james campion.com

Aquarian Weekly 10/11/00 REALITY CHECK

Campaign 2000 TAKING THE PULSE OF AMERICA

The results of a two-week, intense and expensive Reality Check News & Information Desk investigation on 2000 presidential election polling data and the organizations that sponsor such gathered numbers have produced a few salient answers.

The first of which is that hallucinogenic drugs most likely influence the individuals conducting the Gallup agency and Cable New Network polls. The type of primary narcotic is not known from our results, but we can be relatively assured within a six percent margin of error that these people are at least mildly sedated, or at worst, pretty fucked up.

The numbers compiled and published weekly in Newsweek magazine, although even further from anything resembling reality, do not seem so much effected by recreational consumption of mind-altering chemicals as they are just stupid. And although the ever-popular Battleground polls being run by the hour at voter.com appear stable and sober, we can only conclude that those compiling this information are distracted by countless hours of porno and the 700 Club.

On 9/20 Gallup had the vice president up by 10 points with a convention bullet. Two days later they had him up by five and this week they claim he trails by three. On August 1, Newsweek positioned the governor of Texas as a 17-point leader and one month later he was down by 15. Last week they were selling a dead heat. Those still awake at Battleground have had both main candidates pretty much even for six months. CNN has been going on the coin flip/spin-the-bottle method, periodically forcing Jeff Greenfield into his nightly stammer to explain it.

Never in the history of these United States has too-much-information reached its saturation point. Somewhere Marshall McCluen is puking or laughing or something.

For example, CNBC ran some bogus poll last week that Ralph Nader was dead and Pat Buchanan reached one percentage point. This has not effected either’s notoriety. And the Wall Street Journal has printed more than one poll result with Ronald Reagan involved.

It is our conclusion that there seems to be no point to these things anymore, unless someone is getting rich, laid or attempting to sound relatively intelligent after five martinis at the weekend mixer. But as a journalistic tool, the national poll of 700 disinterested or highly rankled shut-ins with lengthy agendas is no way to take the pulse of a nation.

However, there was a significant factor not added to our less-than-detailed equation prior to postulating the drug/porno theory for pollsters, and that is the fickle nature of a nation so bored and fed up with choosing from a pool of rich, white guys from political families sucking up to rapaciously bloated corporations and interest groups that they would rather watch people eat rats on an island or wonder why Eminem disses Christina Aquilera than spend five seconds giving half a turd who is running for president.

Many volunteers for our experiment informed myself and the other poor souls involved that the last of these speculations seemed the most plausible. I had personally given up on making sense of this psychotic shit around 1974, and no one else in the room could muster a single reason to drag their asses four feet to vote for George Bush or Al Gore even if either had agreed to assume their car payments. But the guilt of not participating in the patriotic duty of all Americans was strong, and more than half forced out motivations ranging from writing in Vincent Furnier to throwing a warm Pepsi on the instrument panel inside the voting booth.

This behavior was paramount in the next phase of our experiment, which included a full-scale three-state poll of our own.

Beginning with New Jersey on the first week of September, six Reality Check participants phoned nearly 300 residents of Bergen and Passaic counties and simply asked for whom they would cast their vote. Less than 50% planned to vote. The 20 to 30% range was saved for those mired in partisanship and a final 10% wanted to do the right thing, but had little to know idea what that would be.

Nearly 250 people polled in New York’s Westchester and Putnam counties were more interested in Hillary and Lazio and felt whomever’s party seemed to have any momentum in late October would get their attention. Again, more than 50% did not give a damn.

Finally, it can be said that citizens of Connecticut are best when hanging up. Nearly half of the 200 people we called would not let us finish a sentence. The others wanted to know how the hell their senator is simultaneously running for reelection and vice president.

Unfortunately, beyond the incredible amounts of beer and pizza ingested throughout the process, the whole affair was futile for us. Our endeavor had been nothing more than spitting into the wind, which is the clearest description of any of these Gallup jobs. The glut of them alone puts no credence into what may happen in that seminal moment when you have to decide either the lesser of two evils or choosing an administration that will spend the next four years dreaming up new and improved excuses for not honoring six months of fantasyland promises.

So, with a few weeks of campaign to go, and 35 seconds of clarity peppered throughout hours of debates and television appearances, it is our suggestion that drugs might not be worth your recreational dollar as much as it might help you make sense of what you are forced to endure.

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THE NEW GORE RULES – Political satirist, James Campion’scoverage of the 2000 presidential race

Aquarian Weekly 9/20/00 REALITY CHECK

Campaign 2000THE NEW GORE RULES

Before Jerry Lewis was done blubbering through “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, young members of the Al Gore for President Committee, California chapter, were popping several corks of $12 champagne and sending condolences to the George W. Bush camp. Labor Day is the dead line for making a race of presidential campaigns and the vice president is back from the dead. Suddenly this is shaping up to be the closest run since 1960 when Dick Nixon considered shutting down the government for a recount.

Autumn looks to be good business for the Democrats. An underdog winter gave way to a summer slide in poll numbers, but that was history by September 1 when their boy had come from resembling a robot politician to some hipster Gandhi looking to topple all evils. Transformation # 346 has pulled Promise Boy into a statistical dead-heat with Bush careening towards those ugly weeks when his daddy turned a steady 1992 lead into a Clinton ass whupping. And for the first time since John McCain stole New Hampshire, Captain Shoe-In needs to get serious.

At press time, Bush has survived countless months in this process NOT being Al Gore. First he was NOT Bill Clinton, then NOT John McCain, but now NOT being Al Gore isn’t enough. Gore took care of that with a PT Barnumesque extravaganza in Los Angeles, complete with dramatic films, a make-out session with his wife and a line of world-class populist rhetoric aimed at every human sucking air. It was a brilliant slice of bull dung worthy of his predecessor and G.W. has had no answer.

It wasn’t long ago that Bush had Gore on many personal issues from blatantly lying about campaign finance infractions to calling an impeached president the “greatest ever.” Gore pulled out of that donnybrook and started another. He did it to Bill Bradley. He is doing it to Bush.

NOT being Al Gore is no longer working because Gore took himself right out of that equation by drawing issue lines in the sand and painting the Republican Party as corporate-subjugating power mongers. This worked for his buddy, Big Bill in ’95 against the Republican Revolution and has all-but neutered Bush’s clever “Compassionate Conservatism” slogan. Gore has redefined the fight. Now the question is: What is the Bush camp going to do about it?

