I survived the Democratic National Convention

By Larry Elder

Editor’s note: The following column contains language that may be offensive to some readers.

At the Democratic National Convention, Janeane Garofalo – comedienne, talk show host and liberal pundit – called me a “house Negro” and a “fascist.” Well!

For four days, the Democratic Party put on its quadrennial scare-old-people-and-minorities party. Democrats, of course, rely on the 90-plus percent monolithic black vote. Thus, a black “non-liberal” poses a direct threat to the party’s national prospects. When Garofalo agreed to a sit-down, she clearly knew nothing about me. When I defended the administration on the War on Terror, a frustrated Garofalo started to get up and leave, muttering, “This show sucks.” After I called her a coward, however, she sat back down and finished the segment.

After our interview, Garofalo began broadcasting her radio show on “Air America.” Several of my callers – I was still on the air at the time – said that Garofalo called me a “house Negro” and a “fascist.” Then something interesting happened. Garofalo’s people asked me to appear on her show. Would I agree?

I promptly said yes, after which I was informed that, no, they really had no time for an interview. What? After all, they asked me to appear, and when I promptly accepted, Garofalo’s people suddenly decided they could not fit me into their schedule! Here’s my speculation: Garofalo assumed that I feared appearing on her show. She extended an invitation in hopes that I would refuse. She then would go on the air, call me a coward and accuse me of fear in the face of hostility. Well, I called her bluff, and somebody backed down.

So, on my show I discussed the invitation-retraction and accused her of fear. Then, another one of Garofalo’s people came by, re-extended the invitation, and I again promptly accepted.

On Garofalo’s show, her co-host called John Ashcroft a “fascist.” “Fascist?” I said, “If John Ashcroft is fascist, what do you call Adolf Hitler – fascist-squared?” This brings up an interesting window into the mind of a liberal. Liberals frequently call John Ashcroft a “fascist” – Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, the Patriot Act, etc. Yet the very same people want gun control. Why is this inconsistent?

The Second Amendment recognizes a right to “keep and bear arms,” designed by the Founding Fathers to help prevent tyranny by government. If “fascist” Ashcroft wishes to trample on the Constitution, does this not represent the very tyranny by government that so deeply concerned the Founding Fathers? Some leftists see a movement toward a police state – the very thing the Founding Fathers wanted the Second Amendment and the armed citizenry to prevent – yet the very leftists also want further gun control. Some leftists distrust the government as to the First Amendment and the Fourth Amendment, yet apparently feel sufficiently secure that we need not fear tyranny from this “fascist” government.

Garofalo used a common tactic when losing arguments – malign your opponent. For example, former President Bill Clinton, during his DNC speech, said that he, President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney all “avoided” serving in Vietnam. That’s right. Clinton compares how he avoided the draft after receiving a draft notice to George W. Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard.

As I sat on “radio row” in Boston’s FleetCenter, and criticized Clinton’s comparison of his conduct to Bush’s, a man standing nearby shook his head from side to side in disagreement. During the commercial break, the man said, “You don’t really believe what you just said, do you?” To which I said, “No, sir, I just lied for seven minutes.” It went downhill from there. He asked whether I served, and to that irrelevant question, I asked him, “How much do you weigh?” My exasperated questioner ultimately walked away, but he first tossed his business card on my table and then called me an “a–hole.” I crumpled the card and threw it at him. Tough day.

How uncivil are Democrats? On the last day of the convention, I waited in front of my hotel for a taxi. Another woman, standing only a few yards away, noticed the media badge around my neck. “Media?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said. “How do you think the convention’s going?”

“You don’t really want to know how I think the convention is going,” she finally said, clearly uneasy. After all, she no doubt thought, “Is he one of us, or one of them?”

“Well, I may surprise you,” I said.

“Put it like this,” she said. “I’m from the South.”

“In other words, you support George W. Bush.”


“So do I.”

The woman and I then had an enjoyable conversation about politics, the convention and the prospects of re-election for George W. Bush. “Look,” she said, “I’m not afraid to say I’m a Republican. I just don’t have the time to deal with the silly, emotional arguments some of these hate-Bush folks raise. They seem to always end up calling names.” Aah, the tolerant, open-minded, thoughtful party.

See you in ’08.