GOP's Dye Job Just a Whitewash

                    See all those black faces on the podium at
                    the Republican convention? Five months
                   ago, they would have had a hard time
                   voting in the South Carolina Republican primary.

                   Many black South Carolinians who turned out
                   Feb. 19 found their neighborhood polling places closed. State
                   GOP officials said it was an oversight, or maybe a manpower
                   problem, or maybe it was because they didn't think any blacks
                   really wanted to vote.

                   In any case, the doors were locked.

                   But that was then. Now Shazam! the Grand Old Party has
                   transformed itself into the Brand New Party.

                   Today, at its convention here, the Brand New Party or maybe
                   it should be called the Born Yesterday Party is absolutely
                   obsessed with the well-being of black Americans, especially the
                   poor and children. It is also newly enchanted by black popular
                   music.

                   As Sen. Pat Moynihan (D-N.Y.) once said, such rapidly shifting
                   versions of reality have been known to cause catatonia in rats.

                   Four months ago, when he was fighting for his life in the New
                   York Republican primary, Gov. George W. Bush ran radio ads
                   accusing Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) of opposing research into
                   cures for breast cancer.

                   Today, the Brand New Party is absolutely horrified by negative
                   campaigning. It is something, apparently, that only Vice President
                   Gore does.

                   A couple of years ago, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
                   (R-Ga.) was issuing Republicans a vocabulary book they could
                   use to call Democrats corrupt, pathetic traitors and similar names.

                   Today, the BNP denounces the bitter feuding that has descended
                   upon Washington as if Republicans were innocent victims of it.

                   Eighteen months ago, the Republicans voted on party lines to
                   impeach President Clinton against the overwhelming opinion of the
                   American people.

                   Today, they denounce petty partisanship and insist that politicians
                   must drop their feuding and get back to doing the people's
                   business.

                   These sudden shifts neck-wrenching transitions, as editors call
                   them are both great and small.

                   In the last couple of elections, the GOP was demanding the
                   abolition of the Education Department and denouncing proposed
                   national educational standards as a commie plot to take over the
                   schools.

                   Today, the Brand New Party is demanding rigorous tests of both
                   our children and their teachers.

                   When Republicans took over Congress in 1995, they predicted
                   Medicare would "wither on the vine" as seniors switched to
                   medical savings accounts and other private-enterprise health
                   systems. Today, the Brand New Party promises to save
                   Medicare.

                   Once, the GOP was demanding English as an official language.
                   Today, Bush is addressing audiences in Spanish.

                   Four years ago, Republicans denounced Bill Clinton as a draft
                   dodger. Today, the BNP nominates a vice presidential candidate,
                   Dick Cheney, who says he had "other priorities" than serving in the
                   military.

                   Maybe this is genuine. Maybe the Republicans have seen the error
                   of their ways and have swiftly transformed themselves into a
                   compassionate, color-blind party, the Born Yesterday Party.

                   It will appeal to everybody else who was born yesterday.
 

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