SYNDICATED COLUMN: So Much for Democracy

Is a Clinton Victory Worth the Cost? My involvement with the Democratic Party started at age 9, when my mom took me along to pass out McGovern-Shriver leaflets door-to-door in our solidly Republican neighborhood. “The Democrats,” my mother explained, “are the party of the people. Republicans only care about rich big-shots.” Nothing I have seen since 1972 has contradicted the latter part of that summary of our two-party system. Watching my mom’s enthusiasm while she tried to reason with our neighbors and dialed number after number in the dingy campaign headquarters in downtown Dayton convinced me that there really was a chance of ousting President Nixon—a man, who all attempts at historical revisionism notwithstanding, was the devil. My fourth-grade class held a mock election that fall. There were 32 little Nixonites to my one Democratic vote. I quickly learned that, in America, Democrats usually lose, even when they win. Jimmy Carter squeaked by Ford in 1976—an astonishing fact when you…
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SYNDICATED COLUMN: A Divine Strategy

Ancient Deities Adapt to a Brave New World Until recently, God it had it all—omnipotence, ubiquity and benevolence. As the leading beneficiary of the current global trend towards monotheism, the guy who made everything and ran it all didn’t have to do much to attract popular support. Then, in 1993, God’s pollsters came to him with some bad news: his numbers were slipping. “I was down to 43 points, and falling fast,” God recalled at a recent interview. “In New Jersey it was like they’d never even heard of me. I had to do something fast.” Polls revealed that many people felt that God was out of touch with their concerns. “I prayed for my boss to be slowly gummed to death by sea cucumbers,” said one respondent, “but he’s still here, counting how long I take to go to the restroom. So much for the power of prayer.” Furthermore, God’s existence had in the past been justified by the…
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SYNDICATED COLUMN: ‘Civil’ Democrats Defend Kemp, Dole on Morals

‘NEW YORK, August 32—In an active demonstration of his convention speech call for a new era of “civility,” yesterday President Bill Clinton (D-AK) took the unusual step of coming to the defense of his Republican opponents on moral issues. “I have come under fire over so-called moral issues myself,” said Clinton, who survived the Gennifer Flowers and Paula Jones scandals and now leads the polls by twenty points. “This isn’t about partisan politics—I know how painful it is to have one’s private life overshadow one’s accomplishments in the public arena.” Clinton then turned his conciliatory remarks to vice-presidential candidate Jack Kemp, who has been dogged by rumors that he attended a gay orgy in California ever since columnist Drew Pearson wrote about the incident in 1967. The episode became public when then-Governor Ronald Reagan fired a staffer who also attended the orgy in a remote cabin in the Sierra Nevada mountains. It has come up several times during this year’s…
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SYNDICATED COLUMN: Standard Deviation

America as Cost-Benefit Analysis As if our country didn’t already have enough to worry about—advancing technology, downsizing, Pamela Anderson—here come the economics of rape. An exciting new Justice Department study, “Victim Costs and Consequences: A New Look,” reveals that the “average rape” costs its victim $5,100. This sum is based on such out-of-pocket expenses as medical bills and visits to counselors. So, locking up a rapist at the cost of $20,000 a year—the average annual cost of housing an inmate—obviously doesn’t make good economic sense, the authors say, until you factor in “the effect on the victim’s quality of life,” which then brings the total average rape cost to $87,000. Therefore it may be a good idea to lock up rapists——assuming, of course, that the average rapist would otherwise have performed at least one average rape every 4.35 years. The Justice Department plans to attach tracking devices to a random sampling of 1,200 average rapists to determine the average rate…
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SYNDICATED COLUMN: Our Great Mixing Bowl

American History for High School Students (September 2053 Edition) As difficult as it may be to believe today, white Americans—now virtually extinct—were once the dominant ethnic majority in our country. Until as recently as the late 20th century, every President and 99 percent of all Congresspersons were Caucasian! What happened to these fascinating people? After four centuries of cultural and political dominance, such famous white Americans as Thomas Jefferson, Ernest Hemingway and Martha Stewart helped build a rich and vibrant civilization that peaked during the late 1900s. White people were responsible for such important inventions as the penknife and airplane. They built computer games, composed music like disco and techno and made contributions to postmodern architecture. White Americans were deeply spiritual. They worshipped a male god with blond hair and blue eyes who lived in a “church,” a large auditorium ringed with benches where money was collected. In addition, they felt a strong kinship with the land, which they believed…
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SYNDICATED COLUMN: Cashing In On Irony

