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Lance Morrow: Announcing a new mega-merger: Bush-Gore Inc.

( -- In a stunning move certain to transform American politics, the Democratic and Republican parties announced that they will merge to form a giant new mega-party called DRP.

Previous Columns by Lance Morrow

Under the terms of the merger, secretly negotiated through intermediaries over the last three months, Gore and Bush will run on a single presidential ticket in the 2000 election and will share power as equal partners after the merger becomes final at the inauguration in January 2001. A coin toss at the DRP convention in August will determine which of them will call himself president and which will call himself vice president. By agreement, they will exchange the titles after the first four years. The "vice president" will run the DRP (for Democrat-Republican party) from a sleek new $10.2 billion headquarters in Oregon, while the "president" holds down the Oval Office in Washington.

"No more negativity, it's a win-win deal," Al Gore and George Bush told a press conference in Austin, Texas. "This will be the party of the big tent. The sum will be much greater than the component parts. "

USA Today unconsciously discerned the rationale for the merger deal this week when it reported that Bush and Gore "have been campaigning for months spotlighting the differences they offer voters. But when it comes to the policies they believe will keep Americans employed and the nation prosperous, they could just as well be running on the same ticket. Both candidates generally embrace free trade, endorse a balanced budget and agree that a first-class education system is a critical federal priority in a high-tech Information Age. Both lobbied for the controversial China trade deal that has passed the House and is now before the Senate. The consequence of this new consensus is a dramatically changed American political scene in which some century-old economic debates appear to be settled."

Gore and Bush, wearing open-collar shirts and Gap khakis, were in a relaxed, upbeat mood as they announced the merger to an audience of party workers and reporters.

Asked who first thought of the merger, Bush laughed and said, "Great minds think alike. At about the same time, Al and I were both saying to ourselves, 'Look, this election may be close. Now, I'm a compassionate conservative, and he's a tough-love bleeding heart. Is there a dime's worth of difference? Well, maybe a dime's, but not a quarter's."

Al Gore put his arm around Bush's shoulder and chimed in: "Besides, I'm still weirdly maladroit, and George is all relaxed and funny, so we thought we'd make a good act -- straight man and joker. Sort of Abbott and Costello." "Seriously, though," Bush rejoined, "we do make a team. We complement each other. I could be brighter, and Al's not quite sure who he is. But together, hell, we're an 800-pound gorilla!"

Gore and Bush pointed out that the first fruit of the merger will be a savings of $15.7 billion in presidential campaign costs this year. Part of the money will go to "getting-to-know-you" ads to be shown this summer during Sunday talk shows. The ads will show the Gore and Bush families at petting zoos.

Four hours after the Bush-Gore press conference, Joel Klein, head of the Justice Department's antitrust team, filed a motion with Judge Thomas Penrod Schofield calling for the breakup of the existing Democratic and Republican parties into twelve different entities (including Buchananites, Golfing Republicans, Squishy Libs, Nader Greens, Anxious NASDAQs, Reagan Dems, Evangelical Christians, Seattle Street Nuts and Libertarians).

Copyright © 2000 Time Inc.


Wednesday, June 28, 2000


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