- The Washington Times - Friday, January 28, 2000

The Democratic Party passed away on Jan. 3 when Henry "Joe" Fowler died at age 91. Joe was President Lyndon Johnson's Treasury Secretary. He was deputy secretary of the Treasury for President John F. Kennedy.

Joe was a Democrat back when the party still had good solid men who cared for their country and tried to serve it. As far as Joe was concerned, he outlived his party by about a quarter century, if not longer, but I always thought that as long as men like Joe were around, the Democratic Party had a chance to make a comeback.

I don't mean a political comeback. I mean a return of integrity, a shedding of America-hating leftists, and a willingness again to put their country, if not first, at least on a par with holding on to power.

Joe was not the only prominent Democrat who was sure his party had left him. He sometimes expressed bemusement that he and others of his era had more in common with Ronald Reagan than with the post-Johnson Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party has been dwindling for 20 years. Men of independent mind and capable of assessing issues outside of narrow partisan political channels are no longer found among Democrats. Democratic Sens. Russell Long, Lloyd Bentsen, Sam Nunn, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and now Robert Kerrey all left the Senate on their own volition.

Democrats like these could think beyond their party's interest. They understood national defense. They could consider reforms of "sacred" New Deal programs. Some of them could even be convinced of the case for tax rate reductions.

They had a sense of honor and of doing right, and although the necessities of party politics could make inroads, party interests could not completely override their moral sense. These were Democrats with whom you could sit down to dinner or a drink and not feel you had to watch your billfold or your back.

The Democratic Party has not been able to replace these men. There are no Joe Fowlers or Sam Nunns active in the Democratic Party today. Bill Bradley's campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination is the last effort of the non-crooked, non-thuggish, sincere element of the Democratic Party to regain a voice.

Labor union toughs Richard Trumka and Arthur A. Coia back Al Gore. According to press reports, Mr. Trumka is a key figure in the Teamsters Union money-laundering scandal.

Justice Department documents describe Mr. Coia as a "mob puppet" who controls 800,000 Laborer's International Union members with "force, violence and fear of physical and economic injury."

Charges against Mr. Coia were dropped when the Democratic National Committee informed the White House that Mr. Coia was one of the party's "top 10 supporters" and that Hillary Clinton was the keynote speaker at the union's annual leadership conference.

Whatever the Democratic Party has become, it is no Camelot. Voter profiles show that essentially 100 percent of homosexuals, lesbians, feminists, and class-action lawyers vote Democrat, as do 90 percent of professors, media, Hollywood, public employee unions and handicapped persons, 85 percent of blacks, 70 percent of Hispanics, and businessmen seeking protection against a government shakedown.

It is a party of disgruntled intellectuals, victims groups, thugs, haters, and crass opportunists who are united by a shared sense of moral superiority.

Bernard Schwartz is a leading light of Democratic fund raising. He heads the company, Loral Space and Communications that, according to news reports, transferred our secret multiple-warhead missile technology to China. So far, his bankrolling of the Clintons has kept him out of trouble.

When a first lady campaigning for the U.S. Senate from New York has to turn to Al Sharpton for support, you know gentility has left the Democratic Party. It fell to the New York Civil Rights Coalition and to the Congress of Racial Equality to point out to Hillary that Mr. Sharpton, who has made a career out of hating white people, is no Martin Luther King.

Joe Fowler wouldn't have been caught dead in the same room with Mr. Coia or Mr. Sharpton. Once a person comprehends the present-day Democratic Party, Bill Clinton is easy to understand. He is the best that Democrats can elect.

Paul Craig Roberts is a columnist for The Washington Times and is nationally syndicated.

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