- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 5, 2001

"What has happened to the Democrats since the November election?" Thats what Barbra Streisand wants to know. In a three-page memo Miss Streisand sent to an unnamed cadre of Democratic Lawmakers Who Matter (serendipitously published this week by Roll Call), she poses the question by way of embarking on a political tour of the world according to who else? Herself. But who better than Miss Streisand, an artist living perpetually on the edge of the ultimate farewell tour, to interpret to feel the political landscape for all those feckless Democrats out there?
Its a looking-glass world Miss Streisand inhabits, an upside-down place where George W. Bush, not Al Gore, becomes notorious for having landed armies of political operatives in Florida; where soft-money abuse "is almost as prevalent among Democrats as it is with Republicans" and where the words "someone who goes back on his word" are supposed to apply to President Bush, not his slick predecessor. Miss Streisand goes on to describe a sorry place where Bill Clinton, noble thing, languishes in exile even as a "Republican revolution … is now sweeping all branches of government."
Meanwhile, she rather feverishly writes, George W. Bush "who stole the presidency through family ties, arrogance and intimidation, employing Republican operatives to exercise the tactics of voter fraud by disenfranchising thousands of black, elderly Jews and other minorities" is fooling all of the people all of the time. "They like him personally," she laments, while simultaneously "poisoning our air and water." "Look at his ratings," she writes. "How could such a destructive man be so popular with the American people?"
Miss Streisands answer: Its all the Democrats fault. "Some of you seem paralyzed, demoralized and depressed," she explains, cutting Democrats down. Why? The implication is clear: too much Clinton-bashing.
"I hope youre through arguing among yourselves and distancing yourselves from President Clinton… . How long will we continue to let the Republicans use the pardon issue as a tool of distraction? Why focus such attention on contributions to a Presidential Library Foundation? Clintons pardons have no impact on the health and welfare of the American people. What the Republicans are doing to our country does!" While the exclamation point is a nice touch, its not just a political lather that Miss Streisand is offering the Democratic leadership. She has ideas, too, some of which just might prove intriguing to a Tom Daschle or Dick Gephardt: "We should have one goal," she writes. "And thats to win back the House, Senate and presidency." Now, theres thinking out of the box.
The memo goes on (and on), alternately nagging and exhorting all those paralyzed, demoralized and depressed Democrats out there barely dragging themselves to work on Capitol Hill to "reach out to voters … to show them you care and we can win," she writes. "Lets act now and fight before its too late! I know you can do it." Signing off simply as "Barbra," she concludes a nearly uninterrupted arc of banality, broken only by abusive eruptions at Mr. Bush.
Obviously conceived in rush of Hollywood chutzpah to give Democrats hope for the future, the memo arguably does just that hope that the next time Barbra Streisand comes up with a political strategy, she sends a singing telegram.

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