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Jewish World Review August 21, 2000/ 20 Menachem-Av, 5760

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
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Consumer Reports

Dems manufacture emotions at convention --
"MAKE 'EM WEEP." So must have read the directive to speechwriters and casting directors as they mapped out the Human Emotion Project, a.k.a. the Democratic National Convention.

Weep? By mid-week, I needed intravenous liquids. Four more years of victims and survivors and I'll need my own ark. I'm an emotional wreck. Which, of course, was the point. The strategy. The mind-numbing modus operandi.

With their parade of sentimental icons and anecdotal symbolists, the Democrats saw James Harvey Robinson's ante and raised him tenfold. Robinson, who wrote "The Human Comedy" in 1937, must have had the DNC 2000 in mind when he said that political campaigns are "emotional orgies which endeavor to distract attention from the real issues involved, and actually paralyze what slight powers of cerebration man can normally muster."

I wasn't consciously aware of the emotional content of the convention until I felt the telltale trickle down my left cheek. Caroline Kennedy, the Last Remaining Survivor of Camelot, was speaking. In my mind's eye, I saw the little girl running to hug her daddy. I saw her standing stoically at her lovely mother's grave.

I pictured John-John and then, the plane, the wreaths. Oh G-d, I can't --- commercial break, please. But the Kennedy card was just the warm-up act, "Shenandoah" to "Legends of the Fall." Behind another curtain were the parents of Matthew Shepard, the gay student who was brutally beaten to death by a couple of low-brow low-lifes. Behind another were the son and daughter of James Byrd, the black man who was dragged to death by other low-brow low-lifes in, wouldn't you know it, Texas.

Both groups appeared on the DNC dais to advance hate-crime legislation, which, of course, most Republicans oppose. Why? Well, for lots of rational reasons, but we're supposed to infer that Republicans oppose hate-crime legislation because they don't care about gays, blacks, women and other "minorities."

Indeed, according to President Clinton, Republicans may even contribute to hate crimes.

Addressing a pro-Israel group a few days ago, Clinton plumbed new depths with his selective empathy.

According to one news report, he told the audience that mass murderer Timothy McVeigh, he of Oklahoma City fame, was just a messed-up kid who heard too many conservative tirades against government.

Message: If you hate hate crimes and mass murderers - and, by association, conservatives --- the Gore-Lieberman choice is clear.

The Democrats' strategy is nothing less than staggering genius. The genius lies in the fact that even to acknowledge the strategy is to reveal oneself as heartless. To suggest that this well-orchestrated circus of emotion-choking, hard-luck stories is designed to numb minds and swell hearts is to be mean, cynical and callous.

How could anyone criticize Sen. Joe Lieberman, for instance, when he's the first in his family to graduate college, son of an orphan/baker, married to the daughter of Holocaust survivors? In the context of this supra-American tale of survival and moral fitness, it's impossible to raise so much as an eyebrow. To criticize Lieberman now is tantamount to criticizing the American dream.

It is probably cold-hearted to imagine that the sentiment-spinners were thrown briefly by the unscheduled report that John "stage-stealer" McCain had been diagnosed with malignant melanoma. The Dems scrambled nicely, however, and managed to convert McCain's potential tragedy into a DNC moment of McCainiac pathos.

There was Al Gore, stifling emotion as he promised to pray for John. Maybe his concern was sincere, but how would we know? That's the problem with manufactured emotion.

After a while, it's all suspect.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.


