Limited Taxation
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Barbara's Column
July 2000 #4

Bush/Cheney, Better Than Gore/Any
by Barbara Anderson

[Published in The Salem Evening News July 28; shorter version in The Lowell Sun, July 30]

Unlike W.C. Fields, I really wouldn't rather be in Philadelphia.

Not that I don't like the City of Brotherly Love. I have a wonderful memory of it from my second year of college, when I represented my commonwealth campus at a conference. While I was touring around I witnessed an encounter between a flower vendor and prospective customer. The vendor was asking 50 cents for the first lilacs of the season; the woman tried unsuccessfully to bargain, then angrily walked away.

Even though I had little money, I certainly had my priorities in order, so I gave the vendor two quarters and a grateful smile. He handed me his best bouquet, and refused the payment. So I stood on the curb inhaling my free lilacs and watching a parade, while the Shriners waved at the happy small-town girl in the city.

But that was many years ago. I still love lilacs, parades and the Shriners, but the small-town girl will be much happier not attending a political convention in any city this week.

There was a big controversy in the Massachusetts Republican Party about which delegates would get to go, the ones elected in the caucuses or the ones selected by party leaders; it caused a lot of hard feelings so as an independent voter I just hope all my Republican friends are still talking to each other. We need a united front to defeat that Risky Big Government Candidate Al Gore.

It's not as if there are decisions to be made at the convention, which is now just a Party party; the ticket already has its ticket. Bush/Cheney, better than Gore/any.

Dick Cheney seems like a nice guy. If George W. was going to go to all the trouble to invent the phrase "compassionate conservative" to get the so-called women's vote, he might have chosen someone a tad wimpier on the issues, but that would never be my recommendation. I prefer a man who consistently supports the right to bear arms and a federal balanced budget. The National Taxpayers Union gave him its "Taxpayers' Friend" Award in eight of his ten years in the House, and praised his tenure as Secretary of Defense under the elder Bush: "Cheney presided over one of the most important cost-saving initiatives ever undertaken at DoD -- the closure and consolidation of obsolete or unnecessary military bases."

At least we're not all going to be surprised by a Bush choice during the convention, as I was in 1988. I happened to be in a country pub in the County Clare after a day spent exploring my roots and some ancient brush-covered mounds. Well-misted and weary, I was perched at the bar while the bartender heated me a cup of soup.

"What do you think of quail, then?", he asked me. I told him that I'd be happy with just a grilled cheese sandwich.

"No, Quayle, the candidate for Vice President", he said. "Of what country?" I asked. He turned on the television, where I saw this nice-looking blonde sharing a platform with George Bush at that summer's Republican Convention.

"I never saw that man before in my life," I told him, and got one of those male European looks that said "typical American female, pays no attention to politics, probably hasn't a serious thought in her silly little head."

Well, I just wish I'd been sitting in that pub when Jack Kemp was announced in '96! I'd have bragged that I'd met Kemp in '76 when I was working for a congressional candidate, and talked the former football star into signing Nerf footballs for our contributors.

This year when I also know who the V.P. candidate is, I'm spending the convention period in my own Massachusetts town, where it isn't my job to impress the natives on behalf of my gender and my country.

I don't want to be in Philadelphia, but I'd kind of like to be in Ireland, at that pub, assuring all the men there that I do too have some serious thoughts about American politics in my silly little head.

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her syndicated columns appear weekly in the Salem Evening News and the Lowell Sun; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in other newspapers.

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