- The Washington Times - Friday, November 3, 2000

Corrupt coroners

The prestigious Catholic University of Washington offers a "national elections" study course.
Just the other day, the professor of the class mocked student David Kralik's state absentee ballot from Boone County, Ind., because there happened to be two candidates Republican and Democrat running for the position of county coroner.
The professor, who shall remain anonymous since final grades aren't yet posted, remarked to the student in front of the entire class: "Who cares whether a Democrat or a Republican touches a dead man's body?"
Mr. Kralik quickly responded:
"It does matter, because if the Democrat wins, he'll take 50 percent of the man's income in the name of death taxes."

Mark your calendars

A rather hilarious, but phony, public service announcement has been posted in Washington and throughout the rest of the country from the so-called Registrar of Voters:
"Due to an anticipated voter turnout much larger than originally expected, polling facilities will not be able to handle the load all at once. Therefore, Republicans are requested to vote on Tuesday, November 7, and Democrats on Wednesday, November 8. Please pass this message along."

Stink and stunk

Let's hope he's wrong, but Luntz Research Senior Vice President Chris Ingram is predicting low voter turnout for Tuesday's presidential and congressional elections.
"With the economy strong and most Americans fat, dumb and happy, there just isn't a motivating factor to really energize nontypical voters," Mr. Ingram explains.
"For Republicans," the pollster educates, "low voter turnout is traditionally good, as the GOP base tends to get out and vote more than the Democrats' base does, which is why Democrats need [President] Clinton to get out and energize the party faithful."
Would that be enough to catapult Al Gore into the Oval Office?
"In remaking himself so many times, Gore has managed to confuse voters about the real Al. Three debates, three Als," says Mr. Ingram. "The Gore campaign has seen more makeovers than Jenny Jones."
For too long, he continues, Mr. Gore believed he needed to emulate Mr. Clinton's style rather than just being himself. By the time the vice president's pollsters advised him to steer clear of his boss, it was too late.
"Gore disassociating himself from Clinton is like trying to disassociate stink from a stunk. It just isn't going to work," says Mr. Ingram.
"Eight years as the loyal vice president who suggested his boss would be remembered as 'one of the greatest presidents' just can't be shaken overnight."
Peering inside Mr. Ingram's crystal ball, here's what we find for Election Day:
George W. Bush 48 percent
Al Gore 43 percent
Ralph Nader 5 percent
Pat Buchanan back to "Crossfire."

Oh really?

Reporter yesterday: "Personally, have you cast your absentee ballot in Florida yet?"
Attorney General (and Florida resident) Janet Reno: "Yes, I have."
Reporter: "OK. Do you care to tell us anything about "
Miss Reno: "No, I tried my level best to stay out of politics."

It's a ghost town

The upper chamber of the federal legislature yesterday had the mood of an echo chamber.
When the Senate convened at 8:30 last night to tie up the loose ends necessary to adjourn until Nov. 14, just two senators showed: President Pro Tem Strom Thurmond, South Carolina Republican, to preside; and Sen. Frank H. Murkowski, Alaska Republican, to read the script.
The Senate even had to borrow the House chaplain, Rev. Daniel Coughlin, for the opening prayer.
Seven minutes later, Mr. Thurmond had gaveled the session to an end, and the two dozen floor staff, chamber security and pages were buttoning down the chamber for a two-week rest.
On the other side of the Capitol, 115 lawmakers missed the House's sole vote yesterday.

Leak soup

The Clinton administration's most senior national security officials met yesterday at the White House to argue whether President Clinton should sign or veto the fiscal 2001 Intelligence Authorization bill, which contains provisions that would impose tougher criminal penalties for officials who leak classified information, government officials said.
Most present favored the leak bill, which critics have dubbed the first U.S. Official Secrets Act.
Attorney General Janet Reno strongly supported the bill, as did Rudy deLeon, the deputy secretary of defense. Strobe Talbott, the deputy secretary of state, questioned some aspects but was quieted after being told by Justice Department officials that State's concerns had been addressed earlier with language changes.
CIA Director George Tenet, the key promoter of the leak statute, also argued in favor of the bill.
That left National Security Adviser Samuel R. Berger and White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, who were described as "skeptical and questioning."
The meeting ended with Mr. Berger ordering the Justice Department to draft "implementing guidelines" in apparent preparation for a presidential John Hancock.
Behind the scenes, however, White House politicos suggested that Mr. Clinton is willing to veto the bill in exchange for some favorable press coverage.
"Maybe three days of good press from the New York Times would be worth a veto," one official was heard to remark.

Plucker No. 13

We've received almost a thousand submissions for our contest asking what employment Bill Clinton should seek after he leaves the White House.
Three of our favorites posted earlier this week were "doorman at the Chinese Embassy in Washington," "author of the Clinton New Word Dictionary" and "innkeeper of a new chain of motels called 'The Lincoln Bedroom.' "
And while we wish we could print them all, here's the final list of job openings suitable for our commander-in-chief after he goes public:
Hooters restaurant manager
Owner, while-u-wait dry cleaning
License plate manufacturer
President, Slick Willie's Oil & Lube Shops
Sleazy, Snow White's eighth dwarf at Disneyland
Commander-in-chief, NANVWSRDVW (National Association of Non-Veterans Who Served in Russia During the Vietnam War)
Plucker No. 13, night shift, Tyson Poultry, Hope, Ark.
White House pastry chef
Lorena Bobbitt's boyfriend
And finally, Mrs. Parri James, deputy commissioner of the revenue, Excise Tax Department (city withheld, and for good reason), suggests: "My recommendation for Mr. Clinton's new job (I won't say position): professor of women's studies, New York University."
Contest winners, whether submitting published or unpublished entries, will be notified by Election Day.

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