Earth Day made an impression for once. The lay Catholic monk St. John Kerry of Hanoi grabbed a handful, liked its taste, and has been heaving dirt at right-wing sinners ever since. This environmental spoilage has been accompanied by an alarming outbreak of speciesism, particularly at the expense of chickens and hawks. So once again new questions gush forth concerning the person of Senator Kerry. Whence this appetite for mud-slinging? From his days in the silty Mekong Delta? Or is there something else?
An enduring mystery concerns Kerry's activities and whereabouts after his departure from Vietnam in April 1969. By August of that year, was he tripping and oozing in the muck and the slime of Woodstock, New York? Here's one for the vested right-wing conspirators to examine further. They can build on the successes they've already had at the expense of the no-longer so presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
Yes, we're talking about the flurry of gleeful concern that Mr. Kerry may be ousted by Democrats before his name is put in nomination at this summer's Boston convention. In happier times, such as the Clinton epoch, rightists would wait until their target was elected and fully ensconced in the Oval Orifice before divining ways to have him ousted and dragged through the streets of America's capital city. Now they're even more ravenous, smelling blood before it's even been pumped through a Democratic brave heart. When they're through with Mr. K., he'll be an exile in remotest France, or even more fashionably, an honorary resident of the tony resort isle of St. Helena, where no one minds if you're French-looking.
We have lived in interesting times. Once it was the role of a Republican vice president to serve as enforcer and heavy on behalf of a president. But now a Republican president's legions of enemies have turned the tables to become the mockers and tormentors of the most statesmanlike of Republican veeps. How quickly they forget that four years ago Joe Lieberman wanted to be him. Now all their guns are trained on Dick Cheney. They would even deprive him of his children, on the grounds that they were conceived under false pretenses. They reached that conclusion all on their own, without the help of Orwell's 1984, which as everyone knows is a pretty sexist document.
Don't believe us? Call someone "Big Sister" and see if it evokes any fear.
Luckily, we've got ourselves a Big Sissie. Rep. Jim McDermott, who looks like a mean version of the late Captain Kangaroo, was up to his old tricks the other day, sending a coded message to his friend and mentor Saddam Hussein. On the floor of the United States House of Representatives, fat Jim honored Saddam by toppling the reference to "under God" in his recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. But Jim is open to negotiations. If we replace the divisive passage with "under Allah," he'll reconsider next time he leads his colleagues in honoring America.
So we're down to our three finalists. Two of them were on a kind of National Guard duty at the White House yesterday only to go AWOL. Nine-Eleven Commission co-chairman Lee Hamilton didn't escape to Canada, exactly. Instead, he wandered off to introduce Canada's prime minister at a luncheon at a nearby tofu restaurant, where the menus are safely bilingual and printed in Quebec. Bob Kerrey, the other fugitive, went off on school business, involving the experimental New York college he runs. Evidently it is losing its avant-garde preeminence, now that the University of Massachusetts has produced a graduate student who in an op-ed boldly proclaimed that Army Ranger "Pat Tillman is not hero: He got what was coming to him." The author's name is Rene Gonzalez. An EOW prize will not be wasted on him, but you may want to pray for his soul, if he has one.