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Jewish World Review March 28, 2001/ 4 Nissan 5761

Wesley Pruden

Wes Pruden
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In fear of the peril of the Weak Sisterhood -- SISTERHOOD is powerful, the feminists keep telling us. And maybe it is, unless you're a Republican.

The Republican sisters "the Weak Sisterhood," as they're known affectionately on the Hill are not even all female. In fact, some of the weakest of the sisters were born male, so sex (or "gender," as the squeamish among us insist on calling "sex") is often irrelevant.

Not all live on the Hill. A few are governors.

Gov. James Gilmore of Virginia, though not a member of the Weak Sisterhood, appears to be eligible for provisional membership after his surrender of Virginia's heritage to the most ignorant of the race hustlers. He cheerfully sacrificed the legacy of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, watering down a mild tribute to Confederate heroes in a transparent attempt to make the Republican Party safe for Maxine Waters and the Rev. Al Sharpton. We must expect the sacrifice next of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, the most wicked Virginians of all since they were unrepentant slaveholders, and what did either of them ever do for anybody?

Mr. Gilmore, to be sure, did not invent the Republican strategy of drowning us all in thin mush. But as the chairman of the Republican National Committee he appears to be perfecting this strategy for '02, summed up in that fiery, inspiring Republican slogan, "Vote Republican, We're Not Really as Bad as You Think."

The most immediate threat to the success of the Bush administration, however, does in fact reside in the Senate, where the Weak Sisterhood, ever on the scout for opportunities to flee conflict and combat, is searching for the first chance to run out on George W.'s tax-cut legislation.

The Weak Sisterhood is further allied with John McCain and the Democrats in their attempt to neuter the First Amendment for the sake of making political campaigns safe for Democrats.

George W., who grew up in the take-no-prisoners atmosphere of rowdy Texas politics, arrived in Washington confident of dealing with Democrats. His experience in Austin gave him reason to think he could succeed. He has had more success already than a lot of people thought he would, though it's true that Texas League phenoms often don't have trouble with major-league curve balls until April and May give way to summer. The season doesn't actually start until next week.

It's his own team George W. has to worry about, with John McCain hanging out in the Democratic dugout and a half-dozen Republican colleagues confused about which end of the bat they're supposed to hit with. Most of these sisters are from New England, and the weakest wear trousers. James Jeffords represents Vermont, which is not actually a state but a boutique (a wineglass of chilled chardonnay wreathed in bean sprouts is the symbol of Vermont), and Lincoln Chafee inherited daddy's seat in Rhode Island and his feet don't yet reach the floor. They're tough in the way you would expect two such senators to be tough.

George W. went to Maine last week to try to stiffen spines of Maine's Weak Sisters, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, but we won't know until there's a vote whether such transplant surgery succeeded, though the ladies were thought to be better candidates for backbone transplants.

The Democrats, who know better how to play the game, understand that defeating George W. on either taxes or campaign finance, or both, is crucial to undercutting his ability to do anything else. Asks one frustrated colleague of the Weak Sisters: "Does anyone care that forcing the president to veto an irresponsible bill will affect his ability to carry out a real agenda?"

The behavior of the Weak Sisterhood is usually a puzzle to Republicans and conservatives in more robust precincts of the republic. The last time anyone looked there were no mobs in the streets of Montpelier or Portland, demanding that their taxes be left uncut and threatening to torch the capitol domes if their senators go along with the Bush tax cuts. And not just taxes. There's ample evidence that the public doesn't care about campaign financing, which most Americans recognize as an issue important only to the pundits and bloviators of the dominant-media culture. One recent poll put this issue at No. 42 on public concerns.

Grover Norquist, chairman of Americans for Tax Reform, offers through gritted teeth a credible clue to understanding the squirming in the Weak Sisterhood: "It's part of the dance they just have to do. It's not treasonous. It's understandable."

Well, could be. Taking home a dance card with no names on it is the worst nightmare of the sisterhood. That's why James Jeffords and Lincoln Chafee keep making goo-goo eyes at Democrats in the stag line.

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


03/23/01: Dubya disowns the dirt dishers
03/21/01: Why can't senators be nice to Mom?
03/19/01: Knocking hard heads at the Pentagon
03/14/01: Second thoughts on the faith initiative
03/12/01: Getting punch drunk on disappointment
03/07/01: The dazzling triumph of Saddam Hussein
03/05/01: How can a real gent tell the lady no?
02/28/01: Who won that war? Best not to look
02/26/01: Bonnie & Clod, gifts who keep on giving
02/21/01: It's Hot Springs week in downtown Harlem
02/13/01: Some of our riots seem to be missing
02/07/01: When a hate crime is something to love
02/07/01: Lifting a few spoons, cutting a few taxes
02/02/01: A few small surprises and a large lesson
01/31/01: Serving fried crow in the press mess
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