Bob Bytes Back Archive: Before The New Hampshire Primary–Dole, Buchanan, Voinovich

Revisited: Columbus Alive   Dr. Fitrakis


by Bob Fitrakis

It’s two days before the New Hampshire primary, and Bob Dole looks politically dead. Despite a poll or two that still shows him ahead of Pat Buchanan by a few percentage points, even the staunchest necrophile can’t repress the urge to hold old Bob down and drive a mercy stake through his heart.

As an old axiom goes: When there’s no more room in hell, Bob Dole shall walk the Earth. The man’s obsessed. Twenty straight years of imbibing that juiced-up presidential-wannabe adrenaline and spewing the pollsters’ spin has left an ugly corpse.

Both Pat Buchanan and Steve Forbes cry, “Let the politically dead bury the dead.” Buchanan, make no mistake, sounds like the direct linear descent of that old evangelical Democratic presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan. Yeah, I know, there are echoes of Huey “The Kingfish” Long, the assassinated former governor of Louisiana, tossed in for Southern consumption. But Buchanan will score well in New Hampshire because he has resurrected that old Bryan plea: “Do not crucify the American people on a cross of gold.” He represents 1890s populism in its purest form, which is infinitely preferable to the 1880s Social Darwinist rhetoric of Newt Gingrich.

As a former platform spokesperson for Governor Jerry Brown in 1992, I recognize and cheerfully encourage Buchanan’s economic railings against Dole as “Mr. NAFTA,” “Mr. GATT” and “Mr. Mexico Bailout.” And I’m fearful of his social policies that take us back to the pre-Scopes Monkey Trial era of prejudice and bigotry. Many of Pat’s followers are homophobes, believing that sex between consenting adults of the same gender is an abomination. But so’s eating pork, according to the Old Testament. I’d have more respect for these people if they gave up gay-bashing and chained themselves instead to the doors of Bob Evans restaurants. And my pot-bellied pig Iggy feels the same way. I’ve waited my entire adult life for a progressive major party candidate to take on the Fortune 500 and the new robber barons. What do I get? The social reactionary Pat “The Born-Again Populist” Buchanan.

So the Buchanan mob chases Bob Dole around New Hampshire with torches and pitchforks, repeatedly jabbing the senator on his weak economic left side. Meanwhile, Steve Forbes levels media blast after media blast on Dole’s capitulation to the Christian Coalition and its Shiite social agenda.

Last Friday, at a “God and Country” rally sponsored by the Christian Coalition in New Hampshire, Buchanan stole the show. He gave Ôem that old-time religion. Our own deficit hawk and political nemesis of mine, John Kasich, bombed, so to speak. One-note Johnny hammered away at balancing the budget, yet clearly was not filled with the spirit as he spoke woodenly of the “Judeo-Christian tradition.” Kasich found it hard to keep a straight face while preaching that the Holy Spirit descended onto the founding fathers in Philadelphia in 1787 and wrote the Constitution as a “Christian document.” Kind of hard to imagine the Holy Spirit whispering to James Madison, “Count the blacks as three-fifths of a person for purposes of taxation and representation.” Kasich spoke zealously of the need to get government out of people’s pockets; the divorced Kasich just couldn’t work up a sense of righteousness about putting bureaucrats under people’s beds to monitor their sex practices. He gathered only faint applause from an audience that looked like rejects from the Rush Limbaugh TV show. As I look into the crystal ball and say the words “Abra cadaver” I see Dole being cremated, I mean creamed, in New Hampshire.

Where does that leave Governor Voinovich? Off the short list for V.P. Voinovich is a younger version of Dole, and Mayor Lashutka the evil prodigy of a Voinovich-and-Dole cloning experiment gone bad. If you saw Voinovich’s shtick during last week’s State of the State address you couldn’t have missed his incredibly sincere attack on casino gambling as anti-family and anti-jobs. The guv’s solution to creating more jobs: build more prisons and bring in a multi-state regional nuclear waste dump. I’d rather take my chances with the Mafia and casino gambling than go along with the guv’s radioactive family values.

Voinovich also pressured Ohio House Republicans to kill the concealed-carry bill last week. This alone may be enough for grassroots gun activists to pull the plug on Bob Dole if he’s still on Voinovich’s political life-support system by the time the March 19 primary rolls around. The guv gave one of the strangest and most hypocritical reasons for opposing concealed-carry for law-abiding citizens. It seems that under his Republican administration, Attorney General Betty Montgomery has only computerized 80% of Ohio’s arrests–leaving 20% of those arrested out of the statewide computer system that does record checks for felons under the federal Brady Bill. So, potentially 20% of the felons could purchase guns. Thus, the rest of us who aren’t felons, but law-abiding citizens, can’t carry guns to fend off the 20% that potentially can buy guns as felons. Incompetence, be thy name. Or is this another example of the guv doing less–and I mean a lot less–with more?

Bob Fitrakis ran for Congress in the 12th district against John Kasich in 1992.