TCS Daily


Pottering Around

By Duane D. Freese - November 21, 2005 12:00 AM

Republicans for Voldemort! is having a resurrection. I've seen the mock campaign cropping up again around Washington lately.  

For those who don't know who Voldemort is, there is a movie out this week called Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire that you probably won't see, though millions obviously have. At $101.4 million, its first weekend had the fourth largest gross on record, following only Spider Man, Star Wars: Episode III and Shrek 2. Voldemort, who shows his face for the first time in Goblet, is the evilest wizard in the history of witches and wizards since, well, the Dark Lord Sauron from that other series about wizards, you know, The Lord of the Rings, which also produced box office magic.  

At any rate, while Potter author,J.K. Rowling may have no political agenda, the originators of the Voldemort campaign, Goats comic strip, sure seem to.  

Republicans for Voldemort was first uttered by Diablo, the satanic chicken, in 2003 about the California gubernatorial race, with Diablo cleverly remarking, "I find it refreshing that there's finally a candidate without a hidden agenda." It then made it onto T-shirts and bumper stickers, with many of them being spread around during the Bush-Kerry election campaign. Some money from the sales actually goes to that modest, George Soros-funded Moveon.org, "to help make people aware of the injustices that have been committed in the name of terrorism and on the behalf of the current administration."  

So, if you are a Bush supporter and buy the bumper sticker or T-shirt as a joke, it will really be on you. You will be funding your political opponents, not just some clever jokester.  

But I suspect there are many campaigns that Democrats and their constituencies might not like coming from Potter's field. To start with, a simple one, Environmentalists for Trelawny.  

As anyone reading the Potter series will recall, Sybill T is the divination teacher at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, hired by its headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, because she provided a special prophecy about the Dark Lord Voldemort marking his most dangerous enemy, Harry. But while she comes up with a good one every once in a blue moon, she mostly just spouts doom and gloom that never comes to pass, or poor Harry would have died by the end of Book 2.  

Considering their unwillingness to allow any drilling even in the tiniest portion of the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge or anywhere else offshore for natural gas, they might also be described as Supporters of Broomsticks, Floo Networks and Portkeys.That's about all we'll have left to power our vehicles. Coupled with their demands for windfall profits taxes on oil companies to kill incentives for energy production and opposition to nuclear power, too, the only thing left to heat our homes will be the Goblet of Fire.  

We might have fun with other Democratic constituencies as well. For example, Trial Lawyers for Dudley.  

This would take the form of a lawsuit. Dudders, as his father Vernon Dursley calls him, is a "pig in a wig," according to Harry. Trial lawyers no doubt would like to represent him against fast food restaurants and soft drink companies for that very reason. Being a kid, he can't be held responsible for himself, and certainly no one would blame his parents or his genes.  

And then there are Anti-War Activists for Fudge. Cornelius Fudge, Minister of Magic, considered Dumbledore more an enemy than Voldemort, preferring to pretend the bad guy didn't exist. The activists seem to consider Bush to be more evil than Saddam was, or Osama or the Jordanian causing so much havoc in Iraq now, al-Zarqawi.  

Indeed, with the going getting tough in Iraq, the majority of Democrats who supported going to war have decided that it's time to get going after Bush, too. John Kerry, who as far back as 1997 and right up to the start of the war called for tough action against Saddam, now claims, "The war in Iraq was and remains one of the great acts of misleading and deception in American history."  

We need not a campaign by them but for them: Rememberalls for Former Hawks.  

Just as every time Harry's friend Neville Longbottom forgot something, his rememberall would turn red, these former hawks need something to remind them that Bush isn't to blame for their actions.  

Indeed, one of the primary themes of the Potter books is that people make choices, and doing the right thing is not always easy.  

For recognizing that, one Democrat does deserve, maybe not a silly campaign slogan, but a real Harry Potter Award -- Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman.  

In a speech last week on the Senate floor, he noted his support for the war in Iraq and why he felt it was the right course. He also spoke about the need for the nation to stay the course there:   

        "If we withdraw prematurely from Iraq, there will be civil war,     
        and there is a great probability that others in the neighborhood 
        will come in. The Iranians will be tempted to come in on the side 
        of the Shia Muslims in the south. The Turks will be tempted to 
        come in against the Kurds in the north. The other Sunni nations, 
        such as the Saudis and the Jordanians, will be sorely tempted, if 
        not to come in at least to aggressively support the Sunni Muslim 
        population. There will be instability in the Middle East, and the 
        hope of creating a different model for a better life in the Middle
        East in this historic center of the Arab world, Iraq, will be gone. 

        "If we successfully complete our mission, we will have left a 
        country that is self-governing with an open economy, with an 
        opportunity for the people of Iraq to do what they clearly want 
        to do, which is to live a better life, to get a job, to have their 
        kids get a decent education, to live a better life. There seems to 
        be broad consensus on that, and yet the partisanship that 
        characterizes our time here gets in the way of realizing those 
        broadly expressed and shared goals."

He then went on: 

        "'Politics must end at the water's edge.' That is what Senator
        Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan said, articulating the important 
        ideal that we seem to have lost too often in our time. I found a 
        fuller statement of Senator Vandenberg's position, the ideal. I
        found it to be in some ways more complicated and in other ways 
        much more compelling. I want to read from it. Senator 
        Vandenberg said: 

        "'To me 'bipartisan foreign policy' means a mutual effort, under 
        our indispensable two-party system, to unite our official voice at 
        the water's edge so that America speaks with maximum 
        authority against those who would divide and conquer us and the
        free world.'"

We can have our fun with Republicans for Voldemort -- and Environmentalists for Trelawney, Trial Lawyers for Dudley, Antiwar Activists for Fudge and Rememberalls for Former Hawks -- but not at the expense of forgetting that we are all in this together.

As Dumbledore reminded the wizarding world, so Americans need to remind each other that as much as we may agree to disagree, we can't forget who and what we are fighting -- both for and against.
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