Top presidential hopefuls

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 14, 2000

fail to ignite my fire


Managing Editor

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June 13, 2000 10 PM

I’m not excited about our presidential hopefuls.

Both the Democratic nominee and the GOP nominee concern me. On one hand, there’s a guy with as much personality as a can of show polish and on the other, there’s a guy who won’t talk about his past and who was toasted by the media for his lack of foreign policy knowledge.

I can’t defend the man without personality. For the other guy, I concede that if reporters began asking a series of inappropriate questions, one after another, to me, they would eventually solicit a "No comment" response. And that’s not easy for some people who know me to believe.

Still, it’s politics. Both candidates say the same things, hoping to strike a chord with the public. "Reduce taxation, educate the children, uphold family values," they shout as they stand in front of an American flag chomping down bites of store-bought frozen apple pie – a food almost as American as hotdogs made from processed chickens.

Someone once said the election was about, "the economy, stupid." It’s good. Greenspan is counting greenbacks all the way to the Federal Reserve.

So what is this election all about? Oh, there’s that millennium thing and all that propaganda about the 21st Century, but I don’t know what that means.

"Lead us into the next century," they all say. We are in that next century and it doesn’t seem all that different from the last few of years of last century. So much for cashing in on images of hover-cars and laser-beam-shooting cops.

During the last presidential race, frustrated with my choices, I voted for a third-party candidate. He (and he was so far down in the polls, neither I nor anyone in the office can remember his name, so I’ll just call him "He.") said, "Think of your favorite federal program," and then paused. I had it. "Now ask yourself if you would be willing to do without it in order to never pay another single cent of federal income tax again. That’s what I plan to do."

I didn’t think until much later that he was not only planning to eliminate my favorite federal program, but all the federal programs I liked that didn’t make the number one spot. I wondered when I came to this realization if he would have compromised with a 75 percent reduction in services to match a 75 percent reduction in taxes, of course letting me do the picking when it came to which services would get axed. Somehow I don’t think that was his plan.

At any rate, the nameless candidate was of course eliminate and my vote was effectively wasted on a candidate who received less than three percent of the vote.

I don’t think I’ll revisit third party candidates this time.

I am considering making a political statement with a non-vote, but I would be blamed for voter apathy. My problem isn’t a lack of concern, but a lack of suitable choices.

All said and done, I know what I’ll do. I remember walking into the voting booth and flipping the Clinton switch in 1992. I was tired of George Bush’s failed promises. I paused, considered for a moment, and decided he was too slick for my taste, and I disgustedly voted for Bush.

In 1996, I walked in, flipped the Dole switch, paused, changed my mind and disgustedly voted for the candidate now known as "He."

In 2000, I will walk in with my mind made up, pause and reflect, and make a distasteful vote. Chances are it will be for George W. Bush, if for no other reason than I can’t abide another liberal tax-and-spend term.

I will tell myself, "It’s about the economy, stupid."

Brian Blackley is the managing editor of The Messenger. He may be reached via e-mail at or by calling 670-6314.  

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