- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Cuckoo’s nest

Just when he thinks he’s heard the most outrageous Democratic conspiracy theory, Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay finds himself agog again.

“The Democrats’ hateful, moronic comments are beyond the pale — and the Democrats know it — but they don’t care, because they have nothing to offer the public debate but rage, resentment and quackery,” reacts the Texas Republican, responding this time to Democratic presidential contender Howard Dean’s suspicion that President Bush was warned ahead of time about September 11th.

“Reading this stuff,” he says, “one wonders if the 2004 Democrat Party platform is tentatively titled, ‘Dean Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.’”

Among other conspiracies about which Mr. DeLay has expressed outrage:

• Sen. Ted Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, on Operation Iraqi Freedom: “This was made up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically. The whole thing was a fraud.”

• Rep. Jim McDermott, Washington Democrat, on Saddam Hussein’s capture: “There’s too much by happenstance for it to be just a coincidental thing. I don’t know that it was definitely planned on this weekend, but I know they’ve been in contact with people all along who knew basically where he was.”

• Rep. Robert T. Matsui, California Democrat, on U.S. troops sent to Iraq: “The war was to an extent to take attention from the economy.”

Never too late

Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat, is celebrating the capture of Saddam Hussein this week by inserting into the Congressional Record two previously published newspaper op-ed columns from The Washington Post that “received far too little attention.”

The first opinion piece was penned by Richard Haass, formerly director of policy planning at the State Department who, as Mr. Frank reads it, believes the Iraqi war was motivated not by a fear of weapons of mass destruction or of the need to combat terrorism, but rather as a conscious policy choice in service of the Bush administration’s view of the world.

“While I was disappointed that more attention had not been paid to this, I was not surprised to see … a very thoughtful article by Lawrence J. Korb underlining exactly how significant Mr. Haass’s article was,” Mr. Frank continues.

Mr. Korb, a former assistant secretary of defense under President Reagan, wrote that he agreed with Mr. Haass that the ongoing war is directly contrary to earlier rationale given by President Bush and his top officials.

As for his questionable timing of inserting the pair of articles, Mr. Frank states: “The adage better late than never is relevant.”

Bush the bully

These days President Bush is blamed for just about everything — including a popular video game that stereotypes Haitians and Cubans.

“This despicable video game portrays Haitians as ugly criminals and lower forms of human life who must be obliterated once and for all,” Rep. Kendrick B. Meek, Florida Democrat, says of the Rockstar Inc. video game “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.”

“What makes this matter even more offensive is that by its immigration policies and pronouncements, the Bush administration fosters a view of Haitian asylum seekers as potential terrorists rather than bona fide refugees,” the Democrat adds.

This columnist doesn’t play video games, but according to the congressman, to win the game the player — an ex-convict — is hired to recover stolen drug money on the streets of Miami and in his pursuit faces police officers and gangsters from Cuba and Haiti. Armed with a machete, knife, gun and baseball bat, the game urges players to “kill the Haitians” and “kill the Cubans.”

Overall feeling

We picked a unique day yesterday to view more than 230 daily newspaper front pages from more than 30 countries that are displayed over the Newseum’s award-winning Web site — newseum.org.

“This exhibit supports the Newseum’s mission of helping the public better understand the press by allowing people to see how different newspapers cover the same story,” says Peter S. Prichard, president of the Newseum. “If you take the time to really look at these front pages, you’ll begin to comprehend the wide variety of editorial decisions that are made every day.”

Except that yesterday a clear majority of newspaper editors around the world appeared to be in agreement with President Bush’s assessment of the captured Saddam Hussein, or so we gather from their identical headlines: “Good Riddance.”

Quote of the week

“But most of all, I will truly miss the other half of the Kosher-Cajun Caucus and I hope someday to join him for bagels on the bayou.”

Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, reacting to news that Sen. John B. Breaux, Louisiana Democrat, will retire at the end of this congressional session.

John McCaslin, a nationally syndicated columnist, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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