Three easy steps to an opinion

By John Lovejoy

“I would write for Viewpoints, I just need a topic that hasn’t already been beat to death.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this from the various friends, acquaintances, and derelicts I routinely pester to contribute to this section.

Frankly, I can see why people would think that. Iraq, Israel, affirmative action, national politics; these all lie in critical condition, having been worked over every which way by various pundits. Here is the definitive op-ed article, please circle one of the words or phrases in parenthesis to select your position, or mix and match for real craziness:

I (support/oppose) military action against Iraq. Saddam Hussein (is/is not) a threat to the United States and its interests. This is not a war about (oil/our security), it is about (our security/oil). As an added (benefit/cost), the Iraqi citizenry would be (liberated/bombed into the Bronze Age). We really should (ignore/listen to) the international community on this, because their (military/diplomatic) support would be (useless/necessary). The recent discovery of empty chemical warheads shows that Iraq (is building an arsenal of death/couldn’t even address the Shoreland’s silverfish infestation).

The Iraq issue looks like Jake LaMotta did a number on it, and people should probably maintain meaningful silence on it until more is revealed. Bush is going to take Saddam down, and there’s little anybody can do about it. The 2004 election, on the other hand, is a ripe resource for articles. Just pick some obscure Democratic challenger and do a piece on him:

(Howard Dean/Wesley Clark/Al Sharpton) is just the man to lead the Democratic Party out of its doldrums and back into majority status. His courageous willingness to follow his conscience and take unpopular positions stands in sharp contrast to the compromising nature of (John Kerry/Joe Lieberman/Lyndon LaRouche). Having already demonstrated his considerable capabilities running (Vermont/ NATO/the South Bronx) this contender is clearly well placed to run the free world. However, despite his powerful draw among (same-sex couples/Czech-Americans/women), he is unlikely to secure the nomination. He will still have provided a valuable service in forcing Democrats to consider issues of (moose control/F-22s/slavery reparations).

It is way too early to tell which hapless Democrat is going to get walloped by George W. two years from now. All that is certain is that Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush will square off in 2008, both running on the motto, “The president has to be named Clinton or Bush.” By then Governor Schwarzenegger will have replaced California’s expensive civil administrators with sophisticated machines. But it will go horribly wrong when the machines…well, you get the idea..