IN OTHER WORDS...

By Oren Rawls

Published September 19, 2003, issue of September 19, 2003.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Picture This: Partisanship may be a staple of pre-election years, but this year’s candidate-bashing by the media seems to have a particularly nasty flair to it.

Take, for instance, John J. Miller’s cover story in the September 1 issue of the conservative National Review, titled “The Awful Specter of Yet Another Term.” The article takes aim at Senator Arlen Specter, the senior of the three Jewish Republicans in Congress.

“The 73-year-old Specter is one of the Senate’s best-known but least-liked members,” Miller reports, characterizing the Pennsylvania Republican as “a humorless man who is cold to colleagues and cruel to staff.”

Specter is facing a strong challenge in his bid to win a fifth term from conservative Rep. Pat Toomey. National Review, in a thinly disguised endorsement of the challenger, explains why the senator, moderate by GOP standards, is not fit to carry the Republican Party mantle.

“The problem for conservatives is that Specter isn’t their jerk nearly enough,” Miller writes, in reference to a 1992 stump-speech quote by conservative stalwart Paul Weyrich that “Arlen Specter is a jerk, but he’s our jerk.” “He is an abortion-rights absolutist, a dogged advocate of racial preferences, a bitter foe of tort reform, a firm friend of the International Criminal Court — the list is long.”

To the conservative observer, though, Specter’s most egregious mistake was to break party ranks by not voting President Clinton guilty of impeachable crimes in the Monica Lewinsky affair. Even worse, the senator and former Warren Commission lawyer is unapologetic: To wit, Miller reports, “two pictures of Clinton decorate the foyer of Specter’s Senate office.”

Criticism of Specter’s interior decorating is, of course, old news for avid Forward readers. In our July 18 issue, he was scored by an anonymous Pennsylvania Jewish communal leader for displaying on his office wall a framed photo of the late Syrian dictator Hafez al-Assad.

To Specter’s critics, it seems, the senator just doesn’t get the picture.

* * *

Bush Whacked: Critics across the aisle were no less charitable in their barbs against the resident president.

Here’s how John Nichols handicaps the field of Democratic presidential hopefuls in the September 29 issue of the liberal magazine The Nation: “While the other candidates continue to position themselves as the progressive populist (Kucinich), the mainstream liberal (Kerry), labor’s champion (Gephardt), the women’s rights contender (Moseley Braun), the civil rights contender (the Rev. Al Sharpton), the vaguely Clintonesque Southerner (North Carolina Senator John Edwards), the serious senior senator (Florida’s Bob Graham) or the Democrat even a Republican could love (Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman), Dean is satisfied to run as the guy who really, really wants to put it to Bush.”

And that, Nichols argues, is the essence of former Vermont governor and current Democratic frontrunner Howard Dean’s electoral appeal.

“To a greater extent than any other candidate, Dean has recognized that what Democrats want in 2004 is a Bush-bashing populist,” he writes. “If Dean is to be displaced, it will be by a candidate who does a better job of convincing grassroots Democrats he or she will give Bush no quarter and, when the opportunity comes, deliver the knockout blow.”






Find us on Facebook!
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.