Outside View: One man's hero...

CLIFF SCHECTER, Special to United Press International

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Sometimes it's just tough to be a Democrat. In the 1960's, we had to watch as Barbarella crossed enemy lines in Vietnam and met with those who killed American soldiers, while at home the McGovern and McCarthy wing of the party condemned these same American patriots.

In the 1980's, we had to listen as Maxine Waters waxed imbecilic about the CIA's drug empire in South Central Los Angeles. And today, we cringe as a whole host of left-wing appeasers apologize for barbaric murderers, who on September 11th launched that courageous sneak attack on secretaries, financial analysts, and Windows of the World diners.


While one can try and dismiss those who oppose our involvement in Afghanistan and attend anachronistic peace rallies as a small misdirected minority, their ignorance concerning our current predicament is still unnerving enough, for those of us who share the same party identification, to wonder what in God's name they are thinking.

The best example of their callow thinking is in the person of the Capo Di Tutti Capo of the peace movement, Democratic Representative Barbara Lee of California.


In the obvious wisdom gained from her two whole years in Congress, Ms. Lee saw fit to cast the sole vote in opposition to 420 of her colleagues in the House, and oppose giving George W. Bush and our country the power to wage war in Afghanistan. And to add insult to injury, she was treated as a movie star upon returning to her district in, you guessed it, Berkeley, California, where apparently, dishonoring our dead and not protecting the living is what passes for heroism these days.

Among the raucous 3,500 attendees at a parade thrown in her honor was actor Danny Glover, which is understandable, with his obvious aversion to violence displayed in the Lethal Weapon films.

Participants in this lovefest used words like "courageous" and "inspiring" to describe their brave Congresswoman, even though if Bin Laden had killed 5,000 trees or whales most of them would be calling for the apocalypse. All joking aside, these are the moments in time that make mainstream Democrats wheeze and cough in our collective memory of the pre-1990's Democratic Party. Just like when the far left reflexively opposed a 1994 Crime Bill because it sought to punish violent criminals, and a Welfare Reform bill that enunciated the radical proposition that the able-bodied should work.


In the 1990's Democrats took a different path, concentrating on economic growth over income redistribution, providing a safety net with incentives to escape it, valuing the rights of the victim over those of the criminal, and yes, restoring America's place in the world as a country that would use force to protect the interests of our allies, the needy, and most importantly our countrymen. I am not sure there could be any clearer national interest than wiping out the organization of a homicidal despot who has declared war on the innocent.

Luckily, Barbara Lee and her ilk have no power to stop this effort, but as a Democrat, when I see the atavistic forces of my party rearing their ugly mugs, I might have to steal the pro-choice movements' slogan as our mantra. WE WILL NOT GO BACK.

Thankfully, Lee did not get away with this vote scott free, as Audie Bock, a former state assemblywoman, has now said that she will challenge Ms. Lee in the March 2002 Democratic Primary. Bock recently changed her registration from the Green Party to the Democrats for this challenge, most likely making this the only district in the country where the Green Party is to the right of the Democrats. I guess for once in my life, I will be rooting for the Greens.


-- Cliff Schecter is a Democratic political consultant and writer who lives and works in Washington, D.C.

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