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Leggo My Agenda!

by Adam Finley
art/Marty Kelley

I FOLLOWED THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES EARLY ON. Then they got a restraining order against me, so I could only watch them on CNN and the Fox News Channel. This was a month or so ago, and since then I've lost track of the campaign, but I haven't lost track of the real issues, like whether or not you're a Reagan Republican, how to exploit young Cuban children to further your agenda, whether or not you should crowd surf during your campaign, and insisting Texas was nothing more than a wasteland riddled with outlaws and cattle bones before you became Governor. Real issues. The issues that matter.

Alan Keyes, who may or may not still be running, although I don't see why it matters since watching him campaign is like watching a spider being washed down a bathtub drain, has intrigued me the most. But I think for your Ross Perot/Pat Buchanan/Alan Keyes types, it's not really about winning the election, it's more about putting forth an agenda. Agenda.

That word. It's come up so many times it seems to have lost all meaning. But it's probably the most important word for any presidential candidate. After all, where are you without an agenda?

Bush certainly has an agenda, the "C'mon guys, I did real good in Texas. Let me be your President, pretty please?" agenda. But don't take my objective journalistic point of view, see for yourself per this transcript from a recent television interview:

Reporter: Governor Bush, how are you today?
Bush: I think the people of Texas will tell you I am fine.
Reporter: Um...OK. How was the drive over from the motel?
Bush: The people of Texas can assert that the drive took exactly forty-five minutes.
Reporter: What's the capital of Iowa?
Bush: During my term as Governor of Texas the capital of Iowa was in fact Dubuque, and I intend to keep it that way when I become President of the United States.
Reporter: The capital of Iowa is Des Moines.
Bush: My record as Governor will speak for itself.
Reporter: Thanks, that was very insightful.
Bush: Did I mention I was Governor of Texas?
Reporter: Yeah, I got that.

Alan Keyes has/had an agenda (like I said, I don't know if he's still running or not, but does it really matter?), in which he wanted to fight to restore the moral core of this great nation and eradicate the radical homosexual agenda.

Keyes actually deploys a useful campaign strategy by not only having his own agenda, but by attacking other agendas as well. I'm not sure what constitutes a radical homosexual agenda, or a radical heterosexual agenda for that matter. I suppose the agenda usually starts off rather calm and then one guy throws it out of whack:

Gay man 1: OK, so we're going to go into town and be all gay and stuff.
Gay man 2: We'll stop at Baskin Robbins first. That's the first thing on the agenda. Then we'll regroup at the playground. At exactly 12:30 p.m. we'll check out the new exhibit at the Science and History Museum.
Gay man 3: And then we'll run around slapping people across the face with blueberry waffles.
Gay man 1: I don't know, that's pretty radical, Steve.

It seems as if we're no longer electing a president, rather we're electing some intangible concept. Putting forth an agenda is easy; actually executing it is something else. I could make up a 12-year plan in which I turn into an elderly black woman and become part-time owner of a jazz club in Louisiana, and really, any agenda put forth during a presidential campaign has about the same odds of actually coming to bear.

Alan Keyes, who may be a bigot, who may alienate a vast majority of the population with his Me-and-God-are-gonna-kick-your-faggot ­butt platform, and who may sound like a clarinet played off-key, may actually have the most impact of any of the Republican candidates who ran in 2000 by having put his agenda out there and allowing it to fester among the masses, rather than actually becoming president and creating disillusionment when his agenda fails to take off.

The concept is frightening, but then again, an agenda often becomes lost in the shuffle of other agendas and in the end, when all excess is cleared away, the only thing that matters is that we have to make our own voice heard, and keep the gays away from our waffles.

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Other articles by Adam Finley: