Keeping mentally alert by using monosyllables

ROGER SIMON

March 22, 1992|By ROGER SIMON

Campaign Notebook:

AND YOU THOUGHT ALL WE DID WAS DRINK . . .

In order to relieve the crushing boredom of following one candidate around all day and hearing him deliver the same speech over and over, reporters invent little games to keep themselves mentally alert.

The current one is this: Name the seven U.S. presidents with one-syllable names.

A political reporter should be able to come up with the names in seven minutes. So you should be able to do it in five.

I got six names right off the bat and then stalled. I got the seventh only after a hint. You can have the same hint: He was real fat.

No cheating allowed. This is real life, not politics.

*

THEY MAY HAVE INVENTED CHOLESTEROL, TOO . . .

Once Jerry Brown gets rolling in his speeches, there is virtually nothing he will not say.

"Crack was invented in the '80s under Reagan and Bush!" he said at Loyola University in Chicago last week. "Did you know that? They de-regulated cocaine! That is what's known as supply-side economics!"

Brown also likes to say: "We are not going to $1,000 a plate parties to sup with the few to manipulate the many!"

Sup?

*

JUST KEEP THE SOUNDBITES TO 8.2 SECONDS AND WE'LL BE HAPPY . . .

Bill Clinton, who first became nationally famous for giving an endless (43-minute) nominating speech for Michael Dukakis at the 1988 Democratic Convention, has finally learned that he is much better off keeping it short and snappy.

So when he was handed a giant bagel at a Chicago deli recently, Clinton said: "In 1984, the question in Illinois was, 'Where's the beef?' In 1992, it's, 'Where's the lox?' "

Which isn't bad, especially compared to some of Clinton's recent "good-ol'-boy" sayings.

In New Hampshire, he said: "If you find a country turtle sitting on a fence post, he didn't get there by accident!"

Last week, he continued the animal imagery, this time talking about all the accusations made against him. "I've been called everything but a blue goose," Clinton said.

(Watch next week for Jerry Brown to call him a blue goose.)

But the best animal line of the campaign so far comes from an unidentified "Bush campaign senior staffer" who told the Los Angeles Times how Pat Buchanan is using the tactics against Bush that Bush once used against Dukakis.

"It's like one of our lab rats has escaped and is biting our leader with a deadly virus that we developed to use against someone else."

*

PRETTY SOON IT'S GOING TO ADD UP TO REAL MONEY . . .

Upset at all those congressmen who wrote 19,000 bad checks for $11 million?

Consider that this fall the taxpayers will give the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees about $55 million each to spend on their campaigns.

On what will the money be spent? Houses for the homeless? Food for the hungry? Medicine for the sick?

Nope, most of it will go for TV commercials.

So is this a great country or what?

*

WAITER!

A recent picture of Bill Clinton visiting a cheesecake factory made a lot of papers around the country. Funny thing, though, everybody in the picture is wearing a hairnet -- as is required by law -- except Clinton.

After Mike Dukakis rode in a tank wearing a helmet that looked like a baby potty, Democrats have learned never to put anything silly on their heads.

*

REMEMBER, THEY ARE ONLY FUZZY SNAPSHOTS . . .

Once again the polls were wrong, this time in Illinois where Carol Mosely Braun upset incumbent Alan Dixon in the Democratic senate race.

It sort of makes you wonder why candidates depend on polls so much.

As Harry Truman once said: "I wonder how far Moses would have gone if he'd taken a poll in Egypt?"

*

SIGNS OF THE TIMES . . .

Best protest sign seen in February: "Saddam Hussein Has A Job, Do You?"

Best protest sign seen in March: "We Love You, Barb, But You're Sleeping With The Enemy!"

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