Sunday, November 10, 2002

Secret memo

Attn. Republicans: No gloating. (OK, just a little)


One of the perks of being the Enquirer's designated "Bush Lackey'' is that I occasionally get a few crumbs of insider pie. Such as this fictional, imaginary White House memo that I intercepted the day after the election.

ATTENTION: Top double-secret. Extra-confidential. This document is for Republican eyes only, and is not intended for unauthorized use by Democrats who might use it to get a clue.

FROM: President Bush, who beat the Democrats like a borrowed mule.

TO: Republicans, who toasted Democrats like weenies on a sharp stick: No gloating.

The president is making no public appearances on Nov. 6. He will not hold a press conference and dislocate both shoulders patting himself on the back like a certain former president. And he hopes Republicans who now rule the House and Senate will not run to the media to sing "If I Were King of the Forest,'' like Newt-polean Gingrich in 1994.

(About those rumors that Dick Cheney broke his wrist giving high-fives on Election Night. Not true. It was only a mild sprain, and it happened when the vice president and Attorney General John Ashcroft did one of those end-zone chest bumps after a Republican won back Mr. Ashcroft's old Senate seat in Missouri.)

Try the obvious

Now, where were we? Oh, yeah. The White House has conducted a thorough and exhaustive analysis of voting trends, demographics, turnout, issues and polls, and we decided to ignore all that and go for the obvious: Republicans won because the president is cool.

Most Americans were surprised to discover on 9-11 that, contrary to media reports, President Bush is not an imbecile who is more shallow than red on an apple. They admire him.

Another obvious point most experts missed: The Democrats blew it. Big time.

They strangled the election laws in New Jersey, made fools of themselves at the memorial service for Sen. Wellstone and sent Fritz Mondale out to shake his finger like a cranky old man telling the neighborhood kids to "Stay outta my yard!'' They sent a hit squad to kneecap the president's brother in Florida. Janet Reno, Bill Clinton and Al Gore are scary, but they're no Corleone family.

It backfired. The Democrats came off looking desperate and tacky. The "win at any cost'' strategy reminded voters how the Democrats tried to lawyer their way into the White House. How they did a sack dance after an impeachment. How they blocked judges and Homeland Security to pander to the abortion lobby and unions.

Not liberal enough

For once, the Democrats look more hopelessly confused than Republicans. And now it looks like they will veer further left, blaming their losses on failure to protest loud enough against a war with Iraq.

Our analysis suggests that is a lot like blaming Winona Ryder for not shoplifting more expensive clothes.

But if they want to blame the advertising instead of a stale product, let's not give them a map back to reality.

Everyone in America knew the Democrats were the anti-war party. That's why they were smoked like Cheech & Chong's bong.

But caution: Our victory margin was thinner than Dick Gephardt's eyebrows. It was as narrow as Tom Daschle's mind. And it could be lost if leaders like Trent Boasta Lott, R-Smug, forget that our best strategy is humility. After all, we have a lot to be humble about.

So, no gloating. We finally caught the car. Let's see if Bush dogs can quit slobbering and drive it.

E-mail or call 768-8301.

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