Jon Sanders
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Dear Jerry, 

Fate is a pitiful prankster. She has selected John Edwards and Barack Obama as Hillary Clinton's top challengers for the Democrat nomination for president. I know you and I and the rest of freedom's friends among North Carolinians and Illinoisans (is that the term?) no doubt find this development ill annoying.

Ugh. My apologies for the awful pun. In times of distress I turn to humor. Who could have imagined that the best choices the Democrats would have to turn back the Wife of Bill — that hackle-cackle, crocodile-teared, crow-footed, pant-suited socialist with the politics of a living Vlad Lenin and personal charm of the embalmed one — would be these two wide-grinning, slogan-slinging, one-term neophytes?

If their decision wouldn't give one of these characters a 50/50 chance of being president next year, I'd feel sorry for Democrat primary voters. Choosing among Clinton, Obama and Edwards must be like choosing your favorite Stooge, with your only options being Shemp, Joe and Curly-Joe. Hillary's Shemp. They're all so bad that they've even got Barbra Streisand and Alec Baldwin promising to stay put.

Plus, they're so ideologically alike that the silliest things are winning them votes. Obama wins Oprah's "Wonk of the Month" and takes Iowa. Hillary feigns the sniffles and wins New Hampshire. If Edwards can break a comb on cue, he might sweep South Carolina.

And none of them cherish the liberties that made this country exceptional. They're all socialists seeking to make government bigger and more intrusive "for your own good." They all think that Wal-Mart forces us to like low-priced goods, Big Oil makes us choose cars over trains, Exxon pays scientists to say our light bulbs aren't wreaking havoc on the global climate, and even worse, that politicians who as a class consistently rate below dirty dishwater are better suited to impose their own preferences and tastes on Americans from sea to shining sea than are people who know their own families' needs, wants, and resources.

Just look at them, for criminy's sake. Would you let any one of them to choose your shirt, let alone your family doctor? If someone kept statistics on it, I'd wager that en masse they have the largest proportion of gifts returned in the Western world.

And speaking of wagers, Jerry, that's why I'm writing to you. A nice part of the pageantry of college football bowl games is the governor from one team's home state betting homegrown products against those of the opponent's governor. But why leave this idea to governors and football?

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Jon Sanders

Jon Sanders is associate director of research at the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh, N.C.