Sunday, October 24, 2004

I keep getting telephone calls from nut jobs



Peter Bronson

Now that we've been "The Heart of it All'' for 10 months of a presidential election, Ohio may want to rethink that slogan. I'd say the liver or even "The Kidneys of it All'' sounds pretty good.

My demon-possessed television spouts vile lies and green-bile political attacks like an Exorcist bobblehead. And that's just the network news.

I keep getting phone calls from nut jobs who yell about lunatic political conspiracies. And that's just the candidates.

Even voting sounds more perilous than Election Day in Afghanistan, with swarms of fire-ant lawyers and killer-bee poll watchers waiting to scare the chads out of us. And that's just the school levies.

But if we're fed up to our molars with the insanity, imagine what it's like for the candidates in a race where votes are sold one at a time, like life insurance policies.

Imagine being Vice President Dick Cheney, and getting a memo that sends you to Cincinnati to fall on a coney grenade for the Bush campaign.

"Hey, Big Guy,'' it probably said, "sorry to do this to your cholesterol, but Karl Rove's latest micro-poll of ZIP Code 45238 says we might pick up four votes if we order some three-ways at Price Hill Chili. After that, you're on a plane for corn casserole in Iowa City (9 votes), extra-sharp cheddar in Oshkosh (3 votes) and chimichangas in Tucson (12). As you know, this order is top secret - especially from your doctor. Thanks, W.''

No wonder Cheney has heart problems.

But even 30 coneys to go is safer than going hunting in Youngstown with John Kerry.

I noticed that John "Elmer Gantry'' Edwards did not have enough confidence in the faith-healing power of stem cells to even show up for that 12-gauge goose hunt. The way the press pool reports described it, the shooting sounded like the Tet Offensive. Kerry emerged in G.I. Joe camos, claiming he shot a Canada goose, and before he could even write himself up for a Silver Star, the Swift Vets were probably already making an ad that says the goose was running away when he shot it.

Or imagine how tough this campaign is for network news princes like Peter Jennings, who was in town this week.

They have to constantly defend themselves from charges of bias as they work tirelessly to inform voters that Bush is a warmongering chimpanzee and Kerry is a brilliant war hero.

Even for naturally gifted hypocrites, it's hard to convince voters that if Dan Rather uses a forged letter to smear Bush, it's award-winning journalism, but the Sinclair Broadcast Group should be censored for allowing Vietnam vets to whack Kerry.

Maybe the Sinclair bosses saw what Kerry did to that goose. They chickened out, and decided to run only clips of Stolen Honor on Friday night.

My calls to the Sinclair station in Cincinnati, WSTR-TV (Channel 64), were referred to Rick White, regional program director in Columbus. He said, and I quote: "We are not to talk to the press.''

I pointed out that in this case, he is the press. He replied with a strong argument: "No comment.''

The show did not destroy democracy or cause cancer in mice, as predicted by Democrats. It just raised the kind of question we used to find in news stories: Is Kerry's character too weak for the White House?

Good question. But the networks are too busy doing poll stories to ask it. So all we get is hair-raising attack ads.

Here in "The Heart of it All,'' it looks like "The Brain of it All'' went on vacation and left the spleen in charge.

E-mail pbronson@enquirer.com




SPECIAL REPORT: HEALTH INSURANCE
Tailored plans a high-fee stopgap
Workers bracing for insurance shock
Exec's tough call: Covering his family
Doing what's right loses out to costs
Rising fees eclipse prescription needs
Family does without, praying they'll get by
Subsidized coverage key, Springer says

ELECTION 2004
Ohio:
Campaign foot soldiers work to get out the vote
Appeals court decision: Vote in your precinct
GOP drops voter challenges
Integrity Hall has hosted many campaigners
Election boards prepare for it all as vote day nears
Campaign calendar
Kentucky:
Clooney's Kentucky roots, fame vs. Davis' business background
Some candidates want voters to split ticket
Mall key issue in city race
Three-way race for judge divides county
Open letter latest attack on Yoder
Poll: Bunning lead shrinking

Election 2004 page

TOP STORIES
Men defy stereotype, find joy in teaching
Thousands help better our region
Queen City's grand old flag best in Ohio; Louisville is tops in Ky.

IN THE TRISTATE
Krohn shows off after $3M remodeling
Tutor needed to grasp school funding?
Forum on public records law Wednesday
Would smoking ban singe business?
Public safety

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
Crowley: No accounting for missteps in Senate race
Bronson: I keep getting telephone calls from nut jobs
Good Things Happening

LIVES REMEMBERED
Helyn Mae Hehl's strength inspired
Letitia O'Neil studied integration

KENTUCKY STORIES
Newport's 150 years of firefighting
Northern Kentucky News in Brief
'Warmth' shelter seeks money
Mustang kicks up its heels