- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A bleak moment

Remarks about Adolf Hitler often raise hackles. At a voting-rights march in Atlanta last weekend, singer Harry Belafonte was asked whether former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and current Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice boost minority opinion of the Bush administration.

“Hitler had a lot of Jews high up in the hierarchy of the Third Reich. Color does not necessarily denote quality, content or value,” Mr. Belafonte told Cybercast News Service (CNS).

At the same rally, comedian Dick Gregory noted that black conservatives “have a right to exist, but why would I want to walk around with a swastika on my shirt after the way Hitler done messed it up?”

Rafael Medoff of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies is not amused.

“Some entertainers simply don’t know much about history. The fact is that there were no Jews in Hitler’s hierarchy. The policies of America and Israel are not similar to those of Hitler, and African-American conservatives are not comparable to Nazis,” Mr. Medoff told CNS.

He is also vexed by comedian Woody Allen, who recentlytold Der Spiegel: “The history of the world is like, he kills me, I kill him. … So in 2001 some fanatics killed some Americans, and now some Americans are killing some Iraqis. And in my childhood, some Nazis killed Jews. And now, some Jewish people and some Palestinians are killing each other.”

“Such analogies pollute public discourse by trivializing the brutal horrors committed by the Nazis,” Mr. Medoff said.

“Hitler was a maniacal dictator whose regime systematically annihilated 6 million Jews, and launched a world war that caused the deaths of more than 40 million people. How can any reasonable person put Hitler and the Nazis in the same sentence as American or Israeli leaders, or black conservatives?” he asked.

Vacaville speaks

Cindy Sheehan’s vigil outside President Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, to demand a second visit with Mr. Bush over the death in Iraq of her son, U.S. Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, has drawn some quizzical glances.

Some think she has tailored her personal tragedy to further a political agenda: Mrs. Sheehan has the support of such groups asthePeaceMajority, Gold Star Families for Peace, Military Families Speak Out and the Institute for Public Accuracy. She has called for Mr. Bush’s impeachment and has been interviewed by the Associated Press, Air America, CBS, ABC and CNN.

Folks from her hometown of Vacaville, Calif., are getting annoyed. This letter from veteran Trent Fry appeared yesterday in the Reporter, the local paper that first covered her meeting with the president last June.

“I have had enough of Cindy Sheehan. We were all saddened by the death of her son, Casey, in Iraq well over a year ago. Every death of a military member is tragic, whether in combat or as a result of an accident. As a mom, she is certainly entitled to grieve her loss. However, I think she’s had more than her 15 minutes in the limelight,” Mr. Fry wrote.

“Everyone who takes the Oath of Enlistment swears to ‘obey the orders of the president, and the orders of the officers appointed over me.’ Army Spc. Casey Sheehan willingly joined America’s all-volunteer military. There hasn’t been a draft in more than 30 years.

“I wonder what Spc. Sheehan would think of the manner in which his mother is using his death to gain the notoriety to allow her to project her political agenda on the American public. Mrs. Sheehan’s road trip across the country is not news and should not be treated as if it were.”

Salute to little Patton

Three years ago, there was hubbub when there was a tale afoot that conservative Leonard Jeffords planned to name his first child — the first grandbaby of Sen. James M. Jeffords, Vermont Independent — “Reagan Nixon” in retaliation for his dad’s exit from the Republican Party. It was just a good-natured family joke.

The younger Mr. Jeffords and his wife, Maura, have some news, however.

“When our son was born on May 23, 2005, we did name him after a famous 20th century figure,” Mr. Jeffords said yesterday in an e-mail. “Patton Henry Jeffords is named for General George Patton.”

An avid World War II history buff, Mr. Jeffords “has great admiration” for the general, while Henry was the baby’s maternal great-grandmother’s maiden name. Meanwhile, the wee one already is wowing Capitol Hill.

“Little Patton already had his first Washington power lunch with his parents and grandfather in the Senate dining room,” the Jeffordses said.

Zowie … it’s Howie

Ah-h-h-h — what a cultural moment. Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean will headline a “Democracy Bonds” rally this afternoon in Boston, accompanied by Massachusetts Reps. Edward J. Markey and Michael E. Capuano, Massachusetts House Speaker Sal DiMasi, and state Democratic Party Chairman Phil Johnston.

The bonds encourage monthly contributions to the cause to create “a political party beholden only to the people, not the special interests.” The site of the rally? The DNC advises: “The Rack on Clinton Street.”

Ready to spar

It’s official: Rep. Katherine Harris, Florida Republican, inaugurated her campaign for Senate yesterday, hoping to unseat Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. Mrs. Harris said her agenda would be “heavy on security and light on taxes,” emphasizing health care and hurricane relief.

She’s off on the right foot, apparently: Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin said her comments were “straight out of the Republican playbook.”

Four for two

The upcoming match between Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, and Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro for the New York Senate seat has much hubby baggage.

“Now, for the next 1 year, 2 months and 29 days, the high political drama of Hillary-versus-Jeanine will be enlivened, every 10 minutes or so, by an even more titillating personal face-off — the battle of the difficult husbands, Bill and Al,” Newsday’s Ellis Henican said yesterday.

The hubbies are “the impeached versus the convicted. The intern-dater versus the extramarital impregnator. … Both women have impossible-to-ignore husbands, men famously charming, gregarious, rascally and chagrined. Two big boosters, advancing their wives’ careers. Two big anchors, dragging their women down.”

Mr. Henican continues, “But don’t say Bill Clinton didn’t warn us, back in 1992, when he and Hillary were first finding a place for themselves — ‘Two for the price of one,’ the future president liked to vow back then, half-promise and half-threat.

“And now, look: It’s four for the price of two. The idea is catching on.”

Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.

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