- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 16, 2003

If Wesley Clark gets in the race for (vice) president, the missus had better pack a good lunch for him. Giving national Democrats cover for being too timid to deal with the world’s evil will be an all-day job.

Democrats, once the scourge of tyrants and ferocious defenders of the nation’s interests in a world cold and hostile to the human yearning for freedom, have jettisoned the tough can-do realism of FDR, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy. Modern Democrats insist on confronting thugs and tyrants with tea and sympathy.

This approach was expressed indelibly by Michael Dukakis in 1988, who, when asked during the debates with George H.W. Bush how he would deal with a rapist in his wife’s bedroom, offered to set up a blue-ribbon commission to study the root causes of crime. Poor Kitty Dukakis was to be left in her nightie to deal with the brute while the little Duke hurried off in search of ribbons.

Howard Dean, a Protestant who is rearing his children as Jews in deference to his wife’s faith, would extend servile respect to the killers of Jews. He regards Hamas, finally recognized even by the European Union as a gang of cutthroat terrorists who have spilled the blood of thousands of innocents, as “soldiers,” worthy of the homage paid to their Israeli foes.

While the rest of us, Democrats and Republicans alike, spent this September 11 mourning those whom we must never forget, Sen. Patty Murray of Washington presided over a fund-raising breakfast for “a small group of supporters” who were hungry enough on a day of national remembrance to pay a thousand dollars for a plate of bacon and eggs.

Her Republican antagonists couldn’t resist saying the obvious things — “I think this says a great deal about Senator Murray’s judgment and priorities,” the state Republican chairman told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer — but Democrats as well gagged on her lack of sensitivity to the nation’s feelings. One of her strategists had urged her, in vain, to be a little more circumspect.

Mzz Murray, who expects to be locked in a tight race for survival, has clearly had enough of the mourning, the remembering, the reflecting, the tears and all that jazz. “I woke up [on September 11] with a sense of sadness of what happened two years ago,” she told her hometown newspaper. “Certainly I weighed everything I did against that, as I’m sure every American did. Every American works through that day in their own way.”

So when most Americans set out to work through their sadness and melancholia by remembering the broken families, the grieving widows and bereft children, the cops and the firemen who gave up their lives attempting to save others, she set out to work through her sadness, such as it was, by using the day to fleece fat cats on Capitol Hill. The breakfast was held between 8:30 and 9:30, spanning exactly the hour two years earlier when the first planes hit the World Trade Center towers, so that anyone with a thought for the slain Americans could have 10 seconds of private silence between the grits and a fourth slice of bacon. It’s not as if the lady was greedy. She did refrain from sending aides to pass the hat at ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery.

Some of her friends at home can’t understand what could upset anybody. “This is an issue that plays in Washington, D.C., but it’s just not playing in Washington state,” says a Democratic strategist in Seattle. “With all due respect to the tragedies, there is a saturation point where the heart can’t bleed any longer. I think most people are trying their best to move on. Most people now, when it comes to news of fund-raisers, most people’s eyes just glaze over.”

What Mzz Murray is counting on is that most people’s eyes “just glaze over” when they hear another example of how liberals are deaf to the music of America. Patty Murray and her like-minded friends live on a planet unknown to astronomers. She set off a mild uproar last year with her suggestion that Osama bin Laden, recognized as an evil monster by the civilized world, is more “popular” than George W. Bush because he builds roads and schools and day-care centers and the Americans and their allies do not. (Whoever heard of an American with charity in his heart?)

Wes Clark thought Kosovo was tough, but providing cover for the likes of Howard Dean and Patty Murray will require someone with something stronger than a soldier’s stomach.

Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Times.

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