Enemy of the Week

The Fat of the Land

Summer time, and Democrat living is easy.

By 7.23.04

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Move over, Sandy Berger, if you can manage it. First there's Linda Rondstadt to deal with. Rumor has it she fills out a stage these days, which is only right and just for someone who once contemplated a screeching operatic career. Still, it comes as a rude surprise that the Democrat diva has ballooned far beyond her Stone Ponies performing weight. Now it can be said: she should have never broken up with Jerry Brown. They were a darling couple. He remains an ascetic in form and fit. She, however, without the discipline and guidance he provided, has gone off the reservation. Hence her insistence on identifying with Michael Moore. Stars like to admire their mirror images. So there we are. Granted, he'd be a good provider.

The most memorable journalistic take on Sandy Berger was provided by the New Republic's svengali, Professor Martin Peretz. Noting that Berger's lawyer attributed Berger's behavior to "sloppiness," Peretz added that that term "certainly describes his presentation of self in everyday life." Evidently Peretz doesn't find him a turn on, all because he turned into a walking Hefty bag.

Actually, we're not sure about the "garbage in" part, though about the "garbage out" there can be no doubt. But why was Sandy left holding the bag? Have we given weight to all relevant factors? Was he on a Superfund mission for the EPA? Surely Sandy was not thinking about himself as he secreted classified materials out of federal custody. Seasoned observers suspect he was protecting his former boss. Former boss could have used his own longtime lawyer Bruce Lindsey for the deed, but the scrawny Bruce would have had no room on his person for the thick documentation that Berger could carry out like an extra slice of cheese or tomato.

There's an Al Gore angle as well. Out of power Al may be, but Reinventing Government remains in force. Sandy Berger was doing his part to reduce government paperwork, especially of the redundant variety. And none of it necessarily ended up in the hands of the Chinese People's Army.

No wonder an irate New York Times and Washington Post are attacking the Bush White House for criminal involvement in the Berger caper. Republicans never learn that selfless and daring activity by a Democrat forbids any attempt to take political advantage. Even the above Peretz joins in the chorus of those accusing the White House of leaking the Berger story. Yes, it would be just like the Republicans to preempt a 9/11 report that treats them with kid gloves.

More reassuring is that John Kerry by his own admission was clueless about the ongoing FBI investigation of his close foreign policy adviser, Sandy Berger. See what happens, John, when you're too self-important to agree to be briefed by the White House on critical national security matters? Meanwhile, the man who should be our next CIA director, since he knows everything when it's convenient to do so, laughingly let on that he'd known about the Berger case for months. "Old news" retains its patented Clintonite quality.

Now some may suspect that Mr. Kerry would be mighty upset that Mr. Clinton remains more in the loop than he. But that wouldn't be the Kerry we've observed. He's a man who treasures "deniability" more than life itself. It's expected he'll have no working knowledge of his own administration. Teresa will hire and fire the help, as required. She'll screen calls from his foreign advisers. She'll review the troops in the field. John all the while will remain far removed, tossing frisbees to a robot dog, calling in orders for fresh baguettes, or raising donations for the Free Sandy Berger Defense Fund. As if there's a chance the stigma from winning an Enemy of the Week prize can be removed as easily as a code-word level state secret.

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