BILLIONAIRE AND INTERNATIONAL FINANCIER George Soros, who is bankrolling the campaign against Bush, yesterday compared the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal to the attacks of September 11. "I think that those pictures [of prison abuse] hit us the same way as the terrorist attack itself--not quite with the same force, because in the terrorist attack, we were the victims. In the pictures, we were the perpetrators and others were the victims," he said. "But there is, I'm afraid, a direct connection between those two events, because the way President Bush conducted the war on terror converted us from victims into perpetrators."
Soros also accused Bush administration officials of being "American supremacists," and claimed the United States went to war "on false pretenses." He stated that there was "no connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda," and that America did not go to war "for the sake of the Iraqi people." Senator Hillary Clinton introduced Soros in front of a packed ballroom and commended him for his fearlessness and generosity. In her 20-minute speech she, to whoops of delight from the audience, likened the president to the robber barons of the late-19th century and warned the audience about the conservative media machine: "Now, you're going to hear, if you haven't already, many, many attacks on George Soros. . . . And, you know, we have two kinds of media left, it seems to me. We've got the so-called mainstream media . . . and then we've got the advocacy media that is turning war into propaganda."
OVER 2,000 PROGRESSIVES from across the country paid a $175 registration fee and flocked to the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington this week for the Take Back America conference, to do a bit of propagandizing of their own, and, of course, to rescue America from those pesky conservatives. The conference--sponsored by the activist group Campaign for America's Future--began Wednesday, June 2, and concludes this afternoon. Attendee Chris Maroul, of Houston, Texas, planned his summer vacation around the conference, and was one of the first in line at the registration table Wednesday morning. "I needed to use up my vacation time from work and went online to see what was going on in D.C.," he said. There, he stumbled upon the conference information. "It was meant to be," said Maroul, who wore an eye-catching T-shirt, which read, on the front: "The Few, The Loud, The Peaceloving Texas Liberal." And on the back: "In Houston, they refer to me as that ******* liberal."
None of the people who attended or spoke at the conference could top the comments of Soros, but many came close. Howard Dean, who entered the ballroom to Elvis Presley's "A Little Less Conversation" and a screaming audience holding up torn "Howard Dean for America" signs, joked about Bush's ambitious space program. "We agree the president . . . should definitely go to Mars. He'll need some help, so we'll send John Ashcroft along with him. [As of this morning], we already sent George Tenet there ."
Wait, there's more. In a conference session entitled "The Populism Moment," national radio commentator Jim Hightower teamed up with nationally syndicated columnist Arianna Huffington, and Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) to tell us what we common people really need: John Kerry to be our next president. Naturally, it was an hour of unadulterated Bush-bashing. Here are some of the comments Hightower bestowed upon his audience, whom, he said, had gathered at the conference "under the regime of King George the W. and his autocratic, plutocratic, anti-democratic regime of thieves in high places":
* "George Bush is nuts."
* "I don't care if John Kerry is a sack of cement; we're going to carry him to victory."
* "Battling the bastards [conservatives] is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on."
After Hightower, the mediator made jokes about Dick Cheney having an "undisclosed heart attack" somewhere. Then it was time for Huffington to take the stage. In the middle of her glib remarks, a telling anecdote appeared. Last year, Huffington ate Christmas dinner with some Greek-American friends, during which she had an interesting conversation with their 11-year-old son, Constantine. Constantine, a Bush supporter, told Huffington that he could convince her to vote for Bush in the upcoming election, and that he could do so by asking her two simple questions: (1) Do you want to keep more or less of your money? and (2) Do you want to get serious about the war on terror? Needless to say, Constantine didn't change Huffington's mind. She thought the clever lad was "asking the wrong questions."
Erin Montgomery is an editorial assistant at The Weekly Standard.