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Jewish World Review Jan. 2, 2001 /18 Teves 5762

Don Feder

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In 2001, they were unacceptable -- EACH year at this time, I like to recognize the biggest boors, boobs and bottom-feeders of the past 12 months with my Unacceptable People Awards. In a year filled with drama and trauma, they provided the comedy.

Speaking of comedy, Bill Maher, host of the ironically misnamed ABC show "Politically Incorrect," took as much of a pounding as the Tora Bora caves.

Shortly after the World Trade Center attack, Maher reached a new low. To a guest who said the terrorists were cowards, Maher replied, "We have been the cowards" in responding to past terrorist incidents by "lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 feet." Presumably, the loudmouth Hollywood lefty would have liked U.S. forces to show their manliness by going after al-Qaeda with bayonets or bare hands.

Maher's own idea of courage is stacking his show with three guests who agree with him and one dissenter the gang proceeds to pummel. It's unlikely the Marines will use the comic's photo on recruiting posters.

Bill Clinton is still on a moral-equivalency trip. To put Sept. 11 into perspective, Clinton told a Georgetown University audience, "Those of us who come from various European lineages are not blameless." For instance, historian Willie explained, when the First Crusade conquered Jerusalem, defenseless Moslems were put to the sword -- as if something that happened in 1095 is comparable to mass murder months ago.

We're told the ex-president wants to improve his image. Has he considered a vow of silence?

Jesse Jackson was desperate to inject himself into dealings with the Taliban. Prior to the bombing of Afghanistan, the international ambulance chaser claimed he had been invited there to negotiate Osama bin Laden's surrender. When queried about this, Taliban's ambassador to Pakistan replied -- Jesse who?

Earlier in the year, the race hustler was getting more publicity than he wanted. In January came the revelation that he had fathered a child out of wedlock. Then, the Chicago Sun-Times disclosed that Jackson's friends and family made out like Afghan war lords from his corporate shakedowns. Venality, sexual immorality, a hunger for the spotlight -- how appropriate that the reverend was Clinton's "spiritual counselor" during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Gary Condit, the congressman from the Spice channel, is bloodied but unbowed from the bashing over his relationship with 24-year-old missing intern, Chandra Levy.

He's acknowledged that character will be an issue in his coming re-election campaign. Still, "I've been married 34 years. I don't drink, don't smoke, don't party," Condit defiantly proclaims. He could have added -- "I don't take my marriage vows seriously, don't cooperate with police in criminal investigations that might embarrass me."

Secretary of State Colin Powell's problem isn't character but judgment.

In the spring, Powell told a congressional committee that while Castro is "an anachronism," he's "done good things for his people" in education and health care. A Cuban exile group replied that inmates at San Quentin also have medical benefits and educational opportunities.

Recently, Powell confided to Fox News that "even more fundamentally and troubling" than blowing up Israelis on buses, Hamas is impeding Yasser Arafat's ability to negotiate a cease-fire. Damn those suicide bombers for preventing a statesman, famous for his sincerity, from following his natural instincts to the benefit of humanity.

In an administration of realists, Powell is as out of place as a ballerina in a bikers' bar.

Finally, Kerry Kennedy Cuomo displayed that famous Kennedy charm. Hours before President George Bush renamed the Justice Department's headquarters for her late father, Robert F. Kennedy, she lashed out at Bush's plan to try terrorists before military tribunals.

At an awards ceremony, Ms. Cuomo told her daughter, "Cara, if anyone tries to tell you this is the type of justice your grandpa would embrace, don't you believe it." Grandpa -- who apprenticed with Joe McCarthy -- authorized FBI wiretaps on Martin Luther King Jr. RFK's idea of justice was recruiting the Chicago mob to do the Kennedys' wet work.

Here are my picks for the cream of political creeps in 2001. Long may they rave.

JWR contributing columnist Don Feder's latest books are Who is afraid of the Religious Right? ($15.95) and A Jewish conservative looks at pagan America ($9.95). To receive an autographed copy, send a check or money order to: Don Feder, The Boston Herald, 1 Herald Sq., Boston, Mass. 02106. Doing so will help fund JWR, if so noted. He is also available as a guest speaker. To comment on this column please click here.

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© 2002, Creators Syndicate