WASHINGTON, D.C. -- It's an ironclad rule of American politics that being liberal means never having to admit you're wrong. It doesn't matter whether the issue is, unilateral disarmament, a philandering, perjuring president or lawsuits against Oreo cookies. Liberals are never wrong, and it's just plain "mean-spirited" to suggest otherwise.
Actor-turned-political-activist Sean Penn is brazenly taking this principle to new levels of absurdity by claiming in court that his outspoken opposition to the war in Iraq has made him a "blacklist" victim. And Judge Irving Feffer of the Los Angeles County Superior Court just may agree with him.
According to Penn's legal brief, the plot goes like this: Last year, Hollywood producer Steve Bing contracted with Penn to star in a film titled, "Why Women Shouldn't Marry." Having achieved fame as the pot-smoking surfer Jeff Spicoli in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and his brief gig as Madonna's husband, the ever-charming Penn was certain to bring a unique perspective to such a film.
Allegedly at Penn's behest, Bing, who has an interesting reputation of his own as the sire of actress Elizabeth Hurley's otherwise fatherless child, hired Woody Allen to doctor the script of "Why Women Shouldn't Marry." But, as Bing now tells it, that's when Professor Penn decided that he preferred the role of political polemicist to screen star.
First, Penn declared in a $56,000 "open letter" to President Bush in The Washington Post, "That bombing answered by bombing, mutilation by mutilation, killing by killing, is a pattern that only a great country like ours can stop." Then he embarked on a "fact-finding mission" to Baghdad, paid for by the leftist Institute for Public Advocacy, pursuing "a deeper understanding of this frightening conflict." And when he returned, Penn accused the Bush administration of "teaching a master class in the manifestation of rage into hatred."
According to Penn, the First Amendment protects all these erudite antics. But Bing, apparently concerned about getting a return on his investment from Americans who overwhelmingly support President Bush and our troops, asked Penn's agent for "assurances" that the actor "would stop making public statements about Iraq." Penn claims Bing left a voicemail message stating that "the public might be fooled by propaganda and take it out on you and me by not going to the movie."
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.