Trick or Cheat

by Hemant Joshi | 10/31/00 6:00am

Halloween is here, and presidential candidates are searching for the perfect costume to attract voters. Although politicians are constantly masked and fake, Halloween is a special time for them -- they get to choose an outfit that is totally contrary to their beliefs rather than one that just muddles them. To help the candidates, and the democratic system in general, I have come up with a couple ideas for each of the contenders.

George W's best option would be a Robin Hood costume. While some (probably the richest 1 percent) admire his marvelous trait of taking from the poor and giving to the rich, most do not. Dressing as Robin Hood would deceive voters into thinking that he actually might care about less-than-wealthy people. Who knows, maybe the costume will trick voters so they believe George W is willing to put his foot down and say, "Yes, Mr. Bigshot here can lose one of his six cars so that Ms. Single Mother can feed her children." Of course, for all this to work, George W would have to get a superb tailor to make the costume in the first place. But I'm sure his daddy can help him out on that one.

A second option for George W is dressing as a Compassionate Conservative. While he does have the conservative part working, the compassionate side is lacking. Rather than actually being compassionate -- perhaps by not mocking people on death row or by actually helping people in his own state get some health insurance -- George W should wear a specially made costume that projects an air of compassion. A T-shirt that says "I have a good heart," the absence of a lethal injection syringe, and a goofy, "I am dumb" smirk -- all of these would make up the costume. Luckily for him, the last part is one of the many, many things he was born with, and therefore won't require any working on.

One final costume for George W would be dressing as an environmentalist. For some reason, many voters get the impression that George W is not very concerned with the environment. Maybe it's the fact that he wants to drill for oil in the wilderness of Alaska, or that he's not quite convinced that pollution leads to global warming. In any case, George W needs to shed this image so it looks like he is pro-environment. This costume is very special and difficult to make, as it requires the use of another person -- Ralph Nader. By pasting Nader to his forehead or somewhere else on his body, and wearing lots of green, George W would be able to pass as a friend of the environment and maybe snag a few votes from Gore.

Al Gore's costume would be a combination of everything he is not. That includes being trustworthy, likeable, capable of showing emotion and human. The costume would consist of an assortment of random objects with vibrant colors, his wife glued to his lips and some magnificent product of humanity, like garbage or something. This would hopefully show voters that Gore might actually be a person rather than a piece of wood. An optional add-on to this costume would be a "simple-talk" machine that, when put in the place of Tipper on Gore's lips, would translate his complicated sputterings into language that Americans can understand. For example, the sentence "I am running to be your president" would be translated to "Me your president" for the benefit of George W and other less-intelligent people.

Another option for Gore is the Bill Clinton costume. This costume will help Gore take credit for the Clinton administration's successes, while distancing himself from its problems. For this to work, Gore needs to have a mask of Clinton that covers half his face. Whenever someone says the word "economy" or "peacetime" or any other positive thing that occurred during Clinton's presidency, Gore can turn and show the Clinton side. Whenever someone says "scandal" or "untruthfulness" or another similarly negative aspect of Clinton, Gore can turn so the Clinton side is hidden and say, "I am my own man."

Hopefully, for their own sakes, both candidates will realize that they need to wear some kind of costume to get votes. The ones mentioned above are perfect ways to trick voters. I mean, there's no way that they can get votes by being "real," is there?

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