Bush, a man who has set tones all the way to his own fantasyland convention, has suddenly been left at the corner of morality and integrity with a weak explanation for tax cuts and a wild challenge to restructure every government program since the New Deal. Gore put him there, a place in which he is quite obviously uncomfortable. It wasn’t long ago that Bush had Gore on many personal issues from blatantly lying about campaign finance infractions to calling an impeached president the “greatest ever.” Gore pulled out of that donnybrook and started another. He did it to Bill Bradley. He is doing it to Bush. This is the kind of fight this space has maintained a junkyard dog like McCain would have been effective winning, but popular GOP think tanks of their imbecilic masses put the kibosh on that, so Bush is what they get.

Another key question at the GOP headquarters since New Year’s has been: Can a Golden Boy with an open lane to the White House handle the big hit? McCain derailed that free ride, but when things got tough Bush leaned on the power brokers of the party, as did Gore in his primary battle with Bradley. McCain turned out to be a more difficult fish to fry. Bush was supposedly toughened up by the experience, but not nearly enough to fend off a national collapse in his numbers. Now all there remains is the general voting public and a bloodied Bush doesn’t seem so insulated anymore.

Gore’s comeback is miraculous only when considering Bush’s lack of rebuttal. Gore has been able to effectively sell the idea that he has been part of an administration that deserves to have a second act while outlining a myriad of horribly demented government programs that need rectifying. A man who has been one heart beat from the presidency and the deciding vote in the senate for eight years has ingeniously cornered Bush’s outsider market. Junior has responded to this latest political magic show by smiling like a dipshit and calling a NY Times reporter an asshole.

Don’t be fooled, the Bush people figured on a cushion before the debates. Gore is overrated as a debater, but Bush has problems explaining agenda to reporters. This is why the Bush camp has refused to acquiesce to formal debates where Gore can hammer away at long-form, uninterrupted hyperbole in two-minute increments. In this arena, he will skin Bush alive. Consequently, Bush recently tried to rope Gore into an informal, close nit battle with Tim Russert. This is a fight the Bush people think their man is more likely to win.

Not forgotten in the grand scheme of polls and trends are the bare-bones facts of bagged electoral votes. Each candidate has already a third of them wrapped up by voting history and party prevalence alone. Gore will not lose New York or California and Bush cannot lose Texas or Florida and hope to win. Many of the key battleground states are still vacillating, but the Bush people know full well the states that put Reagan and Bush sr. in the White House, and were wrested away by Clinton in two consecutive elections, are not sweeping to Gore. There has yet to be a poll invented that can figure how Michigan will go.

Labor Day numbers are fickle. In the last week of August 1976, Jimmy Carter was coming off Watergate and the pardoning of Nixon, and lead Gerald Ford by 38 points. With three weeks to go it was 15, then 10 by Halloween. Carter won by a mere 57 electoral votes. In 1992 Ross Perot had thrown the whole thing into a tizzy and Bush sr. was sitting on Pennsylvania Avenue planning his victory gala. He was trounced by 212.

Anything spoken or polled before September in a presidential campaign is bull cookies. This is what the junkies at the office pool over at U.S. News & World Report call “go time.” Gore gets this. Bush needs to.

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Democratic National Convention 2000 – Political satirist, James Campion exposes populist bullshit.

Aquarian Weekly 8/30/00 REALITY CHECK

Democratic National Convention 2000TINSLETOWN LOONEY TOONS

The call of equal opportunity, two-party system insurrection rears its putrid head. So, we plow ahead and dip below the machinations of the Democratic Party’s showcase for renewed morality and heralded economic prosperity with one who makes this dreary mess his home, my number one Dem insider, Dibbs.

jc: It doesn’t bode well for the party when there are highly publicized riots in the streets during a Democratic convention. Last time that happened was in ’68, and an eight year Democratic run ended.

DB: And we were stuck with Nixon.

jc: Whose bright idea was it to have Rage Against the Machine play in the parking lot, and then have the always dumbfounded LAPD shut down the lights and tell the crazies to go home?

DB: Maybe it has something to do with the mayor of Los Angeles being a Republican.

jc: Vast right wing conspiracy?

DB: Hilarious. Where were the reports decrying that fiction the Republicans were peddling in their ridiculous television promo of a convention. All that crap about “inclusion” and medicare, healthcare and social security revisions that we’ve been trying to pass through that damn GOP-ruled congress for the past six years. Are they kidding with that junk? Bush has the nerve to drone on for over an hour about how the Clinton administration has dropped the ball on these issues. And then these goons on the FOX channel and Robert Novak tell us that the only reason the economy has been roaring for the entire stretch of Clinton’s term is because of the Contract of America? What the hell is that if not blatant hypocrisy and taking credit away from those who are due it?

There is still a solid contigent here who couldn’t give a rat’s ass about Gore or any of those people wanting to hang onto the White House at any cost.

jc: Granted, Clinton’s speech was on the level of “old soldier’s never die”, but between that film of him doing everything but pulling a baby from a burning wreck, his pro wrestling entrance, and 50 minutes into the thing without ever mentioning the vice president, how does that exactly help Gore.

DB: He is quite simply the best public orator this country has produced in over a century. Setting the record straight is more important to Gore than reinventing himself.

jc: Was there much flack from the White House on the “first-night-and-out” demands from the Gore camp?

DB: At first I think the president was looking at this from the standpoint of paybacks. In the end Gore implored him to go out his way, but do it fast and early.

jc: Regarding Lieberman’s speech, how do you think morality boy sleeps when he u-turns on school vouchers, eliminating affirmative action, privatizing social security and glossing over attacking pop culture to appease the convention’s liberal wing?

DB: You can’t bash Lieberman.

jc: Too late.

DB: It was a gutsy pick. Before this convention there was defenitely a sense that the liberal wing of the party had been luke warm on Gore, especially with how he went after Bradley in the primaries and choosing Lieberman to balance the ticket, but they pulled up the reigns and came full force by Tuesday night. I was with Ted Kennedy and a bunch of his Massachusetts people before he came out to speak, and all of Caroline’s “new frontier” references had him stoked. No one I talked to had seen him that pumped in some time. I was frankly surpised. That night, with Bradley et al, it became the liberal contingent’s attempt at equal time.

jc: But doesn’t Lieberman’s subjigation make your skin crawl?

