Leaders Among Men

Leaders Among Men

Will Durst

Oh, my God, no! The Mideast peace talks have failed. Again. Imagine that. Quelle surprise!

What next? Cell-phone-wielding Lexus drivers prove annoying? Branson, Missouri, Wayne Newton concerts are cloyingly sappy? Authentic Survivor wear becomes available at cbs.com? This just can’t be!

Although when you think about it, it’s almost kind of comforting. One constant in an ever-changing world. Two-millennium-old stone tablet scrapings reveal the headline “Mideast Talks Fail,” as will the digital transparent readout on our mesh aluminum wind visors in another millennium.

Don’t these powerhogs realize they’re pissing on Clinton’s legacy? That’s what lame duck Presidents do during last days. It’s in the book. They hold a big press conference, get their picture taken shaking hands with a couple of guys from the Mideast, and then someone nominates them for a Nobel Peace Prize. Trust me, there are worse ways to kick off a book tour.

* Russellville, Arkansas, where the folks tend to get a mite upset when you mention their diet is a bit heavy on fried foods. Then they wave that fried pickle in your face.

Hey, guess what everybody? Al Gore is in favor of working families. Who knew? Now you’re going to tell me he’s against crib death. Shocking!

The Vice President said he’s not the most exciting politician in the world. Wow! The numbing revelations just keep piling up.

Gore is going to work and fight for me. So, if you ever get pissed that I’m not covering my end, just take it outside and wait for Al to show up.

By the way, I wonder if Tipper learned to dance at the “Spike Heels on Hot Asphalt Dance Studio.”

* Philadelphia, where political substance was declared missing and was sought after on the sides of milk cartons.

Maybe we’re concentrating on the too too slight differences between the candidates and not enough on the similarities that make them leaders among men. They both are:

* tied to the hip with the ghosts of phantom Presidents: Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and William Henry Harrison.

* white male Ivy League millionaires with fire in their bellies and that frontier spirit that is American poetry in their souls. Well, four out of six ain’t bad.

* married, with children.

* allergic to cactus pollen.

* between five feet ten inches and six feet two inches tall.

They both want to save Social Security and keep criminal activity down. Or is it save criminal activity and keep Social Security down?

They both have horrified historians by waging ruthless and relentless campaigns to win their party’s nomination without regard to ethics, morals, or charity.

They both have the same connection to a regular guy that a Lear Jet has to a two-car stucco garage.

* Los Angeles, where the protesters have proven false three old Southern California adages: One, nobody walks in L.A. Two, nobody in L.A. thinks about anything but themselves. And three, black clothing reflects heat.

George W. keeps saying he will leave no child behind. Doesn’t anybody but me find it suspicious that he refuses to say where the hell he plans on taking them?

During his acceptance speech, Quibble Dick Cheney stole Gore’s ’92 line: “It’s time for them to go.” Of course, Gore was talking about George W.’s dad at the time. Circles inside of circles. Head hurt.

Don’t mean to make fun of tragedy here, but my theory is Gerald Ford is not the first guy to sustain a stroke while talking to Larry King.

Think in twenty years, journalists will gather together in bars and wax nostalgic about the 2000 campaign? “I swear to God, I was there when Cheney finished up three minutes and forty-five seconds after prime time, and the place went totally chaotic. No, you won’t see the likes of that kind of spontaneity again.”

Will Durst thinks you ought to know.

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