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Aristide Just Another Marion Barry

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Well, the media loves a good scandal. The problem is, since George W Bush has taken office, there just does not seem to be enough scandal to go around. In the late 1990s, not only did we have the dot com bubble, we also had the presidential scandal bubble, both of which burst around the same time.

Former Mayor Marion Barry was a fascinating part of the mid-to-late 90s, where you just never knew what was going to happen next with an elected official. As you probably remember, this former mayor of Washington D.C. coined some of the most memorable phrases of that period — other than the most famous quote, of course: “I did not have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinski.”

Here are a few of Marion Barry’s best:

“If you take out the killings, Washington actually has a very very low crime rate.”

“Bitch set me up.”

“I am clearly more popular than Reagan. I am in my third term. Where’s Reagan? Gone after two! Defeated by George Bush and Michael Dukakis no less.”

“The laws in this city are clearly racist. All laws are racist. The law of gravity is racist.”

“I read a funny story about how the Republicans freed the slaves. The Republicans are the ones who created slavery by law in the 1600’s. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves and he was not a Republican.”

But if you’ve been missing the former Mayor of DC, we now have a new former leader to take his place; former President of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. What is Aristide’s claim to infamy? None other than the secret American plot which toppled his government. Aristide accused the US government of engineering a “a coup and a modern day kidnapping” to remove him from office.

Even more humorous than Aristide’s lame story of his “forced” ouster is the fact that mainstream media sources seem to be taking his story seriously. The Washington Post is just one of many newspapers that has apparently decided to give serious attention to this wild claim.

What the media does not seem intent on, however, is asking the tough questions of Aristide that might really help determine what the truths are regarding Aristide’s flight from Haiti. For example, Aristide stated that on February 29, “U.S. troops were surrounding” his residence when Moreno arrived to talk to him about the situation in Haiti.

Well, obviously, when a US official arrives under the circumstances that we saw in Haiti at the time, US security and perhaps even the army will accompany them. This by itself is not beyond the pale. However, then Aristide goes on to say that “I know there were American military and maybe other militaries from other countries. I cannot say only Americans,” Aristide said. “But there were a considerable number.”

So, now the plot is not just of American origin, it has expanded possibly into other nations as well? Aristide’s importance grows by the second!

So, who is it that supports his story? Aristide’s aid, Franz Gabriel, who is also described as “a pilot” by the Post, and an American security guard who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Okay, two witnesses… Is that it? Just two? Hardly enough to take to court. Predictably, there are plenty here in the US who are ready to believe such a tale, including Rep. Maxine Water (D-CA) who has called for an investigation into the US role in Aristide’s ouster.

On C-Span radio, I’ve had the opportunity to listen to several Democrats (of course) who accuse the Bush Administration of a secret plot to have Aristide removed. But for what purpose? How does Aristide’s removal serve the President in any way? The fact is, with everything going on, it seems that this uprising in Haiti was a headache the President could have done without.

The situation is actually serving Democrats better than the administration in that it has now become yet another issue to flog the President with in hopes of winning back the presidency in November. And the Democrat’s hypocrisy on this issue is so bold and blatant that is absolutely astounds me how they can keep a straight face through all of this.

The fact is, Democrats criticize President Bush for not doing enough with the UN regarding the ouster of Saddam. Yet, with the Haiti situation, when the US immediately sought a multilateral resolution on Haiti, Democrats declare that he should have taken unilateral action to protect Aristide’s presidency.

The fact is, the moral of this story is simply this: Nothing that the President does will ever please the extremists in the Democratic Party. From the first day of his Presidency, Democrats became “The Party of Not-Bush.”

If the President comes out in support of an initiative then Democrats are against it. Before President Bush came to office, Daschle was fully in support for the partial privatization of Social Security. After Bush took office and expressed his support then, in Daschle’s eyes it became a “bad plan.” Before Bush took office, Democrats insisted that the issue of abortion not be used as a litmus test for judicial nominees. After he took office, its a legitimate litmus test.

In recent months, “The Party of Not-Bush” has morphed into “The Party of Anybody But Bush.” “ABB,” you’ll hear Democrats say; “anybody but Bush!” Never mind that it’s a complete slap in the face to Kerry, their soon-to-be crowned nominee for the November election. I’m sure Kerry appreciates hearing Democrats tell him something to the effect of “anybody but Bush and you’ll do.” Its why recent polls show that most Democratic voters are ready to vote against Bush more than for their candidate. If this will strangely negative approach to an election inspires Democrats to get to the polls in November is anybody guess.

Politics is fascinating stuff… Don’t you think?

David Flanagan

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