UpFront: Pinless Cures

Pinless Cures
On a campaign stop in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a television news reporter asked Barack Obama why he doesn't wear an American flag pin. Obama replied that such doodads have become a substitute for "true patriotism." "Instead," he told the newscaster, "I'm going to try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great, and hopefully that will be a testament to my patriotism."

But here's the scandal: Obama's not the only pin-evader in the presidential field. An exhaustive Prospect investigation has revealed that a clear majority of our presidential aspirants have been photographed multiple times not wearing their American flag lapel pins. Recent dropout Sam Brownback isn't wearing one in the photo on the cover of his book, From Power to Purpose, and a member of his campaign staff confided to a Fox News reporter that he wasn't even sure if Sen. Brownback had one on all his suit jackets.

Even Rudy Giuliani, whose campaign platform seems to be constructed entirely of American flag pins, has been found not to wear a pin during the entire third of his life spent sleeping, showering, grooming, and cross-dressing. We're pushing for standard-issue flag nipple rings for the true patriot when a suit jacket just isn't appropriate.

Third-Party Possibilities
Following special secret side discussions at the special secret conservative Council for National Policy meeting in Salt Lake City in late September, conservative Christian leaders announced that they would consider running a third-party candidate should a pro-choice candidate (read: Rudy Giuliani) win the Republican nomination next year. Ever eager to help start-up political ventures, the Prospect herewith offers our own list of suitable alternative candidates:

  • Pope John Paul II: in transition between papacy and sainthood, has great name recognition, appeal to swing Catholics. Bonus Point: won't squawk if campaign goes negative.
  • Ann Coulter: could contest women's vote with Hillary. Downside: questions women's right to vote. Could make for extremely balanced ticket if runs with John Paul.
  • fetus: Nothing says "pro-life" like the unborn.

Swapping Nightmares
Did you know that children whose parents "don't fall in line" to take arms against global warming "are sometimes ostracized" by their little peers? We didn't either, until we got the press release for a new kids' book (ages 8 to 12) entitled The Sky's NOT Falling: Why It's OK to Chill About Global Warming. The global warming lobby is now "targeting our kids," warns author Holly Fretwell, who will have to convince us that she wasn't somehow named by Charles Dickens. Indeed, if children need things to fret about (sorry), this book will help them redirect their anxieties to all those "potentially devastating human and economic consequences of politically motivated responses to" global warming. Well -- just so they wake up screaming.

Billboard Planet
What is it that airline passengers long to see as they peer out their portholes for their first-ever glimpse of London, Paris, or New York? But, of course: giant advertising displays! The London-based Ad-Air ad agency is planning to sell display advertising on signs the size of three football fields that will lie flat on the ground along the flight paths of landing and departing planes at some of the world's busiest airports, according to a report in the Daily Breeze, a newspaper covering the area around Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The first such ads are to be rolled out around Dubai's airport this October, and if all goes according to plan, Heathrow, O'Hare, Charles de Gaulle, LAX, and others will soon be similarly encircled. Where the hell is Lady Bird Johnson now that we really need her?

Policy Made Easy
The direction of the Chinese Communist Party may seem opaque to us outsiders, but to the party's ideologists, it's simplicity itself. "It is impossible for China to return to the left, because that would mean poverty and backwardness," Huang Weiding, deputy editor of Seeking Truth, the party's chief ideological journal, told Edward Cody of The Washington Post in early October. "It is also impossible for China to go right, because the country is still too poor and has too many people. Moreover, it is impossible to abandon the leadership of the Communist Party." That doesn't leave much in the way of political options, save to re-elect the party's current leaders, which, as we go to press, is precisely what the party's 17th national congress is poised to do. Anything else would be, well, impossible.

by T.A. Frank

STEVE KROFT: Who's the [Anita Hill] you knew?

CLARENCE THOMAS: Well, I think she could defend herself ... she responded very quickly.

NARRATOR: In the book [Clarence Thomas' memoir, My Grandfather's Son], he remembers her as an average employee whose behavior could sometimes be irritating, rude, and unprofessional.

-- 60 Minutes, "Clarence Thomas: The Justice Nobody Knows," Sept. 30, 2007

The Question: Hillary is to "cackle" as ...

"Rudy is to 'I do.'"
-- Larry Sabato, University of Virginia professor of politics, and author of A More Perfect Constitution

"Biden is to talking and talking and talking and talking."
-- Chuck Todd, political director, NBC News

"George W. Bush is to invading small countries."
-- David Roberts, staff writer, grist.org

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