`Go Away, Little Boy, You're Bothering Us'

By Pruden, Wesley | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), June 9, 2000 | Go to article overview

`Go Away, Little Boy, You're Bothering Us'


Pruden, Wesley, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Everybody got a piece of little Elian Gonzalez. There's less to send back to Fidel Castro than there used to be.

Fidel got a live trophy, seized from the toothless Uncle Sugar. Bill Clinton got an assurance that Fidel won't flood Florida with robbers and rapists from his prisons, sinking Al Gore the way he sank Gov. Bill Clinton in Arkansas an eon or two ago.

Greg Craig, who is but two ambulances short of a shyster, got a high-profile client, even if he did have to mooch his fee from Democratic fat cats in Georgetown after the National Council of Churches, a refuge of dying congregations with empty pews, was forced by internal outrage to balk at coughing up the dough. The odious Rev. Joan Brown Campbell, all bosom and bombast bereft of a pulpit to call her own, got an unexpected 15 minutes of fame for her part in dispatching little Elian back to her favorite satrapy, where he won't eat nearly as well as she does.

Janet Reno got to be of some further use to Bill Clinton in the last days of his disgraced presidency, maybe enough to shore up her pension and health-insurance benefits as the sordid facts of Al Gore's escape from prosecution paint a legacy of corruption at the Justice Department.

The agents of the Immigration and Naturalization Service got to play with their guns, pretending to be at Omaha Beach, playing war not against evildoers their own size but against frightened women and a terrified little boy. (When the Justice Department put out a thrilling tale of its manly agents this week, hearts pounding at how brave they were, their names were omitted so they could hide.)

Even the Republicans got a piece of Elian. They practiced their rhetoric, empty as usual and more squeak than roar, a prelude to the inevitable climb-down. Tom DeLay's outrage and Dennis Hastert's anger subsided when the polls told them that doing something to help Elian would undermine their slogan for this fall: "Vote Republican. We're not as bad as you think."

Rep. Steve Largent of Oklahoma got the biggest Republican piece of Elian. Mr. Largent had dug himself into a hole as a member of the com mittee choosing the new House chaplain. In an interview with the Catholic candidate, he asked whether the priest's clerical collar might offend Protestants. Such a question would not have raised an eyebrow in rural Oklahoma, where Protestants and Catholics are grown-ups and engage each other in real conversation, but in contemporary urban America, where finding offense has become a growth industry, Mr. …

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`Go Away, Little Boy, You're Bothering Us'
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