IT'S IRONIC THAT THE Democrats had the idea for a "Contract With America" first but made the mistake of calling it "10 Holiday Tips" and running it in Good Housekeeping.
This points up the need for the party to go the full nine yards and come up with a visionary yet cheap public-relations ploy that will capture the public's lack of imagination, skirt the right issues and hold its own feet to the fire.In short:
1. For some time now we've been meaning to condemn George McGovern and the counterculture, although there's no indication George ever joined. George was a nice guy, but he wanted to give everybody cash handouts, not just the rich, who have all the overhead.
2. We remain staunch defenders of the Social Security system, and we are committed to bringing the military up to full force without reducing entitlements for anybody. How do we do it?
By drafting the elderly, many of whom already have uniforms and might find the dry air over in Kuwait the equal of anything in Phoenix.
3. We promise to balance the budget the old-fashioned way: two sets of books. In fact we've combed over the figures, and we've pretty much got it cooked already.
4. Suddenly, term limits seem like a great idea; in fact, they have never sounded better. What about using temps? We have always been opposed to professional politicians, which is why so many of ours are leaving the profession.
5. We stand ready to embrace the Christian left, the Christian middle, in fact, any part of the Christian that's not being embraced.
To preserve the delicate balance of church and state, we'd like to see prayer in public schools and a secular moment of silence in parochial schools.
6. Sorry about the little mix-up over health care. While we're operating on the plan, rest assured you will soon be receiving by mail the health-care credit card, which can be used to slip the locks on closed clinic doors.
7. What say we disinvent government? After Tennessee, we think Al Gore's the man to do it.
8. We've never been tougher on crime and like the sound of "two strikes and you're out" - or maybe one swing and a foul tip.
9. We've been fighting against a capital gains tax cut so long we've failed to notice how much stock, real estate and Krugerrands we've accumulated. Hey, we can admit when we're wrong. We feel your gain!
10. Bill still has a valid and important role in guiding this administration, particularly overseas, as President Without Portfolio (taking over the Carter job.)
We see a lot of batik-shirt trade missions in the future, although we've pretty much stopped thinking about tomorrow.