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September 19, 1996

Cliche Slinging
Copyright 1996 - Greg Bulmash - All Rights Reserved

There are certain images in American politics that remain engraved in our minds: Little JFK Junior saluting at his father's funeral, Jimmy Carter in the Rose Garden with Begin and Sadat, an injured Ronald Reagan being pushed into a car as John Hinckley tried to take his life. Today we got another one... Bob Dole flat on his fanny. And from now through November, people will be making jokes about it.

I'm sure Bill Maher will have something funny to say. Of course, I won't be able to hear it because we don't get the Comedy Channel on my cable system. No, we need the channel space for more home shopping with QVC II, because apparently one Quagmire of Vile Crap isn't enough. I do get HBO, but after hearing Dennis Miller's voice on a Pizza Hut commercial... Hey, Schminkey, that's like Cardinal Mahoney hawking Dianetics on the Playboy Channel (which we also don't get).

We'll see jokes like "Bob Dole courted the artistic community with an interpretive dance called 'How To Fight Mike Tyson.'" An even more liberal comic might make the joke, "today Bob Dole fell on his Gingrich." Or one might say "in a very physical display, Bob Dole showed how he's using his campaign contributions from the alcohol lobby."

And then, if you want to be impartial... "Not to be outdone, the White House immediately issued a press release claiming that tomorrow the President will have an unexpected nosebleed."

Unfortunately, even these easy jokes I came up with in 10 minutes of brainstorming won't compare to the pure crap that's going to get blasted at us. Between now and November, on morning radio and in newspaper features like the syndicated "Laugh Lines," there will be 1,547,983 jokes based on "I've fallen and I can't get up," and 769,321 variations on how Oliver Stone thinks Dole was pushed. In fact, we'll have more cliches than Carter has pills.

But though I have no faith that our politicians will come up with anything original this season, I am holding out hope for our comedy writers. There's some fine talent in this country. We just need someone like me to go around, grab them by the ears and say, "see that horse? It's dead! Stop beating it." And with this column, I'm trying.

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