Below are excerpts of e-mail responses to the Nov. 10 “Twin Pack” questions (an abbreviated version of “Half a Six Pack” and “Six Pack to Go”). Each question has five responses from readers. (Sorry, but Russ serves as the “gatekeeper” — he determines the five answers to accompany each question.) In order to make this a reader-friendly feature, some lengthy answers submitted by readers may have been shortened.
1) Now that Republicans are in control of the Senate, House of Representatives, and White House, don't you hope your 401(k) is loaded with stocks of companies that have lucrative contracts with the Department of Defense? Yep, GM and the tank division should be happy — along with aviation companies, and anything else having to do with war. Why wish for it? Just do it. If you are so certain that this is the best move, do it. You're beginning to believe your own lies. The federal government will not become a war machine. We ARE going to war, there's no doubt about it. We also will win the war, but then comes the long saga of getting out of there. Since Bush has the backing of the UN and Congress and an assumed mandate from the election, we might as well sit back and watch the war on CNN. Are you saying that “W” is a warmonger? That by having my investment in Department of Defense beneficiaries, I'll become rich and famous? I keep reading about war and rumors of war, but I don't actually see us invading anyone yet. And, unfortunately, my 401(k) is NOT loaded with stocks like that, nor is my “portfolio” — so I guess I'm out of luck. Come to think of it, I wish my investments included ANYTHING that would make us some money these days! Yes, plus oil-well drilling companies that can reach national refuges. I don't think anything will be out of bounds for oil companies now.
2) Knowing that I will keep your e-mail for verification purposes (and assuming President Bush runs for re-election), who do you predict Democrats will nominate for president in 2004? (Note: No points will be awarded for answers that reek of Republican arrogance — such as, “It doesn't matter who the Dems put up because President Bush is going to win in a landslide.”) Assuming that a change of philosophy is not in the offing based on the election results, the Dems will offer up "Algore" as the sacrificial lamb. There will be a few names bandied about early on — (John) Edwards, (John) Kerry, and perhaps a few others. The bottom line is that they will not have a candidate that can revitalize and reunite a split party. Algore got the popular vote last go-round; that's all that matters. Well, the battle of millionaires most likely will be (John) Kerry and (George W.) Bush. Bush will win (sorry), unless the Dems hit on a new reason not to vote for him. These next two years will either make or break the GOP. They had better stay in the middle of issues at stake for most taxpaying Americans. Too many big business (Oxley) decisions or too many union (Kaptur) decisions will sway the voter. The Dems will put up (Richard) Gephardt or (Al) Gore. Who will win? I am not a fortune teller, but it won't be a landslide. It seems that the definition of the word “landslide” is different, depending on which side you're on. I am a Republican, to be sure, but I don't always vote strictly on party lines. I try to vote for the best candidate, one who is more in line with my views on the issues that I am passionate about. That being said, my impression of a landslide is the way (Marcy) Kaptur beat (Ed) Emery in the most recent election. I classify (Gov. Bob) Taft's win over (Tim) Hagan as a sound defeat. Also, I voted for (Maggie) Thurber in the race for Lucas County commissioner; that was far from a landslide but clearly a win. Not sure that one could predict who the Dems will run at this stage. More dependent upon Bush's performance the next 1.5 years. If he is vulnerable, then a rising star will emerge — perhaps (Tom) Daschle. But if he appears strong, then we will see (Al) Gore again as a sacrifice. Having seen the Dems choose those two elderly replacements in the Senate races, here's who I predict will be their presidential candidate in 2004 … Adlai Stevenson. What do you think? Seriously, this past week really hurt some of the current possible candidates. It struck at the heart of their leadership. It will be an interesting two years. I expect we'll see some 2004 ads within the next few weeks. Yikes!
Great idea merging cities and county government. No reason for all the redundancy. But, it'll never happen. Too many people, reliant on their government jobs, to accept such a fate. If it ever happens, I'll remember to give you full credit. Great idea. Never gonna happen. Anyone that could negotiate a merger between Toledo and Lucas County belongs in the Middle East. In fact, it might be easier to get a peaceful solution there. I kind of like the idea of a merger, though. It would put us all on the same page. I enjoyed your column promoting "uni-gov." The movement lost steam for so long I considered it to be long gone. In the mid-1980s, a number of us Owens Illinois employees spent some time in Jacksonville, Fla., to help with the transition of a very large mortgage company that we purchased. We were impressed with the efficiency and effectiveness of that area after the county and city merged. Our consensus was that it would make sense for Toledo and Lucas County. But also, the consensus was that we would never see it here. Too little vision and too much territorialism. From Russ' sister, who lives in Georgia: Did you know that I live in Athens-Clarke County? Yes, we merged a few years ago. I wasn't for it since I really didn't see how the county residents would benefit. But, the merger has worked very well. My benefit is that I now have city water. Another big issue with the merger: Number of government employees. Eventually, there will be a reduction, but there is still some duplication.
In listening to commentary since the election, the cause of the Democrats' failure is uniformly accepted by all: Lack of message, poor organization, etc. The remarkable thing is that with all this failure of organization, they are only two seats away from Senate control. Think of how well they could have done with the correct strategy. Now that we have an agreement by all members of the UN Security Council, will the Bush administration get any credit for putting it together? I doubt it. One of the best things to come out of Tuesday's election was to see obnoxious James Carville appear with his CNN political-analysis buddies with a wastepaper basket covering his head. It's the best he has ever looked! I gave him credit for a sense of humor and showing some humility, but that only lasted until he took off the basket and opened his mouth. Interesting question: Is Clinton limited to eight years in office, period? Or, can he run again? I think he is limited, but if not, he would grab the job in a heartbeat. (Note from Russ: The question from a reader served as the basis for one of the column-ending questions today.) I was rooting for BGSU's football team to go undefeated. Even with the loss, though, it has had a great season.