Clinton Yes, Transvestites No

By Steyn, Mark | The Spectator, November 7, 1998 | Go to article overview

Clinton Yes, Transvestites No


Steyn, Mark, The Spectator


New Hampshire IT was a good night for gays in South Portland, Maine, where voters passed a new ordinance protecting homosexuals from discrimination. It was a bad night if you fancy a post-prandial smoke just up the road in Portland, where voters rejected a ballot article to repeal the city's no-smoking-in-restaurants ordinance.

It was a good night for Bill Clinton, who survives - at least until the next intern, or until the body of Kathleen Willey's mysteriously vanished cat turns up. Ken Starr's agents recently found a skull in her garden and had the FBI conduct forensic tests, but it proved to be a dead skunk. It was a bad night for Newt Gingrich, who's in worse shape politically than that skunk.

It was a good night for professional wrestlers. Jesse `The Body' Ventura was elected, on Ross Perot's Reform party ticket, as Governor of Minnesota. `I'm no longer "The Body",' he told cheering supporters. `I'm now Jesse "The Mind" Ventura.' It was a bad night for transvestites. In Indiana, Republican Congressman Dan Burton easily won re-election, kicking the pert silk-camisoled ass of Democratic candidate Bob Kern, a drag-queen who likes to dress as a Charlie's Angel.

And it was a bad night, frankly, for me. In the wee small hours, I put on my Farrah Fawcett wig, prosthetic breasts and flared catsuit and nervously ventured out on to the streets of New Hampshire's capital city, Concord. But passers-by still jeered, `Hey, aren't you that guy who said the Republicans would pick up Senate seats in California and Wisconsin and another 15 in the House?'

Well, they should have. But over the weekend Hillary Clinton was campaigning furiously to get out the `women's vote', while her husband was out doing the same for the `African-American vote', already targeted by the party's saturation advertising buy on black radio stations: `When you don't vote, you let another church explode. When you don't vote, you allow another cross to burn. When you don't vote, you let another assault wound a brother or sister. When you don't vote, you let the Republicans continue to cut school lunches . . Vote smart. Vote Democratic for Congress and the US Senate. Paid for by the Missouri Democratic party, Donna Knight, Treasurer.'

Donna's money was well spent. The unusually high black turnout saved a lot of white bacon in tight Democratic races, including Senator Fritz Hollings's tough reelection battle in South Carolina. AfricanAmericans will doubtless be relieved by the Democratic senator's victory over John Inglis: that'll be one fewer Republican bombing their churches, lighting up crosses on their lawns, assaulting their brothers and cutting their school lunches. On the other hand, it does mean six more years of 76-year-old Senator Hollings's somewhat old-school southern Democrat views on race: not so long ago, he told a TV interviewer from Columbia that foreign imports were destroying the jobs of his state's `darkies'. In 1993, a discussion on GATT led him into some more general observations on international get-togethers: `Everybody likes to go to Geneva. I used to do it for the Law of the Sea conferences and you'd find these potentates from down in Africa, you know, rather than eating each other, they'd just come up and get a good square meal in Geneva.' The head of the South Carolina branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People denounced Senator Hollings as `mentally sick', but nonetheless half the state's Democratic voters are black and on Tuesday the `darkies', whether or not of the cannibal persuasion, turned out for their man.

Meanwhile, it's the Republicans who are eating each other. There's talk of the congressional delegation demanding the heads of Newt, Trent Lott and House Majority Leader Dick Armey. `If they're big enough, let 'em try,' scoffed Congressman Armey in the early hours of Wednesday morning. They will. The national leadership failed the party. If the impeachment debacle teaches us anything, it's that the LottoNewtians can't communicate in the modern media - and facing this election they were too scared even to try. …

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