Sunday, August 06, 2000

No 'core value'

Leftover GOP-land questions

        The GOP convention “with a purpose” has ended, and I was sincerely thrilled to be there. But now that I am home, I have several questions, questions completely without purpose. None has anything to do with “core values.” Some are not even Republican. Or multicultural. Or nice.

        What's in the water in Philadelphia? Cab drivers, cops, clerks, waitpersons were relentlessly helpful and courteous. Of course, a lot of money flowed into Philly — an estimated $100 million — but I doubt the average worker got any of it. Yet, downtown people inconvenienced by the traffic, by the convention-inspired protesters, by the sheer number of people dumped onto their street lived up to the city's slogan: “The city that loves you back.”

        Why didn't W tell us about P sooner? Girls could have been swooning. People magazine could have been chasing down his old girlfriends. The National Enquirer could have been pawing through his garbage. Now the 24-year-old hottie George P. Bush will be shielded by his own press secretary.

        What were the protesters protesting? Unity 2000 protested “corporate greed, exploitation and oppression.” Second Amendment Sisters protested gun laws. Another group protested guns. Official protesters were confined to a small park across from the convention hall, dubbed Protest Pit. Activists opposed to everything from abortion to animal testing to the death penalty ignored the official protest site and took to the streets. I stopped one of the young marchers. What are you protesting? “Everything.”

        What happens if they lose his pillow? Gov. Bush may have to travel the country over the next few months and he may have to stay up past his normal 9:30 bedtime, but the candidate travels with his own bed pillow from home.

        Did they really have to dismantle the entrance to the Marriott to get his head through the door? Secretary of State Ken Blackwell inflicted the insufferable Fox News Network's Bill O'Reilly on the Ohio delegation. “I had dozens of offers to speak, but I wanted to come be with you guys because I love being with the working people. The blue-collar folks.” The colorblind babbling head told the audience that when his show went up against the networks, “Rather and Jennings started sweating bullets.”

        What are Republicans going to do with all that mac and cheese? Those fabulous folks who brought you lung cancer and heart disease, Phillip Morris Inc., also own Kraft. They tucked special edition boxes of Macaroni & Cheese in goody bags at many, many occasions. Will elephant-shaped noodles help erase the image of the Marlboro Man?

        Where was Dan Quayle? With Henry Hyde and Pat Buchanan and Newt Gingrich. That is to say, invisible.

        Why did it take Rep. Steve Chabot an extra hour to get home from the convention? He flew into the Dayton airport to get a cheaper fare. “Hey, I figure I can buy 20 more yard signs with the money I saved.”

        Was it a sly jab? Or merely a breath mint? Altoids, the “curiously strong peppermints” favored by Monica Lewinsky, were among gifts to those attending the Republican National Committee 2000 Gala.

        Why did it take nearly two hours to clear the hall after Gov. Bush's speech? Giddy delegates didn't want to leave. They like him — they really like him.

        E-mail Laura at or call 768-8393.


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