DB: There was never any love-loss between Clinton’s centrist ’92 run and the party big boys, but who cares? Bush’s move to the center alienated all those conservatives who couldn’t get to speak while Colin Powell and John McCain were gumming up the works in Philly. There is still a solid contigent here who couldn’t give a rat’s ass about Gore or any of those people wanting to hang onto the White House at any cost. There were times this past week when I felt like this was Reagan’s last stand back in ’88 when half the GOP wanted to string George Bush up, but couldn’t stomach the thought of giving up the strings. Things were alot more divided around here until the GOP convention started looking like new democrats revisited.

jc: You were talking tough back in March.

DB: It looked like McCain wasn’t backing down. Christ, I thought the man was going to demand recounts. We had him pegged as some crazed Perot guy who would jetison all the independents who hated the Gingrich dupes to Gore. Never happened.

jc: Gore is down 42% with independents.

DB: The debates will change that.

jc: How do you define these entertainment geeks like Cher, Ron Howard, Sean Penn and the Balwins coming out full force for a ticket with two humps who’ve painted Hollywood as jesters for Caligula?

DB: The alternative is damaging tax cuts and a stranglehold on women’s rights.

jc: The rich love tax cuts.

DB: All the more reason why those people should be commended for backing the right horse.

jc: Who was more stiff at the podium, Hillary or Karenna Gore Schiff?

DB: We all felt bad for that poor girl.

jc: Her daddy makes toast.

DB: No comment. I thought Hillary was fair.

jc: About Gore’s acceptance speech…

DB: Saved the day.

jc: A grade-A populace speech in the grand tradition of Harry Truman. The man promised everything but a cure for cancer and free beer.

DB: Gore is a policy wonk. He knows it and so does Bush. That is why the Republicans are jamming everything but ideas and policy down our throats. Gore spread a system of government out that was real and sober.

jc: That’s funny. I used the words, “phony” and “surreal”.

DB: It signified the strength of this ticket; working America against corporate interest.

jc: A man who stands before me on the strength of tobacco money crying about special interests and large corporations is unconscionable.

DB: We expect to cut halfway into this paper lead and take that empty-headed goon, Bush apart in the debates.

jc: If you’re not within 10 points by Labor Day you’re going to need a Bush screw-up.

DB: We’ve already factored that in.

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The VP Factor & Other Boring Summer Political Tales – Political satirist, James Campion attempts to explain Dick Chaney.

Aquarian Weekly 8/9/00 REALITY CHECK

THE VP FACTOR & OTHER BORING POLITICAL SUMMER TALES

By Tuesday morning of the last week in July, and one week before the shiny happy ones congregate in the City of Brotherly Love to coronate a man they’ve been calling Captain Shoe-In for 15 months, the word came over the wire that George W. Bush had completed the Republican ticket for the 2000 run.

It was a 59 year-old Washington stalwart named Dick Cheney, whom the opposition will certainly remind the public served under the first, under whelming Bush administration, and voted to protect every kill machine known to modern man as Congressman deluxe for the enlightened state of Wyoming, but the home team will sell as a moderate, sober and eminently capable statesman.

Realistically, it is a sane frontrunner choice. Mid-summer polls still show Bush running four to five points ahead of the current vice president with a healthy 10-point bulge among registered types.

Strangely, and perhaps this is because the Gore camp hasn’t come up with a serviceable strategy or their candidate has yet to warm up the attack engines, Bush possesses the best of both worlds. He is the outsider, a champion of change and honor in the reeking fumes of scandal and distrust, while simultaneously acting as favorite. This is an interesting problem for the man trying to take credit for the best U.S. economy ever witnessed without the benefit of a major war.

Although many in the party leaned heavy for what they thought would be the final nail in Gore’s coffin, the majority simply hates McCain. If Bush was behind and needed a jolt, that move makes sense. But he is not behind.

Enter Cheney, innocuous and safe, with hardly a controversial bone in his body. Unlike Colin Powell, an African American with no political experience, Libby Dole, a woman with no political experience, Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Ridge, a stringent pro-choice voter, or the revolutionary loose-lipped John McCain, who leaked his name into the VP ring last week, Cheney is a non-story.

In a win-win move that still has massive independent voter base rumblings, the Arizona Senator slyly put the onus on Bush to wipe clean their messy party-splitting primary battle. If Bush chooses McCain it makes an advertised maverick look like a team player, and if not, the McCain camp gets to see where their candidate stands for the future by studying the fall-out.

But, alas, there will be no fallout. No one with half a brain in the Republican Party wants to screw with a summer lead by reminding anyone of John McCain. Bush had been extremely careful until McCain stole New Hampshire and made the golden boy fight. He has survived nicely, and key advisors thought putting a madman like McCain on the ticket would only pose more questions. Although many in the party leaned heavy for what they thought would be the final nail in Gore’s coffin, the majority simply hates McCain. If Bush was behind and needed a jolt, that move makes sense. But he is not behind.

And that is why the recent history of GOP running mates have made the old boys tremble over the past few weeks.

There is still not one person who was alive to stop it who can explain how the hell confusion could have been a good enough excuse for the 1952 convention to straddle Dwight D. Eisenhower with Richard Nixon, other than the young Senator’s willingness to do everything Ike wanted no part of, like ugly campaigning and hard-nosed governing. The untouchable general almost paid dearly until Nixon chucked any chance for a legacy of respect and humility with his desperate “Checkers Speech”, forcing the would-be president to be chained to this decision for eight long years. The party eventually paid an even larger price for Nixon’s sins.

Before Nixon was done dismantling the U.S. government as it was designed, he chose Spiro Agnew to serve as vice president. Agnew was sent packing under mounds of illegal campaign funds. When the man who succeeded him, Gerald Ford tried running with the pardoning of Nixon around his neck, he was faced with the churning specter of Ronald Reagan in an nasty primary that put Ford at the then California governor’s mercy. Reagan had other plans, so Ford ran a spirited, but doomed campaign with the only Washington Republican left standing, Bob Dole. Four years later Reagan, smelling failure, tucked the man he called a “wimp”, George Bush Sr. under his considerable wing and returned the party back to a crossover-winning proposition.

And then there was Dan Quayle…

But with Dick Chaney, all those terrible nightmares are history. The Cheney pick solidifies the Bush comeback from the primary mess. His man is vanilla squared. Despite being Chief of Staff for the silly Ford administration and a major cog in the now-remembered farce known as Desert Storm as acting Defense Secretary for G.W.’s dad, Cheney helps to allay the fears that Bush is some kind of frat house party animal with a rudimentary grasp of foreign affairs.

