- The Washington Times - Monday, October 6, 2003

A sinner at the mourner’s bench can make a lot of noise, but true repentance is always good to see.

The feminists are stirring the sawdust in a frenzy to repent for having mindlessly defended Bill Clinton’s relentless groping, squeezing, patting — and maybe even raping — over a long career of taking his pleasure by feeling the pain of others.

Hundreds of Democratic women only yesterday imagined that the pain of Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick and Paula Jones (Monica Lewinsky doesn’t count) was but a small price to pay for a politician’s erotic amusement. Now they’re hysterical because the death penalty can’t be applied to Arnold Schwarzenegger for squeezing, patting and groping the female half of the Los Angeles telephone book. The offended ladies are themselves guilty of griping, but griping is a misdemeanor. Groping is a felony.

Standing just behind the feminists at the mourner’s bench are the tattletales of the media, many of them after-hours potheads and weekend junkies, all eager to get in their licks at Rush Limbaugh for resorting to the street market for painkilling pills to ease the agony in his ears. They, too, have seen the wickedness of their druggie ways and only want to help a fellow sinner to the sawdust trail. Hallelujah!

Arnold is still the odds-on favorite to win the California gubernatorial stakes if the recall succeeds. The polls suggest the race is tightening, but the recall still looks probable if not quite the lock it seemed a week ago. Gray Davis’ reputation as the master of the late hit and the deadline smear, however, is alive and well. He has help from the Los Angeles Times, which threw aside journalistic caution in its desperation to prevent the recall.

Gray’s black hand in this collusion emerged over the weekend with the identification of one of the agent-provocateurs as a one-time colleague of the governor’s and the sometime wife of the man who gave the governor his first job. The newspaper, which boasted that its reporters spent seven weeks dredging the sewers of Southern California in search of dirt, did not want to say exactly who was in charge of finding accusers.

The LA Weekly, a counterculture journal which rarely has kind words for Republicans, blew the whistle on the Times: “One of the three women in the [Los Angeles Times] story says she came forward at the urging of Jodie Evans, described by the Times as a peace activist and ‘co-founder of the women’s peace group Code Pink. …’

“Here’s what the newspaper should have said about [Miss] Evans: She is actually a former close colleague of Gov. Gray Davis, a longtime Democratic operative, and a friend of noted Democratic hit man Bob Mulholland. [Miss] Evans is also the ex-wife of Westside financier Max Palevsky, the man who gave Gray Davis his first job in politics as a fund-raiser in Tom Bradley’s 1973 mayoral campaign.

“Oops! Someone should have told John Carroll, the Times editor and anti-bias crusader.”

Oops, indeed. We’ve learned a lot about the priorities of the holy and the high-minded in this campaign. The story that Arnold is a sexual predator has grown (prosthetic) legs, if squeezing the occasional bottom and brushing against the odd boob constitute predatory behavior in the world of show-biz groupies and movie-set gofers. The other yarn, by the New York Times, that Arnold was a protege or wannabe or whatever of Joseph Goebbels if not Herr Schickelgruber himself, has faded from the media agenda. Only in our enlightened media age is brushing against a lady’s bosom or pinching her bottom a crime worse than celebrating der Fuehrer.

What it means to the California recall election will come clear late tonight. When celebrity is the end-all and be-all, a candidate like Arnold Schwarzenegger is what the culture ordered. But the Terminator’s appeal ranges beyond the mosh pit. A lot of Californians think he’s their last best hope for making the state affordable again. California can be almost heaven, to coin a slogan, but Gray Davis and the spendthrift Democrats are swiftly putting the good life beyond the reach of everybody but the millionaires and the illegal aliens who clean their swimming pools, collect their garbage and burp their babies.

These big-spending sinners have attempted in the dying hours of the campaign to make groping, and not California’s future, the pivotal issue. Maybe it is. The sign held aloft by a woman in Modesto over the weekend put it plain and simple: “Gray Davis groped me, and took my wallet.”

Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Times.

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