I guess it didn’t take me too long to find my post for the day — in today’s New York Times, Jodi Wilgoren and Richard Stevenson report on the “full-throated battle” between the major party nominees after Thursday evening’s Democratic fundraiser:
A day after a $7.5 million Democratic fund-raiser in New York at which an array of stars harshly ridiculed President Bush, the Bush campaign criticized Senator John Kerry for what it called a “star-studded hate fest.” Mr. Bush’s campaign manager, Ken Mehlman, demanded that the Kerry campaign release a videotape of the event at Radio City Music Hall, which featured performers including Chevy Chase, Whoopi Goldberg and Jessica Lange.
Although Mr. Kerry had told the crowd at the New York fund-raiser that “every single performer” on the bill had “conveyed to you the heart and soul of our country,” his campaign on Friday sought to distance Mr. Kerry and his running mate, Senator John Edwards, from the anti-Bush jokes, lyrics and statements of some of the entertainers.
But it declined to release a videotape of the performance at which Ms. Goldberg, a bottle of wine in hand, made an extended sexual pun out of the president’s surname.
In other words, Kerry and Edwards laughed at the jokes before they frowned at them. Even Howard Dean had the good sense to state at a similar event for his campaign his dissatisfaction with the tone of the evening, and to do so immediately. Events like this fundraiser actually do quite a bit of public good; they separate Hollywood fools from their money and puts in the hands of working people, like ad agencies and so on. Even better, these public displays demonstrate just how out of touch, tacky, and downright gross Hollywood celebrities have become and dilutes their political impact.
Their refusal to make the performances available on videotape is also telling. They know that outside of the true believers gathered in New York for that hatefest, the material would tend to disgust the centrists they desperately need. All of this played well enough in 2000, when many people thought choosing a president to be somewhat irrelevant to their daily lives. In 2004, that’s changed. People have become serious while Hollywood wants to convince people it’s still just one big party.
Mary Beth Cahill, Mr. Kerry’s campaign manager, said that the candidates “do not approve of some of the remarks” but that “the performers had a perfect right to say what they said.”
Thank you for the complete non-sequitur. No one disputes they have a right to say what they did; what people question is their judgment. Why is it that every time the Left is critized for what they say, they wrap themselves in the First Amendment, as if it gave them some protection from the folly of their lips and pens? Whoopi had the right to stand up and compare Bush’s name to female genitalia. We have the right to call her a bloody idiot for wasting time on such puerile and obvious “jokes”, and to question the character and bearing of Kerry and Edwards for countenancing it at an official event for their Party.
Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards in turn intensified their own attacks on Mr. Bush, saying that his “values” on issues like Iraq, how much vacation time he takes and the Justice Department’s prosecution of Kenneth L. Lay, Enron’s former chairman and a former top Bush fund-raiser, showed him to be out of step with the American people.
Oho, this is just too rich. The two Senators who have missed the most votes over the past two years — Kerry has missed 90% of the votes in the Senate during that period — are critizing Bush for taking four weeks’ vacation? Working vacations, at that, as Presidents are on the job 24×7? This has to be a Karl Rove plant, right? Bush has initiated more legislation (through proxies) in three years than Kerry has in his entire 19-year Senate career. As far as Lay’s prosecution goes, it demonstrates that Bush will prosecute anyone who breaks the law, instead of issuing pardons for big-time contributors like Marc Rich. Too bad the Democrats don’t have that kind of track record.
If Kerry and Edwards want to take Bush on over values … well, you know the three words we’re thinking.