Jewish World Review May 8, 2000 / 3 Iyar, 5760
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- BARBIE IS RUNNING for president. She has a fabulous blue suit, gobs of accessories, but -- I'm sorry to say -- not even a passing familiarity with the Constitution. Barbie's Web page says she believes in equality, world peace, animal kindness and "only the best" education. Her home page doesn't even pay lip service to freedom or the separation of powers. Rather, it prattles on about how, "if elected," Barbie will "institute more opportunities for every kid to develop their talents and be the best they can be."
No! no! no! That's the Barbie who thinks she invented the Internet. Not my Barbie. No sir. When my Barbie played president, she slashed government programs and demanded a line-item veto. My Barbie spent many happy hours denying tiny little petitions for habeas corpus.
I don't want sound like a tiresome liberal and complain too strenuously about Barbie's presidential platform. It is designed for children, and presidential promises dreamed up by children will tend to address things like Fido's ticks and the rampant pigtail-pulling epidemic.
But the funny thing is: This is how the Democrats conceive of government, too.
Indeed, you couldn't help but notice how much Barbie's "What I Believe" bullet points sounded like a typical Democrat. Barbie promises to address the little things that children can understand, such as "mak(ing) sure every school offers kids the best" in music, arts, math, science, sports programs and computers. A real-life adult presidential candidate, like George W. Bush, deals with such minutiae by reminding the audience that he is running for president, not national superintendent of schools.
Consequently, at first I assumed this was just another sad example of corporate America stereotyping girls. Yeah sure, they say Barbie's running for president, but really she's running to be chair of the PTA.
But then I remembered Al Gore -- who is running for president -- and his presidential-level promises to support smaller class size, universal preschool for 4-year-olds, teacher testing programs, mandatory school attendance until age 18, and federal "opportunity academies." Not only that, but in a seamless transition from Barbie to Gore, the vice president has actually taken to campaigning in grade schools (which even the 10-year-old kids have reportedly found "weird"). Maybe Gore is the one running for national superintendent of schools.
In another childlike, bite-sized issue, Barbie takes a stand on the environment. (She's pro.) She says, "It's time we take a stand to care for Mother Earth." ("Mother Earth"? Soon she'll be denouncing "risky tax cut schemes.")
In his 1992 book "Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit," Gore proposed "eliminating the internal combustion engine" within the next 25 years. Last month he upped the ante by saying it should be done in less than 25 years. Cars cause pollution; therefore, we need to get rid of cars. QED.
At least all Barbie proposed on behalf of "Mother Earth" was to keep "our playgrounds, our parks and our neighborhoods" clean. Moreover, Barbie's argument for keeping playgrounds clean was a lot more sensible than Gore's rationale for eliminating the internal combustion engine. Barbie explained that "Clear air, clean water and a clean environment are vital to our health." Gore hysterically ranted in his book that "the automobile's cumulative impact on the global environment is posing a mortal threat to the security of every nation."
Early last year, Gore took a major stand against traffic jams. Remember, this is the man running for president, not traffic cop. The vice president was inspired to take on the "third-rail" traffic jam issue on the basis of his insight that sometimes, "if a parent wants to read a child a bedtime story, they call on a cell phone while they're stuck in a traffic jam." Even Barbie hasn't said anything that dopey.
In order to ease traffic jams -- so that parents would not have to say "good morning and good night to their child from a cell phone because they're stuck in traffic" -- Gore proposed three federal initiatives. He demanded creation of a national three-digit telephone number for traffic reports. (So in case you're ever caught in traffic and it doesn't occur to you to turn on your radio, and if you happen to have a cell phone, you'll be able to call the equivalent of the IRS "help line.")
In addition, Gore said he would demand that employers offer employees taxable cash for transportation or tax-exempt parking, transit or van-pool benefits. Last but not least, Gore promised a series of fun-packed "livability summits" sponsored by the federal government.
Feel free to bring up Fido's flea problem at the "livability
JWR contributor Ann Coulter is the author of High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton.
05/02/00: Moving the goalpost