Other than a few minor tremors about a supposed social moderate truly being a staunch conservative on key GOP hush-hush issues like abortion and guns, or his record number of heart attacks, no one paid to listen for earthquakes see any reason to believe Cheney will help or hinder Bush. Again, he is in the lead, and due to the fact that his party holds its convention first, he had to come with a name that didn’t rock the boat. The choosing of a vice president without a major voice or key state to carry come November is one way to carefully nurture the momentum.

Now it’s onto the convention to parade the rest of the gang before CNN and go about not losing to Al Gore.

NEXT WEEK – GEORGETOWN REPORTS FROM THE CONVENTION

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Joseph Lieberman & The Great Leap Of Faith – Political satriist, James Campion deconstructs a demogogue VP choice.

Aquarian Weekly 7/26/00 REALITY CHECK

JOSEPH LIEBERMAN & THE GREAT LEAP OF FAITH

The GOP Fan Fest was barely done sweeping up the graffiti tonnage when the phones started to jangle in Nashville. The Gore Camp was fluttering with reaction to the first Republican Convention ripe with minorities and touchy-feely types and an absence of NRA, religious right or impeach-crazed congressmen. An eight-point deficit sunk to a 17-point chasm and the comfort of the front runner and his snoozer running mate brought one answer: SPLASH.

And by firing back with vice presidential candidate, Connecticut Senator, Joseph Lieberman, the current VP has made a big one. The name immediately cut hard into the gaudy Bush numbers, yanking the stunned interns from their seats over at Gallup. By the first full week in August, Al Gore had pulled within 2 lousy points of Captain Shoe-in with a bombast convention of his own pending.

But why did Joseph Lieberman make sense to the panicking democratic minions?

When the day is done, Joseph Lieberman is no different than Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell in the righteous, religious-judgment two-step and had William F. Buckley so juiced a few years back he endorsed him over a Republican candidate for senate.

Firstly, Lieberman is no Dick Cheney. He was the frontrunner’s opening gesture to the conservative wing of the party before the moderate convention, but a bland pick when considering the other, more courageous choices. Lieberman is truly the “wild card” name predicted by anyone willing to go on record after Bush named Cheney.

Gore needed a buzz and Lieberman resonates like an angry wasp’s nest.

Lieberman is a devout Orthodox Jew and a democratic legislator with an arms-length conservative, moralist voting record. And although no one in Washington will offer anything but “honorable” to describe the man, another word lingers inside the beltway, “enigma.” He is a purveyor of moral conduct and religious purity, yet he is a divorcee with an overwhelmingly “pro-choice” voting record.

Moreover, Lieberman secures many liberal circles while standing glaringly on the side of such conservative issues as school vouchers and Bill Bennett’s fascist Empower America crusade against pop culture. He supported George Bush’s Gulf War and was the first democrat to describe the Monica Lewinsky scandal as “immoral and harmful”, but on fiscal concerns he will back Gore’s fears of a GOP controlled congress buoyed by one of their own.

Then again, the Dems have had a history of “wild card” VP candidates from the mentally unstable Tom Eagleton and a woman, Geraldine Ferraro to presidential liabilities like the Catholic Jack Kennedy and the morally bankrupt William Jefferson Clinton. But as the VP’s had a way of killing a ticket, luck has followed the main draws.

If there was one salvo the GOP unloaded on the present administration during its televised centrist show, it was its lack of trustworthiness and moral structure. Lieberman answers that in spades. He is a morality nut and steps right in line with Gore’s corpulent shill of a wife and a PMRC past dripping with condescending “save the children” rhetoric.

But Gore’s attempt here is to seem more caring and less corruptible, and despite the predictable chicken littles moaning about mid-America’s disdain for East Coast Liberal Jews having little to no shot, it is hard to argue that Lieberman isn’t at least a news-making choice.

As discussed in this space for the last year, Al Gore has two main problems.

The first, and most damaging, is that people don’t like him. They don’t want to give him credit for the economy, blindly accept his alleged pristine record with ecology, embrace his repeated denials about campaign finance misappropriations or beam at whatever earth tones he happens to model while canoeing up a man-made creek. The majority of voting types see him as a Washington dupe and a disingenuous lout who would tell anyone anything they wanted to hear to be elected dogcatcher.

This brings us to problem number two: His opponent has brilliantly crafted an image of the one man Gore is trying to separate himself from: Bill Clinton.

Junior’s speech at the convention broke many seemingly unattainable Clinton records for moderate hyperbole. From saving Social Security and Medicare to even mentioning single mothers and inner city children, Bush laid out liberal agenda with a slice of “compassionate conservatism”, going as far as complimenting the president if not for his silly peccadilloes. Everything from his strained attempt at not smiling to avoid the “wise ass smirk” to the passionate call for change reeks of Big Bill at his most eerily phony moments.

Cut through all the polished speech-gunk and George Bush jr. told the nation that he knows what you liked about Bill Clinton and he can provide that and then some, without all the embarrassing perjury aftertaste. New and improved mouthwash in a handy mess-free bottle.

If Gore was the least bit likable, or faced with another stuffed-shirt conservative beast, then Joseph Lieberman is still serving the good people of Connecticut. He certainly isn’t balancing the ticket on battle lines drawn by the GOP convention.

Bush has set the tone thus far. That will change in a presidential campaign. Gore’s flow with the momentum is very reminiscent of Big Bill as well. But this worked with Clinton because he went in knowing he would get a pass by anyone he could entertain for four minutes. The Gore people know that if their man spends half that time with an independent voter he is likely to queer the deal.

When the day is done, Joseph Lieberman is no different than Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell in the righteous, religious-judgment two-step and had William F. Buckley so juiced a few years back he endorsed him over a Republican candidate for senate. But he is Gore’s lightening-in-a-bottle to balance a ticket wherein the presidential candidate has a problem separating ethics with business as usual.

NEXT WEEK: DIBBS BACKSTAGE AT THE CONVENTION

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Republican National Convention – Political satirist, James Campion’s wise-ass Philly excursion.

Aquarian Weekly 7/26/00 REALITY CHECK

Republican National Convention 2000GEORGETOWNON THE FLOOR

For the first time in 52 years, the Republican Party held its convention in the City of Brotherly love in order to anoint George W. Bush its 2000 presidential candidate. Due to a glut of parking infractions and incidents stemming from one peculiar night in 1982 whilst attending a Muddy Waters show, the Reality Check News & Information Desk was unable to be properly represented. But our primary GOP source, the always gregarious, Georgetown did attend, and although he despises journalists, somewhere between cocktail hours and gratuitous speeches, here is a synopsis of his nightly inside report.

jc: I’m going to come right out and ask this. Did you beat a Texan named Bubba with pom poms?

