We all have our favorite moments in the Charles Pickering lynching. There was Sen. John Edwards destroying his presidential chances by cracking his horse whip a little too gleefully. There was Sen. Patrick Leahy declaring his love for Sen. Orrin Hatch, but worrying out loud that his intentions might be understood in joint union Vermont, his home state. There was Leahy again, complaining Pickering injected his personality into his opinions -- clearly envious he no personality to inject into his own bloodstream. There was the ever front-running Al Hunt, insisting that race had nothing to do with opposition to Pickering -- this after every red-necked liberal threw a white sheet over Pickering's head and went away from the tall oak they left him hanging from with rope burns on their hands.
There are many other of the lynch mobsters we could name; heaven knows, Richard Cohen has been begging for inclusion. The New York Times editorial crew and its intolerance for anyone outside its "modern mainstream" craves an honorable mention. Some even think that the White House should be tarred and feathered for only taking a month or two before it decided to defends its man; others denounce the hapless Trent Lott for having no real way to defend his friend. But that's missing the point. There's no competing with a crowd that takes its moral signals from the likes of Ted Kennedy, who after Pickering was declared dead, came up for air from waters at Chappaquiddick, where he continues to conduct a search and rescue operations, to denounce Pickering as a threat to the Constitution.
But an early spring always picks up our mood. How not to have hop in one's step on news that Mrs. Al Gore is being talked of as a possible Senate candidate from the wide-hipped state of Tennessee? Who needs Paris if romance comes to the Chattanooga station in the person of a husband who plants long, long farewell kisses on his missus as she boards the last campaign train to Nashville? There'll be reunions to look ahead to, too. Hillary is already rejiggering her schedule to make room for many Senate lunches with her dear friend Tipper. They're our Democratic ticket for 2004, 2008, 20012, 20016. Some friendships are here to stay.
Incidentally, the Drudge Report clinched honors for headline of the year when it announced: "Tipper Weighs Senate Run." Though that wasn't as good as its earlier headline, "Blumenthal Arrested for Child Porn." For the record, we've never heard of the guy.
In the there-he-goes-again category, Mr. Al Gore took time from kiss training to announce he remains "damn proud" of the Clinton administration he ran from in 2000. Just to remind us Who's in charge -- and that the wheels of Divine justice move faster than light -- the profane Al was quickly forced to swallow his pride as news came that Bill Clinton had encouraged his little brother to sign up as many clients as possible for easy -to-purchase presidential pardons. Just one more of the countless jobs Bill created. In the Clinton boom, everyone got home free for a price.
In an outburst of neo-McCarthyism, the Hon. Mikhail Gorbachev told a Columbia University audience last Monday that Communism was "pure propaganda." The truth may have set him free, but that's the last time he gets invited to an American campus. And he can forget about the next Democrat convention too. But we look forward to honest Mike's joining hands with Lee Greenwood at the next GOP confab to sing, "I'm Proud to Be an American..." Maybe the whole Red Army Chorus will join in.
But let's make sure none of these patriotic demonstrations are attempted in Arlington, Virginia, where the country board is making it well-nigh impossible for patriots to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at its public meetings. It's no accident, as Mr. Gorbachev might have once said, that Arlington is the home town of one Tipper Gore.
As we've discovered yet again, it's so easy to find enemies in our midst. So this week we grant equal status to all of them: they're enemies of the week because they're enemies of the weak. Besides, we've discovered a delightful Friend of the Week, Mike Gorbachev, honorary American and delightful anecdotalist. At Columbia, e.g., he described dire conditions our own CIA and its counterparts at NOW knew nothing about. In late Communism, it's now known, Gorbachev's colleagues were left "discussing the problem of toothpaste, the problem of detergent, and they had to create a commission of the Politburo to make sure that women have pantyhose." Thanks to Crisis magazine, we also know Gorbo has no use for a former president who isn't Jimmy Carter. Recently in Madrid, comments from Bill Clinton caused the teetotaling Mr. G. to spill his chai. The subject was global poverty, and there was Clinton copping a plea: "It wasn't really me who caused the growth of poverty," as if begging to be treated by Soviet psychiatry. One more such encounter and Mikhail will be back to drinking good old-fashioned Stoli.
Send your Enemy nominations to Enemy Central c/o Reader Mail below.