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Jewish World Review Sept. 25, 2003/ 28 Elul, 5763

Larry Elder

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Consumer Reports

Does the media give soft-glove treatment to democratic gaffes? | Critics of President George W. Bush derive great pleasure from his inability to pronounce the word "nuclear." As a candidate, they ridiculed Bush for not knowing the heads of Pakistan, Chechnya and India. But what of the gaffes made by various liberal politicians?

Roll tape, please:

Embattled Democratic California Governor Gray Davis on California's "diversity": "My vision is to make the most diverse state on Earth, and we have people from every planet on the Earth in this state. We have the sons and daughters of every, of people from every planet -- of every country on Earth in this state." Every planet? Now that's diversity.

California Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cruz Bustamante, when asked whether he sees a distinction between illegal and legal immigrants: "Immigrants are immigrants. Anybody who works and pays taxes ought to have a right for citizenship." Yeah, but the questioner asked whether Bustamante sees a distinction between legal and illegal immigrants. Guess not.

What about the group called MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan), an organization to which Bustamante belonged in college? The MEChA web site talks about the "liberation" of the American Southwest, with the racist motto, "For the race, everything. For those outside the race, nothing." Asked to renounce the organization, Bustamante said, "Well, of course, anybody who says I'm for racial separation is absolutely wrong. That's ridiculous, and on top of that, in terms of it as a student, when we were there in the '70s . . . a lot of organizations developed during the 1960s and they had said a lot of different things in terms of what they said they were trying to do. By the time I got there, people were running for student government. I mean, everybody by that time were wannabe radicals, they weren't radicals. And we were trying to bring culture, the culture of the Latino community, into the college campuses. We were trying to get kids, Latino kids, and kids of all races, to be able to go into college. This was not some manifesto. . . . I don't support racial separation." Not exactly Shermanesque.

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California gubernatorial Green Party candidate Peter Camejo, on why he supports a bill granting domestic partnership benefits: "Ignorance and prejudice have existed for almost time immemorial against gays and lesbians. Total equal rights -- part of our family. In fact, they're all part of your family. Everyone's got gay and lesbians in their families, so for Christ's sake, don't turn against your own family. The same rights for everyone." Everyone's got gay and lesbians in their families?

Presidential Democratic candidate Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont, and a critic of the president's war effort in Iraq, fumbling a question by "Meet the Press's" Tim Russert on the number of American military personnel: "I can't tell you the answer to that . . . as a -- someone running in the Democratic Party primary, I know that it's somewhere in the neighborhood of one to two million people, but I don't know the exact number and I don't think I need to know that to run in the Democratic Party primary." Dean also said he voted against a congressional resolution authorizing the war. Interesting. Since when does a governor get to vote on congressional resolutions?

Former President Bill Clinton, when asked whether the recall resulted from a right-wing conspiracy, said no, for conspiracies take place behind the scenes. This one, Clinton said, unfolded before our very eyes. Congresswoman Diane Watson, D-Calif., apparently failed to get the memo: "I want you to remember the three Rs -- I want to tell you what the real evil three Rs are. Way down in Florida, it was 'recount.' Then on to Texas, 'redistricting.' And now to California, 'recall.'

. . . It is all to do with a conspiracy that stretches across this country and started in the year 2000 . . . "

The newest, and 10th, Democratic presidential candidate, General Wesley Clark, seems confused on whether he would have voted for the Iraq war. The New York Times, Sept. 19, 2003: "Gen. Wesley K. Clark said today that he would have supported the Congressional resolution that authorized the United States to invade Iraq. . . . 'At the time, I probably would have voted for it, but I think that's too simple a question,' General Clark said. A moment later, he said: 'I don't know if I would have or not. I've said it both ways because when you get into this, what happens is you have to put yourself in a position -- on balance, I probably would have voted for it.'" Washington Post, Sept. 20, 2003: "Retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark reversed course yesterday on the issue of Iraq, saying that he would 'never have voted' for the congressional resolution authorizing President Bush to go to war, just a day after saying that he likely would have voted for it."

Well, at least Clark can correctly pronounce "nuclear."

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JWR contributor Larry Elder is the author of, most recently, "Showdown: Confronting Bias, Lies and the Special Interests That Divide America." (Proceeds from sales help fund JWR) Let him know what you think of his column by clicking here.

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© 2002, Creators Syndicate