- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 2, 2004

American progress?

Pick an outspoken Democrat like Howard Dean or the Rev. Jesse Jackson — or a disgruntled former Republican in the form of Arianna Huffington or David Brock — and they’re apt to be among so-called “progressives” participating in a three-day “Take Back America” conference starting today in Washington.

“In short, the conference will bring together all of the groups … independent of the Democratic Party to change the national debate, to challenge the right,” Campaign for America’s Future spokesman Toby Chaudhuri tells Inside the Beltway.

“It’s part of a movement taking shape on the left that is bigger than just winning back the White House,” he explains. “It’s a movement to change America.”

Additional names we’ve plucked from the conference registry at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel include billionaire philanthropist George Soros, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert B. Reich, National Organization for Women President Kim Gandy, Rock the Vote President Jehmu Greene,Human Rights Campaign President Cheryl Jacques, People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas, Common Cause President Chellie Pingree and Center for American Progress President John Podesta.

And to make sure organized labor gets its due in this liberally landscaped America, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, United Steelworkers of America President Leo Gerard and Laborers’ International Union President Terence M. O’Sullivan have all signed up for the conference.

Kerry’s ‘potatoe’

“I enjoyed your alluding to some of John Kerry’s slippery use of the language,” Jonathan Pitts of Baltimore writes of our recent list of “Kerryisms.”

“However, when it comes to pure malapropos, George Bush has nothing on the senator. I found it especially funny when [Mr. Kerry] called something or other the Bush team did as ‘the most unprecedented [attack] in the history of politics.’

“Being ‘the most unprecedented’ is like being ‘the most pregnant’ or ‘the most dead.’ That’s not nuance, it’s malapropism. If Bush had said it, they’d be all over him.”

Quote of the week

“Give ‘em hell, George.”

— George X. Ferguson, 84, of Salinas, Calif. — a retired U.S. Army major who was a battle-patrol commander and mortar-platoon leader and who served in Tunisia, Libya, Italy, France, Germany and Austria — shouting to President Bush as he took the stage at the National World War II Memorial dedication.

Walking weapons

The most dangerous weapons of mass destruction threatening this country today are suicide bombers.

Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, points out that no matter the weapon or delivery system — hijacked airliners, shipping containers, suitcase nukes or anthrax spores — operatives have to “enter and work in the United States” to carry out the attacks.

“In a very real sense, the primary weapons of our enemies are not inanimate objects at all, but rather the terrorists themselves — especially in the case of suicide attackers,” he says. “Thus keeping the terrorists out or apprehending them after they get in is indispensable to victory.”

As Mr. Krikorian quotes President Bush as saying, “Our country is a battlefield in the first war of the 21st century.”

Critical of kin

There are so many critics of George W. Bush these days that after the critics grow weary of criticizing the president they criticize each other. Case in point:

“One of the central charges made by left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore in his upcoming Bush-bashing film [‘Fahrenheit 911’] is being undermined by another critic of the president — former White House counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke,” says Marc Morano of CNSNews.com.

He notes that the film points to Mr. Bush’s rumored relationship with Saudi Arabia’s elite as the motivating factor in the president supposedly allowing relatives of terror mastermind Osama bin Laden to fly out of the country after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

“But Clarke recently admitted that he alone approved the exit of the bin Laden kin — damaging the key premise of Moore’s film,” says Mr. Morano.

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

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