Do the Democrats really want to join forces with Michael Moore? It sure looks like it. Last week, Moore's documentary film "Fahrenheit 9/11" opened in Washington with an audience that included Democratic National Chairman Terry McAuliffe, Sens. Tom Daschle, Barbara Boxer and Tom Harkin, Reps. Henry Waxman, Charles Rangel and Jim McDermott (who before the war said that he believed Saddam Hussein more than George W. Bush), and the 9-11 commission's most partisan member, Richard Ben-Veniste.
The film received a standing ovation. In Manhattan, Democratic National Committee Treasurer Maureen White hosted a showing of the film for local big contributors. Seldom have leaders of a political party promoted a commercial film so shamelessly.
But there are some serious problems with this documentary. In it, Moore says that President Bush arranged for members of Osama bin Laden's extended family to be flown out of the United States after Sept. 11. But former antiterrorism official Richard Clarke, no admirer of Bush, has said that he alone made that decision.
Moore says the bin Ladens were not processed by the FBI; the 9-11 commission says they were. Moore is misleadingly selective. He shows footage of Taliban leaders in Texas in the 1990s when Bush was governor. But they were invited by an oil company, not Bush. The Moore film offers footage of children flying kites in Iraq but is silent about Saddam's atrocities.
"The real problem with the film, the really offensive thing about it," writes blogger Jeff Jarvis, a Democrat, and not a Bush supporter, "is that in 'Fahrenheit 9/11' we -- Americans from the president on down -- are portrayed as the bad guys."
It's amazing that any politician, however opposed to Bush, would want to be associated with this film or its maker, a man who said shortly after the 9/11 attacks: "We, the United States of America, are culpable in committing so many acts of terror and bloodshed that we had better get a clue about the culture of violence in which we have been active participants."
As for the current situation in Iraq, Moore has said: "The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not ?insurgents' or ?terrorists' or ?The Enemy. They are the revolution, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow, and they will win." Are these messages Democrats really wish to embrace?