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1996 Archive

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Capitol Chatter from Roger Locust Amherst III ... All The News We're In a Fit to Print

What Price Buchanan?

Losing the Nomination, but Gaining Influence

(Washington, DC, NNS; April 1st) With the Republican nomination wrapped up, Dole's problem is retaining the anti-choice segments of his party without alienating the moderate voters that will make or break his third run for the White House. Washington was abuzz with a bombshell from the network Sunday morning public affairs shows. Pat Buchanan, who refuses to end his candidacy, despite having no mathematical chance of winning, suggested on the Fox program, "Face the Nation" what would be his price for Dole's support in the Fall campaign.

In response to a question from Leslie Stahl, Buchanan announced, "You know, Leslie, I've been thinking about it and there's one thing Bob Dole could do to make himself square with the good people who've supported this campaign. "If Bob Dole wants those working people out there to come out for him, he's just got to do one thing to send the message that Dole's Republican party is going to remain 110% pro-life."

Buchanan then unveiled what he referred to as "The Paramount and Ultimate Human Life Act" Sweeping far beyond any previous proposals, the new law would declare that potential human life begins not at conception, but at the moment of production of sperm. Further, a provision of the Act - which Buchanan described as "aimed directly at the pro-abortion lobbies" - calls for "civil rights" for sperm, including the right to vote. Jaws on the journalist panel went slack when Buchanan announced that he'd personally talked with Bob Dole, "And Bob has assured me that as President, we'll see this proposal become law of the land."

Following a hasty commercial break, the panel peppered Buchanan with questions about the new proposal. Reporter Rita Braver asked, "If you are serious, how would this all work... who's going to complete the ballots for sperm?" Buchanan replied that "pre-conceived Republicans" should have every right given to gang members and immigrants and that his pro-family values dictate that the future fathers of the sperm be granted parental rights to vote for them. "We're not going to have some liberal out there telling us that they know what's in sperm's best interest."

The Dole campaign kept a low profile on the issue, but a spokesperson issues a written statement confirming that the candidate had, "in principle" endorsed the Buchanan proposal. "This is a difficult issue for all Americans, but I think we have to decide this one in favor of our potential children and our potential children's potential children."

At the White House, Clinton advisors at first gleefully ridiculed the proposal, declaring that Clinton might go with the slogan, "When condoms are outlawed, only outlaws will have condoms," referring to the implications of the "civil rights" provisions. Later, a more circumspect George Stephanopolis told the panel on "David Brinkley's This Weak", that the President was studying the proposal and would have a response shortly. In a day when campaign advisors maneuver for even the smallest segment of swing voters, the Clinton crowd was considering its options. "We're seriously thinking of giving eggs the vote," according to Stephanopolis.

When later questioned about the Stephanopolis comment, Buchanan chortled, "If Clinton wants to give every radical feminist a couple thousand extra votes for their eggs, we'll be more than happy to see right-minded Republican men with a few hundred million more votes each." Facing an outraged group of women's leaders later in the day, Clinton vowed to re-examine this position. "Maybe we'll have to try one of those affirmative action deals," the President observed.

March 20th:

Republican Recap... With the primary "season" over, we're into the desperate months for presidential politics. The primaries were even more "compressed" than hoped for, with the major revelation being that these guys could probably work most of America up to disgust and political apathy even if they did the whole delegate selection process in a half-hour infomercial.

The big loser in all this, of course, is Steve Forbes, the jolly junior media baron who proved that any kid can grow up and run for President, provided they're born into a few billion. Forbes' longshot strategy of hanging in and waiting for Dole to either blow his temper or a cranial artery turned into the Republican version of "Ishtar"... or was it "Heaven's Gate?

The fate of Pat Buchanan is less certain. It's entirely possible that Dole will give Buchanan a major role at the Republican convention. Right. You'll see Buchanan reprising his cultural war diabtribe right about the time you see Dole pick a gay running mate. Both conventions will be 100% sterile and minutely planned to a finely honed yawn. So, look for a lot of wacky, we-gotta-say-something media coverage. We're probably only a few days away from a CNN analysis of the Internet presence of the candidates. It'll a be serious piece of work, but they'll never ask the central question: Bob Dole Web Site? Somehow this is even a bit more of an embarassing stretch than Clinton on MTV in '92 (not to mention what will undoubtably be even more so as Bill ' n Al ply the "tried and true" formula again this year. But, c'mon: Bob Dole web site? Isn't that a little like Amish Software?

