Enemy of the Week

Bottom of the Barrel

Amid the crime and the slime there's always a winner.

9.27.02

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"Daschle isn't a gas bag," Senior Enemy Agent Jack Hughes reports. "He's a whoopie cushion!" So let's all make whoopie with Tom, if only to cushion his fall. How many soapboxes did he mount last Wednesday before tumbling down to the Senate floor? He's now suspects some mean Republicans and White House operatives stole his lifts and elevator shoes. What's more, the urgency of the moment left him no time to touch up the coloring of his hair. This shouldn't be taken to mean that the flaming red on his neck and face wasn't his natural color.

Fortunately for all concerned Al Gore, unlike the President he never became, had advance warning of Daschle's impending attacks. So did the FBI and CIA, of course, but because of the lack of leadership from the administration they serve did nothing about it. Not Al, though, who moved right ahead to cash in on Republican grief, raising mega bucks in Delaware and New York for members of his Democratic cell. Unlike Osama, say, Al doesn't have to rely on a rich extended family to fund his charitable activity. Relatively speaking, he's a self-made men. Don't confuse that with "made" man. Al happily serves as his own executioner.

In the mad scramble for Democratic lucre, leading congressional lights traveled to Baghdad. Ostensibly these members came to admire President Saddam Hussein's success in removing partisanship from Iraqi politics. Nonetheless, the motives of such men as David Bonior and Jim McDermott require additional scrutiny. Bonior, for instance, traveled in a Saddamish beard, which could lead some to suspect he's a spook, a double, or a voice for the Iraqi opposition. On the other hand, after his recent disgrace in the Michigan gubernatorial primary, where he lost to a woman, many suspect he's simply been recalled to Iraq to explain himself. That will take some doing. What Arab or pro-Arab like Bonior has ever lost to a woman before?

If anyone knows the answer to that, it's McDermott, who as a specialist in cellphone taps is well placed to inform us just what's coming down in balmy Baghdad. If there is anything controversial about this congressional peace mission it's that it preempted any such trip by the Hon. Jimmy Carter, not someone, if history is any guide, to trifle with in that part of the world. How would you like to be Jim McDermott and receive a midnight knock on the door from Warren Christopher? And was the mysterious third member of this delegation none other than former speaker Jim Wright? Alas, he thought he was in Managua and kept insisting on being brought to Daniel Ortega. How difficult it is for a pol to let go of his greatest moments.

Teddy Kennedy remains an exception on that score. Moments after the Soviet -- scratch that, Russian -- foreign minister Igor Ivanov (alias Ivan Igorov) disputed talk of Iraqi-Al Qaeda links, Senator Ted Kennedy went on the air to douse such talk with a second round of chilled vodka. Ted let the word go forth from this day forward that he wants no war undertaken against Iraq until the mystery of Chappaquiddick is resolved. Here one can be optimistic. McDermott seems to have overheard that the convicted Skakel nephew might now take credit for driving off the bridge.

For an additional profile in courage we take you to New Jersey, where new evidence suggests former Roman legionnaire Roberto Torricelli was a kept man. And this is someone who wants to fight Saddam mano a mano. If he's going down, it will be in glory, having lost New Jersey but won Iraq. The ancient emperors would be proud of their successor. Even Nero.

An allegedly new conservative magazine was launched this week, alas, not in the direction of Baghdad and its presidential palaces. Its missiles apparently have a range no further than Tel Aviv. The odd thing is its name, "The American Conservative," since the man behind it was last known to Americans as a Perotist (not to be confused, as many have, with Peronist or Petainist). But no, Pat Buchanan cannot be Enemy of the Week. For that he has his bankroller Taki Theodoracopulos to thank, one of the nicest people in the world.

Which leaves us with no choice but to return to our fishy Democratic barrel and let blast with all peaceful intentions at one of those obscurities who does his hiding behind the likes of Al Gore and Tom Daschle. We're entering into metaphysical reality, trying to determine if how someone can manage being lower than the lowest. But we've got our guy, Chuckles Schumer, yukking it up at U.S. Appeals Court nominee Miguel Estrada's expense, and demanding to read Estrada's confidential memoranda from previous service in the office of the Solicitor General. Next week he'll demand to see love letters Estrada wrote in law school. In the meantime, he has sought to entrap Estrada on the basis of two anonymous charges planted in the paleomarxist Nation magazine. If in Sen. Schumer's eyes someone like Miguel Estrada has no rights, then there's only one solution. We appoint him EOW and recommend that if he wants to appeal he should turn to the better half of New York's senatorial delegation.

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