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44 Alb 164 Sea $ 0Ava il a bl e l i 4.0 P 0 i : ‘or private part i es i c a k Unique European Charm & Atmosphere AFFORDABLE RATES j e ab , Pets Welcome 1E1423 11tH Street O f 04 Pc w 1 A ran sa s, TX 78373 i call for Reservations : .10 Horse Inn Kitchenettes Cable TV Heated Pool r beside the GrrlJ of Mexico i f on Mustang Island MOLLY IVINS Laugh Before You Cry Those who are profoundly grateful for this presidential election would like to thank all concerned: from Steve Forbes to BobDole, from Dick Morris to President Clinton, from the Riady family of In donesia to Archer Daniels Midland. Thank you, one and all. It has been a fabulous year. I believe I speak for the entire community of those who make a living by laughing at politics when I say that we are humbled by the material you have given us. Let us start back in those glorious days of yesteryear: 1995, when Clinton was dead meat and House Speaker Newt Gingrich bestrode the political world like a Tyrannosaurus Rex, when the only question was which Republican would get the nomination and evict Clinton from the White House in a walk. The first indication we had that it would be an unusually festive year was when class warfare broke out in the Republican Party. Senator Phil Gramm announced to an astonished world that he is a “blue-collar Republican.” Long-time observers of PACman Phil had to rush home and put cold compresses on their heads. Then, My Boy Buchanan started tearing up the pea patch, leading the peasants-with-pitchforks in a people’s insurrection, ranting against the rich, carrying on about corporate greed. He won New Hampshire, and the entire Republican Party put a cold compress to its collective head. Then, for a spell, President Steve Forbes wandered around the country doing his impersonation of a Chatty Cathy doll. Forbes was the favored candidate of the charismatically challenged. Lamar Alexander proved that dead men do wear plaid. The Elephant labored and labored and at last brought forth…BobDole, an ancient grump but a good fighter. Political conventions entered a new era with tear-jerker television and the four-hankie convention. The Democrats had more inspiring handicapped people, but the Republicans topped them with a rape victim. Vice President Al Gore did the Macarena. Meanwhile, Clinton was slowly picking up steam by running on Family Values, a theme introduced to a grateful nation by Dick Morris, the man who liked to play doggie with his prostitute. Woof, woof! We couldn’t get Colin Powell into the game or Ross Perot out of it. Mark Russell observes that Perot’s support is stuck in the single digitsoften the middle one. Dole contributed perhaps the funniest line of the year, with his immortal observation that tobacco might not be addictive but that too much milk might be bad for us. The check from the dairy lobby must have been late that week. Then, both candidates followed the risky strategy of blowing a hole in the debates by boring the public comatose. Clinton was so on-message that the whole country could do the litany, “Medicare, Medicaid, education and the environment.” The vice presidential debate set a new high for legal soporifics, and raised some serious questions about the War On Drugs. If Jack Kemp had been on downers and Gore had been on speed, it would’ve been a great debate. Legalize drugs ! Next came a painful period, with Clinton Rose-Gardening away while poor Dole sallied forth in pursuit of the Theme of the Week. Theme after theme did nothing for his poll numbers. Finally, there was a great public huddle in the Dole camp: Should he play the character card or not? Gosh, the suspense was awful. In the end, to the astonishment of all, he played it, and played it and played it. \(That was the week he took eral, liberal, liberal.” “Wake up, America.” “Where is the outrage?” Meanwhile, Clinton had gone A Bridge Too Far in reaching out to the Asian-American community and gotten himself into another pickle over some smelly fund-raising. What’s a Clinton campaign without pickles? Smelly fund-raising was a bipartisan sport this year; we had a wide range of smells, but they were all awful. While Dole was bashing the liberal media, the liberal media were chasing Clinton’s Indonesian connection and ignoring the record criminal fine levied against the vice chairman of Dole’s finance committee. The daring and the foolish actually believe that Some Good Will Come from all this. Cross your fingers, patriots, and think Campaign Finance Reform. As the days dwindled down to a precious we were going to vote Newt back into power. The trouble with re-electing Newt is that we’ll have to listen to him for another two years. Newt suffers from what the shrinks call projectionhe’s always accusing other people of what he does himself. Which leads to me to believe he is best described by his own favorite adjectives, the ones he uses so constantly that they are as familiar as that bridge to the 21st century: “bizarre, sick, pathetic, twisted and grotesque.” Molly Ivins, a former Observer editor, is a columnist for the Fort Worth StarTelegram. 16 THE TEXAS OBSERVER NOVEMBER 22, 1996