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08/08/00:Outreach: Good strategy and long-run policy
08/04/00: A sharp look back at the Vietnam War
08/01/00: Bush's choice of grown-up Cheney is a stroke of genius
07/24/00: Fired up and grossed out over stupid Canadians
07/20/00: Lack of judgment --- our critical flaw
07/18/00: 'Progress' for women often a step back
07/11/00: School essay watchdogs cannibalize our children
07/06/00: Youths fear marriage --- blame boomers
06/28/00: Eminem might just have a point
06/21/00: Bridging the day-care divide
06/15/00: N.Y. baby case ends up with multiracial scrambled eggs
05/31/00: The war only time wins
05/25/00: The opposite of sex
05/18/00: World War II gave us our true heroes
05/11/00: Boy Crazy! stacks deck against guys
05/09/00: Finding out where the boys are
05/05/00: A born Ms. Leader -- Barbie for prez
04/25/00: From here to paternity
04/14/00: Boys should be boys, not viewed as criminals in training
04/11/00: Oh, for a standard of what is socially, morally acceptable
04/06/00: Womyn's Contempt for Commitment --- and the bastards it creates
04/04/00: Sue-happy American society is out of control
03/30/00: Duct-taped baby serves as warning
03/28/00: Stay-home parents know that their kids need them
03/24/00: No 'Great Expectations' when schools shun the classics
03/21/00: It's common sense to restrict Internet usage in libraries
03/17/00: You want to be just a mom? For shame!
03/14/00: Colonoscopy: Important, but bad TV
03/10/00: I made a mistake about trigger-locks
03/08/00: After this school shooting, no easy target for our contempt
03/03/00: Car crash helps bridge our divide
02/28/00: Nasty politics? Americans like it down, dirty
02/14/00: College testing via Lego-building -- yeah, right
02/02/00: Bubba should spare us phony love theatrics
01/26/00: What sets off Those Who Speak for Women
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01/11/00: Who funds these studies!?
12/29/99: Grandparents' rights impinge on family autonomy
12/13/99: When did fathers become fair game?
12/09/99: Don't be stupid about at-risk kids
12/07/99: Pokemon is no substitute for a father
12/02/99: Blaming the victim --- men
11/30/99: Baby-killer's story has less-than-Precious ending
11/23/99: Pendulum swings back toward discipline, responsibility
11/18/99: Put the babies first in this mighty mess
11/11/99: Skip the applause for this baby news
11/09/99: Gore could benefit from a secret in Wolf's clothing
11/03/99: Who needs 'birds and bees' when we have MTV?
11/01/99: Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say
10/26/99: Children's needs must take priority in divorce system
10/19/99: The deadbeat dad is less a scoundrel than an object of pity
10/15/99: Bullying boys ... and girls
10/12/99: Divorced dads ready to wage a revolution
10/04/99: A father's best gift? His presence
09/30/99: Sorry, guys, Faludi is no friend of yours
09/28/99: Science's new findings: Scary future for families
09/23/99: The great blurring of need and want
09/21/99:Focus on more than baby's first 3 years
09/16/99: Commentary from kids sheds no light on day-care debate
09/14/99: Fathers' group seeks to right inequities
09/09/99: Son now has a license to grow up
09/07/99: A slap in the face of domestic violence
09/01/99: No, ma'am: Legislation on manners misses the mark
08/26/99: For better boys, try a little tenderness
08/24/99:The ABC's of campaign questions
08/19/99: Male 'sluts'
08/11/99: Language doesn't excuse bad behavior
08/09/99: When justice delayed is still justice
08/03/99: Unemployment? Not in this profession
07/30/99: It's not about race -- it's about crack babies
07/22/99: Tragedy tells us what's important
07/19/99: Study denouncing fathers sends danger signals
07/15/99:'Happy marriage' belongs in the Dictionary of Oxymorons next to 'deliciously low-fat.'
07/11/99: 'Brother Man': An American demagogue in Paris
07/08/99: Only parents can fix broken families
07/06/99: America is home, sweet home
07/01/99: Tales out of Yuppiedom
06/28/99: Men aren't the only abusers
06/23/99: Is the entire country guzzling LSD punch?
06/20/99: The voice remains -- as always -- there beside me 06/16/99:Stating the obvious, a new growth industry
06/14/99: Calling for a cease-fire in the gender war
06/10/99: We owe children an apology

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