and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

Barbara's Column
August #2

Sad day when focus of U.S. election is on
Paris, Berlin and Leaning Tower of Pisa
by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Thursday, August 14 2008

Let's talk about Paris Hilton.

No, wait! Don't drop the newspaper and run screaming from the room. This is important!

I've found that while most people know part of the recent McCain-Obama-Hilton story, few followed the whole thing from its amusing to hilarious phase, and have yet to relate to the serious, underlying message.

Probably you have seen the original McCain ad, in which images of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton flash on the screen just before an image of Barack Obama speaking to an adoring crowd in Germany: the point being that the Democrat is a somewhat vacuous celebrity, too. I thought it was a pretty funny ad, addressing the Democratic candidate's major weakness the perception that he is arrogant and not experienced enough for the job. But it got funnier.

The Democratic response, as usual when Obama is criticized, was that the "attack ad" was racist: something about a black man and two blonde girls. A New York Times columnist, Bob Herbert, said during a television discussion that the flashing in the ad of two phallic symbols the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Washington Monument was intended to frighten white people into thinking that if Obama is elected, black men would be raping white women. Say what?

I'd have tried to make sense of this accusation but was distracted by the fact that I didn't recall seeing either the Leaning Tower or the Washington Monument in the ad. So I went online and played it over several times. I saw the Berlin Victory Monument used as a backdrop for Obama's speech in Germany, with the golden "Winged Victory" on the top, but no Leaning Tower or Washington Monument.

I have often wondered why countries use this obelisk form for its monuments. I know it started in Egypt, which gave one as a gift to the French, who put it in Paris Paris again! at the Place de la Concorde; but no McCain supporters made Obama stand in front of one, did they? Besides, aren't a lot of our politicians photographed in front of the Washington Monument? Who are they supposed to be raping, the taxpayers?

Globe columnist Kevin Cullen wrote that critics who called Obama "arrogant" were using an euphemism for "uppity," an ancient, insulting term for blacks who stood up for themselves. Good grief! How silly is this going to get?

Anyhow, the next thing we knew, Paris Hilton had her own ad in which she announced while sunbathing that she had a better environmental policy than either of the candidates, who were arguing over offshore drilling (McCain) vs. inflating our tires (Obama). Paris said we should do both: Drill enough to hold us over while we conserve and develop alternative energy sources.

The next day, environmental experts jumped on board, stating that her plan made sense! To which McCain responded that "doing both" is actually his plan and he's glad Hilton agreed. And when asked, the Obama campaign responded, "Whatever," which was pretty funny too.

Then, as it was all winding down, I saw an item somewhere that Obama is being called the anti-Christ, a phenomenon long-awaited by some evangelicals, who, I also read, don't like Mitt Romney because he is a Mormon.

But I was told years ago that the anti-Christ will come out of Egypt and wear a blue turban. Wait! Egypt again? And suddenly, obelisks everywhere...

Whatever. If Obama is seen wearing a blue turban, and Mitt becomes the Republican nominee for vice president, who are the evangelicals going to vote for? Maybe Ron Paul, who is having a "Rally for the Republic" during the Republican Convention.

I received an elegant invitation from the Campaign for Liberty, and have to admit I agree with its mission to return the Republican Party "to its roots of limited government, personal responsibility, and protection of our natural rights."

But in the end, I predict Ron Paul will have to support McCain, because Barack Obama should not be president, for a lot of reasons including inexperience, arrogance, tax hikes, and anti-business attitude, that have nothing to do with the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

But here is why I relate to Paris Hilton, or whoever wrote her ad. Most of us, laughing at or ducking the partisan foolishness, can also see a common-sense middle ground for our country. I've noticed that when my liberal son and I argue, we take positions that get more radical as we warm up to the debate, when, in fact, we are pretty close on most things: The environment, foreign policy, taxes and social issues. It's just when we do "Democrat vs. Republican" that we raise our voices.

My son grew up in a libertarian household, but was influenced by various professors at UMass Amherst and later, California-liberal friends. He has worked for county and state governments in Nevada before starting his own business with his wife.

I, on the other hand, have been influenced by close contact with Massachusetts state government, leading to a very practical cynicism about government in general.

In the spirit of Paris Hilton, may all taxpayer-activist parents find common political ground with their children this fall.

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