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Jewish World Review Jan. 31, 2001/ 8 Teves, 5761

Wesley Pruden

Wes Pruden
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Serving fried crow in the press mess -- WHERE have all these wise guys been for these long, long eight years?

You couldn't blame a few of us a very, very few for saying we told you so. But of course, being well brought up, we would never do that.

But suddenly the wise (and sleepy) old guys of the mainstream media, as they regard themselves, have discovered what some of us have been saying forever, that Bill and Hillary Clinton were what landed at the nation's feet the day the body politic threw up.

The Washington Post, the New York Times, even Mary McGrory, have finally applied to join the vast right-wing media conspiracy. I offered to vouch for Miss Mary myself, being a longtime admirer of her gift for the language, but alas, as rich as they are they can't afford the back dues. Not so long ago no television screen was safe from the faces of James Carville, Lanny Davis, Paul Begala and George Stephanopoulos, elbowing each other out of the way to testify to Clinton political virtue and moral rectitude. But where are they now? Somebody said they saw James Carville hiding out under the Taft Bridge over Rock Creek, roasting a dead crow on a stick and eating cold beans out of the can.

The Post, always eager to apply the tarbrush to Christians, Republicans, straights and other poor, uneducated and easy-to-command conservatives while savoring the aroma of Democratic, feminist, gay and other liberal corruption, is particularly upset by the Clintons' theft of White House furniture and silverware (even though they only did it to have something suitable to entertain with on the nights Mrs. Graham goes to dinner on Whitehaven Street): "The list demonstrates again the Clintons' defining characteristic: They have no capacity for embarrassment. Words like shabby and tawdry come to mind. They don't begin to do it justice."

The overstuffed entities of the editorial page of the New York Times employed as usual an overstuffed paragraph to do the work of a simple sentence to harrumph: "We were particularly troubled by the numerous instances in which Mr. Clinton granted pardons or commutations without proper consultation with federal prosecutors, often to reward friends or political allies or gain future political advantage." What these entities really wanted to say, as it turned out in the final paragraph, was that George W., who has never been accused of selling pardons, should never do what it would never occur to him to do.

"I won't use the label superior Northerners pejoratively use to describe Southern crackers," writes Michael Kramer in the New York Daily News. "I won't call them 'white trash.' But if not that, then what?" Well, why not? Others already have, a long time ago, and without the delicate quotation marks. And the label did not originate with "superior Northerners," as Mr. Kramer supposes, but with plantation blacks outraged by the trashy behavior of inferior whites. Bill Clinton, however, is not white trash, but worse. He's Flem Snopes' grandson, the more dangerous redneck who stoops to white-trash guile and cunning to rise above himself only when he needs to. (A Southerner knows the difference on instinct.)

The irony here is that Bill Clinton's newly outraged one-time defenders are the same wonderful folks who overlooked Bonnie and Clod's bank-robbing days in Arkansas, Webb Hubbell's stealing from his friends, Travelgate, Filegate, Hillary's manipulation of the cattle-futures market (speaking of "mad cow" disease), the health-care task force disaster, the harassment of Paula Jones, the rape of Juanita Brodderick, the leasing of national-security secrets to the Chinese, the renting of Abe Lincoln's best satin sheets, and finally the lying to grand juries and federal courts. All that was winkable-at. Not until we got to the White House silverware there's something about somebody else's silver that makes Yankee eyes go goo-goo did mainstream media antennae begin to quake and quiver.

Just as these just deserts are served, Hillary, with the unerring timing for which has been famous since she arrived in Arkansas with her matched set of carpetbags, announces that she will vote against John Ashcroft because he does not meet her high standards of morality and ethics. She joins Teddy Kennedy, the Senate ethicist, and Chuck Schumer and Patrick Leahy, the Senate theologians, as the master trashers.

All this as George W. begins Week II, hardly able to believe his luck in enemies. His tormentors, who have been telling us how dumb and ineffective he would be, are now only trying to get out of the way of the wagon. He presented his faith-based initiative yesterday, continuing to do what he said he would. He had to hide a grin while pretending not to notice the fried crow on the menu in the press mess.

JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.


