Jewish World Review Sept. 10, 2003/ 13 Elul, 5763

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
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HYPOCRITES! | Arianna Huffington grates on the nerves. Her accent's odd rhythm makes its origins unclear. Listening to Arianna is like listening to a Gabor sister with red hair and no smooth purr. One tolerated Arianna because the poor soul's husband left her for another man, leaving her with only Al Franken. Arianna offered the benign thunderings of a woman scorned ever so unjustly.

However, her run for California governor brings the revelation that she paid only $771 in federal income taxes for the past two years even as she resided in an 8,000 sq-ft. home in Brentwood and indicted the rich. Her "Pigs at the Trough: How Political Greed and Corruption Are Undermining America" includes pages of lists about CEOs, money and excess. Arianna ain't poor, and her indictments of the rich now ring hollow.

Such liberal hypocrisy is frequent. Mayor Jerry Brown (D) of Oakland, California wants to "revitalize" Oakland's downtown. Translation: Oakland is a dump and he needs to fix it for his political future. Flower child Jerry proposes changing Oakland's texture from one scary city to a haven of artists who occasionally tip the bottle or hash pipe too much, ala Jack London and the Black Panthers. He will build new condominiums that will be occupied by "10,000 residents" Brown will bring in "who can afford high rents." Mayor Moonbeam turns to the rich to solve Oakland's problems. Democrats need the rich they indict! Hypocrites.

In fact, Democrats are the party of the rich. When it comes to big-time political donations, nobody does it like the Democrats. A study by Prof. Paul Herrnson of the University of Maryland shows that while "donors are more heavily Republican than the general public, the most active donors tend to be more Democratic." Translation: Democrats give the big bucks even as they whine about the evil rich and demand campaign finance reform. Further, 99% of donors are white, 82% are male and 51% have graduate or professional degrees. The party of the common man? This is not Dick Gephardt's milkman father's party. Hypocrites.

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A rich Democrat is different from a rich Republican because Democrats feel guilty about the money and do things to make up for their capital gains. Democrats seek environmentally friendly products to halt the pangs of conscience and cease John Lennon's "Imagine" darting through their heads. They become Lohas.

"Lohas" is a marketing acronym for Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability. Democrats dressed in linen. Vegetarians with brokers, they claim to want organic foods, energy-efficient appliances, solar panels, yoga tape and eco-tourism opportunities. There is even a "Lohas Journal." It's Martha Stewart's "Living" for the carrot juicers and Birkenstockers. Responsible spending eases the pains of their gains through the capitalism they indict.

However, according to marketers, these Lohas folks are snobs who only swear on surveys that they will pay extra for and patronize environmentally friendly businesses. When push comes to shove and dollar comes to check-out, they are cheapskates. They won't pay more for a blanket just because the Sierra Club endorsed it.

Cheap hypocrites. Which brings me to Cape Cod. Ex-hippies and liberentsia dwelling on Martha's Vineyard have grabbed their garden trowels, prepared to storm the beaches of Nantucket Sound because Cape Wind Associates, a private developer, wants to plop 130 windmills, spaced one-third to one-half mile apart, seven miles off the coast of Hyannis. Cape Wind's wind energy plant would provide Cape dwellers with 75% of their electricity. Oil-free, nuclear-free electricity for the elite.

The hypocritical elite, who have long decried dependence on foreign oil, are miffed. Uncle Walter Cronkite, one of Martha's Vineyard's vehement occupants, complains, "Our national treasures should be off limits to industrialization." One environmentalist, stunned at the white wine swillers he counted as friends complains, "This is all about trade-offs. How heavily do you count yachting against the number of people who die from particulate matter?"

Liberals talk a good game on renewable energy resources, Kyoto and the ozone, but just try to put a wind power plant where Buffy and Winthrop want to sail. They rationalize, "Birds will be torn apart in the 'pole-mounted Cuisinarts. Whales will bump their heads." Worse, they moan, the annual Figawi Race, from Hyannis to Nantucket, will have to be canceled. What times are these when yachting races are threatened extinction by environmentalist wackos harnessing wind power.

Robert Kennedy, Jr., an environmentalist's environmentalist, a man who has denounced the SUV, opposes the wind project because he wants people to "see the same scenes the Pilgrims saw when they landed at Plymouth Rock." Not religion or commandments, just the rock.

The rest of New England coast dwellers see the windmills headed their way as the Cape Cod snobs have their way. One noted, "Communities with cash . . . demand that projects they don't won't be built somewhere else." Hypocrites demand alternative and renewable energy resources. They complain that Iraq war was "just about oil." But let a developer try the alternative energy agenda and they cry, "Not in my back harbor." Hypocrite pigs at the trough.

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JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.

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© 2003, Marianne M. Jennings