The party of party poopers

Posted: Jan 22, 2005 12:00 AM

In the wake of the worst natural disaster in our lifetime, with a death toll exceeding 150,000, and as America is at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is hard to understand how anyone could engage in an extravagant celebration. Or pour money into such frivolous expenses as gowns, tuxedos and limousines when those dollars could be spent on food or medical care for the tsunami victims.

 And yet the Golden Globe Awards ceremony was staged as scheduled. The actresses were svelte and glamorous, the actors dashing and charming. There was nary a peep about the wrongness of holding a glitter-and-jewels event so soon after the tsunami. No liberal guilt dampened the mood when Hollywood feted itself.

 So I guess all those Democrats who say it is wrong for President Bush to hold inaugural balls because of the tsunami or the war -- they mournfully note that it is inappropriate for Washington to celebrate while others suffer, and spend money on parties when so much is needed for disaster relief -- are just sore losers looking for any excuse to bash Bush.

 Make that sore losers who are hiding behind other people's heartbreak and loss.

 Ask yourself this: If John Kerry had won the election, would the same people suggest that there be no celebration in Washington? Hardly.

 If America had gone blue, it would be party time. I remember a photo of TV producer Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and actress Markie Post jumping on Lincoln's bed in the Lincoln Bedroom when President Clinton reclaimed the White House after 12 years of GOP rule. When the blues win, they gloat. When the blues lose, they cook up some noble reason to rain on the other guy's parade.

 I don't expect hard-core Democrats to be happy about the election results. It's no fun losing. I know. I've been there. But I do expect them to show some respect -- for the voters and for a system that serves them well when they win. I expect them to remember that Clinton held inaugural balls after he sent U.S. troops to Bosnia in a pre-emptive incursion -- based, I'll add, on his unkept promise to keep troops in Bosnia for one year only. (Let me add that while I was skeptical at the time, history has shown that Clinton was right.)

 I expect the crybabies at to move on with the news that the President Bush won the election handily -- he's the first president to win a majority of the popular vote since 1988. And I expect people who complained that Bush didn't win the popular vote in 2000 to recognize he more than won it in 2004 and not look for reasons to discount those votes.

 While most Democrats have the good sense and manners to do so, there are notable exceptions, most notably California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer.

 For years now, she's been Little Bo Peep, California's backbench senator. And for good reason. Boxer won national fame railing against sexual harassment after Anita Hill charged that Clarence Thomas used lewd words with her. Then, Clinton came to town, and she had to change her act -- pronto. Enter Boxer's quiet years.

 Now, with her re-election in the bag, Bo Peep has come out of exile. First, Boxer made headlines as the only U.S. senator to contest Ohio's vote. She set out to prove she wanted every vote to count, by voting to invalidate some 5 million ballots.

 This week, Boxer took on national security adviser Condoleezza Rice during Senate hearings to confirm Rice as secretary of state. Boxer accused Rice of allowing her "loyalty to the mission" in Iraq to overwhelm Rice's "respect for the truth." To wit, Boxer asserted that the Bush administration's sole reason for sending U.S. troops to Iraq, and the Senate's sole reason for voting in favor of the Bush plan, was "WMD -- period."

 Apparently, Boxer's zeal has overwhelmed her respect for the truth. Just as Sen. John Kerry came up with the phony claim that there was language in the resolution calling President Bush to go to war only as a last resort, now Boxer claims the resolution was about "WMD -- period."

 The resolution does focus on weapons of mass destruction, but it also cites Saddam Hussein's repression of Iraqis, his aid to international terrorists and his many violations of the 1991 cease-fire agreement with United Nations.

 It's irritating that Boxer and Kerry figured journalists wouldn't read the resolution to check their claims -- and infuriating that they were right.

 So Boxer is right: Loyalty to mission can overwhelm one's respect for the truth. The only question is: What is her mission?

 Apparently, the mission is to beat the real enemy: successful Republicans.