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It's party time.

Hey, government's broke, everybody. Stay home. You know, I'm thinking if we're so broke, maybe we should start acting like we're broke. When families go through bad times, they resort to desperate measures and so should the family that is the United States. First thing we got to do is stop buying new stuff. Why do we need brand-new billion-dollar B-2 fighters? Surely we can squeeze a couple of million more air miles out of our old B-1s. Wax up those puppies in the driveway some Saturday afternoon, and we're set for sorties o'plenty. Take a second job. We're great cops, maybe we could double as security guards at international frat parties. And we could advertise. Put a sign on the Statue of Liberty, Will Work for Wheat. Turn off the lights. To save costs, we should use candles and shut down all the elevators in federal buildings. You save money on electricity, repairs, and medical insurance, since people tend to have heart attacks and not linger. Rent your vacation property. Lease the Hawaiian Islands to Japan. They're the only ones who can afford to go there anyhow. Hell, we could pawn Wyoming. Who would notice? Besides, it's square. We have to get creative, people. Send in your downsizing suggestions.

San Francisco, California, where a group called `San Francisco Beautiful' is complaining about the utility boxes. First they should focus on the tourists. Work their way down the ugly tree. Hard to believe, but we are back at the beginning of another election year. Let us pray. We're as resilient to the whole format as fourth-generation cockroaches are to watered-down Raid. Just to prove it, I compiled a calendar of what we habitual taxpayers can expect in the coming year. Clip and save. All dates are approximate. Your mileage may differ.

February 12: In an attempt to promote their common-man themes, candidates beat each other up to gather contributors to their grassroots, $10,000-a-plate fund-raising dinners.

February 13: H. Ross Perot says, "It's time to take out the trash, clean out the barn, and hose down the pigs." Ted Koppel sadly shakes his head, but his hair refuses to move.

February 15: On a Larry King Live candidate forum in Cedar Rapids, one of the candidates states that it's time to treat the American public as responsible adults and offers a comprehensive outline to reduce the deficit through a national program of shared sacrifice. He is never heard from again.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

February 18: In a freak winter thaw, millionaire career politicians emerge from limos to wade through muddy Iowa fields in tasseled loafers and $3,000 suits, expressing their solidarity with struggling farmers. Later, the Salvation Army is inundated with shoes.

February 19: Pat Buchanan personally chases an illegal alien back across the border.

February 21: The day after the New Hampshire primary, the third runner-up holds a press conference claiming a moral victory, while behind him his staff weeps openly.

March 25: H. Ross Perot says, "It's time to get under the hood, check the belts, and prime the fuel pump with elbow grease." Reporters stare at him like a dog trying to learn how to play chess.

April 1: Lewd pictures are posted on the web site of a Christian Coalition mouthpiece. His poll figures rise appreciably.

April 29: A New York Times poll shows 40 percent of Americans see a need for a third party.

April 30: H. Ross Perot announces he is entering the race.

May 1: A New York Times poll shows 43 percent of Americans see a need for a fourth party.

May 15: On a Sunday morning news show, the vice-presidential front runner defends his foreign policy by intimating that the richest country in the world determines the global agenda. A challenger smirks, "Let's leave Japan out of this." He is never heard from again.

June 1: H. Ross Perot says he has videotapes of the CIA replacing his morning coffee with freeze-dried Folgers Crystals, and drops out.

June 20: A flag factory in New Jersey bans all photo-ops by Presidential aspirants in a desperate attempt to get some work done. A Republican aide is admitted to intensive care with a severe case of red, white, and blue poisoning.

July 4: At a barbecue in a Southern swing state, a candidate's wife gets noticeably queasy after standing too close to the goat spit.

July 21: The Democrats float a platform outline that endorses good and condemns bad.

July 22: Because of pressure from special interests, the platform is watered down.

August 9: The Republican platform outline proposes hunting the homeless as food.

August 9: It is unanimously approved.

August 12: H. Ross Perot says, "The deficit is like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs," and is officially back in.

August 14: At the Republican National Convention, the conservative wing accuses the nominee of selling out the party. San Diego cab drivers express disgust.

August 26: At the Democratic National Convention, the liberal wing accuses the nominee of selling out the party. Chicago police-van drivers express disgust.

August 30: H. Ross Perot buys Wyoming and secedes.

September: Absolutely nothing happens in September and is reported upon at great length.

October 20 and 26: In an unusual move, no Presidential candidate personally appears at the debates. However, their spin doctors give detailed answers as to how the candidates might have responded if asked a particular question in a certain way. The spin doctors conveniently provide said questions in order to facilitate the process.

November 5: The public stays away from the polls in droves, rationalizing that if voting were actually effective, it would have been made illegal by now.

November 6: The losing party's vice-presidential nominee calls the election a statistical aberration and fires the opening shot kicking off campaign 2000.
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Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Off The Map; political campaign humor
Author:Durst, Will
Publication:The Progressive
Article Type:Column
Date:Mar 1, 1996
Words:971
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