01/26/01: The gathering storm over Jesse Jackson
01/23/01: A graceless getaway, a graceful beginning
01/19/01: Once more to wave the bloody shirt
01/16/01: Bring on the lions, the clowns are ready
01/12/01: The dastardly plot to restore slavery
01/10/01: Mr. Lott's generosity to the Dems
01/05/01: Looking to the past for a bad example
01/03/01: A modest proposal for Arkansas folk
12/19/00: The reflexive sneer at George W. Bush
12/15/00: Taking inspiration from John Birch
12/12/00: It's time to raise high Florida's standards
12/08/00: A President Bush, and about time, too
12/05/00: Here come the judge --- and he's got a hook
11/28/00: Cry no tears for Al, lawyers are the losers
11/21/00: The useful loathing of America's sons
11/17/00: When this is all over, we spray for lawyers
11/14/00: Something murky in the twilight zone

11/10/00: Something sinister in Palm Beach

11/07/00: Low days in the life of the ruptured duck

11/06/00: A little race baiting in the final hours

11/01/00: Creator gets a hard time on the hustings

10/27/00: The sorcerer rides to rescue his apprentice

10/25/00: The founding father with a story to tell

10/23/00: A lonely passion for religious rights

10/16/00: Spending blood on the folly of fools

10/11/00: A big night for the embellisher-in-chief

10/06/00: AlGore's black problem

10/04/00: In headlong pursuit of the bigot vote

10/02/00: A modest proposal for Rick Lazio

09/27/00: When folks at home give up on a scamp

09/25/00: Gore plot exposed! The secret minutes

09/18/00: Playing politics with the blood supply

09/14/00: Al sets out to find his 'tolerance level'

09/12/00: When it's time for a thumb in the eye

09/07/00: Making a daughter a campaign asset

09/04/00: A footnote to the lie: How he beats the rap

08/30/00: Unbearable lightness of a cyberjournal

08/21/00: Clinton chickens on AlGore's roost

08/16/00: The long goodbye to California's cash

08/09/00: Innocence by proxy is a risky scheme

08/07/00: After insulin shock, an authentic rouser

08/02/00: When it gets hard not to get a little giddy

07/31/00: George W.'s legions of summer soldiers

07/26/00: He's set a surprise --- or a trap for himself

07/24/00: How do you serve a turkey in August?

07/19/00: Would Hillary sling a lie about a slur?

07/17/00: Process, not peace, at a Velveeta summit

07/12/00: The Texas two-step, a nudge and a wink

07/10/00: The Great Mentioner and his busy season

07/05/00: No Mexican standoff in these results

07/03/00: Denting a few egos in the U.S. Senate

06/28/00: Bureaucracy amok! Punctuation in peril!

06/26/00: The water torture of American resolve

06/21/00: The happy hangman is a busy hangman

06/19/00: Dick Gephardt finds a Dixie dreamboat

06/14/00: Taking a byte out of innovation

06/12/00: 'Go away, little boy, you're bothering us'

06/07/00: When a little envy is painful to watch

06/05/00: Fire and thunder, bubble and squeak

05/31/00: South of the border, politics is pepper

05/26/00: Running out of luck with home folks

05/24/00: The heart says no, but the head says yes

05/22/00: A fine opportunity to set an example

05/17/00: The Sunday school for Republicans

05/15/00: Hillary's surrogate for telling tall tales

05/10/00: Listening to the voice of an authentic man

05/08/00: First a lot of bluster, then the retreat

05/02/00: Good news for Rudy, bad news for Hillary

04/28/00: The long goodbye to Elian's boyhood

04/25/00: Spooked by Castro, Bubba blinks

04/14/00: One flag down and two memorials to go

04/11/00: Consistency finds a jewel in Janet Reno

04/07/00: Here's the good word (and it's in English)

04/04/00: When bureaucrats mock the courts

03/28/00: How Hollywood sets the virtual table

03/24/00: Dissing a president can ruin a whole day

03/20/00: When shame begets the painful insult

03/14/00: The risky business of making an apology

03/10/00: The pouters bugging a weary John McCain

03/07/00: When all good things (sob) come to an end

© 2000 Wes Pruden