Kerry’s take on the left coast

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The Kerry-Edwards campaign is trumpeting a new theme: values. They have been somewhat unclear about just which values they’re talking about, but last week, at a star-studded fund-raiser that raised $7.5 million, we found out.

Actress Whoopi Goldberg, wine bottle in hand and stage underfoot, made obscene references to the president’s name. When the audience didn’t respond as she would have liked, Miss Goldberg asked plaintively: “Why are you asking me to come if you don’t want me to be me?” Cameras caught Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards cheering and laughing.

John Mellencamp then rhapsodized, in a song called “Texas Bandido” (bandit): “He’s just another cheap thug that sacrifices our young … You’re going to get us killed with your little white lies.” Any peep of protest from Mr. Edwards or Mr. Kerry went unreported.

Meryl Streep pondered the religious implications of the war in Iraq: “I wondered to myself through the shock and awe, I wondered which of the megaton bombs Jesus, our president’s personal savior, would have personally dropped on the sleeping families in Baghdad.” Chevy Chase joked that Mr. Bush’s most recent read was “Leader of the Free World for Dummies,” and compared Mr. Bush’s intellect to an “egg-timer.” According to actor Paul Newman, the president’s tax cuts were “borderline criminal.”

But the real kicker came at the end of the night, when Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards mounted the stage. Instead of reining in Hollywood’s raucous royalty, the Democrats’ “dream team” informed the celebrities, “Every performer tonight in their own way either verbally through their music or through their lyrics have conveyed to you the heart and soul of our country.”

In an open letter to the Kerry campaign, Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman asked to see the tapes from the fund-raiser. “I called on your campaign to release the performance that Sen. Kerry said represented the ‘heart and soul’ of America so that all Americans could see for themselves what John Kerry thinks represents the ‘heart and soul’ of our country,” he wrote. Mr. Kerry’s campaign manager refused.

The Bush campaign should continue to press Mr. Kerry to release the tapes and to explain why Hollywood’s far-left stars represent the “heart and soul of our country.” Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards should also explain why vulgar sexual innuendos and crude insults belong in an official campaign for the presidency of the United States. The incident reveals some unlovely aspects of the Kerry-Edwards “dream” candidacy, and the American public deserves to know.

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