Democratic Sen. Robert Torricelli's announcement that he was pulling out of the New Jersey Senate race this week looked like a confession of guilt in a Soviet show trial. In the reflection of his dewy eyes, you could almost see Terry McAuliffe mouthing the words to him from the audience. Especially the part where he paid tribute to the great Bill Clinton, to whom Torricelli evidently owes his deeply ingrained sense of ethics.
Torricelli will leave public office with just the clothes on his back, a Rolex watch and other assorted jewelry, a TV set, a couple of racks of Italian suits, some Jets tickets, a grandfather clock and three paper sacks filled with small, unmarked bills.
But the Democrats had no qualms with the gifted senator (get it?) until he fell behind in the polls. Only then did the call come for Torricelli to withdraw. It had to be done. A woman's right to kill a child is on the line! If Torricelli loses, the Senate could tip to the Republicans, which would be a disaster of unspeakable consequence.
Specifically, Democrats will not be able to obstruct the president in performing his constitutional duty to appoint judges. A vacancy on the Supreme Court could materialize and, against overwhelming historical odds, Bush's appointee might be one of five votes to strike down Roe v. Wade. Then – God forbid – the public would be allowed to vote on an important issue! In some of the less-enlightened states, the public might not recognize the fundamental human right to suck the brains out of little babies.
Apart from treason, this is all the Democratic Party stands for anymore.
Republicans can only marvel at the Democrats' gall and Stalinist party discipline. Vernon Jordan is probably on the phone to Revlon right now trying to get Torricelli that nice job once designated for Monica. If Republicans played like Democrats, President Bush would have offered Torricelli an ambassadorship not to withdraw from the race.
The Democrats' 11th-hour switch is in violation of state election law, which puts a 51-day limit on withdrawing from an election. This is not a random filing requirement. Torricelli's Republican opponent, Douglas R. Forrester, has designed an entire campaign – polls, advertisements, issues – on the assumption that he was running against a specific candidate. As soon as his campaign against that candidate began to work and he pulled ahead, Democrats switched the candidate.
One may assume that violating the law did not even break the Democrats' stride. The nettlesome part must have been explaining to Torricelli that he was to be replaced by former Sen. Frank Lautenberg – whom Torricelli famously, and not without justice, despises.
This entire spectacle is a sham. If Lautenberg is elected, he will resign so that the Democratic governor can appoint a replacement. Torricelli was a place-holder for the campaign, and now Lautenberg will be a place-holder for the election.
Democrats wail about every vote counting when they need to steal votes after an election. But in New Jersey they won't even tell the voters who the candidate is. If Democrats could get away with it, they'd claim to be running "Ronald Reagan" in all elections and then fill the seats with the equivalent of James Carville.
(Perhaps the Democratic governor could recycle another of his appointees, New Jersey's poet laureate Amiri Baraka, who has been causing a stir lately with poems about how the Jews bombed the World Trade Center.)
When Strom Thurmond was approximately 150 years old, the Republicans couldn't get him to resign just two years early to ensure that a Republican governor would appoint his successor. Republicans couldn't even get all Republican senators on board to remove a Democratic president who was a known felon and probable rapist. Meanwhile, not one Democratic senator diverged from the party line on Clinton.
Democrats insist that their losing candidates be taken off the ballot 38 days before an election – if that will help them win a majority in Congress. They keep dead candidates on the ballot – if that will help them win a majority in Congress. They put conservative candidates on the ballot in the South and Midwest – if that will help Democrats win a majority in Congress.
Two days before Torricelli "decided" to pull out of the New Jersey race, Pasty Mink, a Democratic congresswoman from Hawaii, died of pneumonia. Unlike Torricelli, Mink is evidently irreplaceable. The Democrats have insisted that her name remain on the ballot. It will cost the taxpayers of Hawaii millions of dollars to run a special election if she wins.
When Democratic Senate candidate Mel Carnahan died in a plane crash just three weeks before the 2000 election, his wife, Jean, volunteered to be appointed to the seat if he won. Carnahan was behind in the polls before the plane went down, but in an outpouring of sympathy for the grieving widow, the dead man won an upset victory.
Now, two years later, the widow is again campaigning on the slogan: "Keep the flame alive." That's considered a good issue in a Senate campaign. Talking about the war is a dirty campaign trick.
While Democrats encourage voters to ignore the Democrats' position on the war in the upcoming congressional elections and instead to concentrate on tiny local issues – such as sympathy for the candidate's deceased husband – it is they who have nationalized all congressional elections. As the New Jersey scam proves, it's all about control of Congress.
In a gallant statement celebrated as The New York Times' Quote of the Day, Torricelli said: "I will not be responsible for the loss of the Democratic majority in the United States Senate." He also won't end up on the Clinton death list now either. Nor will Saddam Hussein if Democrats have their way. The only items remaining on the Democrats' death list are honest elections and a million unborn babies.