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Those 'Inclusive' Republicans Will Just Shred Their Tent Into Costumes For A Toga Party.

By Tom Danehy

AUGUST 14, 2000:  WAIT! IS IT too late? I have a couple of black friends who say they'd be willing to appear at the Republican National Convention for the right price. They were down in Mexico playing in some basketball tournament. That's probably how the GOP missed them during the first sweep. Apparently, they asked every other black person in America to get up on stage. And some even did it.

Did you catch that spectacle? They had Indians doing the Pledge of Allegiance, brown people admitting they were members of the Bush family, and black people claiming to be running for Congress as Republicans.

Where'd they go, Rent-A-Minority? I'm surprised they didn't find a slot for Eldridge Cleaver. If he'll Tom for Evan Mecham, he'll Tom for anybody. I half-expected to see Iron-Eyes Cody do a duet with Lucy Liu to cover all the bases.

Arizonans Jim Kolbe and John McCain were two of only seven white people to take the podium the entire week. I kept waiting for someone to ask, "Who left the back door open?"

Now, before the hate mail starts coming in, let me say that I don't think that African-Americans have to be Democrats. They can be whatever they want. One of my favorite athletes of all time, Charles Barkley, is a Republican. When his family found out, they dogged him mercilessly, saying that the GOP was only for the rich. Charles shot back, "I am rich!"

Sean Elliott supports George W. Bush. There can only be two possible explanations for this. One is that he doesn't have to pay state taxes in Texas. The other is that while operating on Sean's kidneys, the doctor left his Rolex in there. Now Sean has this nagging feeling that he should be with the party of privilege.

Still, we live in dynamic times. There can certainly be black Republicans in the year 2000. But not that many!

Jesse Helms thought they were putting on a minstrel show just for him. Pat Robertson saw minorities at the podium and started shouting to get the U.S. out of the United Nations.

Strom Thurmond would be spinning in his grave if he hadn't made that deal with the Devil. I can see it now: The Devil says, "You can live forever and keep creepin' people out by fathering children at an unnatural age, and in exchange, I get your soul and your hair has to be this frightening shade of orange."

The most famous black Republican at this moment is Oklahoma Representative J.C. Watts. He was the quarterback for the Oklahoma Sooners back in their glory days of mythical national championships and gang rapes in the Jock Dorm. They used to have this cool ritual after games where the oil-rich boosters would form two lines facing each other. The football players would walk the gauntlet on the way to the locker room, receiving multiple hundred-dollar handshakes along the way from the proud-as-punch boosters, who would say things like, "They may be nigras, but they's our nigras."

Watts was a high-profile quarterback on several good Oklahoma teams. That's why "J.C." stands for "Just Cash." He considered moving on to the National Football League, but realized that he'd have to take a cut in pay, plus he wouldn't get to play against North Texas State and Missouri. So he stayed in Oklahoma, learned how to spell "R-e-p-u-b-l-i-c-a-n," then sat back and let the fat cats put him in office.

(If you'll pardon a serious note, J.C. Watts may well be the crookedest person in the entire House of Representatives, and that says something. He has escaped felony prosecution on more than one matter by the skin of his teeth and with the help of some very powerful backers in Oklahoma. The GOP is risking a huge embarrassment by constantly putting this idiot out front. I can't wait.)


I REMEMBER THE good old days when political conventions were wild affairs. Floor fights over the seating of certain delegations. Nail-biting roll-call votes. David Brinkley talking about something other than Archer-Daniels-Midland.

This thing was the most sterile nonsense I've ever seen, pre-packaged and choreographed to the split-second. The balloons were probably numbered as to the order in which they should fall.

It was so bad I watched the Fox News Network. They, at least, made fun of stuff. They even had former GOP Presidential hopeful Gary Bauer lobbing verbal grenades at Bush over his reluctance to mention family values.

Frankly, I don't blame Dubya on this one. The GOP has been harping on family values for years, but the two most visible Repubs out there are Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh, and what do they have, five or six marriages between them? It's a joke.

The one big surprise I got from the convention was the report that Arizona Senator Jon Kyl had been considered for the vice-presidential nomination. This is a guy who should spend several hours each day on his knees, thanking God that the Arizona Democratic Party is so inept.

If we lived in the Brave New World, where each person would serve society according to his abilities, Kyl would probably be a pastry chef. He's the worst senator I've ever had, and I lived through George Murphy and S.I. Hayakawa in California.

And the highlight of the week: When Jim Kolbe made a speech, some of the homophobic members of the Texas delegation decided to turn their chairs around to show their disdain for an openly gay man addressing the GOP. When their big moment came, they realized that the chairs were all chained together, so they'd have to lift up an entire row.

Undaunted, they recreated a scene from Animal House, where they used pretend-sneezes and coughs to cover their vulgar shouts.

And these people were from the state whose candidate received a unanimous nomination.


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