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Jewish World Review Nov. 8, 2000 / 10 Mar-Cheshvan, 5761

James Lileks

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Consumer Reports

The strangest political night -- 7:56 PM CST. Looks like Florida has gone Gore. Blame the seniors. Maybe they believed the Ed Asner phone calls, where he grunted out a few stanzas of the same old song: George Bush will come to your house, put duct tape around your Clapper so it can't hear you, unplug your VCR so it'll blink 12:00 12:00 12:00 until your grandkids come to visit again, and then he'll put your pills on a high shelf and steal your check on the way out. He'll take your money and give it to guys who look like the Monopoly game mascot.

Or words to that effect. These ads apparently convinced many, because they came from . . . Ed Asner! If this ancient lump of moldy Bolshevism says it's so, it must be so.

Anyone who's this stupid deserves to have the government handle their retirement.

For a while we've tended to herd all the seniors under the halo of the Greatest Generation - as if everyone with gray hair and a pruny puss was born on Black Monday, suffered in the Great Depression, stormed Normandy, then came home to build freeways and moon rockets. No need t' thank us, ma'am, it's our job an' our pleasure. But they can't all have fought Hitler. Someone who's 65 today was 9 in 1944. Perhaps the government has suppressed footage of the infamous Fightin' Fourth Graders as they took Omaha, but I doubt it.

10:06 PM. The networks are now saying they may have given FL prematurely.

G-d bless the selfless heroes of the Greatest Generation!

11:02 PM. It seems a lot of rich young California men have given the state to Gore. Newly minted internet millionaires are turning Gore, but that's no surprise; in San Francisco, young male children who show signs of believing in conservative principles are taken to the high cliffs and exposed to the elements, lest they pollute the tribe with their heretical notions. These guys are the Richest One Percent - but then again, who isn't? In Gore's world, the Richest One Percent is anyone who does not necessarily have to use a hairnet in their daily job. They're the enemies of Working Families - by which Gore means a family that doesn't A) have a father, or B) work.

Anyway, these Internet millionaire boys like Gore for one reason: they want to date his daughters. Just a suspicion.

9:45 PM. Looks like it's Senator Hillary Clinton. Many folks can't imagine why New Yorkers would voluntarily opt for more Clintonism, but it's really quite simple.

A. Lazio just reminded too many people of a small happy dog playing in the traffic.

B. Abortion. The GOP will continue to lose moderate women, because the GOP refuses to conceal its distaste for abortion. It's not that the moderate women support, say, partial-birth abortion - but they're mighty suspicious of politicians who condemn it. Those men are up to something. They're extreeeemists. Someone who supports impaling any fetus at the last minute of the last hour of the last day of the last month is not an extremist, of course; they're an advocate for women's health. Women who made it out of the birth canal, anyway.

It's an impossible position. What's the GOP supposed to do? "Well, we don't support infanticide, but we're content just to sit over here and look sad about it." This will dog the GOP for years to come, and will be the leading reason for many more Hillaries.

Ah - here's her acceptance speech. She says - in her charisma-free schoolteacher drone - that she will give families "the tools" to prosper. Sstandard New Democrat cant. What she means, of course, is that she'll craft a program that taxes one family and benefits five, and she'll hire twenty people to administer it. Listen, sister. I have tools. They're called "paychecks."

1:00 AM. I've been up for 19 hours on six hours of sleep. Britt Hume is starting to look like a bleached Herman Munster to me. I wonder if I missed the Nader concession speech. It would have been amusing if someone had rigged his podium with one of his beloved airbags - when he pounded the podium too hard, the bag would explode and blow him through the curtains. Sorry we didn't have an off switch, Ralph - but we didn't think you'd approve.

1:20 AM. Waiting, waiting, waiting. They've just put up an electoral map, and it's fascinating: in general, the dense states rule over the fruited plains. Bush owns great broad swaths, but there's a few thick rich pockets of Gore, and each dense state's electoral votes swamp two or three heartland states. They might well push it for Gore.

And that's the culture in a nutshell. Highly populated states need the great middle of America; they need it to go to work, make things, raise food, pay taxes, bring up decent kids and keep the country on an even keel. But when the people of these states ask for the right to invest their own Social Security money, or send their kids to the same sort of school as a congressman or New York magazine editor - well, that's when they have to be slapped on the knuckles and shoved in the corner with a dunce sign stuck to their back.

The nerve! Why bother to call it Middle America, or even break it up into separate states? Just be honest, and call it Serfland. Shut up and watch Rosie like you're told. Buy the movie tickets and don't make faces when we humiliate your culture. Watch our TV programs and patronize our sponsors; please be nice when our film crews show up to shoot lemonade and pickup truck commercials, and please understand that when we call you dolts and rubes, we mean it with affection. Although we do mean it.

Now run along to your horrid little Wal-Mart lives and leave us to our important business: deciding whether to run three minutes or four on "Fashions of the Inaugural Ball" on Entertainment Tonight.

1:12 AM. I'm going to bed. It's apparent that Gore or Bush will be POTUS with a slight margin. No one will have a mandate. Four more years of gridlock, partisan wrangling, bitter divisiveness, and a poisoned atmosphere of suspicion, mistrust and ill will.

In other words: Bill Clinton won a third term after all.

JWR contributor James Lileks is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


11/07/00: Get ready to return to the Dark Ages

© 2000, James Lileks