WASHINGTON -- When Ronald Reagan's former secretary of the Navy, James Webb, eked out victory against the Republican Sen. George Allen in Virginia, what did the Democrats gain? To be sure they gained control of the Senate. That has been widely noted. Less widely noted is the fact that they gained something infinitely more subtle, but delightfully more amusing as will become apparent in the months ahead. In Webb they gained yet another very unpleasant person as a conspicuous member of the party hierarchy. He will not be easily obscured. Webb now takes his place with Hillary Rodham Clinton, Dr. Howard Dean, Al Gore, Jean-Francois Kerry and so many other Democratic notables as a rebarbative blowhard with whom you would not want to share a gondola. Nor would a civilized American want to have any of these churlish cads to dinner or even as neighbors down the block. Just the other day one of Sen. Clinton's neighbors turned up with a gunshot wound. I would not be surprised if it were self-inflicted.
All of the above are demonstrably unpleasant individuals, known for their public temper tantrums, their rudeness to staff, their slipperiness with the truth and their occasional bizarre outbursts. The Republicans have a few such stinkers, for instance Newt Gingrich, but not nearly as many. It almost seems that to be a Democratic notable one has to be ill-tempered and, as I say, unpleasant.
Think back to Dean's historic scream and frequent public demonstrations of bile. Think of Clinton's and Gore's mendacious moments and lapses into self-absorption when public matters were at issue, for instance 9/11. Think of how often all of them have played the role of the bad sport after a failed election or, in Hillary's case, a visit to a grand jury.
Recall, if you will, Sen. Kerry's recent catastrophic joke on the campaign trail. To many Americans he seemed to be saying that our solders serving in Iraq are dolts. Call me naive, but personally I accepted his explanation that he merely botched a joke meant to imply that President George W. Bush is a dolt -- Bush, who, incidentally, graduated from Yale with a higher grade point than this intellectual mediocrity. Nonetheless, it was in Kerry's defense of his botched joke that he revealed his unpleasant essence. He snarled that, "I apologize to no one." In his hastily called press conference he went on to pout, "I'm not going to stand for it." And he went on in his bullying diatribe to thunder, "I'm sick and tired of a bunch of despicable Republicans … Enough is enough. We're not going to stand for it." For what? For perceived mistreatment from "these Republican hacks who've never worn the uniform of our country … " blah, blah, blah.