Might not have charisma (a negative he has...

PAUL TSONGAS

March 02, 1992

PAUL TSONGAS might not have charisma (a negative he has turned into a positive) but he has a wry, dry humor that we recommend to all voters regardless of their candidate preference.

When the winner of the New Hampshire primary stopped in Baltimore the day after, he delighted an audience at Hopkins Plaza with some of his ironic observations.

Putting on a pair of horn-rimmed glasses he has to wear as the result of a minor eye injury, the presidential hopeful remarked: "People say this is my attempt at a new look. If I wanted a new look, this would not be it."

Then, after saying he would like to throw all pollsters into the Potomac, he said they even tell candidates what to wear. "That's why," he said, holding his tie up to public view, "I have 20 red diagonal striped ties."

Turning on his would-be opponent in the general election, he remarked that George Bush vowed to be "the environmental president." Silence. When the crowd tittered, Mr. Tsongas said: "I rest my case."

Finally, in remarking on the laundry-list of tax breaks the president put in his election-year economic package, the former Massachusetts senator declared: "If you have a cocker spaniel, he'd have one for you, too."

* * *

HOW AWKWARD IS it for circuit court judges to run for reelection? We cite Exhibit A: The radio commercials now being run by the sitting judges in Baltimore County.

With a tone more typically used to pitch insurance to uninsurable motorists, the commercial's apparent goal is to name the incumbent judges as often as possible. The ad repeatedly urges the re-election of "Judges Bollingerbyrnescahilldewatersandkahl."

Actually, that's Judges Thomas J. Bollinger Sr., J. Norris Byrnes, Robert E. Cahill Sr., Edward A. DeWaters Jr. and Christian M. Kahl. The ad, written to stress name recognition (that's all that counts in this race), makes the group appear as some five-headed serpent, or perhaps some grotesque, hydra-headed extraterrestrial magistrate from a far-off planetoid weighing judgment against the puny earthlings from the Starship Enterprise.

We have nothing against the sitting judges. Actually, we like them.

But we have a question: How big a robe would you need for Judge Bollingerbyrnescahilldewatersandkahl?

* * *

BIZARRE explanation department. A Bush operative, defending the president's plunge in the polls, said: "George Bush has been declared dead more times than Elvis Presley. This campaign is just beginning."

Wait a minute. . . Isn't Elvis really dead? But he's been declared alive. And that means George Bush . . . No, don't be cruel.

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