new lies / old lies / whose lies
Thursday, February 29, 1996
Buchanan Kicks Ass!
Riding to the sound of the guns
"How do you make the trick work? Easy, you lie!"
- Penn and Teller
Write about Buchanan? Are you mad? What kind of suicide mission is that?
If I write about this dangerous extremist populist, his followers will post "abortionist" signs at my home. They'll come in the dead of night in black helicopters and smother my children in their sleep.
I can't write about this guy - but if he moves a little more to the right, I could vote for him.
With that said, I must remember I'm a professional. I don't get paid for not writing about people. I've enrolled the family in the Federal Witness Protection program and borrowed an armored personnel carrier from DuPont. While I figure out how to deal with this mess, let's consider how I got into it in the first place.
First a quick summary. Or as Ross Perot would say, "Let's make sure the crazy aunt is locked in the attic and we're all in the same barn."
When the campaign train pulled out of Iowa, things seemed normal enough. Dole (26%) was in first class. Buchanan (23%) was standing behind him saying, "I think you're in my seat!" Alexander (18%) was in coach asking the conductor for an upgrade. Forbes (10%), Gramm (9%), Keyes (7%), Lugar (4%), and Taylor (1%) were in the smoking car with the press corps. The reporters were taking turns giving Gramm Dutch rubs. Dornan (0%) had been left behind on the platform.
Keyes distracted the reporters with his usual demand for an interview, while the other candidates in the smoking car tossed Gramm from the train.
So far a more or less normal Republican campaign. But then came New Hampshire.
As we left that state, things were getting weird. All the remaining candidates had gathered in the dining car. A reporter commented, "The campaign is starting to look like a Three Stooges Marathon."
Moe Buchanan (27%) shouted, "I'm not an anti-Semitic racist extremist protectionist. I'm the Ronald Reagan in this race. You liberal bastard. I'll tell Ted Turner you're sleeping with Jane Fonda," and poked the reporter in the eyes.
Larry Dole (26%), doing his best General Haig imitation, said "I'm in charge here," bumped into the reporter, and knocked him from the train.
Curly Alexander (23%) yelling, "nyuk, nyuk, nyuk," began launching pastries in all directions.
Keyes (3%), jumping on the back of a reporter who earlier had refused to interview him, screamed out, "FOOD FIGHT!"
Curly Joe Dornan (0%) whined, "Hey, guys. Cut it out," then shoved pies into the faces of Dole and Buchanan.
The train pulled into Delaware and only Forbes and Keyes got off. Forbes (33%) gave Keyes (3%) a wedgie, packed his 12 Delaware delegates and hit the road for Arizona.
After a twelve-pack of beer, two packs of cigarettes, and seven hours of the Three Stooges, I think I'm ready to write about Pat Buchanan.
The Buchanan campaign is succeeding with two major strategies: (1) issues no one wants to talk about and (2) fear.
Issues like abortion and drugs have been talked to death, and most people just don't want to hear the same arguments over again. These kinds of issues have been run into the ground so badly most radio talkshow hosts won't even let them on the air anymore. The population has settled into three basic positions: "Agree or I'll kill you," "I'll resist to my last dying breath," or "I'll kill myself if I hear another word about it." Most people just keep quiet, since any position gets you more enemies than friends.
Pat Buchanan has broken this silence - and has about 25-30% of the Republican party saying, "At last, a politician who speaks for me." Unfortunately, he also has the remaining 70-75% of the party demanding his head on a spike.
The second major component of the Buchanan campaign is fear.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that fear sells. Look at the media. You don't hear, "All's right with the world. Film at eleven." It's always something like "Plague loose in your neighborhood. Those still alive, tune in tonight for tips that might just save your life." Think about it, which show is going to get the ratings?
Politicians have been using fear for years. Nixon ran on fear of the Vietnam war. Carter ran on fear of the Washington establishment. Clinton ran on fear of the economy. Buchanan is running on fear of the future: your children's, your job's, and your country's. His opponents are fighting back with fear of Buchanan.
So why has Buchanan got the rest of the country running around like their heads are on fire and their assholes are catching? Because he can win!
The rest of the people in this race think Buchanan is beating them on issues. The American public hasn't really voted issues since Eisenhower. Buchanan is beating them on credibility. He has been attacked from every direction and called everything but a liar.
Pat has realized that we've been fed so many lies, we don't believe anything in the papers or on TV. What brings in the votes is personal appearances - or at least on-the-air interviews. Sound bites and TV commentators telling us what we think just don't cut it.
Late breaking news: Two light aircraft shot down by Cuban fighters. Presidential candidates comment:
Clinton: I've asked the UN to make them stop.
Buchanan: Just shoot down a couple of their planes.
Dole: I didn't realize this would be an issue with the American voters.
Forbes: I'm sure my message of hope and optimism will win over the Cuban people.
Alexander: In a two-man race, I can beat Castro.
Keyes: This is just another example of the failure of family values.
Dornan: Can't we all just get along?
The campaign train roars out of Arizona.
Forbes bribes the engineer and takes the train out of the station. Steve learned the lesson of his win in Delaware. It was the personal appearances, not the commercials. If he can beat Dole in the South, it'll be between him and Buchanan.
Buchanan has mugged the engineer but is starting to wonder, "Why is the engineer in first class?" The South is Pat's to lose. If he doesn't win, he'll be reduced from player to broker.
Dole is in coach pulling the emergency brake - but it's broken. Due to health problems, Dole can't keep up with this fast-paced campaign. Since he already has an age problem, the staff and media don't want his health covered. The media has joined in this minor coverup because it makes them feel like they're covering Roosevelt.
Alexander is riding the rails under the baggage car. Not only is this man not going to be President, he's out of politics. At this very moment, there is a young reporter in Nashville who is going to make his career investigating Lamar's financial dealings.
Keyes is doing standup in the smoking car to pay for his trip to South Carolina. The Keyes campaign is spending very little money and has the votes to prove it.
Dornan watches the train leave the station. He goes to the ticket windows and gets his ticket to the Senate. The GOP won't let him run for President, but he will get the nod to take on one of California's liberal senators.
Looks like the Federal Witness Protection program isn't as secret as I thought. I've got a tank parked out front wearing a black windbreaker with the letters "BATF" on the back, and there's a black helicopter in a baby-blue helmet covering the rear. A handful of death threats have been delivered via rocks. Excuse me while I determine how long I have left to live.
It appears we have a bit of a stand-off. The Administration has sent the BATF to protect my freedom of speech and remind me that the Clinton campaign hasn't started yet, so I shouldn't write about it. They also asked if I knew who wrote Primary Colors. I suggested Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses; he'll hardly notice a few more death threats. The UN troops appear to be from Haiti; probably looking for another election to protect.
Some of the death threats are friendly suggestions from the Dole, Alexander, and Forbes campaigns that it is a two-man race. The rest are from Keyes supporters who think I'm part of the conspiracy to ignore their candidate.
So to increase my odds of ever writing a column again in this lifetime, I feel a need to remind the readers this is a close two-man race - between Alexander, Buchanan, Dole, and Forbes. Keyes and Dole were both at the Arizona debates and did a fine job of presenting their cases. Clinton was not in New Hampshire campaigning; she was in the White House working on her new book, How to Make Money Fast: Cattle Futures and Land Development.
Next week's episode: "Buchanan sings the songs of the South (Carolina)", or "Wyoming: Dole ropes in the rodeo."
Has anyone else noticed this URL, http://www.cpac.org, being flashed during the campaign coverage?
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