Election tip: All 3 of them can't lose

DAN RODRICKS

November 03, 1992|By DAN RODRICKS

Pieces of column too short to use . . .

There is no sure way to measure this, but I'm betting 28 to 30 percent of voters today won't make up their minds until they are in the voting booths, drapes drawn.

They are disgruntled Buchanan Republicans who detest giving George Bush the satisfaction of their votes; Reagan Democrats who have been leaning toward Bill Clinton but still feel queasy about him; and once-ardent Ross Perot supporters, moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats, who will conclude, as they step into the voting booth, that a vote for their man is really a waste.

My hunch: Clinton 46, Bush 44, Perot 10.

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Worst TV ad of the campaign: The Tom McMillen (anti-Wayne Gilchrest) spot with the old, frail man on the walker. Best TV ad: Gilchrest's tough, resentful counter.

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Regarding William Donald's decision to bolt the Democratic Party this election and endorse George Bush, allow me to quote Goodman Ace: "Politics makes estranged bedfellows." By the way, the board of the Baltimore Opera is said to be in a dispute over what status the company should seek -- good, regional opera or world-class opera. In either case, the side that prevails should contact me. "The Don Donaldo Ring Cycle," fully manuscripted and half-scored, is sitting on my dry sink, waiting for a producer with a big cigar and a bank roll.

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Bumper sticker of the week: "My Other Car Is A Broom."

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It turns out the rumors, reported here first, that either Hammer or Sylvester Stallone were negotiating to buy Ross Valley Farm -- you know, the one with all the white fence along Interstate 83, north of Hunt Valley -- were wrong.

All right, already. It's Madonna who wants to buy! Yeah, that's the ticket.

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Ted Bear, a fellow from West Baltimore, wants to lodge a protest against the so-called scalper crackdown. A silly bill before City Council would prohibit the scalping of tickets to, among other events, Orioles games. Ted opposes the proposed ordinance on humanitarian grounds, and he speaks from personal experience.

"I live on a little Social Security," Ted says. "So I can't afford to go to ball games. One Sunday last September, I was sitting here, bored as hell -- I live alone -- so I decided to walk down to the new stadium to watch the people -- people, hell; the girls! Anyway, this scalper comes up to me several times and tries to sell me a ticket. I told him -- through my electric larynx -- that I had no money. After about an hour and a half, he walked over and handed me a ticket. He said, 'Here, go to the game and enjoy yourself.' And he took off before I could thank him. There is one more thing I want to add: I am an old white man, and he was a young, black boy, maybe 16, 17 years old; he didn't have to do that. I just had to tell you about it."

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Opponents of Question 6 on today's Maryland ballot say they are fighting approval of the state's new abortion law on grounds that it's a "bad law." Make no mistake, what opponents of Question 6 are trying to do is make this a referendum on abortion. They won't be satisfied until abortion is illegal again, and they think anyone who compromises is of dubious morality.

Among the several letters and phone calls protesting a recent column about Regi Elion, the well-known Federal Hill restaurateur who went public about her unsafe, illegal abortion in 1966, was one that was particularly representative for its hostility, irrationality and self-righteousness. The writer, from Carroll County, thought that Ms. Elion had made an immoral choice and that, by going public 26 years later, she was "celibrating" (sic) her "child's death." The writer disregarded completely the circumstances of Ms. Elion's life at the time, and saw her choice to have an abortion -- and my choice to write about it -- as "narcissistic and hedonistic." (I've been called worse.) Another letter likened Ms. Elion's decision to have an abortion to her decision, earlier that year, to get a divorce -- on the grounds that both choices were immoral.

Why do I bother to go into this? Question 6 is a compromise. For abortion foes, there is no compromising. And so it goes . . .

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