In 1966 Peter Cook and Dudley Moore did a sketch about an unsuccessful restaurant named The Frog and Peach.
MOORE: Don't you feel, again, you're at a disadvantage because of your menu? I mean -
COOK: The menu! Oh dear! Yes, that is - Oh! This has been a terrible hindrance to us building up a business. The menu is the most - have you seen it?
MOORE: Yes, I have.
COOK: It's the most appalling thing. There's so little to choose from. You start with - what's that?
MOORE: Spawn cocktail.
COOK: Spawn cocktail. One of the most revolting dishes known to man. Then there's only two other dishes really. There's frog a la peche, which is a frog done in Cointreau and with a peach stuffed in its mouth And, ah, then, of course, there's peche a la frog, which is really not much to write home about. A waiter comes to your table. He's got this huge peach on it, which is covered in boiling liqueur, you see, and he slices it open to reveal about two thousand little black tadpoles squiggling about. It's one of the most disgusting sights I've ever seen. God, it turns me over to think of it.
Although no one has officially announced their candidacy for the upcoming New York senatorial race, we already know what our choices will be. They're exactly as appealing as the menu in The Frog and Peach.
The Democrats are offering up Hillary Clinton, who has absolutely no connection to the state. She doesn't believe in big government, she believes in huge government, government that provides cradle-to-the-grave protection for everyone. Of course, you'll have to give up even more of your money and most of your freedom, but that's a small price to pay for the guardianship of such a powerful, benevolent Big Brother.
The Republicans are offering us Rudy Guliani, who made the subways run on time. He's reduced crime by using the police as his private goon squad. They harass vendors, artists, street people, taxi drivers and anyone else he doesn't like. And he doesn't like anyone who stands up to him.
These two people will be our choices a year from now. Do you prefer a Big Government socialist or a Big Government fascist? Do you want frog a la peche, or peche a la frog?
The last congressional race was no better. The incumbent was Al D'Amato. He was widely regarded as the most corrupt weasel in Washington, which is like being the ugliest woman in a Wal-Mart - it takes some doing. He was brought up on ethics charges several times, but investigators couldn't find any ethics to investigate. So, finally, after several investigations (one which remains sealed), the Republicans appointed him the head of the ethics committee. (Their original plan was to issue a two-word press statement: "Fuck Ethics." Testing showed this phrasing was objectionable to The Christian Coalition so they sent the same message by putting Al in charge.) He kept getting elected because he brought home more pork than Kermit The Frog on a bender.
The Democrats nominated Chuck Schumer, a weasel who despises the Second Amendment and is proud his attacks on it. His Hate Crime bills make crimes more serious when they're committed against members of politically correct groups. He supports national ID cards. ("May I haff your papers, please?") Chuck leans as far to the left as he can without falling over.
The campaigning between these two was one of the ugliest dogfights New York has ever seen. It was difficult to tell from the unrelenting attack ads just who was slimier. I yammer about politics a lot, and in every single conversation about this election people on each side used the expression, "I'll hold my nose and vote forů" Once again we had to choose the lesser of two weasels.
Would you like frog a la peche, or peche a la frog?
The existence of third party candidates gives us the illusion of having some choice, but we know they have no chance of winning. I've voted for some of them when I was certain the least despicable weasel was going to win, but it wasn't very satisfying. There is a better way.
Adding None Of The Above to every election would give us a chance to reject an entire ballot of miserable choices. Nevada is the only state that mandates this. The law is non-binding, meaning if NOTA wins the election the person with the second highest number of votes wins, but Nevada voters still like it. They feel that the major parties give them a better selection to avoid the embarrassment of having to serve while knowing they were beaten by NOTA. This has only happened four times since the law was enacted in 1976.
An even better approach would to make NOTA elections binding. Elections won by NOTA would have to be held again, preferably without any of the original candidates on the ballot. The expense of an occasional second election would trivial compared to the vast improvement we'd get in the quality of the candidates. Political parties would no longer be able to get by with a candidate slightly less disgusting than their opponent. We'd see real, quality people on the ballot far more often. When we didn't we would have the power to force the issue.
A good place to start would be our next presidential election, which is going to be another frog and peach show.
George Bush, after viewing a web site that parodies his, said, "There ought to be limits to freedom. We're aware of this site, and this guy is just a garbage man, that's all he is." That wasn't an accidental slip of the tongue he regretted later - George has taken legal action against the site. Although this shows us he despises the First Amendment, the rest of his politics remains fuzzy and undefined. He has refused to clarify his stand on most important issues, but the few beliefs he's chosen to reveal are very right wing.
Al Gore, a man so dull his secret service code name is "Al Gore," has announced plans to eliminate the internal combustion engine by the year 2020. He constantly harps on the invented issue of urban sprawl, knowing he'll have to force us back into cities if he's going to take away our private vehicles. He plans on signing the Kyoto treaty (conveniently rescheduled until after the presidential election), an unnecessary plan that will reduce greenhouse gas by a tiny amount while crippling the US economy. (The treaty could raise energy costs by a whopping 87%, and cost the average family over two thousand dollars a year, in exchange for...nothing.) His wife is a driving force behind music censorship and has the stupidest nickname of any First Lady since LadyBird Johnson.
Imagine how great it would feel to walk into the voting booth and refuse to choose between Bush al la frog or Frog al la Gore, or Hillary al la Peche or Peche al la Rudy. Instead we'd be able to pull a lever that says, "No thanks, I'll have neither," knowing that the next time we entered the booth the choices on the menu would be much more appetizing.
© 1999 Dave Hitt
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