The Curmudgeonly Iconoclast, stormed into th...


December 17, 1992

OUR FRIEND, the Curmudgeonly Iconoclast, stormed into th office spluttering and harrumphing as usual. Fixing us with a stentorian stare, he offered his judgment of the day: "I am sick and tired of all those people who said the presidential campaign was too long."

Since we were one of the miscreants, we just asked for elucidation.

"Well, it's the bloody Brits," old C.I. declared. "They have brainwashed us poor colonials into thinking that their parliamentary democracy with its nice short six-week campaigns vastly superior to our presidential republic and its year-long gasathons. They claim they train their prime ministers right by making them work their way up from the back benches to the Treasury or the Foreign Office or the Board of Trade or all three."

"Well, I say what has been so great about their P.M.s, Winston and maybe Margaret excepted?" he went on. "Major is minor (a little laugh here amidst the thunder)."

Then, calming down, the Curmudgeonly Iconoclast explained that long campaigns are needed because in our country governors and senators and even ex-governors and ex-senators tend to nominate themselves in hopes of coming out of nowhere or even out of Arkansas (Ha-Ha). "Think back," said our visitor. "Last February we didn't know a damn thing about Paul Tsongas, or Tom Harkin, or Bob Kerrey, or Bill Clinton -- and what we knew about Jerry Brown wasn't worth printing in a family newspaper."

Without a long campaign, he contended, Ross Perot wouldn't have had enough time to enter the race, get out of the race, get back in the race and then educate the electorate on the dangers of the deficit. Nor would George Bush have generated enough steam to fulminate memorably about "bozos."

That said, C.I. left, vowing to return the next time he was in high dudgeon.

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