GT: During the first roll call Monday, some asswipe from Austin stepped on my fucking foot and started screaming “Keyes! Keyes! Death to Tyrants!” This went on for the 20 minutes it took for Texas Lt. Gov. Rick Perry to ask for his state’s delegates to cast their vote. So we beat that red neck with pom poms until security escorted him into the lobby.

jc: How big were these pom poms?

GT: I don’t remember, but the guy came back three hours later with this goofy smile on his face and about thirty or forty Bush/Chaney buttons plastered all over him. But it wasn’t just me.

Nobody was crazy about Powell’s “Affirmative Action” stuff. I thought it was ballsy.

jc: Where were you when the final tally came in at about 10:03 Wednesday night?

GT: Right in the middle of that friggin’ Ralph Nader insurrection We heard a CSPAN intern gave him a press credential and he started having an anti-Bush conference right in the middle of the floor. Meanwhile, that moron from Wyoming kept going on and on bashing Clinton and they’re flashing live shots of George and Laura all over the joint. It was chaos.

jc: Was that the week’s biggest noise on the floor?

GT: Nah. A platform committee for “Pro-choice” Republicans motioned to the floor for a debate on incest and wound up dealing with Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Ridge who told them in no uncertain terms that it was nice of them to attend but it was time to come to grips with the fact that “this party can no sooner bend on ‘pro-life’ than jamming half-assed gun laws down the collective throat of three-quarters of this country’s taxpayers.” Then he went home to meet Bush and do a live hook-up from Eisenhower’s office in Gettysburg. That’s how tight a barge we were running, son.

jc: Conspicuously absent from the proceedings were Dan Quayle, Pat Robertson, Newt Gingrich and Christine Todd Whitman.

GT: No one needs to see Danny Boy. Ford and Dole were enough fuck-up reminders. I wanted to kill someone if they mentioned one more time in that documentary that Ford brought the country out of the darkness. And there’s a new rule that Robertson is not allowed near any televised party shindigs until after November 7.Bible is out, military is in. Gingrich? He’s a talking head now and Whitman is pro-choice. Next.

jc: No bad-vibe Gingrich tough guys.

GT: We’re getting elected this time around.

jc: We heard Ford’s stroke Tuesday night was caused by someone whispering in his ear that his tribute was going to celebrate the pardoning of Nixon.

GT: Funny. The man is 87, and we heard it was a sinus attack. Now they say he had two strokes. Poor bastard. And by the way, you forgot to mention that Lazio wasn’t present. Good move. He’s bucking the national spotlight for his constituency. Hillary has to go to their convention and, once again, looks like the carpetbagger she is. I was at the meeting for that one.

jc: What is this bullshit about delegates bowing their heads when Arizona congressman, Jim Kolbe gave his speech Tuesday night?

GT: The gay thing? Listen, inclusion is one issue, and his presence speaks to that, but we were not getting into anti-platform agendas. Did you hear those hoots emanating from the Log Cabin Republicans about gay rights and appointments to the cabinet? Probably not, since they were squelched by the University of Temple marching band cranking a dead-on original version of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. It was so moving Jeff Greenfield stopped drinking for a minute to listen.

jc: Your assessment of the media coverage?

GT: Tight as a battle ship, baby. The networks didn’t get a crack at anyone not cleared by the Bush people. Fuck Peter Jennings and that sap, Russert. I know you like Koppel, but he’s another cheap lapper. He spent a half an hour one night reminding G.W. that his father was president. What a crank. This was our house, and not one of these media outlets had a goddamn clue what was really going on. Got Nancy Reagan in and out without a whisper. NBC blew the shot of her exiting and they were pissed.

jc: Let’s get to the speakers. Anyone do the job?

GT: Nobody was crazy about Powell’s “Affirmative Action” stuff. I thought it was ballsy. Schwarzkopf from the USS New Jersey listing military drop-offs under the Clinton Administration was humorous. But not nearly as humorous as The Rock. What a fucking goon. Someone got canned over that idea. Three quarters of his fans are too young to vote.

jc: What about Cheney?

GT: No one was too disappointed in Cheney. He’s a block of wood, but he reminds everyone that this is George Sr.’s revenge. And that’s funny because the conservative wing of this party wanted to murder Bush from ’87 on. Why do you think Buchanan sabotaged the ’92 convention with that insane “culture war” speech that cost us 10 points in 24 hours? Not one of us talked Bush into fighting Clinton harder. We gave up on him and now we’re fighting with their lives to elect his son.

jc: Grade Bush’s speech.

GT: Fair. The transcript was fantastic. I thought he tried too hard not to smirk.

jc: Most moderate Republican speech in history.

GT: The guy is no politician. Reagan he will never be, but he pulled the agenda to the left just enough to leave all that primary stuff in the dust. We have the utmost confidence that this will boost his numbers and prepare him for the debates. That’s the final hurdle.

jc: Did this vanilla, non-political convention present a kindler, gentler GOP?

GT: You give us the White House and Capitol Hill and we’ll eat your young.

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Let Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan into Debates – Political satirist, James Campion probes the presidential fringe.

Aquarian Weekly 7/19/00 REALITY CHECK

THE GREAT DEBATE ON DEBATES

“My opponent totally misapprehended the great principles upon which our government rests.” – Stephen A. Douglas – 1858 Debates

“It is most extraordinary that Mr. Douglas would so far forget all the suggestions of justice to an adversary that the slightest investigation would have shown him to be false.” – Abraham Lincoln – Rebuttal

By any poll you’d like to subscribe, Ralph Nader (Green Party Candidate) and Pat Buchanan (Reform Party Rebel) have barely 10% of the national voting attention between them, which by normal democratic standards has reached all-time lows in the past decade. The two men who represent the power parties are, at best, boring puppets, at worst, dangerous dupes of special interests and corporations. Most Americans do not care for politicians and treat the privilege of voting like diseased meat.

To these harrowing facts we offer up our plea: Open the debates wide!

Run by the bag men for the Dems and GOP, the planned debates that will decide the outcome of this egregious abortion of a presidential campaign have put a 15% bottom line for independent party popularity. Nearly destitute in campaign-fund speak, the Green Party and the Reformists have no way to gain the proper motivation to get in the ring with G.W. Bush and Al Gore. These men have taken the riches of King Herod and pissed it away before the second leg of the primaries. And there is a boat load more that says that Nader and Buchanan have as much chance of manning a debate podium as Chuckles The Incontinent Clown.

