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Jewish World Review Dec. 15, 2000/ 17 Kislev, 5761

Wesley Pruden

Wes Pruden
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Taking inspiration
from John Birch -- SOMEWHERE someone has a warehouse full of old bus-stop benches and tattered billboards, and crates of lapel buttons hidden in a barn. The stuff of opportunity.

These are the benches, buttons and backwoods billboards emblazoned with the right-wing mantra of the '50s: "Impeach Earl Warren."

A rabble of preachers, a couple of sorehead senators, a clutch of law-school professors yearning for three or four minutes of cheap fame, a few stars of the chattering class and other self-righteous worthies of the blowhard left need only a few limp brushes and cans of paint, enough to cover up the name of Earl Warren, the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court that held school segregation to be unconstitutional a half-century ago. Then they can paint in the names of the new targets.

Earl Warren became the devil in the night dreams of a generation of critics who imagined that desegregation would destroy the public schools. Now we've got new robed villains.

The fantastical rhetoric of the "Impeach Scalia/ Rehnquist" regiments sounds remarkably like the rhetoric of the Deep South of the '50s, as if someone had found a trunk of musty old newspaper clippings hidden away with crazy aunts in the attic. In fact, maybe someone did. "This decision," says Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, a Democrat, "will leave in place a vote tally that by the court's own logic is constitutionally flawed." Compare Mr. Leahy's remarks to those of state Sen. Buford Elrod Turnipseed of South Carolina, circa 1956: "This ghastly decision thrusts upon us a tally that is constitutionally flawed, even by the court's own logic."

The Rev. Jesse Jackson rejects George W. as Bill Clinton's successor, whatever that means, "with every bone in my body and every ounce of moral strength in my soul." If Jesse is the source of the moral strength of "civil rights explosion" he promises to unleash in the streets we must pray for the demonstrators in the streets. But compare Jesse's remarks to this oration by Buddy Bob Beanfield, the Grand Beagle of the Mystic Knights of the Klan of the Sea, on April 3, 1957 in Dry Prong (Grant Parish), La.: "Every ounce of my bones cries out for the morality of my soul. We must reject the Warren Court's crimes against humanity."

You can see the passion and the possibilities. "Rehnquist" and "Scalia" are harder to spell than "Earl Warren," but this is a unique opportunity for the Birchers to unload their benches, buttons and billboards. The hysterical old women dithering about in Congress, pulpit and op-ed page in the wake of the court's 7-2 vote trashing Florida's imaginative vote-counting could get these benches and billboards up to date quicker than a little old lady in Palm Beach could put a dimple in a punch-card ballot.

What these voices on the left can't come to grips with is that cooler, saner, wiser heads prevailed, and the left-liberal manipulation of the courts for political ends that worked for 50 years didn't work this time. The mischief was concocted in Tallahassee, when the all-Democratic Florida Supreme Court winked at the Gore lawyers' scheme to fish around in the ballots of three overwhelmingly Democratic counties, with Democratic canvassing boards, until they manufactured enough votes to overtake George W. Bush. This is what seven justices of the U.S. Supreme Court would not allow. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, willing to allow ignoble tactics in a noble cause, dissented: " . . . we live in an imperfect world," she wrote, echoing John F. Kennedy's famous observation that life is unfair, "one in which thousands of votes have not been counted. I cannot agree that the recount adopted by the Florida court, flawed as it may be, would yield a result any less fair or precise than the certification that preceded that recount."

The only solution, naturally, is to be fairer to some than to others, and so why not be fairer to her friends.

As entertaining as this is (nothing pleases like watching your onetime tormentors twist slowly, slowly in the wind of their own making) the hysteria of the chattering class poses considerable risk to George W. Bush unless he and his Texans are aware of their considerable peril.

Their mantra "Unfair! Unfair!" will soon subside, and in its place they will murmur that they can make everything possible, if not easy, for him if he'll just be a good Republican and work for the things he campaigned against and that his 49,820,518 constituents voted against.

In due time, after he has disappointed those who worked for him because they believed in who he said he was, he will be left sliced, diced and bleeding, just the way his new "friends" left his father, abandoned and bleeding in the ruins of a presidency.

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


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