Volume 1, Number 2 -- September, 1996
Skippy's Guide to Life and Eternal Happiness
Peace, Prosperity and Bookmaking '96
Hey kids, Skippy here!
It's election time and you want to be a good citizen and
vote. How nice for you, have you stopped to consider whether you
are smart enough to vote or not? Have you even once stopped to
think about the issues involved? Are you reading this now and
thinking to yourself, "Gosh, he's right, perhaps I'm not
ready to cast my vote wisely?" Don't worry I have you
covered. I'm going to ask you a few simple questions and provide
you with the answers. If you answer correctly, then you should go
out and vote as many times as you are able. However, if you
should fail to answer correctly. Then you must lock yourself in a
small room until approximately mid-November. Trust me it's for
Well how did you do? Are you allowed to keep reading or is it time for that little vacation for the next three months? Still with me? Good, let's move on, shall we?
So whom should you vote for anyway? It's a complicated decision, made more complicated by the fact that there are three candidates vying for your attention this election year. With all of the competing tax plans, economic agendas and rhetoric. How do you figure it all out? Easy, you don't. I've already done that for you. First off, let's get one thing straight, you will wind up voting your own self-interest. The only reason that you would cast a vote for your children's future is if you plan on having them take care of you in your old age. The only reason you vote for the environment is if you're having trouble breathing. Put simply, you don't care about the other guy, and there really isn't any reason that you should. He certainly doesn't give a damn about you. That being said, all you need do is look at a few facts and you will know how you have to vote.
The first thing you need to look at is economic status. Are you rich or do you plan on being rich in the near future? When I say rich I mean anything over six figures a year; there are differing scales, but let's not quibble. If you're doing better than one hundred thousand a year, you are just fine. When I talk about planning to be rich I'm talking about your realistic chances. If you are a young stockbroker on the rise, the future looks good. If your retirement plan involves the lottery in any way, well let's just say you may have reason to be concerned. If you are rich (or will be) you should vote Republican. At the Republican Convention, there were more millionaires than minorities. Now these folks don't get together to come up with new and exciting ways to give their money away. There is no reason they should, I myself plan on joining the Republican Party just as soon as I can afford the cover charge. The Republican Party is the party of the rich, they specialize in helping the rich keep as much of their money as they can. So once again, if you are rich or soon will be, go Dole/Kemp '96.
Now then, what about the rest of us. That's easy, we should all vote for the Democrats. Yes I know, they tend to favor those silly social programs and saving the environment. Yes I know, you think people ought to have to work for a living just like you do and you are absolutely right to feel that way. But the fact of the matter is, if you are not rich, you are better off under the Democrats than the Republicans. If for no other reason than you have a much better chance of winding up on some of those programs than you like to think. You get sick, you lose your job, bing, it's "Hello, public assistance". Do you honestly believe that the Republicans care whether one more poor person lives or dies? Not unless he happens to be a really good butler. So remember, if you are not rich, go Clinton/Gore '96.
I know some of you are wondering about Ross Perot, and under what circumstances you should give him your vote. I'm going to make this simple for you. Under no circumstances should you vote for Perot. It's like your drunken Uncle Lou at parties, if you clap when he starts singing you'll just encourage him to sing more. Your best bet is to just keep quiet and hope he goes away.
Our next criteria is social policy. Again it is simpler than you might imagine. Do you believe that life begins at conception and abortion is murder? No fudging now, yes or no? If you answered yes than you shouldn't vote at all. You should go to library (you know, the big building with the books in it) and look at a copy of the constitution. In that document there is a part that says religion and the state are separate. What that means is that you cannot turn your religious views into the law of the land unless you can convince the majority to go along with it. If you want to do the legwork and convince the people that abortion is wrong then have at it. Until you do that, leave the rest of us alone. If you don't believe that abortion is murder or maybe you just don't care on way or the other then you should vote Clinton/Gore. Once again, there is no earthly reason to vote for Ross Perot.
The rest of social policy is fairly simple as well. If you believe that discrimination no longer exists and that minorities are basically just a bunch of whiners, you are a Republican. If you believe that maybe there is still some discrimination out there, that it needs to be dealt with before we can really accomplish anything as a nation, then you are voting Clinton/Gore. Again, Perot = bad. If you believe that we need more money to build more prisons and the real problem with our education system is those useless teachers, you are a Republican. If you think that maybe it would be cheaper in the long run to prevent crime by educating the underclass and perhaps giving them a skill other than breaking & entering, go Democrat. For the last time, no one, no matter how simple-minded, should vote for Perot.
