Democratic Party leaders, far too weak to resolve the Clinton-Obama primary death match, have an even more basic fear. If they lose control of their carefully choreographed media event-cum-convention, Americans will see them for what they really are: a party that is comprised of grievance groups that is far outside mainstream American politics.
The veil was lifted briefly at the 2000 Democrat national convention. All semblance of control was totally lost when gay, lesbian and transsexual delegates hooted and jeered six Boy Scouts who briefly took the stage. The lesson learned was applied diligently in 2004 when the Democrats — even hyperliberal California Senator Barbara Boxer — paraded their admiration for the military constantly, interrupted only when openly gay Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank took the microphone.
Throughout the 2004 coronation of John “Reporting for Duty” Kerry, the media played along, relentlessly ignoring the rants of so many of the fringe groups that comprise the Democrats’ core constituencies. Even the MoveOn.org crowd — represented by corpulent Michael Moore, sitting in a place of honor next to former President Jimmy Carter — were otherwise kept off camera.
This year, the Democratic leadership fears the riotous atmosphere of Chicago ’68 threatened by radical groups such as “Recreate ‘68” that plan to disrupt the convention from the outside. But as much as they worry about what happens outside the Denver convention hall, demonstrations by pressure groups inside should worry them as much as floor fights over delegate seating threatened by Hillary Clinton last week.
CAIR — the Council on American Islamic Relations — as Steven Emerson wrote last week, has broad and deep connections to the terrorist group Hamas. CAIR, or at least its Seattle, Washington chapter, has apparently succeeded in salting the Washington convention delegation with its members and others in sympathy with radical Islam.
Among them may be Syed Arsalan Bukhari, CAIR Seattle chapter president and Jafar “Jeff” Siddiqui who were chosen in caucuses. Washington State Democratic officials have, so far, declined to release information on whether either man — and several others — will be delegates to the national convention.
Bukhari is best known for his appearance at a March 31, 2007 anti-terrorism rally held by the “United American Committee.” In their press release, Bukhari was praised for attending:
“In a surprise turn of events Arsalan Bukhari, president of the Seattle, Washington chapter of the CAIR, defied CAIR’s national headquarters and joined the UAC rallies in denunciation of Jihadism, Hamas, Sharia law, and Islamic militancy.”
But CAIR took a very different view. Apparently Bukhari appeared at the rally to dispute the principal point being made. A CAIR press release quoted Bukhari as chastising the anti-terror demonstrators for “bigoted” views:
“Bukhari said…that it is unfortunate that the protest organizers lied in a public statement by falsely claiming he shared their bigoted views.”
To CAIR — and Bukhari — criticizing terrorism and Islamic involvement in it is “bigoted.”
Siddiqui is known in that same context. In November 2006, he protested at Seattle’s Sea-Tac airport against the removal earlier that week of six imams from a flight from Minneapolis to Phoenix after their actions at the airport and after boarding the flight mimicked terrorist actions. (Some, for example, asked for seat belt extenders they did not need and switched seats after boarding. Seat belt extenders can be used as weapons.)
Siddiqui has also blogged in defense of al-Jazeera. In a blog post on the Jewish newspaper website “Forward.com” Siddiqui wrote on April 26, 2007, in part:
“Al-Jazeera is the only face of free press in the Middle East (other than some Israeli media). It is also the only press that has been bombed by the US, whose journalists are in Guantanamo and other US prisons…without charges. If the US wants to promote democracy, it has to support Al-Jazeera instead of taking the tack that “Democracy comes from the barrel of a gun.”
People such as Bukhari and Siddiqui — if they and others like them become delegates to the Denver convention — will actively seek media attention. How many other CAIR-ites will be among the delegates?
The Clinton-Obama cage match is very unlikely to be settled before the convention convenes. If, as it appears, Clinton wins the April 22 Pennsylvania primary (she leads Obama there by about 16 points in the latest polls) not even Bill and Chelsea will be able to convince her to quit. And if she doesn’t, there will be so much division among the Democrats in Denver that not even the media will be able to ignore it.
Outside, there will be loud, possibly violent demonstrations by the anti-war groups angry with the Democrats for failing to stop the Iraq war, end the NSA terrorist surveillance program, close the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention facility, and so forth. Code Pink, MoveOn.org — when not demonstrating outside — will be demonstrating inside.
Which is where the media orchestration could fail entirely. If the Democrats appear besieged by antiwar whackos outside, Americans might sympathize with them and forget the incident with the Boy Scouts in 2000. But if the outrages outside are mirrored inside, even a little, by the gays, the Code Pinkos and Islamic activists, the whole mirage of Democrats being part of the American political mainstream could be shattered.
If they’re not careful, they may well have a CAIR-full convention.