Time to pull G.W. out of the rich-boy mothballs and kick that lying sack of horse manure, Gore off the Washington pedestal and get them at the corner of muck and mire with extremist crazies who will strip facades and make the bad boys bare their fangs.

But if this was truly a democracy, and anyone with a modicum of energy for this damaged political system gave half a shit, those two wacky love bugs would be chewing up television ratings and putting the whole charade into serious mind-numbing perspective.

And that’s what we need now, folks…perspective. Time to pull G.W. out of the rich-boy mothballs and kick that lying sack of horse manure, Gore off the Washington pedestal and get them at the corner of muck and mire with extremist crazies who will strip facades and make the bad boys bare their fangs.

Nader is already Gore’s worst nightmare. He knows all-too well the vice president’s vacillating two-step with the unions, WTO ass-smooching and the panic appointment of NAFTA poster child, Wiiliam Daly as campaign guru is another in a long line of smoke screens. And Nader is a wild man when it comes to hellfire in the face of phony fundraising scandals, to which Gore is sloughing off like a blushing debutante, while smelling like a rat in a garbage heap.

But that’s a handbag of trouble compared to what Patrick Buchanan would do to the insulated confidence that permeates the Bush camp these days. At least Gore moved to the obligatory middle to paint Bill Bradley as something akin to George McGovern meets Adlai Stevenson at a Commie rally. Junior ignored the middle while he leaned as far right as Barry Goldwater’s ghost would allow in his attempt to embarrass the remains of John McCain.

Bush went right, but now goes the way of “compassionate conservatism” while presiding over the 135th murder by the state of Texas under the always lovely guise of “capitol punishment.” But he gains in the polls because people see Al Gore and think of a jabbering political mannequin willing to sell his soul at a craps game for any vote anyone will give him at any time.

But if Uncle Pat gets across from G.W. it will force him to signify his cloudy thoughts on naughty things like abortion and taxes and gun-weilding, flag-waving Bible zombies wanting to know exactly what the hell he thinks of gay marriages and vigilante border patrols in his home state. Bush will have to fend off both the lefties and their youth-minority-women vote and the radical right who feed him hordes of obscene campaign money. Now we have an exciting battle.

Now we get the voter base. It’s Monday night wrestling and bimbos marrying rich dolts on FOX. We get Regis Philbin cranked on java holding wads of cash and put all four candidates in a cage with dead deer carcasses and photos of nude women. Kid Rock can sing the national anthem.

This is what we want; the real deal. Bush and Gore debating would be like watching some sissy slap-fight, highlighted by sad references to Junior’s loser dad and everything Bill Clinton has denied since he was four years-old. Bad television. Bad politics.

Gore claims to be a great debater. His victories include Dan Quayle (a moron), Jack Kemp (ambushed moderate), Ross Perot (half-mad troll with a bank account), and poor old Bill Bradley (who thought running for president meant having a conscience). All lay-ups. And Bush is a dunk waiting to happen.

Boring.

Bush has a lead now. By the time of this writing it isn’t even Independence Day. Other notable poll leaders in early July include Jimmy Carter in ‘80, Michael Dukakis in ’88 and Bush senior in ‘92. All losers. Very bad losers with one thing in common, a summer of confidence and good poll numbers that lied terribly when the real polls opened. Plenty of time for Bush to blow this. Plenty of time for Al Gore to re-re-invent.

But digression has become the better part of valor here, and although this is only the beginning of 2000 campaign coverage for this space, this reporter will be completely brain-dead by the conventions if some clairvoyant savant doesn’t rescue this abomination and allow maverick psychos like Nader and Buchanan into the arena for a world-class, singsong, salute-my-dog bloodletting.

Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas are long dead. They were debating heavyweights with a grudge and a barb.

Bush and Gore? Not mistaken for quality with any measuring stick.

Wake the echoes.

Open the debates!

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The Ballad Of Rick Lazio – Political satirist, James Campion welcomes New York’s GOP Senatorial candidate.

Aquarian Weekly

6/7/00 REALITY CHECK

THE BALLAD OF RICK LAZIO

Rudy Giuliani is out. Rick Lazio is in. Ms. Rodham’s media hounds are circling. The GOP is scrambling. Nearly 45% of New York State voters are still undecided which way they will go come November.

These are the facts we are dealing with now. Wet dreams of Uncle Rudy spinning medieval on the dragon lady from Arkansas and her torrid lobs of retribution have been reduced to bland cat naps. I already possess three contact names for the Lazio campaign and the poor bastard has been only running for Senate for 72 hours. He’s been on every news show that will have him for more than thirty seconds and no one outside Long Island, and the lovely Lazio family, has a fucking clue who this guy is.

As much as the odd regret filters into this space, it pales in comparison to reaching my prime Republican source, Georgetown when the heat inside the party rises. Now that my second book, Fear No Art, is out and his personal e-mails have been published in it, his savage rebuttals can only be something worth printing.

This includes every vitriolic utterance Georgetown can muster at dawn when my phone call catches him off guard with hopes of getting a line on whom Rick Lazio claims to be, what he aims to do about surging Clinton poll numbers, and why every Liberal from here to Albany views him as some writhing spawn of Newt Gingrich and Conservatives hail him as a better prepared soldier than the blubbering mush masquerading as Warrior Giuliani.

jc: Did you get a copy of my book?

Georgetown: I had someone fax me over the key pages.

jc: Thoughts?

GT: How in the name of all that is holy do you expect to get away with that shit? Two pages of a State Department stooge comparing the Clinton scandal with “Three’s Company” skits?

jc: What about your e-mails?

GT: I’ll fix your ass. You do know (David) Gergen has a contract out on your head.

jc: Gergen? Are you sure you read my book?

GT: Did you call me at 5:30 in the goddamn morning to talk about your continued abuse of the Ronald Reagan legacy?

We didn’t want to upset the ground swell after Christmas, but Rudy didn’t want to run. I can tell you one thing, more than half the guys that count wanted Lazio in the first place.

jc: How much can you tell me about what the party knew of Giuliani’s decision not to run and when they knew it.

GT: Fuck if I know. We gave up on him two months ago. That was a travesty from the get-go. We didn’t want to upset the ground swell after Christmas, but Rudy didn’t want to run. I can tell you one thing, more than half the guys that count wanted Lazio in the first place. I’ve got to give the guy credit, he was pissed when they asked him step down. But Rick walked the line and now if he plays this right he’s going to be Senator anyway. Money and all.

jc: How much of Rudy’s $12 million, or whatever their reporting, is he entitled to?