Dole’s Secret Youth Strategy Revealed As a stunned America reels from the shock of pre-selected Republican nominee Bob Dole’s emergence as the Republican nominee, patriotic citizens should read the following secret memo—faxed to me by a Dole mole. As a dutiful public service, I have opted to relinquish my normal weekly column space. Instead, I am releasing this explosive internal strategy paper, for the good of the country and to improve my lagging sales: INTERNAL MEMORANDUM PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL—EYES ONLY To: Bob Dole cc: ___ _____________ From: C___s__ __in___ Dole ’96 National Youth Coordinator Date: 3-19-96 Re: Youth Strategy for General Election ______ Dear Bob: As you know, voters under 35 years of age have emerged as a potent political force. They were single-handedly responsible for Clinton’s 1992 win, but the Little Rock Mafia has failed to market themselves to this key group. For the first time in recent electoral history, the GOP has the chance to appeal to young…
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SYNDICATED COLUMN: Adolf Redux

Pat Buchanan’s Basic Instinct Pat Buchanan is the first Republican I’ve ever considered voting for. Since the day in October of 1972 when my mom took me along with her to pass out McGovern fliers, I’ve been a committed Democrat—or at least a militant anti-Republican. When Democrats jumped into bed with Reagan to support his rancid budgetary attack on the 90 percent of Americans who aren’t rich, it broke my heart. Nonetheless, I still turned out to work on Mondale and Dukakis’ Dem-lite campaigns. And I voted for Clinton in 1992. But after four years of watching him appoint and suck up to Republicans, I’ll never vote for him again. This is where Pat Buchanan comes in. On Monday night, an ABC-TV news commentator noted: “He’s the only candidate talking about issues people really care about.” In particular, out of the single Democratic and nine Republican presidential candidates who entered the Iowa caucuses, Nixon’s ex-speechwriter is the only one who…
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SYNDICATED COLUMN: Choosing My Religion

My friend Debra was born into a Roman Catholic family. She got baptized and confirmed and everything; sometimes she even confessed. But twenty years of reciting the same old liturgies gets pretty tiresome. By the time she turned 35, she only went to mass when her parents came to town. As time passed, Debra began to fear that her life had lost its meaning. She felt empty, unfocused, aimless. So, one afternoon in the fall, she decided to go shopping for a new religion. “I can buy any car I want. Why can’t I choose my faith the same way? There’s so many religions out there that my parents never even considered. Who’s to say the Pope’s guys have a monopoly on meaning?” I was intrigued by Debra’s consumerist approach to finding a higher truth. An erratic Catholic myself, it suddenly occurred to me: “Maybe, despite all evidence to the contrary, God really does exist. Perhaps I’ve just been using…
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SYNDICATED COLUMN: Dirty Laundry

Child Abuse Isn’t Just the Poor’s Problem Three million times a year, we beat our kids so badly that someone calls the cops about it. There’s really no way to know how often Americans pound the stuffing out of their children, since these ritual assaults are as mundane as doing the laundry. What’s remarkable about child abuse is that it’s in the news at all–normally, anything that affects children is a rock-bottom priority. In the last month, we’ve read about 6-year-old Elisa Izquierdo, who was murdered by her mom on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The killing seemed anticlimactic after years of enduring such abuse as having her head used to mop her apartment floor. Then there was Tazar Carter, a 15-year-old boy sold to Detroit crack dealer-pimps by his mom. By far the most spectacular story involved 0-year-old Elijah Evans, whose father’s girlfriend brought him into the wonderful world of Chicago suburbia by amateur C-section–while stabbing his mother to death.…
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SYNDICATED COLUMN: Now for the Disco President

About this time every four years, articles bemoaning the early start of the upcoming presidential campaign begin peppering the editorial pages. Never mind that this writing actually serves to launch the orgy of militant moderation that passes for electioneering in this country. This year we can dispense with all that. The 1996 campaign has ended before it began. We already know that the Republican nominee, and probable victor, will be Bob Dole. The legendary meanness and nasty disposition of the man from Kansas hasn’t escaped the notice of even the most moronic American voters, but his third attempt at the Oval Office is sufficiently well-funded to succeed. Nonetheless, there’s always been something creepy about Bob Dole. He’s like your best friend’s mean father, or Humphrey Bogart’s evil twin. He’s even got Dick Nixon’s five o’clock shadow. Clinton may be able to put up some resistance. After all, he is the President. He could have the CIA reveal that Dole once…
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