The Superpundit Speaks
By CALVIN TRILLIN
Now that the two major tickets are set, I'm prepared to answer
more questions about the campaign.
Q. On the Democratic and Republican tickets, there are three
candidates who went to Yale and one who went to Harvard. In the
lexicon of American political language, is there a collective
noun to describe candidates who went to Yale or Harvard?
Q. Cheney had to drop out of Yale because of poor marks. Is it
true that he's on the ticket because George W. Bush realized that
Cheney was the only living American politician who had an
academic record at Yale less distinguished than his own?
A. A Republican spokesman vehemently denies this, claiming that
there are a lot of dumb Yale guys the Governor could have chosen.
Q. I've always thought Hadassah was the name of a Jewish women's
organization. Is being named Hadassah Lieberman like being named
Knights of Columbus O'Malley?
A. No, dummy. Although Hadassah is, in fact, the name of the
Women's Zionist Organization of America, it has also been a first
name since biblical times. It means, literally, myrtle, and in
the book of Esther it is mentioned as the alternate name (or, in
some translations, the Hebrew name) for Esther herself. No, there
is no book of Tipper in the Bible.
Q. Why doesn't Al Gore ever mention Bill Clinton's name?
A. He does. But he uses Clinton's alternate name. At the request
of the Gore campaign, Clinton quietly took an alternate name
during the primaries. His alternate name became "This
Administration." So when the question is, "If your running mate
said that Bill Clinton was immoral, how could you have said that
he's one of our greatest Presidents?", Gore says, "This
Administration has brought the American people the longest
sustained economic etc., etc." In Arkansas, taking an alternate
name is easily done by mail; in fact, Clinton was able to use the
same form to change his birth date and eye color, as long as he
was at it.
Q.The 12th Amendment prohibits a state's Electoral College
members from voting for both a President and a Vice President who
are inhabitants of their own state. Is this a problem for Texas?
If Bush is for strict interpretation of the framers' intentions,
how can he think he gets around the Constitution by having
Cheney--obviously an inhabitant of Dallas--register to vote in
A.The strict interpreters have always made an exception for what
they call "legal technicalities." To see the 12th Amendment as
anything more than a legal technicality, you have to believe that
the framers were trying to discourage tickets made up of, say,
two oilmen from Texas.
Q. Both presidential candidates got their secondary education at
expensive private schools. Is there a term other than preppies
for such people in politics?