GT: It’s more than that now. C’mon. Think for a minute, what’s he going to do, give it back? The cash guys have already allocated a great deal of the legal money that way. Lazio will get what he needs to toast that bitch. I have to say, I was humored by it all at first, but those Democrat bastards with their scare tactics are starting to tick the main boys off. And if Lazio runs some weak shit up the flag pole there is going to be bloodcurdling screams up in Albany. The loudest will be coming from Pataki’s office.

jc: I know all about George’s love/hate affair with Rudy.

GT: Never mind that, Pataki loves Lazio. That bond goes back a few campaigns. And don’t be so sure Pataki wouldn’t have come all-out for Rudy. There is some real hatred all the way down the line over here for Hillary.

jc: What’s your best assessment of Lazio?

GT: A great idea man. Very sturdy on the floor. Debates his ass off for fiscal concerns. Has a hard-on for tax issues. He’ll go to the mat for votes. Can you believe he told (Tim) Russert that he would take all the fucking (Pat) Buchanan endorsements? The Clinton people already have propaganda out on that and the (Newt) Gingrich stuff.

jc: How much “Contract with America” stank does he have on him?

GT: Sure he voted down the line with those mavericks. We were all loons then. It was a fine time to be the white male with a chip on his shoulder and we rode that crest, bud. You can’t hold anyone responsible for their voting record in 1994 when they were elected in 1992 as a minority party in the 45-year Democratic reign. Lazio was rescued from the mouth of the whale. Those maniacs would’ve voted for full-scale prohibition then. And they were all drunks. We were all drunks then, drunk on power and the smell of Clinton blood.

jc: Peer pressure, Congress style?

GT: Nah, freedom. A whole lotta freedom,, but that was a looong time ago.

jc: Do you think Lazio has the time he needs to put him in the middle of this thing?

GT: He’s in it now, believe me. Giuliani hadn’t done anything but posture anyway. People knew him, sure, but more people were afraid of what he was going to do out of the city.

jc: Here’s my take. Lazio doesn’t need that much time. If anything, the notoriety of Clinton and the bad press Giuliani was heaping on himself in the last 10 months helps him.

GT: Suburban Congressman are good candidates because they don’t know anything about polls and demographics. These are guys with a simple agenda. Clinton has the weight of whatever crap Gore is dragging around. She’s the national candidate. Lazio is hot dogs and beer. He’s the underdog now. He’s from the fucking state and he’s a man, but he’s the friggin’ underdog. Write this down. Got a pen?

jc: Speak. My cat wants out.

GT: Eventually, Hillary is going to have to go on a goddamn television show. She’s going to have to talk to a reporter. She’s going to have to stand in a room with someone who’s not afraid of her. Then we’ll see what she’s made of. Not everyone has to gain her forgiveness for screwing around with the help. Ain’t no one on this side gives a rodent’s posterior if she’s the reincarnation of Eleanor Roosevelt meets Norma Rae. When she opens that trap for real, sludge will spring forth. And when it closes, the corpse of the Marques De Sade will beat her in an open election.

jc: Got the pen. Can you repeat that?

GT: Goodnight.

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The Giuliani Dilemma – Political satirist and author, James Campion puts the dirt on Uncle Rudy’s Senate campaign..

Aquarian Weekly 5/31/00 REALITY CHECK

THE GIULIANI DILEMMA

During the second weekend in May, buried deep in a story about the Napster law suits highlighted by juicy rumors about black-suited Metallica enforcers leaning on computer geeks, the bunker phone at the Reality Check News & Information Desk bellowed.

Ordinarily two or three well-formed paragraphs usually take precedence over last-minute news bulletins. The days of “stop-the-presses” died with cable news networks and Internet freakdom. But the voice on the other end, identifying himself as J.R. from the “Giuliani for Senate Committee of New York”, uttered two intriguing words: “He’s done.”

This is important for two reasons.

The first being that no one from City Hall has spoken to me in 13 months. My inquiries have been ignored from secretaries to security guards, and when things got hairy over the winter during the Amadou Diallo murder trial, my name was left completely off the credentials’ list. I had to watch from home as the steely-eyed hombre mayor of the largest city in the world calmly painted a brutally slain unarmed man as a borderline criminal.

Interestingly, the ice thawed a few months back when my column on the Hillary Clinton announcement for Senate ran, and the damn thing went on for nearly one thousand words of swill and muck ending with a depiction of Ms. Rodham as some kind of power-mad mutation of Ziggy Stardust meets Citizen Kane.

Uncle Rudy wanted to be governor, but someone bet him at Christmas that he could make the first lady look like a crack mother by Labor Day and he took it.

But that’s all ancient history around here now, because the second reason why I trashed a nearly completed story for a cryptic message about Rudolf Giuliani is it’s blatant finality. What should have been a plethora of ugly quotes and rabid campaign treachery between two lunatics grubbing for a Senate seat now becomes a pathetic public relations mop-up for a doomed candidate and a woman who doesn’t know how the hell to take advantage of it.

No journalist worth a hoot fails to cherish the miles of coverage that kind of insanity promised.

But alas, long before Uncle Rudy announced he had prostate cancer, and revealed the woman he’d been parading around with for over a year was his lover, he was finished. His heart had never been in the thing. J.R. intimated such before hanging up, prompting me to make a few well-placed calls of my own to the right Giuliani people who were suddenly more than accommodating.

A fellow by the name of Tad put me in touch with no less than six members of Giuliani’s fractured election committee, who more or less denied knowing anything about any J.R., and stated emphatically that I should bet all my money on Rudolf Giuliani running even if he had to do it from a hospital bed sporting two wives and a Mets hat.

It’s been the challenge of this space to dissect rumor from fact and somehow jam it all together to create the kind of chaos that runs circles around anything the boys up at the NY Times would print without legal conclaves. But things were happening rapidly with no sign of clarity until someone spoke on the record, which was fast becoming a fantasy.

By the time this goes to press, this much we have ascertained: Uncle Rudy wanted to be governor, but someone bet him at Christmas that he could make the first lady look like a crack mother by Labor Day and he took it. By the time his second wife, of 16 years, Donna Hanover, was informing a mob of television cameras that the whole idea of the mayor’s marriage was “sad,” Giuliani hadn’t officially announced he was running for anything.

This was a far cry from the man who looked like a sculpture of Peter the Great on the shores of the Baltic Sea the night he sent David Dinkins packing. I remember it well. I left that celebration in Brooklyn around 2:00 am and could see the lights of Manhattan in my review mirror when they replayed the victory speech. It sends chills up my spine even now. Rudy Giuliani was a bulldog in a poodle circus and we were all much happier then.

