Oct 022002
Authors: Becky Waddingham

Democrats have been nothing but pathetic recently in their opposition to the Bush administration’s bellicose rhetoric. Save for former Vice President Al Gore, no major party player has really emerged as a vigorous, unfaltering voice of dissent, leaving the president and his hawks largely unchecked.

Tom Daschle, the Senate majority leader, lashed out at the president last week only after Bush’s ill-advised assertion that the Senate doesn’t care about the security of the American people.

Edward M. Kennedy, the Democrats’ lion in winter, only recently spoke out against the impending war in Iraq. Foreign Relations Committee chairman Joseph Biden has been largely quiet and complacent, two characteristics completely opposite his usually boisterous and vocal demeanor.

And now the party has to deal with the demise of its perhaps most embattled member, Sen. Robert G. Torricelli of New Jersey.

The Torch’s resignation late Monday opens doors for the Republican Party to regain its majority over the Senate and leaves Democrats desperate for a candidate with enough power, popularity and poise to defeat challenger Doug Forrester.

They’ve called upon Frank Lautenberg, a former New Jersey senator apparently willing to make a comeback. Rep. Robert Menendez and former NBA star/ex-senator/failed Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Bradley were apparently considered as well.

But the Jersey Dems bypassed at least one candidate who could have won by miles, engrossed the nation and stolen the hearts of New Jerseyites from Atlantic City to Seacaucus.

Why not tap The Boss himself? Stephen Colbert of the Daily Show suggested this the other day. At first I thought this was silly but now I’m all for the idea.

It’s hard to be a saint in the city, and no one knows this better than Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. These boys are born to run. Bruce has been a folk hero and bullhorn for the common man since the glory days of his career. My uncle used to see his concerts near Freehold, Springsteen’s hometown, after working long nights at the Fireplace in Paterson.

Springsteen is still on fire with his from-the-heart lyrics and pure rock sound. I dare anyone to deny that his newest CD, “The Rising,” is one of the best albums of the year.

Imagine what Senator Springsteen would be like. Long nights spent legislating could end with impromptu concerts, John McCain and others clamoring for “BRUUUUUCE!!”

The Boss is tougher than the rest; he wouldn’t be blinded by the light of political notoriety. This blue-blooded, born in the USA, working class hero would undoubtedly have fans coming all the way from the streets of Philadelphia and Darlington County to the polls.

The Democrats wouldn’t want to dance in the dark, meaning pollsters and party strategists would have to run The Boss’ campaign. That’s OK, because they could save money by having drummer Max Weinberg shore up the all-important Jewish vote.

But will Bruce rise up to the challenge? The Garden State needs someone without the sad eyes of the Torch, who whimpered and squirmed as he announced he would not run in November. Bruce is the kind of leader New Jersey needs.

I’d vote for him.

Killing Saddam Softly<p>

Ari Fleischer certainly has some gumption.

The White House flack said Tuesday that assassination of Saddam Hussein would be acceptable to the American government.

Asked at his regular daily briefing about Congressional Budget Office calculations of an Iraq war’s cost, Fleischer dismissed the exorbitant estimates (as much as $13 billion initially and $6 billion to $9 billion more per month) as unnecessary.

“I can only say that the cost of a one-way ticket is substantially less than that,” Fleischer said, apparently referring to exile for Hussein. “The cost of one bullet, if the Iraqi people take it on themselves, is substantially less than that. The cost of war is more than that.”

He added, “Regime change is welcome in whatever form that it takes.”

It’s not often that a White House spokesman takes the presidential lectern and advocates the deliberate slaying of a world leader.

Some have argued this was a misstep by Fleischer and the White House and that he shouldn’t have said such a thing.

But I would much rather have an Iraqi dissident knock off Saddam than have our military waste money, time and lives doing it much more slowly. Good for Fleischer, I say, for speaking what has undoubtedly been on many American minds.

Maybe Iraqi Kurds or others persecuted by Hussein will take a hint. Like Fleischer said, if they did, no one around the world would shed a tear.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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