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Love Is All Around

so get bent, will ya?

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, February 14, 1996.

Valentine's Day. Bite me, will ya.

It is unfortunate that such an intimate holiday follows on such a repulsive event as the Iowa Republican caucus this year. Rarely has even the monumentally unimportance of Iowan thought been so clearly seen for what it is: a whine fest of socialistic farmers masquerading as hairy-chested individualists. The level of discourse was best exemplified by the pinhead who announced he was for Steve Forbes, “because he was a businessman and not a politician.” Forbes inherited a business and could be making a hash of it, for all we know. His records are private. Also, if you think he isn’t a politician - which is to say unable to judiciously compromise and manage an assemblage like, oh, a government, you want him at the helm?

The good news is that Lamar Alexander, the only sane Republican candidate aside from Dole, came in third. The good news is that pandering Phil Graham and Steve “No Inheritance Tax” Forbes took dives, probably killing Graham’s candidacy. Good. Pat Buchanan came in second, that’s bad.

Buchanan is another in a line of bigoted Irish Catholics posing as heartland populists. In the tradition of Depression-era Fathers Flannigan and Coughlin, Buchanan hates non-white immigrants and nurses a convenient anti-Semitism as needed. President Clinton will clobber Buchanan if he gets to the nomination, but there is an evil seed planted. For years Catholics as well as Jews were targets of the majority Protestant, and English descended, Americans, best exemplified by the KKK. That was what John Kennedy overcame although he was Catholic - and Irish - in name only. He assimilated by being more WASP than the WASPS.

But soon, real soon, the Hispanic population - primarily Catholic - will be an American majority. Buchanan will be gone by then, but someone like him will come along and be confronted with a mob of recent and crabby Catholics at the low end of the economic food chain. With the politician’s eye, Presidential elections will become, officially, a religious and race war.

In New Hampshire, where the Manchester Union Leader is taken seriously, Buchanan has a chance among white, Wasp, non-entities horrified by level playing fields. Let us hope that, far from being simply a bigoted politico of the past, Buchanan is not, in reality, a politico of a blatantly prejudiced future, where religion denotes class, where skin denotes opportunity.