Democrats have reason to be proud. Last night, at their monthly unity dinner, they raised $11 million in hard money — some of it even in dollars. It was hard to say which of the men on stage was the main attraction. We kind of liked Jimmy Carter, who confessed to using Ralph Nader as an adviser during his presidency and now begged him not run on a third party ticket. It’s nice to come full circle, from America held hostage to the Democratic Party held hostage.
Shrewdly, Al Gore let on that not a single Democratic luminary backed John Kerry’s primary run. Not he, not Clinton, not McAuliffe, not Karenna, not Tipper, not Howard Dean. Before Gore sat down Kerry’s approval ratings doubled, at least inside the National Building Museum. Gore’s endorsement of Dean, meanwhile, finally paid off. By all accounts, Howie received the loudest applause of the entire evening, deafening applause in fact — ironically enough, because if Dems were in power we’d all enjoy universal health care and no one would ever again go deaf.
Bill Clinton showed off, flashing his bankbook and begging the Bush IRS to do something about it. There was lots of talk about the jobs he created, though let’s not go there, until it can be proved that these were paying jobs. Oddly, Mr. Clinton’s former co-president did not share the stage, perhaps because she’s a woman and like Carol Moseley Braun was asked to stay as far away as politically possible. Or maybe it just wasn’t the time to announce her as Mr. Kerry’s running mate. She’s likely to hold out for a lot more than $11 million.
So it’s not true that women are the doormats of the Democratic Party. Who needs them when there’s always George W. Bush, whose visage adorns the mat at party chairman Terry McAuliffe’s office doorway. Some regard it as the cruelest demonstration of Bushophobia since last week’s peace marches which depicted Bush as none other than Adolf. But then the Drudge White House released photos of a floor mosaic of Bush favored by Saddam Hussein for the same purpose. We need not act surprised. No less than today’s Democrats citizen Saddam was angered by Bush’s rush to war.
Some doormats bristle at the treatment meted out to them by those they consider heels. One such disgruntled floor covering is the greatest American of the last hundred years, the Hon. Richard Clarke. Though he might try to impress you with false bravado about all the retaliatory strikes he planned against all enemies foreign, domestic, and those with dual citizenship, don’t let him fool you. Clarke is in truth an Albert Schweitzer, a Father Teresa, a St. Francis. He saves lives. As the Boston Herald reports, it was Clarke who signed off on the rescue of Osama bin Laden’s family, which was spirited out of Boston’s Logan Airport within days of September 11. By Saudi standards, Clarke has the making of a royal prince. He’s now first in line to succeed Prince Bandar as Riyadh’s ambassador to Washington.
Clarke is in hot water, none of it of the geyser variety that northwest Wyoming Republicans have picked out for him. Seems his mouth has never ceased operations. For book purposes and the millions he stands to earn, he adopts the Kerry-Dean line. Before that, in sundry interviews, he was a Bush-Rice man. Now the 9/11 commission suspects that the Clarke interviewed under oath in 2002 underwent a brain transplant before his televised testimony earlier this week. His denials notwithstanding, Clarke can only be understood as a Kerry type, someone who was for something before being against it.
We like consistency, solidity in a man, and so it is with relief that we’ve reacted to the return of Howell Raines. Yes, he’s back in a big way, a 90,000 page apologia appearing in the new issue of the Atlantic. It’s all bluster, but of the highest quality: throat-clearing without resort to a single lozenge. From the get-go we’re reminded why Raines is no longer editing the New York Times. In the opening paragraph he notes that plagiarism was one of Jayson Blair’s unforgivable sins. But wait. Right above that first paragraph is the title of Raines’s opus. It reads “My Times” — the very same title that former Times reporter and critic John Corry used for his memoir a decade ago.
Don’t worry, Howell, we’re not gonna turn you in. Compared to EOW Richard Clarke, you’re the hero of this and every week.