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Thursday, April 03, 2003
William Bennett is my second least favorite self-appointed guardian of moral virtue. One mitigating factor that puts Bennett above another self-appointed virtue czar, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, is that at least with Bennett there are no nude photos taken of him by his paramour. I am very thankful for this because, by all appearances, the only sin of the flesh in which Bennett indulges involves bacon double cheeseburgers.
Let’s examine the charges made in the flyer. I’ll start with number four—Bennett’s involvement with a “megalomaniac cult leader”—I was referring to none other than Sun Myung Moon. One of the things that makes Bennett a paragon of anti-virtue has been his role in the attempt by the American right to rehabilitate Sun Myung Moon---a truly evil man. I don’t put Moon in the same category as Jerry Falwell, a simple con artist and huckster. Moon is a uniquely depraved individual. That didn’t prevent Bennett from giving credibility to Moon by accepting a generous speaking fee to appear before a Moonie front group.
Let’s discuss just a few of Moon’s transgressions against humanity: when he began exploiting religion in the 1950’s, he developed “purification rituals”—which conveniently involved deflowering naive young women (Ironically, the Bush regime is paying $450,000 in taxpayer money to the depraved billionaire for abstinence education). Moon hates democracy and the United States—referring to America as “the kingdom of Satan” (Bush also named Josette Shiner, a Moonie and former head of Bennett’s Empower America to the post of deputy U.S. trade representative; let me get this straight, Bennett hired someone from an America-hating cult to run his group that has the name “Empower America”?).
It just isn’t the United States and American democracy that Moon hates. Click here to view Moon’s bigoted views regarding blacks, Jews, women, gays, and others he doesn’t care for. Moon made religion a billion dollar racket—exploiting thousands of young people forced to peddle flowers while posing as charity workers. Moon also participated in the illegal entry of a Korean girl into the United States to become the “wife” of Moon’s son (Moon’s “daughter-in-law,” Nansook Hong spent the next fifteen years in hellish conditions)—Let’s add conspiracies involving statutory rape, immigration fraud, kidnapping and illegal detention to the list of Moon’s crimes (Moon also served time for tax evasion). However, William Bennett and, for that matter, George W. Bush believe Moon is the type of person who deserves their support.
Selective Morality. To Bennett, morality is not a matter of right versus wrong but right versus left. What makes Bennett particularly noxious is that he uses virtue and morality to club Democrats—while turning a blind eye to serious transgressions by Republicans. The 2000 campaign was a good example: Bennett joined the GOP chorus that Al Gore was a habitual liar in a Wall Street Journal column. The problem is like his fellow right-wingers, he exhibited more dishonesty than he claimed Gore exhibited. Contrast this with the discovery that George W. Bush was convicted of drunk driving and covered it up. Bennett immediately said that it would be an issue only if it was discovered that Bush lied about it. When it turned out that Bush lied about it, Bennett was silent.
Bennett’s hatemongering. Bennett discussed gays and lesbians on ABC’s This Week in 1997. He claimed that gay men have a life expectancy of 43. He also made this claim in a Weekly Standard article in which, ironically, he was accusing the Clinton administration of dishonesty regarding gays and AIDS. The 43-year lifespan claim was based on hatemongering posing as research by Dr. Paul Cameron, a notorious anti-gay crackpot. Elizabeth Birch of the Human Rights Campaign wrote a letter to the editor pointing this out. Instead of retracting his claim, Bennett, in a supercilious tone, cited another researcher to back up the statistic. The problem was that the research Bennett cited was nothing more than another anti-gay polemicist who was citing Cameron’s original flawed research (click here for a comprehensive article on the controversy). So much for Mr. Virtue’s regard for truth.
The war on drugs (read: the war on people who use certain types of drugs, not the types that Bennett has used) epitomizes what a heartless dick Bennett is. Bennett not only called for jail time for simple possession of weed, but he wrote an article for the Weekly Standard against medical marijuana; it was completely disingenuous. Bennett pointed out that not a single study showed the efficacy of marijuana in a medical context; what Bennett fails to point out is that the illegal status of weed prevented researchers from doing the research on its medical efficacy. One more thing, when Bennett became Drug Czar, he had to use a patch to wean himself off of nicotine. We had a Drug Czar who was also a drug addict.
Such ironies is not surprising to anyone familiar with Bennett. One final irony: the paperback edition of The Death of Outrage (Bennett’s diatribe against Clinton for getting his rocks off and not wanting to tell the world about it) was released right around the same time that Newt Gingrich announced that he was trading in Wife Number Two for a younger model. Wife Number Two was a younger model Gingrich had gotten in a trade-in when he gave walking papers to Wife Number One (who had to depend on alms from her church because Gingrich cut her off financially after she helped him get elected to the House). There were no denunciations of Gingrich by the Virtue Czar, because, to paraphrase Gary Kamiya, when it comes to Republican transgressions and Democratic ones, in the exalted nostrils of St. William, only the latter stink.