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Jewish World Review Oct. 30, 2003 / 4 Mar-Cheshvan, 5764

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Found in translation

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | WASHINGTON — Even though just about everybody in American politics speaks English, sometimes their English needs translation. We provide that service today:

SITUATION : Politicians go to extraordinary lengths not to call each other liars, even while accusing each other of lying.

This week Arizona senator and former Republican presidential candidate John McCain gave an interview to Howard Fineman of Newsweek about the war in Iraq.

"This is the first time that I have seen a parallel to Vietnam," McCain said, "in terms of information that the administration is putting out versus the actual situation on the ground."

TRANSLATION: Bush is lying. McCain tried to dress it up by saying there is a difference between the "information that the administration is putting out" and what is actually happening in the real world. But the translation is clear: McCain, who ran against Bush for the Republican nomination in 2000, thinks Bush is lying to the American people and the lies are serious enough to make them a "parallel to Vietnam."

SITUATION: In a Rose Garden press conference this week, President Bush said that the White House staff had not produced the famous "Mission Accomplished" banner he stood in front of aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1 and that the banner was put up by crew members. (The banner is now somewhat of an embarrassment since the United State mission in Iraq is still clearly going on and will be for some time.)

"I know it was attributed somehow to some ingenious advance man from my staff," Bush said. "They weren't that ingenious, by the way."

TRANSLATION: The White Staff approved the banner, made the banner, brought it to the ship and positioned it behind the president so it would show up on TV as he spoke.

According to a Navy spokesman, however, the banner was, as the president said, the "idea" of the ship.

SITUATION: U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., the son of Rev. Jesse Jackson, announced this week his plans to endorse Howard Dean for president.

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This was immediately denounced by the Rev. Al Sharpton, who is running against Dean for the Democratic nomination.

"Any so-called African-American leader that would endorse Dean despite his anti-black record is mortgaging the future of our struggle for civil rights and social justice…" Sharpton, who is African-American, said.

TRANSLATION: Any black leader who would endorse a white guy when he could endorse a black guy, namely Al Sharpton, is selling out the civil rights movement, according to Sharpton.

And, although he choose to attack Dean for having an "anti-black record," this is the same thing as calling Dean a racist, something Sharpton has never done to Dean's face, even though they have debated on national TV several times.

SITUATION: Rep. Jackson says in response to the Sharpton: "I also don't understand Rev. Sharpton's attempt to introduce 'race' into the campaign by using such rhetoric as `anti-black' with respect to Gov. Dean. I challenge all of the other candidates to urge Rev. Sharpton to resist using such inflammatory rhetoric."

TRANSLATION: Al Sharpton thinks he's my father, Rep. Jackson is saying, but he isn't now and never will be. My father wouldn't be dumb enough to call the Democratic front-runner a racist — not before he found out what he could get out of him anyway.

SITUATION: Rep. Jackson is endorsing Dean very early in the process. The Illinois primary isn't until March 16, by which time the race for the nomination probably will be over, but Jackson is not waiting even until after the New Hampshire primary in January to see if Dean is the real deal or not.

TRANSLATION: Rep. Jackson believes Dean is going to win the nomination. The train is leaving the station. And Jackson wants to get on board while there are still good seats to be handed out.

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© 2002, Creators Syndicate