Back when the world still cared about Gary Condit (which
is to say, not too long ago), the politically conservative comic-strip duck
Mallard Fillmore doled out some predictable partisan criticism: "Before the
Chandra Levy story, ABC, NBC and CBS usually referred to Congressman Condit's
party affiliation! Now 92% of the time, they don't!" Dramatic pause. And then,
"I'm not sure whether that reflects their liberal bias or if they just figure
that once you say 'intern' and 'affair,' saying 'Democrat' is sort of redundant."
Benbrook Lake near Fort Worth, Texas, is the kind of place where fishermen catch sandbass and lovers wake up to a tequila sunrise. But on a December day in 1983, violence came to Benbrook Lake in the person of Ronnie Dale Gaspard. He was affiliated with the Bandidos, a motorcycle gang whose members snorted methamphetamine off the tips of knife blades, and he was going there to settle a score. Which is why he was in a car and not on his bike. Which is also why he had been drinking a large amount of whiskey.
In football, if your team wins the game, homecoming is where you savor the victory, spray champagne on your teammates, recount the winning touchdown and gloat about crushing your opponents. This Presidents' Day weekend GOP homecoming was . . . different. The 28th Annual Conservative Political Action Conference, held in the Marriott in Arlington, Virginia -- one of the largest annual gatherings of conservatives -- was as paranoid as it was vindictive.
"The Statue of Liberty says, 'Send me your poor, your sick, your tired, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,'" sermonized John McCain, admonishing government officials to keep Elián González in United States rather than returning him to his father in Cuba.
When the Clinton Administration decided to return the boy, George W. Bush and Steve Forbes -- in high campaign gear -- accused Clinton of hobnobbing with Fidel Castro. "[The boy] is Bill Clinton's human sacrifice to Fidel Castro, and it's a disgrace," said Forbes. A House resolution to return Elián to his father garnered only five Republican votes. Even anti-immigrant Pat Buchanan has sided with the party line.