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The chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Terry McAuliffe, has to be paid at least in part by Republicans. His buffoonery never stops, and he never appears on national television without the GOP gaining ground in the public opinion wars.

Now he has an understudy, California Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres. Together, these two have set a level of performance for party hacks so low as to make all future occupants of their offices appear skilled beyond belief.

On Sunday’s “Meet the Press” appearance, McAuliffe first admitted to routinely lying whenever he makes electoral predictions. His job is to say the Democrats are going to win, he said, no matter what the facts are in any particular race. This wonderful moment of candor for McAuliffe establishes what everyone has known for a long time – this Clinton-trained, Clinton-appointed talking head is a liar, and he’s not even ashamed to admit it. Give him credit for telling the truth just this once. It will be a useful clip to save and play the next time he unleashes a parade of falsehoods.

McAuliffe followed up this stunning admission with a description of Arnold Schwarzenegger as pro-choice, pro-homosexual and anti-gun. Now why would a practiced partisan like McAuliffe bother to describe Arnold this way? Because he’s counting on the Tombots to throw the California recall to Cruz Bustamante. Terry McAuliffe is counting on the die-hard McClintockistas to deliver the day to Cruz and the way left politics that Cruz represents.

Art Torres has been studying the Clinton-McAuliffe technique and, Friday last, he trotted it out on “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” opposite of the almost invariably upbeat and courteous California Congressman David Dreier.

But Dreier was on the hunt for Torres’ scalp Friday, and he got it with an assist from Matthews. Torres had labeled Arnold a “known sexual predator” earlier in the week, and neither Matthews or Dreier would let this scurrilous charge from a bottom-feeder pass, and credit to both of them for pressing the matter. Confronted with his shameful remarks, Torres could only filibuster and talk loudly over Dreier and past Matthews.

Both exchanged knowing looks that told the audience that Torres is part of the diseased hierarchy of the California Democratic Party – one that counts the hate-filled operative Bob Mulholland and the accent-attacking Gray Davis among its leadership. Torres just put on prime-time display his own brand of repugnant tactics, the sort which Democratic Attorney General Bill Lockyer – himself a screamer and a schemer – has branded “puke politics.”

As Campaign 2004 gears up, the Democratic Party is deep into a swamp of hard-left politics and brass-knuckled machine tactics. Contrast these performances with the upbeat optimism of Arnold and the dignified call to continued resolve in the war against the terrorists issued by the president on Sunday night. It is a comparison that bodes very well for the center-right in California and across the country.

What McAuliffe and Torres are telling you is that neither of them, nor the party they represent, nor the eventual nominee of that party for the president can be trusted to tell the truth. Not in small things and most certainly not in large ones.

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