Like Republicans trying to knife their colleague, Sen. Bob Smith (R-N.H.), Democrats have turned on one of their own and are attempting the political assassination of Rep. Jim Traficant (D-Ohio).

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Both Sen. Bob Smith (R-N.H.) and Rep. Jim Traficant (D-Ohio) are targeted for political death by their own party colleagues because they refuse to follow Establishment orders.

Traficant has introduced a national sales tax that would eliminate the federal income tax and abolish the Internal Revenue Service. He has also criticized Israel’s invasion of Palestinian lands and its brutal occupation.

Smith’s sins are easily summed up: He had a 100 percent rating with Liberty Ledger, the congressional scorecard published by the court-killed Spotlight. He denounced the invasion “of the sovereign state of Yugoslavia.”

Both lawmakers have committed unpardonable sins in the view of the “bipartisan” Establishment.

With Smith, his colleagues took the unusual step of recruiting a challenger for the Republican primary: Rep. John Sununu (R-N.H.), son of a former governor who was chief of staff for President Bush the Elder.

With Traficant, his Democratic colleagues are arranging to redistrict him into hostile territory and, if that fails to defeat him, send him to prison.

Ohio loses one of its 19 House seats due to census-mandated redistricting and Republicans there came up with a plan that would force Traficant to run against either Reps. Ted Strickland (D) or Tom Sawyer (D). Traficant’s home town of Poland, one of his strongholds, would be moved into Strickland’s new district. Fellow Democrats hope the realignment will cause Traficant to lose.

Democrats have quietly embraced this plan to force one Democrat to run against another so one would lose. This means the Democratic establishment would rather forfeit control of the House than have Traficant in it. Democrats need to gain merely six seats to win control of the House. If Senate Democrats can hold on to their one-vote majority, much power would shift from a Republican White House to a Democratic Congress.

His colleagues also hope that Traficant, a former sheriff, goes to prison. A trial of charges of kickbacks will soon begin in federal court and the deck appears stacked against Traficant.

The court denied, in preliminary proceedings, a Traficant request to question prospective jurors about their ethnicity. Traficant, acting as his own lawyer, expressed concern that Jewish jurors could be prejudiced because of his criticism of Israel’s invasion and brutal occupation of Palestinian lands.

He also expressed concern that Jewish jurors might be prejudiced because of his role in bringing home John Demjanjuk, an aged Cleveland resident falsely accused of being a Nazi “concentration camp” guard. Traficant took up his cause and the Israeli Supreme Court ultimately cleared Demjanjuk.

Nevertheless, despite the countless tirades and death threats showered on him by Americans who object to his views on the Mideast, the court refused to allow Traficant to try to determine if a prospective juror is prejudiced.

On Jan. 29, the court said Traficant can’t claim a congressional “vendetta,” although his party denied him committee assignments.

Democrats Want Traficant Dead
Politically Speaking
By James P. Tucker Jr.

11 April 2002

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