- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 14, 2003

Name that tune

When not collectively ganging up on President Bush, Democratic presidential hopefuls individually are coming up with some unusual campaign gimmicks to stand out from the rest of the crowd.

Take Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, who is announcing the availability of a signed limited edition die-cast replica of the Craftsman Truck Series No. 50 “Bob Graham for President” Ford F-150 truck driven by racing phenomenon Jon Wood.

One can play with the nifty red and white toy trucks for an $80 campaign contribution. The die cast is signed by Mr. Wood, who drove the F-150 to victory in its first race at the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 at Kansas Speedway in July. It was the first vehicle in a major NASCAR series to be sponsored by a presidential candidate.

Meanwhile, the presidential campaign of Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut is telling Americans: “From singing ‘My Way’ on the Tonight Show to the Gore/Lieberman campaign song ‘Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow,’ Joe has always loved music.

Here’s your chance to tell us what songs inspire you and remind you of Joe. What songs would get you excited for Joe at campaign events and rallies?”

Boy, tough question. Which means it’s time for yet another Inside the Beltway reader survey, when our readers tell us which songs remind them of Joe.

Heck, let’s not stop with Mr. Lieberman. Send us the titles of songs that remind you of any of the other presidential hopefuls, President Bush included. After all, we don’t play favorites in this column.

Each submission, sent by slow mail or to the e-mail address below, should include the title of the song and its artist, along with your name and hometown. In the coming days we’ll publish as many campaign theme songs as space will allow.

Piece of cake

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge appeared surprised last week that a man would be able to ship himself from New York to Dallas on a cargo plane, saying sometimes “the events overtake the kinds of things we’re doing.”

The kinds of things they’re doing are certainly taking a long time.

A former Navy fighter pilot who now flies FedEx planes warned in this column one year ago that security surrounding thousands of cargo aircraft that crisscross this nation is “a joke.”

“Security is virtually nonexistent,” said the pilot, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “I’d say no more than 15 percent of the packages put on our airplanes are inspected, and access to our planes is a piece of cake.”

Speaking for the record in this same column was Capt. David Webb, chairman of the Air Line Pilots Association’s FedEx unit, who pointed out that a hijacked cargo airliner “makes just as deadly a guided missile as one full of passengers.”

Cancun wrap

Amid demonstrations by hordes of “green” activists throwing rocks, burning flags and generally being a nuisance, there occurred a not-entirely-mock award ceremony in Cancun, Mexico, as the World Trade Organization ministerial talks wound down yesterday.

Featuring three grim reapers “passing the envelope” to Niger Innis of the Congress for Racial Equality, it involved American youths accepting “Green Power — Black Death” awards on behalf of Greenpeace, the EU, and the Pesticide Action Network for their respective leadership “in bringing poverty, misery, disease and premature death to billions of people in developing countries.”

“The crowd of activists stared dumbly, unable to process the sight of black faces and college-age students daring to contradict theconventional groupthink,” says observer Christopher C. Horner, of the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington.

“This rare silence-of-the-loudmouths was short-lived quiet anger at being trumped at their own game, replaced by incoherent rage. One particularly shrill woman told Mexican television she was ‘shocked and appalled @ such grandstanding.’ Meanwhile, her activist colleagues scaled a dangling construction crane, stripped naked and waved to people down below before climbing down.

“On a lighter note, ‘best bumper sticker’ goes to the Federated Farmers of New Zealand — recently subject to a stiff methane tax upon their flatulating assets attributed to man by the Kyoto Protocol: ‘Fight Against Ridiculous Taxes.’ The bold lettered acronym also bore an amusing cartoon cow presenting her rear in protest.”

John McCaslin, a nationally syndicated columnist, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]

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