Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Action - reaction:
Group Calls for Kerry to Apologize

By STAN PELSON Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON March 10 - The president of a national fraternal organization says Senator John Kerry should apologize for his remarks about Republican critics. On Wednesday, after an appearance with supporters at Chicago's Union Station, Kerry described his political opposition as "the most crooked ... lying group I've ever seen."

Henry Belston, president of the Fraternal Association of Crooks and Liars (FAOCAL) said that the statement by the senator was "totally uncalled for and an insult to thousands of Americans." The organization, FAOCAL, has in recent years tried to separate themselves from being associated with what they consider far worse examples of human behavior. "Look," said Mr. Belston, "We're crooks and liars and make no apologies for it. Since 1996 we've been running a campaign to define ourselves in the public's mind."

"But now Senator Kerry says his political opponents are just like us. That's outrageous. We may be crooks and liars, but we have a certain amount of respect for our craft. For instance, we think a lie has to be deployed carefully and with restraint in order to maintain its potency. Yet Bush and his political allies lie again and again and again - and that's just in five minutes time. Also, who the hell lies about WMD in order to start a war that doesn't even bring political benefits the aggressor? It doesn't make any sense. Please, don't associate crooks and liars with the White House. We may not be honorable, but at least we're competent."

The organization's leadership is expected to meet later this week and vote for a resolution calling on Kerry to apologize. However, there is some division within FAOCAL, and the vote will probably not be unanimous. Almost every member thinks that Bush is a sorry example of a liar, but hard-core crooks may abstain from the vote. That's because, in the words of one of them, "When it comes to crooked behavior, Dick Cheney has retired the trophy. You've got to be impressed by the man. He's got his fingers in every pie: Haliburton, the Iraqi War, outing CIA agents, cozying up to Supreme Court justices, threatening Hans Blix - the list goes on. And then, in a stroke of brilliance, when he comes under scrutiny, he claims he’s acting in the nation’s best interest by hiding out in a 'secret undisclosed location'. I admire that inventiveness. He's a crook par excellence. You can't deny it."

Despite the fact that some members consider Cheney the ‘quintessential crook,’ the organization’s top priority is to refute Kerry’s charge that the president and his supporters are a ‘lying group’. "One thing at a time," a FAOCAL official said. "Right now it's lies. A year from now when Bush is out of office, we'll deal with the administration’s crooked behavior. It’ll be a huge task."


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