Issue 3 Contents


Gear And Clothing On The Campaign Trail

The faintly familiar smell of Marlboro wafted into my cube unnoticed until it suddenly and violently registered in my adrenal glands, much in the way the notion that you are falling strikes you when you are leaning too far back in your chair.

Too late.

A voice boomed over the P.A., "Counts! We've come for you!" Gaughan had found me. He was at the reception desk. And before I could cower beneath the desk in my cube, Lizzy Love (only spiritually related to Courtney) had brought me my coat. "Come on, we're going to New Hampshire," said Liz, in a voice that expected resistance but was not about to tolerate it.

Protestation was futile and like any junkie, I was only waiting for the chance to have a relapse, but I had to object to make a good show of it. "You can't just come into this office and take me out of work. I'm almost thirty. I have a real job now. I've got an apartment. I got married six months ago. I have health insurance. For Chrissakes I've got dental!"

Liz nodded patronizingly, "Uh-huh, and during all this time have you availed yourself of the company's benefits?" I hid my chipped tooth. "Right. Make all the noise you want and maybe you'll have a job when you come back, but promise me you'll cut the shit and be quiet in the car,&quote; Lizzy snapped. "The establishment media is hammering away at Pat Buchanan and I've got a debt to repay. Pat carried me and thirty pounds of shrapnel through some of the densest jungle in Vietnam back in '68 and he's never let me forget it," she said, lighting another cigarette, "Oh my god. I think I'm about to have a flashback. See what you've done? Now get your sorry butt down to the lobby and into that huey!"

"Don't be absurd," I said as I put on my coat. "Buchanan didn't serve in Vietnam. He had a deferment because of a bad knee."

"Was that the one he used when he kicked the cop in the ass and ran away or is it the one he uses when he jogs for photo ops on the campaign trail?"

I should explain that Michael Gaughan (pronounced "Gšn") and Elizabeth Love are the Bonnie and Clyde of publishing, at least among the twentysomething set. It was President's Day, the day before the New Hampshire Primary, and I was marking three years on the apolitical wagon. Unlike Mike and Liz, I had really bought into the American Dream. I was looking good, losing weight and reading words that never appeared on newsprint. Yes, books. I had actually read books...well a book. I even recaptured my glory days of college in a quixotic attempt to qualify for the U.S. Olympic trials in the marathon. Now, all of that was about to go out the window.

The Whatevermobile was classier than I expected. Mike had even had the thing cleaned for me. It reminded me of riding on an Amtrak train, reeking as it did of solvent, air "freshener" and stale cigarettes. I breathed deeply and anticipated my first visit to McDonald's in months.

Liz helped us pass the time by reading Buchanan pieces from the three foot stack of newspapers beside me in the back seat. I was about to offer some small talk about recycling old newspapers when I realized that all of the papers were dated February 19. We had every daily from Maine to Metamoros in the car and they all told one story. Pat Buchanan could not be trusted. The problem, of course, is that this was a matter for the people of New Hampshire and indeed the entire United States to decide for themselves. Instead, the media magnates were savaging Buchanan in an effort to maintain stability. The establishment needs stability to profit, and news organizations are businesses like any other. In fact with the increasing consolidation of all forms of media, news organizations seem to answer more and more to their stockholders and less and less to their subscribers. If the majority of major dailies have only once endorsed the Democratic nominee (a dependably mainstream guy) in all of our country's history, you can imagine that the businessmen sitting above the pressroom were not too happy to see the numbers Buchanan was polling.

More to come.