But, of course, there really is a Bob Dole Web Site, and unless they've changed it recently, it features a neato "Make Your Own Campaign Poster" page where you can declare your own -- or Hitler's and Satan's -- devotion to Dole, complete with a photo and Dole for President Committee credit.

February 18, 1996

GOP Fat Cats on the Dole? OK: let's see if you've been paying attention.... Phil Gramm dropped out because nobody voted for him in the Iowa caucus. Although a hard right conservative himself, Gramm has endorsed Dole in the New Hampshire primary. Logically this means that since nobody much voted for Gramm in Iowa, the endorsement means that Gramm's throwing nobody much's support behind Dole in New Hampshire... Got it?

February 12, 1996

Dole's narrow victory in Iowa spells trouble for him, with Pat Buchanan running strong. Meanwhile, Steve Forbes spent something approaching $10 million dollars on television spots in the Iowa Caucus. For Forbes, this amounted to about $1,000 per vote he received at the Caucus. As disappointed as the Forbes camp might be, Phil Gramm's performance reminds one that when it comes to political heavyweights, you can fit 28 Gramms and still come up short of an ounce.

The big question for many is how will Forbes' campaign play out. Was he just the media's Flavor of the Week? Are the media so used to listening to Ross Perot that they assume that any rich guy trying to buy his way into the field is a story owrth reporting? Or was it just a big media joke… and once they had that picture of Steve Forbes eating a Big Mac, was it all over? Looking at Forbes, a part of you just wants him to stay in long enough to answer that hard ball question from CNN's Bernard Shaw, "Well, you know, Bernie, I've always wondered why if there's so much poverty in Somolia, why don't they just get themselves a Capital Gains tax cut?"

February 9, 1996

With the Pat Buchanan victory in the Louisiana Caucus, Phil Gramm has thrown down the gauntlet in Iowa, and it looks like Iowa will be the site of the Battle for the Spleen of the Republican Party.

February 5, 1996

With all the griping about "special interests" these days, at least one constituency has been rather poorly served until now -- check out The Mad Scientists' Web Page and see just how "special" an "interest group" can be!

To quote from the home page:

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

- Creating life to satisfy egocentric motives.

- Unleashing entities beyond human control and comprehension.

- Tampering with the life-sustaining forces of the Universe.

- Exceeding the limitations of the human body via grotesque metamorphoses.

- New applications for old technologies (alchemy, necromancy, etc.).

- Ill-advised collaboration with alien and/or supernatural intelligences.

- Life-long devotion to researching the pointless and inane.

- Callous disregard for human experimental subjects.

- Exacting bizarre revenge on contemptuous and derisive peers.

And, in case you're wondering, it's NOT sponsored by the Buchanan for President campaign.

February 4, 1996

THE INTERNET "DOH!" AWARD: Commenting on the passage of the Telecomm Reform Bill (with its provisions for Internet censorship), PC Week's John Dodge writes, "(T)elecomunications deregulation in this country is comparable to the death of communism in Russia." Except that, in Russia the death of communism was marked by the end of government censorship of the media.

February 3, 1996

"On the Road Again…" For the fifth time in a year, another NFL team is on the road… the WHOLE team, that is. We are to understand that Seahawks' owner Ken Behring was suddenly struck with inconsolable worry over the potential for harm to athletes and fans a major earthquake strike Seattle. All of which would be a tad more convincing, were Mr. Behring moving the team to anywhere other than smack dab on top of the San Andreas fault in Southern California. What the hell is this about? Why not just say that he'd like to move the team closer to OJ?

February 2, 1996

"But you can fool 51% of the people enough of the time….." New polls show Steve Forbes pulling ahead of Bob Dole in the crucial New Hampshire primary race. Of course, pulling ahead of Bob Dole in political terms is something akin to passing a VW bug racing up Pike's Peak. With half the Republican field represented by the likes of Dole, Gramm, and Buchanan, one would be forgiven for thinking that instead of primaries and caucuses the Republicans were going to decide the nomination with a Scowl-Off.

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