2007-09-05 / Editorial

Bill Shipp


Here are a couple of health tips you may wish to consider. Whenever you shake hands with a Bible-thumbing, family-values politician, wash your hands.

It doesn't matter whether it's a Republican or a Democrat,

a Clinton or a Gingrich, you should carry a bottle of strong liquid soap and clean your hands quickly. Take a shower if it's convenient.

I only tell you this because:

1.) Another in a long line of contemporary politicians, Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho, noted for his strident family-values and anti-gay rights

stances, has turned up with a sexual skeleton in

his closet. He has pleaded guilty to being a nasty boy when he tried to proposition a male cop in an airport toilet stall. He later claimed that an Idaho newspaper made him so nervous that he mistakenly checked "guilty" and "I did it" on the court's plea form. Nevertheless, he resigned from the Senate and apologized to his family.

2.) Presidential politicians of all stripes, and their most ardent supporters are about to descend on us. The first primaries are just weeks away. So take proper precautions when the mob of backslappers and hand-shakers head your way. We should thank Sen. Craig for reminding us.

Now for some handicapping:

• Former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee is about to jump into the GOP primary race. Fred is one of us. He looks just like a guy who used to hang around the craps game in Marietta when I was growing up. He has a perfect resume for a modern president: trained actor, Washington fixer and an ultra-conservative viewpoint that suits the Southern male white voter just fine. One other thing, he's not a nu - I think. Alas, poor Fred may have waited too long to launch. He could have trouble raising money and finding the right folks to help him. In Georgia, state Sen. Eric Johnson, one of our Legislature's few wise men, is reported ready to go for Fred.

• Rudolf Giuliani, former mayor of New York and, I believe, a first-rate mayor despite what the New York Times says, is running ahead in Georgia in the Republican polls. Besides being America's Mayor on 9/11, he took on the seemingly impossible job of cleaning up Manhattan early in his mayoral career, and he succeeded. The streets are clean, and the blight and bums have mostly disappeared. Last year Rudy came to Georgia to help Ralph Reed raise money for his doomed bid for lieutenant governor.

Does Rudy have serious flaws that may not sit well with us good old boys? Indeed he does. For starters, his third wife, Judith Nathan, once put on sales demonstrations of medical interments in which cuddly puppies were subjected to surgical stapling before being put to death. Rudy married her anyway. Shades of Michael Vick.

Worse than that, Rudy has fallen in with the wrong crowd in the state Capitol. He has appointed our ethically challenged House Speaker Glenn "Romeo" Richardson as his Peach State campaign chairman plus several other legislators of questionable character as district chairmen. On the positive side, he has promises of aid from former state GOP Chairman Bob Shaw and Augusta exmayor Bob Young.

• Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney may be the quality candidate of the lineup. He looks like a president, and he's a smart high achiever. He is definitely not a wise-guy frat-boy. By all accounts, Mitt is a genuine family-values type, though you can bet he doesn't wear his religion on his sleeve or pound on the Bible. Mitt is Mormon. As such, his candidacy stirs uneasiness and curiosity, especially in the Bible belt. For instance, he refuses to say whether he wears magic Mormon underwear to protect him from harm. My all-time NFLhero (next to Dan Reeves), former Rams quarterback Steve Young, also a highly regarded Mormon, wore magic underwear on game days, which he says protected him from serious injury. Hotel magnate Bill Marriott reported that he escaped being burned in a boat fire because he had on his magic Morman underwear. So why can't Mitt tell us about his protective undergarments?

If anyone needs a special shield from harm, it is Romney, the GOP's best hope for retaining the White House. Don't you agree?

You can reach Bill Shipp at P.O. Box 2520, Kennesaw, GA 30156.

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