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Jewish World Review June 22, 2000 /19 Sivan, 5760

Don Feder

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Quizzing potential Bush mates -- IN THE RELENTLESS QUEST for a running mate who can match his charisma, eloquence and intellectual depth, Gov. George W. Bush has put out a questionnaire to evaluate potential sidekicks.

It's so detailed -- covering finances, past service and public-policy views -- that it reportedly took Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating two days to complete.

Now, if I were in W's rich-guy loafers, here are the questions I would use to vet possible running mates:

1) Have you ever lied under oath, dodged the draft or smoked pot but claimed not to have inhaled? Do you think there's an oral-sex-from-twentysomethings exception to perjury?

2) Are disbarrment proceeding against you underway?

3) Have you made any suspicious killings in the commodities futures market, say turning a $1,000 investment into a $100,000 profit in less than a year?

4) Have you ever taken an income-tax deduction for donating used underwear?

5) Have you received campaign contributions from foreign bankers with ties to communist China? Have you done any Buddhist temple fund-raisers where monks and nuns maxed out on personal contributions?

6) Do you own rental property that makes Tobacco Road look like the Trump Towers?

Answers to the foregoing would disqualify Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Al Gore from the number two spot of the GOP ticket.

On more substantive matters:

7) Should the GOP have a big tent on abortion? Should the party make room in its teepee for those who dissent on tax reform and national defense?

Should Republicans stand for anything other than whatever strikes the fancy of the Business Roundtable?

8) Which individual reflects your vision of the Republican Party: A) Gerald Ford, B) Bob Dole, C) John McCain or D) Alan Keyes?

9) Putting aside your position on what's called a woman's right to choose, when a woman is pregnant, what do you think she's carrying in her womb? A) don't know, B) try not to think about it, C) an unknown entity that becomes a person when its head passes the birth canal or D) a human being in gestation.

10) Are you impressed by the reasoning of Roe vs. Wade? If so, explain how the Warren court managed to locate a right to abortion contained within a right to privacy lurking in the penumbra of the First Amendment, which no other Supreme Court had managed to identify in the preceding 185 years? Does the Constitution mean whatever the Supreme Court says it means, or do words have an objective meaning?

11) What do you think has a greater impact on crime: A) the "proliferation of handguns," B) the proliferation of Clinton judges, C) poverty, D) drugs or E) Hollywood.

12) The proper role of American foreign policy is: A) enhancing our security, B) advancing corporate interests or C) Third World nation-building?

13) In your opinion, should the U.S. military resemble: A) Clint Eastwood in "Heartbreak Ridge," B) Goldie Hawn in "Private Benjamin" or C) Demi Moore in "G.I. Jane"?

14) What more accurately describes the government of China: A) our strategic partner, B) a potential rival or C) the reincarnation of the Third Reich with lo mein noodles.

15) Do you refer to the late Hafez Assad as Syria's: A) president, B) revered statesman or C) blood-drenched dictator?

16) To test your IQ (ideology quotient), in the following World Wrestling Federation celebrity grudge matches, who would you root for: Charleton Heston vs. Warren Beatty, Dr. Laura vs. Rosie O'Donnell, Alan Keyes vs. Al Sharpton, Sen. Jesse Helms vs. former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, Log Cabin Republicans vs. the Southern Baptists, Marisleysis Gonzalez (Elian's Miami cousin) vs. Attorney General Janet Reno and Hillary Rodham Clinton vs. Satan?

17) What exerts the most influence on your thinking: A) focus groups, B) opinion polls, C) the views of campaign contributors, D) the editorial page of The New York Times or E) your independent judgment.

Such a test could help weed out the intellectual descendents of Thomas Dewey from the heirs of Ronald Reagan. Then again, if George W. took this test, he might be disqualified from running with himself.

JWR contributing columnist Don Feder's latest book is Who's Afraid of the Religious Right. Comment on his column by clicking here.


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