Enemy of the Week

Careful What You Say

Holding your tongue doesn't count if it's sticking out.

11.22.02

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What can we say? Good question, since anything we dare to could be used against us in a court of law. So before we risk losing our tongues to a death squad, let us utter, for the record, that Tom Daschle was the greatest Senate Majority Leader since Trent Lott. He'll no doubt be the greatest Democratic minority leader since Richard Gephardt. And he's probably the greatest Senator from South Dakota since George McGovern. If there's anything to add, anything we've forgotten, you'll let us know, won't you?

Though come to think of it, it is curious that Tom Daschle spoke to reporters in such funereal tones. He sounded depressed, frankly, if not totally traumatized. Meaning, those negotiations at the Indian Reservations haven't gone well. Word is there will be no room for Democrats at the inn. The Indians don't want them anywhere in their native lands. Where what's left of Democrats might be allowed to settle is anyone's guess. Even the Badlands are too good for them.

Here he comes. That's Keating's clown, John McCain, calling St. Rush a bozo. Enough said. Anything more might be used against us in a court of law.

Nonetheless, we did like what we heard from several top people. Al Gore, like a bad commercial, appeared on every channel in cable land. But it was what he told Time magazine that was the giveaway. He said he and Tipper have been doing lots of meditating. So at long last we finally learn what drew Al to that Buddhist temple in southern California during the Clinton gloire. It wasn't fishy fundraising after all. He's been telling the truth the whole time. In our fundamentalism we chose not to believe him. But now we also know why Al put on all that extra weight. If you're going to meditate like Buddha you've got to look like Buddha. (It also explains the Secret Service's codename for Al: Buddha pest.)

Now Democrats lay claim to having the sickest president ever. In their current condition they can only hope there's some JFK medicine left over. They don't know whether to be proud of the guy or aghast. Swallowing hardest is that lifelong imitator of the great one, Bill Clinton. Until now he always drew the line on steroids.

To be honest, though, we're not sure we can believe a word of Robert Dallek's much hyped report in the December Atlantic. One rotten apple of a sentence threatens to spoil the entire barrel of pharmaceuticals. Apropos JFK's terrible back problems, Dallek writes: "He wrote his book Profiles in Courage while recovering from back surgery in 1954 that almost killed him." Now as every right-wing Rush wannabe fundamentalist entertainment news junkie has known for decades if not all time, JFK did not exactly write Profiles in Courage. The real author was one Ted Sorensen. Supposedly Dallek is a historian. As such he should be the first to know that in reporting any long disputed fact, he at the least is obligated to acknowledge the controversy and if possible shed new light on the basis of new researches.

Dallek does that in his Atlantic piece, for instance, when he ties Richard Nixon to a 1960 break-in at the office of JFK's endocrinologist and attempted break-in that same year at the office of JFK's procaine provider. "[Those] failed robberies have the aura of Watergate and of the break-in at the Beverly Hills office of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist," Dallek writes.

Yet he ignores entirely the much more extensive paper trail tying Sorensen to the authorship of Profiles of Courage, in which case one can only conclude that for all the purported new disclosures the Kennedy coverups continue unabated.

As for Ted Sorensen, it's moving and gratifying that he remains alive and kicking -- in the head, in the back or in the groin, whatever a lifetime of service to the Kennedy gang requires. So there he was on TV this week, defending the JFK he helped invent by doing his best imitation of Gerhard Schroeder. Kennedy may have been frail, but he kept us out of war, Sorensen told interviewers. Not like the current president, Sorensen added, who is fit but determined to get us into war.

Ted Sorensen isn't going away, but he's the going away EOW. In faithful Camelot fashion he continues to ask not what he can do for his country, but what he can do to his country. How lucky for Ted Kennedy that there's another Kennedy Ted to take the pressure off him.

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