How concerned was singer/actress Cher about the possible election of George W. Bush? She postponed a European recording session, losing $50,000 a month, to stay home and campaign against Bush.
In an interview with YAHOO! News' "Wall of Sound," Cher offered this mild assessment of the presidential contest: "Has everyone lost their f---ing minds? Doesn't anybody remember the illustrious Reagan-Bush years when people had no money and no jobs? What has happened to people's memories? It's like they have Alzheimer's or something ... If you're black in this country, if you're a woman in this country, if you are any minority in this country at all, what could possibly possess you to vote Republican?" Hmm. Wasn't her ex, the late Congressman Sonny Bono, a Republican?
Then Cher kicked into high gear. "If you think the president is an ass, fine -- after four years you can vote him out. But the Supreme Court -- that's 30 years! The Jerry Falwells of this world will be right in your back pocket. You won't have one f---ing right left."
No f---ing rights?
But many pundits say the candidates staked out relatively minor differences. Professor James Thurber of American University in Washington says that many past elections have produced a clear, distinct choice. Not so with Gore vs. Bush. "This election," said Thurber, "is a matter of degree, a matter of degree on tax cuts, a matter of degree on solving education and health-care problems, a matter of degree on the role of the federal government. It's not a yes-or-no election on whether there's any role for the federal government."
So, I personally interviewed Cher about her unhappiness. She did not disappoint: "If you're a woman, you will no longer have the right to control your own body ... because George W. thinks that Clarence Thomas is the epitome of what should be on the Supreme Court. I cannot agree with that.
"The environment in Texas is the worst environment in the United States. (Bush) has let people who pollute the environment have the choice to clean up the environment; that's like putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank.
"If you look at Bush's record, if you read Molly Ivins' book, 'Shrub,' it will show you exactly what he's done, what his record is. What he's done in his six years as governor is let other people make his judgments for him, and they tell him, they give him their opinions and he lets them do it. He's stated that he doesn't like to read. He wants someone to tell him what the issue is and give him their recommendation because he doesn't like to read. ... He's not smart enough to be in the White House." Ladies and gentlemen, get ready for Armageddon.
But does Bush's approach to Social Security differ drastically from Al Gore's? A recent front-page article in the Los Angeles Times says it all: "Campaign 2000 -- Neither Bush Nor Gore Solves Real Social Security Problem: Analysts say candidates' plans only 'tinker at the edges.'" Ditto with Medicare.
What about taxes? The National Taxpayers Union Foundation says that both candidates intend to increase spending. Gore intends to increase annual spending by $233 billion, or $161 billion more than the projected 10-year surplus. George W. intends to spend less, but the cost of his programs add $42 billion to the budget.
What about abortion? Cher said, "I'm passionate about this because I'm just so scared, I want people to know what's at stake." Worst-case scenario, George W. Bush appoints enough Supreme Court justices to overturn Roe v. Wade. The matter then reverts to the states, where, pre-Roe v. Wade, 70 percent of the nation's population lived in "pro-choice" states, including New York and California.
Furthermore, any nominee must be confirmed by a Senate mindful that most citizens remain pro-choice, if anti-abortion. And, there are no guarantees. Wasn't it a Democratic-dominated Senate that unanimously confirmed Antonin Scalia, perhaps the most conservative judge on the court? And didn't the Senate confirm conservative Clarence Thomas with 11 Democratic votes? Once on the bench, a Supreme Court justice often fools people. Republican Dwight Eisenhower appointed Chief Justice Earl Warren, later calling it "the most damned fool thing I have ever done."
The demonization of Republicans continues. After all, Bill Clinton, according to his former adviser, Dick Morris, once called presidential opponent Bob Dole's proposals "evil." Director Robert Altman said, and actor Alec Baldwin implied, that they would leave the country if Bush got elected. Many Hollywood-types fear a Bush administration, predicting that conservatives will try and "clean up Hollywood." Hey, with the possible departure of Cher, Altman, and Baldwin, maybe Hollywood is being cleaned out.
Now, if we could only do something about Ed Asner ...