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POTOMAC OBSERVER Bill Clinton: Mortal Lock Washington, D.C. The odor of sanctimony arises from Washington in an overpowering stench these days. You may well argue that this is normal. But the professional deformations of the current crop of anti-politicians are sufficiently horrid to break all previous olfactory records. Putrid insults to decent nostrils assail us on a daily basis. And this is just from the Republicans! House Majority Leader Dick Armey brings the values of all-white Dallas suburbs to bear on national problems. And he solemnly asserts on public TV \(which he charges of Republicans cutting spending on the poor in order to finance further tax breaks for the rich are merely propaganda. Dick, hon, if that isn’t what you’re doing, what are you doing? House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Billy Archer, Republican from pigmentationally challenged Southwest Houston, is busily devising tax breaks. To be paid for by those who actually pay some taxes. On behalf of those whose unearned income is so great that they don’t. All because, you know, taxation is a way of ripping off the ordinary citizen, who wants his and her peace kept, roads paved, money stabilized and airways kept safe, for free. Oh, by the way, corporate welfare, anyone? Subcommittee chairman Tom DeLay, Republican from multiculturally deprived Sugar Land, wants to restore DDT to the arsenals of right-thinking exterminators everywhere, of which he happens to be one. Thinks EPA regulations on pesticides are too stringent. Yeah, Tom, controlling actual proven poisons probably isn’t the job of an environmental agency. Maybe we should turn hazardous wastes over to the military, since they create so many of them. Oh, no, that would be adding to the government. Phil Gramm races from media event to fundraiser, his only legislative claim to fame being that he once snuck his name onto a bill others devised and passed, and which was such a horrid idea it was never implemented and is now mercifully almost totally forgotten. But he is in imminent danger of being the 1996 Republican Presidential nominee, if he can just buy a little respect and get his poll numbers up from his current defeat by Bob Dole, 30 percent to 9 percent. James McCarty Yeager, a writer based in Maryland, comes by his irrepressible optimism honestly: He was a Houston canvasser for Senator Ralph Yarborough in 1964. California Governor Pete Wilson is attempting to parlay his undoubted fundraising abilities into national stature. The Nation has done valuable work in exposing not only his class-warfare economics but his race-baiting xenophobia. Nowadays, of course, all the best crackers wear suits and talk about the Constitution. Meanwhile, owing to a masterful use of false pretenses, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter will split the moderate Republican voteboth of themwith Indiana Senator Dick Lugar. What with the morally scrofulous Speaker of the House running around proclaiming that the media are out to get him, it will be a surprise if his prophecy is not self-fulfilled in under two years. \(Quick: How many more fawning reporters and editorialists would it take in order to assuage The Lizard’s enHell’s getting chilly, much to the surprise of the more sulphurous-tongued Republicans and not a few dispirited Democrats. Here, read this sitting down: Bill Clinton is a mortal lock for re-election in 1996. While I have absolutely no confidence in either his political instincts, his staff, or his policies, I rest my case on one simple indicator: No President has ever been defeated in a year in which, for the 12 months prior to the election, economic growth topped 2 percent. And Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan cannot plausibly raise interest rates high enough and fast enough to bring on a recession in the next six months. The Republicans are therefore running out of time. If the economy isn’t in the tank by the end of the third quarter, they’re doomed. They could stop spending, of course. On country club memberships, luxury automobile leases, private schools, dining out: the usual Republican pastimes. But this deprivation stuff, you know, this gospel of lowered expectations, it’s for the already deprived. Emphatically not for the havingmore-to-be-deprived-of. There is always a great Republican selling point, which has actually hooked a couple of my brothers, despite our all being fellow-descendants of the Irish Catholic Southern leftist movement. The Republicans insinuate that, if you happen to get rich, they’ll take care of you. So if you think you might get rich, you can be tempted into voting against your actual economic interests. This phenomenon accounts for Republican success among white male suburbanites, together with the notso-subtle racist and sexist appeal that has been the Republican stock in trade since South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond, by bolting the Democratic ticket in 1948 in objection to the Truman-Humphrey civil rights platform plank, first presented the GOP with an opportunity of peeling off Southern whites. But the great Democratic selling point is that the Democrats have more of the interests of the country as a whole at heart than they do those of the top 1 percent of net asset holders. When this stops being true, as it had done under the formerly entrenched Democratic Congressional leadership, the Democrats are in more than their usual amount of trouble. Ninety percent of the population earned less than $60,000 a year in 1986, which in constant dollars has doubtless not risen dramatically since. Former Speaker Tom Foley \(and current got that and were, in their turn, forgotten. Which is where Bill comes in. He still remembers that the civil rights movement was not about quotas or affirmative action or set-asides; it is about increased political power, economic equality, and social justice for those whose participation in public life was for 75 years limited to being lynched. He remembers that the women’s rights movement was no longer about “a room of one’s own,” it is about political representation, equal pay for equal work and dismantling socio-economic structures of physical and psychic repression. And buried beneath his talk of liberating the middle classes lies the notion of restructuring the corporate two-tier executive vs. temporary laborer economy. The middle class has been effectively closed to households headed by women, by minority couples, and by less-educated whites. The Republicans would not do anything to change this if they could, believing as they do in the Great God “Market”; whereas at least the Democrats are not making it worse. Hence the pure unfiltered hatred of dough-faced, historically-illiterate souls such as The Lizard: He actually takes Democratic rhetoric and intentions more seriously than most of its practitioners, and justly fears its implementation. Whereas Bill’s still got enough of that Democratic populism about his attitudes, if not his practices, to be worth taking some trouble over. Better the devil you know, and so on. Besides, he’s going to get reelected anyway, thanks to Greenspan’s not having the courage of the Republican Street Journal’s convictions. Greenspan’ s not going to cause a recession, as he did at an inconvenient time for George Bush Sr. So Bill’s going to be back in 1996; maybe with some odor-eaters in his shoes. You read it here first. -JAMES MCCARTY YEAGER 10 MAY 19, 1995