The 'good news' for Bush just means it's not awful

ROGER SIMON

October 30, 1992|By ROGER SIMON

WARREN, Mich. -- Life getting you down lately? Feeling a little blue?

Hey! Just join the Bush campaign and perk up!

Because this week all news on the Bush campaign is good news.

The economy? Fine.

The polls? Swell.

The re-election of the president? In the bag.

And don't take my word for it. Just ask George Bush: "There is bad news for Gov. Clinton and the Ozone Man," Bush says at nearly every stop, referring to the Clinton/Gore ticket, "because there is good news for the economy! The economy has grown 2.7 percent for the last quarter. And it puts a lie to the fact that we are in a deep recession!"

And when George Bush says "2.7 percent," he doesn't merely say it. He draws it out as if it had about 40 syllables so it sounds a little heftier.

Because there are some naysayers, some criers of doom, some talking heads on the Sunday TV shows who say 2.7 percent doesn't sound so great to them. They say it sounds like fewer than 3 pennies on the dollar.

But they are wrong. Because 2.7 percent is good news this week. And that's because in the final week of the Bush campaign, good news is defined as any news that is not awful.

Just take a look at that new Gallup Poll with Bush just 2 points behind Clinton. Two points! That's within the margin of error, which means Bush actually could be ahead.

Which, let me tell you, has been like a shot of adrenalin into the carotid artery of the Bush campaign. Faces are gleaming. Smiles are beaming. Feet are no longer touching the ground.

And what about all those other polls that show Bush considerably farther back? Those polls are wrong. Dead wrong.

Because the numbers this week are good. Especially the numbers that the Bush campaign is producing itself: These come on little cardboard slide-cards and are handed out at Bush speeches.

You adjust the sliding card to how much you make -- let's say you are married, make $50,000 a year, and have two kids -- and the figure $4,250 appears in the window and the words, "This is How Much MORE Clinton Could Cost You In Higher Income and Payroll Taxes."

And you want to drive the message home? Make people really believe you? Just bring out an American hero to campaign with.

Four years ago, Bush attached himself to baseball legend Ted Williams like a limpet mine attached to the hull of a battleship.

And this year? Well, this year, George Bush is campaigning with . . . Bruce Willis.

Who?

Bruce Willis. You know. The guy who was in "Moonlighting" and "Die Hard" and "Die Hard II" and has been box-office poison since. That's who.

"If making Arkansas synonymous with 'last in America' qualifies you for being commander in chief of the free world, then I'm Mel Gibson!" Willis, who each morning manages the neat trick of having a five o'clock shadow at 9 a.m., tells the crowds.

But how tough have things really been for George Bush this year? This tough:

About four months ago, when everyone was declaring us dead and buried politically, we got a phone call at the White House," Bush said.

"And somebody came to me and said, well, Bruce Willis is calling. I said, 'Well, how do you know it's Bruce Willis?' And they said, 'Well, it is.' "

Consider: In late June, 1992, George Bush is feeling so low and abandoned that he cannot believe anyone as famous as Bruce Willis would actually be calling him.

"So we called back," the president went on, "and when things were really rough, down he came. Barbara and I had dinner with him, and he has been out there, working hard, helping me at

every turn, and I am very, very grateful to him!"

Now don't you wish you had called George Bush back then and agreed to have dinner with him?

Because if you had, you could be campaigning at his side today.

"Hey," Bush said. "Look at it this way: If Bruce Willis can overcome all those terrorists and all those bad guys in those Die Hard movies, then we can overcome Clinton-Gore, we can annoy the media, and we can win the election!"

Yes! It is possible!

In the last week of a campaign, anything is possible.

If you cross your fingers. And close your eyes. And believe very, very hard.

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