So how are the candidates going to win your vote? What sort of things have the whiz-kids at Campaign Central come up with to earn your trust? Well Clinton/Gore are going to use a fairly simple strategy. They are going to basically remind people that things are better now than they were four years ago and that they are the reason for that. Other than that, they will probably just cruise around, look presidential (or vice-presidential in the case of Gore) and sit on their lead.
As far as Dole is concerned the strategy is a little more complicated. I was frankly surprised to see the Republicans focus on the economy. For all intents and purposes, the economy is in as good a shape as it could be right now. The Republican economic plan really doesn't offer anything new or groundbreaking, it's the sheer size of it that makes it newsworthy. It is also the sheer size of it that makes it difficult to convince voters that it will actually happen. I mean, fifteen percent across the board and five hundred dollars per child? It sounds as though they sat up one night and threw every previously successful tax cut offer in history into one giant plan. The problem, as I said, is that for the most part, voters aren't buying it. This is before the Democrats really start ripping it apart. I think you will see, by mid-September at the latest, the Dole campaign start to focus on the "family values" issues. I doubt at that point it will do him any good. Clinton will have a lead in the double digits, the debates will be coming up, not leaving much time to change gears. It's a matter of speculation whether Dole can win using any tactic. It is notoriously difficult to unseat an incumbent president during peacetime while the economy is good. His best bet would be to go after Clinton's character like a pit bull. He should remind voters over and over about Whitewater, Travelgate, the FBI files and Clinton's alleged dalliances with the fairer sex. He should strive to make the election a contest between his character and Clinton's, a test that quite frankly, Dole probably wins. Whether even that would work is up in the air. With all of the character attacks that Clinton dealt with in '92 it seems doubtful. That may be why the Dole camp isn't doing it. It would though be more effective than reminding the voters about an economy that is in fairly good shape.
This brings us to Perot, what will he try? I think he will attempt a rerun of his '92 run. The problem being that Clinton has addressed the deficit in the intervening years. For the first time that most people can remember, a president can honestly claim to have cut the deficit. Perot will probably point out that the national debt has continued to grow, but that is easily turned aside. Basically Ross Perot cannot win, will not get even half of the votes he received in '92 and should probably withdraw from the race before he embarrasses himself further. Ross won't do that, of course; he's a raging egomaniac that gets off on his own voice to such an extent that he probably would dial a 900 number just to hear himself talk. He will ride this one to the bitter end, squealing all the time that it isn't about him. One last time, unless you are a patient at a mental facility, you will not vote for Ross Perot (unless of course you were planning to vote for Dole, in which case, go right ahead).
The long and the short of it is that Clinton is one of the best campaigners in modern memory. Remember 1992? There was no way he was supposed to make it out of the primaries. It would be interesting to see him go up against Reagan in his prime, sort of an Ali vs. Tyson of politics. I would give the nod to Reagan, but Clinton would make a race of it. There isn't anyone in politics today who could take Clinton in a head to head. In a three way race, he dominates. Dole on the other hand, is not one of the better campaigners in the world. It just isn't one of his strengths. Perhaps if he were going in with a lead, but to ask him to come from behind is just too much. Kemp probably comes closest, which is why he is on the Republican ticket. Despite the fact that he shares no beliefs with Dole whatsoever. The fact that Kemp skipped the primaries tells the story. He is gaining national recognition for a run in '00, much like Dole did in '76.
This brings us to the most important part of this piece. How are you going to make money off of this election? The following advice is of course for entertainment purposes only. What kind of sicko bets on the outcome of something this important? If you can find someone silly enough to actually bet on Dole straight up, by all means go for it. That is going to be as difficult as finding a Dukakis bettor in '88, but what the heck, you never know. Your best bet is to find a Republican and give him points. That's where this gets tricky. You need to make your bets soon, Dole could be down by twenty points at the end of the first week of September. If that's the case, the best you are probably going to get is ten points, not the safest in the world, but not outrageous. I would say take Clinton and give up seven points. If you can't get that right away, hold off for a few weeks and hope the race tightens (which it probably will when Dole switches strategies in mid-September). Do not give away more than twelve points or forty states, Clinton will not cover that. Another take is bet the over-under on Perot. The nice thing about this is that it works for either party affiliation. If you are taking over don't go any higher than ten points. If you go for the under, push for four, but take up to seven.
That's it folks, you are now ready to become a full-fledged member of the American Democratic process. Have fun, watch the low blows, and don't punch in the clinches.
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