July 12, 2004

Whoopie does Radio City

Every political party suffers its fools, and a thick majority of the Democratic Party’s imbeciles hail from the world of entertainment. It therefore should not surprise anybody that last Thursday’s star-studded gala for the Two Johns featured some of the silliest political dialog since Pat Paulsen died.

The event not only raised $7.5 million for Team Follicle, it also provided a moment in the spotlight for D-list celebrities who have been exiled to Hollywood Squares or the social register of the Hamptons. Whoopie Goldberg made fun of naughty parts and thought herself clever. Chevy Chase (oh, if only he had gone into seclusion after Saturday Night Live!) delivered the worst monologue since he left late-night T.V. John Mellencamp rewrote a song so as to describe the president as a murderous cur.

Republicans swiftly declared themselves shocked and insulted, but who cares? This event should not have evoked anger and rage, but chest-shredding pity.

Who could not feel for Jon Bon Jovi, who these days can only dream of outselling William Hung? And what stony soul would not feel a stab of mortification on behalf of Jessica Lange, who declared she would do everything short of sacrificing her daughters to ensure the defeat of the president, who apparently does not meet her exacting standards for global leadership? What next? A thoughtful sermon from Bobcat Goldthwait?

This kind of thing is nothing new. Grand and noble parties have fallen prey to the impulse to engage in fatally silly behavior; so have such aptly named outfits as the Know-Nothings (official name: the All American Party). But the meltdown at Radio City was made possible because the party’s grown-ups, for whatever reason, have just walked away.

Gone are the wonkish think tanks that dream of reinventing government. Absent are senior statesmen who pour oil on the roiling waters, so as to calm the faithful and prevent the party itself from getting swamped by the rages and enthusiasms of its zealots. (Bill Clinton tried for a couple of weeks, but then gave up.) Professors are out; film school dropouts are in.

Hollywood’s illiterati glitterati have become the Donkey Party’s intellectual and emotional engine, and Michael Moore’s "Fahrenheit 9/11" has become the moral equivalent of a party platform. The electioneering to date comes to the following propositions: George Bush is a homicidal liar and John Kerry is, um, not George Bush and John Edwards is, um, not John Kerry.

That’s it. One looks in vain for a single declarative statement outlining the Dream Team’s concrete vision for America’s future. They promise to hold values and coddle Europeans. But what does that mean?

We’ll have to wait for the next Michael Moore movie to find out.

What about Dick Cheney?

There’s a never-fail response to those who criticized last week’s Kerry-Edwards Slurstock: “What about Dick Cheney, who barked to Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy: ‘F--- you!,’ and did so on the floor of the august U.S. Senate! He’s the vice president! That’s much worse than bilge from Mary J. Blige!”

Here’s the short answer: The vice president was engaged in a private conversation with a man who has behaved shamefully for, oh, a dozen years. And the vice president should have found a more decorous way to express his displeasure.

That said, Dick Cheney didn’t condone anybody’s accusations of murder, treachery, dishonesty, etc. — as did the Two Johns. But like the Hair Club for Democrats, he also declined to apologize.

Bad move.

"The Tony Snow Show" will continue to follow the race for the White House and all its twists and turns, so stay tuned.

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