At last a platform worthy of a come-from-behind candidate

Cartoon by Jeff MacNelly

Here is your update on Election 2000:

On the Democratic side, Vice President "Al" Gore and Bill Bradley have been debating the issue of health care before "town meetings" made up of ordinary citizens, who are later revived with fire hoses. Gore remains the front-runner but has been hurt by polls showing that many voters view him as "not necessarily a human." In response, he has boldly decided, on the advice of his consultants, to switch to wearing earth-tone suits. If this does not work, the consultants say, "We will dress him as various members of the Village People, starting with the Construction Worker."

On the Republican side, front-runner George W. "W" Bush was ambushed by a snotball TV reporter asking tricky questions about foreign countries that are not located anywhere near Texas. This resulted in an embarrassing moment, when "W" incorrectly identified Afghanistan as "a kind of duck."

I was not surprised by this incident. As a leading presidential candidate myself, I am used to having the news media ask me cheap-shot, below-the-belt questions such as what my views are, what party I belong to, whether I have ever been convicted of murder, etc. In fact, just recently I was grilled by a TV reporter clearly hoping to make me look bad, as we can see from the following verbatim transcript:

REPORTER: Mr. Barry, can you name the prime minister of India?

BARRY: Sure! Lean closer and I'll tell you.

REPORTER:OUCH! You bit my ear!

The point I was making is that the president of the United States does not NEED to know the names of leaders of foreign nations that have fewer nuclear weapons than we do. If I were the president, I'd require foreign leaders who visited the White House to wear name tags that said, "HI! I'M (NAME), THE LEADER OF (NAME OF COUNTRY), WHICH HAS (NUMBER) NUCLEAR WEAPONS."

One foreign leader I would definitely invite to the White House would be the president of Gabon. I don't know where Gabon is, but I do know that the president is named -- look this up if you don't believe me -- "Omar Bongo." I think it would be way cool to have a formal White House function where the announcer would say: "PRESENTING THE PRESIDENT OF GABON, AND MRS. BONGO." Inviting the Bongos to White House functions would be the cornerstone of my foreign policy. They would have a permanent room in the White House ("The Bongo Room").

And now let us turn to domestic policy. As your president, I want to address the issues that matter to YOU. And I want YOU to tell me what those issues are, using the Internet, which is a high-tech thing invented by Al Gore. Specifically, I want you to go to a Web site -- election2000/special_emphasis.html -- that was set up by the PBS TV show The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer so that people can vote on which issues they think should be addressed in the presidential election campaign. As of Nov. 2, a total of 12,000 viewers had voted, and I am shocked to report that only ONE PERSON -- identified by PBS as Lee Shagin of Woodland Hills, Calif. -- named low-flow toilets. I am referring to these useless toilets that Congress foisted on the public by the Useless Toilet Foisting Act of 1992; the toilets you have to flush at least three times to eliminate the evidence from the scene of the crime. This issue came in dead last in a field of 41, behind such snore-o-matic issues as "health care," "foreign policy," "leadership," and "infrastructure/energy."

I refuse to believe that this poll truly reflects the opinions of you, the voters. I have never once heard a voter say, "You know an issue I am very excited about? Infrastructure/energy!" But every day millions of voters say "Yuck!" upon lifting the commode lid and encountering a previous user's inadequately flushed foistings.

So I am calling on you, the voters, to stand up and be counted. Don't let a bunch of elitist, infrastructure-obsessed, organic-tofu-eating, whale-saving, opera-listening, earth-tone-wearing PBS viewers set the election agenda for you! Boot up your computer right now (Windows 98 users, allow six hours). Then go to election2000/special_emphasis.html, click on the word "Forum" and cast your ballot for the low-flow toilet issue. Let's start a "movement," voters! Let's see if we can make this issue "crack" the top ten, perhaps even reaching "number one!" If we can, then I, as your president, will be able to force Congress to "pass" a meaningful Toilet Reform bill. Because Congress will know that I have you, the voters, behind me.