Monday, November 06, 2000

Can't stand either candidate? Vote anyway

        No matter who wins Tuesday's presidential election, America will have an Eddie Haskell in the White House.

        The distasteful prospect of having a smug, two-faced smirker as president explains — in my mind — why the election is too close to call. It's impossible to choose the lesser of these two.

        Electing an Eddie is reason enough for millions of voters to skip the trip to the ballot box. If so much wasn't at stake in local elections, you could almost excuse them.

        Al Gore and George W. Bush are two sides of the same loathsome Leave It to Beaver character, the ever-smarmy Eddie Haskell.

        George W. is the loud, snide, sneering Eddie. Dull-witted and prone to horse-play, he gives wedgies when your back is turned.

        Even worse, he drinks and drives. Last week, he fessed up to receiving a drunken-drinking conviction in 1976 after a round of tippling with his sister. That incident, committed at the age of 30 — not when he was some young, stupid kid — is so dumb, Eddie Haskell would question its wisdom. Especially from a candidate promising to bring a new morality to the White House.

        Al is the obnoxiously polite Eddie. Just plain dull, he speaks in the dulcet tones of a computer-generated voice: “Hel-lo, Mr. and Mrs. Clea-ver. How are you to-day?”

        Smiling innocently, he tells whoppers.

        “I took the initiative in creating the Internet.”

High stakes
               Neither of the two major-party candidates could be termed presidential timber. Al and George W. are more like presidential toothpicks.

        Yet, they're not worth staying at home on Election Day. Too much must be decided. A vote is a terrible thing to waste.

        In Hamilton County, as in all counties across Greater Cincinnati, the stakes are high. The election of two of the county's three commissioners will determine the fate of Cincinnati's riverfront and the Reds' new stadium.

        In Southern Ohio, congressmen will be elected in Districts 1 and 2. The winners help decide how many of our federal tax dollars come home from Washington, D.C.

        The Cincinnati Public Schools' levy promises smaller classes, better maintainence and improved neighborhood schools. Voters in the district will decide whether they want to tax themselves to see whether these promises can be kept.

        Statewide, Ohio voters have the right to choose members of the Supreme Court and approve or reject a $400 million bond package to clean up the environment.

Blame the Eddies
               Despite these high stakes, area election officials are predicting lower voter turnouts. In Warren, Butler and Hamilton counties, the projected voting rate is 75 percent — 2 percent short of Ohio's average for the 1992 presidential election.

        Blame that on the two Eddies. Al and George W. are jokes. And not just to Jay Leno and David Letterman.

        If only we could just laugh at these two fools. Instead, we will weep.

        But it will be a brief cry. No matter which Eddie Haskell wins, the republic will stand. America is bigger than the guy getting mail marked “Occupant” at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

        The United States has survived every other president. Life has gone on whether the man in the White House has been a Beaver Cleaver, a Wally or even a Lumpy Rutherford.

        We will withstand an Eddie Haskell.

        But only if we vote.

        Columnist Cliff Radel can be reached at (513) 768-8379; fax 768-8340.

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