Sunday, October 22, 2000

Answerman


Definitely undecided

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        It's late October, the time of year when goblins and vampires dress up and knock on doors, asking for . . . votes. And that means it's time for Answerman to jump out of a pumpkin in a black cape and orange tights — almost as scary as a Bengals uniform. Answerman is back to prove once again there's no such thing as a stupid question. Only idiotic answers.

        Q. Will Answerman vote for George W. Bush or Al Gore?

        A. Answerman has decided to be undecided. That way he can ignore the campaign, watch Gilligan's Island reruns and remain ignorant, yet still be the center of attention for fawning politicians and reporters who are begging to know what undecided voters want.

        Q. And what does Answerman want?

        A. Answerman wants to know what the next president will do about the intersection of I-71 and I-275, which has been under construction since the glaciers receded, giving Answerman big headaches on his daily commute.

        Q. Isn't that question self-centered?

        A. Undecided voters have a special federal entitlement to be self-centered, granted by President Clinton in his “I Feel Your Pain” act of 1996.

        Q. Why can't you lay off President Clinton?

        A. It has taken 16 months and $32,391,698.15 to add a third lane to 7.6 miles of I-71, increasing vehicle volume from 1,980 cars per lane per hour to 2,200 per lane per hour — and all three lanes of 6,600 cars will be stopped in front of Answerman until the orange barrels are gone in November.

        Q. Hey, you didn't answer my question.

        A. Answerman learned that from watching the debates.

        Q. A million —

        A. — Wait, Answerman has not finished his Al Gore impression — stalking the stage like Frankenstein with Ted Kennedy's brain.

        Q. What about Bush?

        A. He's held together by rubber bands and twisty ties from bread wrappers, but being slick doesn't make a good president.

        Q. Enough. A million pundits are debating the debates. What about local issues?

        A. The biggest local issue, according to the candidates who have been knocking on doors, is guns. That could mean lawmakers will give Ohio a concealed-carry law like the ones that are reducing crime in Kentucky and other states.

        Or maybe it only means guns just naturally come to mind when politicians bang on the door.

        Q. Isn't that a little harsh?

        A. If threatened by an unconcealed weapon, Answerman will confess that most candidates are fine people who make huge sacrifices to run for office so they can get elected and be abused by self-centered voters and know-it-alls like Answerman.

        But all those endorsement interviews are making Answerman consider the merits of election-free dictatorships.

        Q. Speaking of dictatorships, isn't the empire of Enquirerstan a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by the Republican Party?

        A. You have us confused with Hamilton County government. In Enquirerstan, we listen to both candidates, compare their positions and examine their records. Then, after careful thought, we flip a coin.

        Q. You're kidding?

        A. Yes. Editorial board members try to honestly choose the best candidates. In most cases we pick the ones closest to our own moderately conservative philosophy. Few Democrats fit that description. But in Ohio General Assembly races in which we did candidate interviews this year, we endorsed six Republicans and four Democrats.

        Q. So who's going to win on Nov. 7?

        A. Answerman already told you he is pretending to be undecided. If you're not going to pay attention, you can register as an undecided voter and choose the next president by flipping a coin.

        Peter Bronson is editorial page editor of The Enquirer. If you have questions or comments, call 768-8301, or write to 312 Elm Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202.

       

       



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