, like all monarchs, Queen Hillary will not condescend to ask. The great prize must be offered to her by a band of supplicating Democratic grandees — top hats in hand.

Currently, she is on her European tour, offering the hem of her garment to the elites of that benighted continent. Once the Europeans start cooing on her behalf, can Newsweek and Time Magazine cover stories be far behind? She will permit herself to be compared very favorably to President Bush. It's a clever strategy. The smaller the dwarfs shrink, the larger she puffs herself up. And the dwarfs are shrinking. After months of campaigning by the miniature candidates, the leading pundits are increasingly pointing out that there is no front runner — just a first tier on their trail of tears. Usually a leader emerges from the pack, followed by a late and usually hopeless effort by an insurgent candidate. But this time the insurgent candidate — Dr. Dean — has emerged, out-raised and -matched in polling the rest of the pack before a front-runner emerged from it.

This has occurred for two reasons. First, none of the KerryGerphardEdwardsLieberman candidates can get their heads out of Washington. They are playing to the wrong audience. They seek the approval of their peers, rather than the electorate. Only Dr. Dean shows the true contempt for Washington that is so appealing on the campaign trail. (The remaining nano-dwarfs — GrahamSharptonBraunKucinich — are mere freak show attractions.) Second, they have gone on "Meet the Press," where Tim Russert has done to most of them what the Spanish bulls try to do to the drunken men of Pamplona. Meanwhile, Sen. Kerry has spent several months now losing a urinating contest with what was one of the smaller dwarfs, the ever-present Dr. Dean. Thus, they have lost even the esteem of their Washington peers.

Whether any of the dwarfs may grow into an electable size remains to be seen. But in any version of this dwarf story, Queen Hillary may get the nomination, but she will never be Snow White — no matter what her mirror, mirror on the wall may say.

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Tony Blankley is editorial page editor of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

07/09/03: On the horns of a dilemma
06/25/03: The continuing deaths of American and British soldiers in Iraq should not be rhetorically minimized -- but sanctified
06/18/03: No reason to feel defensive about criticism of the war on terrorism
06/11/03: The Clintons — self-proclaimed geniuses — have no defense against the charge of cunning mendacity
06/04/03: George 'Machiavelli' Bush? Nah
05/28/03: When 'progressives' become reactionaries
05/21/03: Yes, this conservative is defending the NYTimes
05/14/03: Playing the politics of deflation
05/07/03: Only the stupid could think it'll be the economy: Comparing the Bushes 04/30/03: How to squelch increasing Iraqi distrust of America
04/25/03: Winning the war, losing the peace
04/16/03: Our own domestic Senate Republican Guard better be prepared for a grinding
04/03/03: At this human moment we need to act like humans, not just calculating analysts
04/02/03: If we could only draft Jennings' eyebrow to the cause, we wouldn't need the 4th Armored Division?
03/26/03: This war is showing the world who we really are
03/19/03: Time for America to laugh at itself
03/13/03: They're coming out of the woodwork: Russert, Buchanan and Moran
03/05/03: Franc-tireur
02/26/03: World history is shifting under our feet --- even our most experienced statesmen are, effectively, inexperienced
02/19/03: The shame! We've mischaracterized the French 02/12/03: Schroeder and Chirac will be disproportionately undercutting their interests
02/05/03: We need to rise above our temporary anger and seek to preserve our bonds with our European cousins
01/29/03: Who is President Bush's stupidest opponent: Saddam Hussein or Tom Daschle?
01/22/03: We call them our European cousins --- but I demand a DNA test
01/16/03: Dems bare partisan teeth
01/02/03: Before the cheering must come the struggle
12/27/02: Long ago and far away
12/18/02: Be glad that Gore's gone?
12/11/02: What fun! A titanic, once-in-a-century partisan battle royal is in the offing
12/04/02: Kerry atwitter
11/27/02: The unThankful list
11/20/02: First the scare, then the yawn
11/13/02: It's going to be a long two years for Lefty Pelosi and the Frisco Dems
11/06/02: Technology: A pollster's worst enemy --- thank goodness!
10/31/02: Watch this election's Wheel of Fate
10/23/02: The Ari and Colin Show: Politics has never been, well, more vaudeville-like
10/09/02: Bush beats drums of realism
10/02/02: Needed: A political chromatograph to detect any true statements in the public domain
09/25/02: Buchanan's new mag
09/18/02: There are many forms of peace
09/11/02: The imperial period of our history starts
09/04/02: Memo to Powell: In periods of upheaval, the refusal to act gives aid to those bent on destruction
08/30/02: Logging old growth is a sham issue

© 2002, Creators Syndicate