and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

Barbara's Column
February #4

Still time to get in on the presidential guessing game
by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Thursday, February 28, 2008

I used to be offended when someone talked down to me, but now I understand completely when the people at Birds Eye Foods tell me to remove the plastic film on the microwave lunch before eating it.

I'm sure there are people who would either eat the film or who throw away the lunch because they can't get to the potatoes and broccoli even though they can see it steaming underneath the wrapping!

Last week RKO talk show host Avi Nelson had a Creationist caller who insisted that our Earth is just 6,000 years old and the dinosaurs coexisted in that time frame with mankind.

Avi, in an attempt to work within the caller's paradigm, pointed out that there aren't any dinosaurs in the Bible. The caller had an answer for that, but by then I was curled up in the fetal position on the floor with my blankie, humming loudly to myself. Irrationality scares me. And isn't one of those people running for president?

Most of the problems in the world can be solved with the application of intelligence and reason. For a quick example, look at the technology that allowed the Navy to destroy incoming space junk with a missile last week. Wow!

So even within the religious framework, rational thought is a good thing, because the refusal to think is a slap in the face of the Creator of the mind. People can believe what they want, whatever enriches the human experience; but the beliefs must acknowledge reality, fact, truth, and go on from there.

Which brings us again to the 2008 presidential campaign. Descartes said, more or less, "I think, therefore I am competent to vote." Once a voter acknowledges reality, and insists the candidates do the same, he can then add hope, love, wishfulness and the power of positive imagery to his decision-making process. But first, ask not how a candidate makes you feel, but how his or her brain works.

I remember, with embarrassment, being asked two years ago on New England Cable News about Hillary Clinton being the possible Democratic nominee. I wisecracked, "Please, God." I thought she'd be easy to defeat. But then I also thought that the Republicans would choose someone I liked who could do that.

If someone had told me that a year before the election, polls would show Hillary beating the Republican candidate, I would have judged him mad and laughed. (Of course, this would have been before she started losing in the primaries to a young stranger named Barack Obama.) Not many rational people be they Republicans, Democrats or independents are laughing now.

Conservatives say they don't have a candidate. Liberals who think clearly enough to know the president has to have some basic qualifications don't have a candidate either. Some of them are now turning to Ralph Nader, who at least discusses facts as he sees them, not a promise of "whatever change".

Stop the world, we're all falling off anyhow, down the rabbit hole, into the Twilight Zone.

Let's talk about the possible vice presidential choices for John McCain. I can predict it either way. Turn off brain and follow this theory I came up with myself last weekend when I was watching some governors on the Sunday morning talking-head shows.

Time is circular, and the Truth is Out There: It says that someone from the television show "Law and Order" will be running this year. Some Republicans picked this up on their psychic wavelength which, of course, they deny having and dragged Fred Thompson into the race.

But as soon as I saw Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota I caught the Republicans' error. The governor looks just like a young Sam Waterston also an actor on Law and Order! So he is the universe-ordained candidate; I predict he'll be chosen McCain's running mate, and eventually be president.

If this seems crazy to you, listen to the reasons people give for voting for Barack Obama, clear Democratic choice of the Universe. It will be his karma vs. Pawlenty's; in the end, there can be only one.

Too New Age for you? I tried it on the above-mentioned Avi Nelson, who rejected it and used his purely rational brain to propose his own theory, built with a mess of facts about the Electoral College, winner-take-all states, swing states, and the magic number 270. His prediction, at least until new facts are in: Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. Florida has the fourth highest electoral vote count, so he probably brings 27 electoral votes to the ticket. California and New York are more likely to go Democrat anyhow, while Texas usually goes Republican and will probably choose Southwesterner McCain no matter who he picks for VP.

Remember these predictions and pick your preferred technique for making your own. Let's just "hope" that the majority of this year's voters can remove the plastic from their microwave meals without instructions. And even if most voters reject the gift of reason, let's "hope" that the Force is with us, our country and the free world.

Barbara Anderson says there are references in this column to Star Wars, the Highlander, Alice in Wonderland, a speech by President Kennedy, and the X-Files, but she did not steal them from Gov. Deval Patrick.

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her column appears weekly in the Salem News and Eagle Tribune, and often in the Newburyport Times, Gloucester Times, and Lowell Sun; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in the Providence (RI) Journal and other newspapers.