Democrats at risk of breaking out into euphoria

July 17, 1992|By Dave Barry | Dave Barry,Knight-Ridder News Service


In an outbreak of actual news that has caused thousands of veteran political observers here to chew their complimentary reception hors d'oeuvres with renewed thoughtfulness, "H." Ross Perot announced yesterday that the American political system -- only last week it was a corrupt mess -- has fixed itself, and it is no longer necessary for him to be president.

In making this announcement, Perot urged his millions of supporters to "get drunk and throw cutlery."

No, really, he urged them to make up their own minds about whether to support the Democrats or the Republicans, and despite his well-publicized dislike for George Bush, Perot did not indicate his own preference one way or another, except for a subtle veiled reference to "President Scumsucker."

Perot's withdrawal did not come as a big surprise to those of us in the news media, because we had already officially declared his campaign to be in Falter Mode. This is because (a) he was reputed to be having staff problems, (b) his popularity in the polls had been declining, and (c) we were getting tired of the paranoid little ferret.

So our current plan is to write numerous 375,000-word stories about how the Perot withdrawal will affect the presidential race. (Answer: Nobody knows.)

Meanwhile, the new, improved, moderate Democratic Party (motto: "Trust Us, America! We're Wearing Shoes!") wrapped up its convention last night in a mood of soaring euphoria the likes of which the Democrats have not experienced since that glorious and heady historical moment, years ago, when they nominated Michael "The Human Quaalude" Dukakis.

So maybe the Democrats should not get too excited yet. Bill Clinton might be leading the polls right now, but even as you read these words, the Bush campaign is preparing to win back the hearts and minds of the American people with a campaign that will reflect the fundamental values and principles for which the Republican Party stands. That's right: The Republicans are going to claim that Clinton pardoned Willie Horton.

No, I'm kidding again. I'm sure that the Republicans will run a tough but fair campaign based primarily on trying to link Clinton to discredited liberal policies of the past, by which I mean bimbos. (Or possibly "bimboes.")

But for the moment, the Democrats are riding high, and it was hard not to be impressed last night in Madison Square Garden when the throng of ecstatic delegates cheered wildly as their dynamic young standard-bearers and families gathered on the podium: Al and "Tipper" Gore with their four children, Karenna, Kristin, Sarah and Albert III; and Bill and Hillary Clinton with their three children, Chelsea, Tiffany and Courtney.

Tiffany and Courtney were added to the Clinton family just this week to provide additional Family Values. These people want to win BAD.

Speaking of Family Values, I went down to Greenwich Village to watch a protest demonstration by a group of people who wish to legalize marijuana.

There was a nice crowd on hand, the kind of crowd where a conservative dresser would be a person with only one ring in his nose. They had musicians and speeches and a 6-foot replica of a marijuana joint. They also were consuming what appeared to be actual marijuana.

Several dozen police officers were standing nearby, so I asked one of them about the local drug laws.

"Are these people allowed to smoke marijuana?" I asked.

"No," he answered, "not at all. And if we catch anybody, we'll enforce the law."

Then he continued to stand there, looking alert, while clouds of smoke drifted past where we were standing. Needless to say, I did not inhale.

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