- The Washington Times - Friday, October 14, 2005

Nobles: Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who, even at 80, hasn’t lost her iron courage nor her swagger.

Britain’s finest gathered in London Thursday night to celebrate Mrs. Thatcher’s 80th birthday with all the pomp befitting a royal ball. Perhaps that’s because Queen Elizabeth II showed up, escorted inside by none other than the birthday girl herself. Or it was because Mrs. Thatcher is one of the most important political figures of the 20th century and her erstwhile detractors saw fit to give her her due.

It was a rare public appearance for Mrs. Thatcher, officially a baroness, since she suffered a series of strokes a while back. She did travel to Washington last year to bid farewell to her longtime friend and comrade-in-arms Ronald Reagan. The image of the Iron Lady, dressed in black and standing beside Mr. Reagan’s flag-draped casket, was one of the most poignant of the ceremony.

The event was probably not all that grand for Britain’s conservative party, the Tories, however. Since booting Mrs. Thatcher out of office in 1990 (after 11 years) the Tories have fallen on hard times. Mrs. Thatcher’s immediate successor, John Major, is most notable for ushering in the era of Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Labor Party.

But that’s not Mrs. Thatcher’s concern anymore. She did what she could for Britain, and that was a lot.

For her 80th birthday and many more to come, Mrs. Thatcher is the Noble of the week.

Knaves: Al Gore, who waxes philosophical much more than he should.

Last week, Mr. Gore asked an audience in New York an odd question: “How many of you … have heard a friend or a family member in the last few years remark that it’s almost as if America has entered an ‘alternate universe’? ” Probably not as many as those who have heard a friend or family member remark that it’s almost as if Al Gore has entered an ‘alternate universe’.

Apparently, the center of that universe is Sweden, which makes sense. At an economic summit there this week, Mr. Gore told the crowd that America is “routinely torturing people.” Furthermore, if he had been president, America “would not have taken money from the working families and given it to the most wealthy families.” This is pure class-struggle demagoguery. As Bruce Bartlett noted in his column Wednesday in this newspaper, the cuts in marginal tax rates instituted since President Reagan took office 1981 have resulted in the rich paying a greater share of the tax bill.

Also, in Mr. Gore’s America, “we would not have invaded a country that didn’t attack us.” (Actually, they had been flouting U.N. Security Council resolutions for more than a decade. Saddam Hussein’s defiance included repeated attacks on American planes patrolling Iraq’s no-fly zone in an effort to prevent him from murdering more Iraqi Kurds and Shi’ites. )

Unfortunately for Mr. Gore, who has never had good timing, today millions of Iraqis are going to the polls to vote on a constitution. Helping them do so are American soldiers.

Because this would never have happened in Mr. Gore’s fantasy world, he is the Knave of the week.

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