We were also more than ecstatic that Uncle Rudy would headline the Senate fight card this fall against a woman so morally bankrupt and emotionally stunted she might be found gnawing on his ankle by the third debate. The mayor had reduced mere charlatans to the throne to jabbering apes. This would be the real deal. A war of wills and posturing the likes of which the empire state has rarely seen outside of a Donald Trump wedding. But it’s all over now.

Giuliani’s tenuous hold over upstate voters due to his refusal to endorse fellow Republican, George Pataki the first time around is shakier with infidelity added to the agenda. And because my father went through the operation for prostate cancer just two years ago, I know for certain that the recovery will take a chunk out of the five months left for him to campaign.

The GOP marshals in Westchester are through fooling around. They need answers fast. The Clinton machine, in full throttle mode at the Cardinal O’Connor funeral earlier this month, has been cranking and the rumors of Pataki slipping in before summer seems premature. Everyone in the governor’s camp has refused to acknowledge that Giulani exists. They do not plan to bail him out now.

Only Rick Lazio, the man who probably should have taken this nomination from jump street, remains plausible. But even if he agrees to pick up the pieces, will it be enough time. Even the hard-liners at Republican headquarters have noticed that Hillary closed the numbers’ gap on the vacillating Giuliani already.

Then, of course, there is the final option. Uncle Rudy takes the challenge like a wounded gladiator, limping into the bloody ring to reap the sympathy/anti-Hillary vote, and stumble to victory.

By press time only he knows, and nobody having anything to do with him is making a lick of sense.

Should have finished the damn Napster piece.

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Fidel Castro’s baseball career – Political satirist and author, James Campion puts Cuba into perspective.

Aquarian Weekly 4/26/00 REALITY CHECK

CASTRO, BASEBALL, AND THE GREAT DIVIDE

Opening day at Yankee Stadium and the press room is jammed with the ego elite and media geeks grubbing buttered rolls because they’re too cheap to afford George Steinbrenner’s seven-dollar buffet. The deadline monsters are breathing hard on the swinging doors and the smell of stale wool jackets is already prevalent.

Pushing my way into a table while smiling at my friend, Brain Cashman who happens to be the general manager of the team of the century and four years younger than me. I fail to call him “bastard” on this visit, which he agrees is my right since no one younger than me can be allowed to do anything considered important.

There’s an air of good feeling, for the ides of March has given way to breezy April afternoons in the shadow of this shrine. I promised a broadcasting friend earlier this year that since I sauntered out of the old girl last October, with the Yankees sipping nonalcoholic champagne and Roger Clemens high-fiving truck drivers and construction workers on the roof of the Yankee dugout, that since I saw the last game played in the 20th century here, why not hit the field for the first one of the 21st.

The Pirates never did have the patience to develop short Cuban kids with little pop on the cheese, so a dejected Fidel attended law school, went to prison, and disappeared into the Cuban socialist underground.

Something about new beginnings that bring the leeches from the dusty corners and send the rabid fungus of the sports world clamoring. The Yankees are a hot ticket. They win. Americans–New Yorkers first and foremost–love winners. Losers draw flies and boos and calls for painful death. One minute on the pro sport circuit and a concept like politics becomes child’s play.

Inevitably that kind of talk around those who moonlight at the Stadium want to know what the hell is going on with the Cuban kid. A few tables over Elian Gonzalez comes up in light conversation, along with how horrible it was that the world champs wasted their celebration with nonalcoholic champagne when AA veteran Darryl Strawberry was weeks away from getting back on the crank.

But it was the boxing curmudgeon known as Bert Sugar who started a near melee after a rant on his new magazine and the future of Cuban middleweights when things became heated. “I just wanted to double the average age of the press corps,” he laughed and exited stage left, leaving a hardy debate on all things Elian Gonzalez.

Right down the middle among the sporting press: Elian stays, or hops the first freight with his father back to the land of cigars and sugar cane. “What do you think would be the furor if the Gonzalez kid were a fat, greasy Cuban with a gruff beard and a stogie hanging from his face?” someone asked. “Probably would have pushed him back on that raft with his mother’s corpse,” I answered causing an aggravated woman to ask for another show of hands.

There is a well-known baseball trivia question that makes its way around most press boxes involving Fidel Castro as a 21 year-old pitching prospect for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Seems two corpulent scouts, hired by the parent club, went to Havana to watch the diminutive lefty break nasty curves and dip sinkers in and around the aggressive Latin competition, but were somewhat lukewarm about his speed. “The kid Castro has some command of breaking pitches (stop),” the report told the front office the next morning via Western Union. “Has nothing on the fast ball (stop) Double AA talent at best (stop).”

The Pirates never did have the patience to develop short Cuban kids with little pop on the cheese, so a dejected Fidel attended law school, went to prison, and disappeared into the Cuban socialist underground. Those were the days when his family and friends were subsisting on a steady diet of dung beetles and palm leaves chased by rotten disease-ridden water, while the mob ran numbers for a dictatorship backed by the muscle of Harry Truman’s United States.

It was a short walk from the entrance of Forbes Field to the den of hate. And hate turned into revolution on New Year’s Eve 1959, when the failed pitcher became champion of the weak and an American thorn; followed closely by the CIA’s spring invasion gone terribly wrong two years later. And when the Bay of Pigs sent the slugs from Florida’s underbelly to the right people, Jack Kennedy paid with his life in Dallas two years after that.

Books by James Campion are available on this web site or at Amazon & Barnes & Nobleclick to order

Thirty-three years later Elian Gonzalez was born to Cuban natives, Juan Miguel and his wife Elisabeth. The couple divorced and the mother fled the country with Elian in toe. When fishermen rescued the boy in an inner tube on Thanksgiving Day he could only mention his father’s name. His father wants to take him back to a country where Elian has less than eight months to drink milk without serious rations and is merely a public relations faux paus from prison. Floridian Cuban refugees from the gun runners and coke fiends to the hardworking parents and relatives of those suffering tyrannical madness mere miles of water south want the boy to stay. Sticking it to the failed pitcher has a purpose.

But the boy is a political football, and that is a sport rarely discussed in the cathedral of baseball. And politics takes a back seat to a child and his parent taking in the sunshine of spring. It is the third change of season that finds Elian Gonzalez without his father. Human chains keeping blood and communism away from the great bellow of freedom.

Governments raising children.

Courts playing mommy.

Play ball!

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