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Barry Crimmins

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Public Service Plans Thursday, August 28, 2008

Public Service Plans
After initially telling us Hillary Clinton "did what she had to do" with her speech at the Democratic Convention Tuesday night, media mavens began second-guessing themselves and, in turn, New York's  junior senator by Wednesday. Again and again they allowed that her speech was well received but wondered, "was Hillary Clinton really sincere?"

The question spread like pollen on an August zephyr, starting at Fox, quickly turning up at CNN and eventually even reaching MSNBC's Dream Team, where self-doubt generally gives way to self-promotion. (And why shouldn't they be confident after descending from Mount Olympus to the lowly Mile High City?)

Since these television commentators answer so many questions I'd never think to ask (has Barack Obama moved too far to the left?>. I feel obliged to help them out with this one. Here goes:

Was Hillary Clinton sincere?

Of course not.

How do I know this?

Well I had a big hint because it was Hillary Clinton about whom they were postulating and Hillary Clinton is as sincere as recorded messages that promise "your call is very important to us."

Jesus, how long before angry mobs, armed only with lint brushes, overrun corporate news studios to roll every last blowhard into a handy clump to be flicked into a litter basket?

***

If you don't think the Clintons have been dissed, consider this: only 43% of the Democratic Convention has been devoted to them. And that includes Bill Clinton's speech last night! Worse, only 68% of the media coverage has focused on the Last First Family. That they have withstood this withering assault upon their deserved exalted status with such grace explains why we chose them to be our leaders for life back in 1992.

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One question no one is asking is: Is Joe Biden ready to be vice-president?

I'll say he is and I'd like to add a qualified prediction here: after 35 years as the #2 man, Joe Biden may well find himself ready to ascend to the presidency. I know it's a bit early for such talk but still, last night when he promised more cops on the street to the citizens of a police state, you couldn't help but imagine him one day issuing such edicts from the Oval Office.

Where others dream, I nightmare. It's my calling.
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Next case: Mark Warner.  The former Virginia governor and current Dem candidate for the US Senate from the Old Dominion bragged to the donkeys Tuesday night that only in America could he have received the education he got because in the US of A we have student loans.

Yeah, Mark, in other countries no one gets a chance to ruin their credit rating by simply attending college. Foreign governments deprive knowledge-seekers of that opportunity by socializing education. This is why those countries can't match the rest of the world dollar for dollar (soon to be euro for euro!) in military spending. Just another reason for being proud to be an American!

Warner also explained that the education he put on the cuff led all the way through law school, even though he didn't end up practicing law. It seems that the opportunity to facilitate corporate criminals wasn't enough for Warner. Instead, he aspired to be an entrepreneur. What a man! What an American! And so after two failed attempts to start a business, and thanks to a tip from a buddy concerning the back door of the ground floor of the cell phone industry, Warner soon found himself filthy rich.
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Having amassed hundreds of millions thanks to insider information and cronyism, Warner's is the quintessential turn of the millennium American success story. In days of yore, he'd have had to work his way from the assembly line to management, to the front office to the CEO's chair, all the while fortifying America's industrial base. It might have been decades before he realized that he was honor bound by his probationary membership in the Ye Olde Boys' Clubbe to fight his former fellow workers to the death for every nickel they somehow felt they had coming to them just because they spent their otherwise impertinent lives on the lovely factory floor he had placed at their very feet.

When Warner got into the cell phone biz, the work of the robber barons had already been done and essential hardware was being manufactured by the best damned high tech slaves his hero Bill Clinton's global economy could provide. Warner's job was to insinuate himself between the consumer and the product. First he and his contemporaries in the mobile device rackets had to find a way to charge every man, woman and child in America for the convenience of never being able to get away from the goddamned telephone. It sounds like an easy enough matter but it wasn't. Like a Ronco product that takes five minutes to develop and two years to create a need for (tired of putting on your own shoes?), the cell phone seemed an exotic and unnecessary device to most of us... until  the farsighted Warner put his high-priced legal learning to work and helped develop the cell phone plan. Now, thanks to visionaries like Mark Warner, not only does everyone you know have a cell plan, but nary a one of us can escape its perpetual clutches.

Warner is too humble to say just how much of the standard 1700-page cell phone agreement he authored but insiders conservatively estimate that he penned at least a few thousand extremely critical paragraphs of the compact. No one disputes that he then came up with the idea to send the entire contract to each user via text message as a part of a "Welcome Aboard!" greeting -- and this was before the days of unlimited text messaging plans and so it was a billable bonanza!. How's that for American innovation?

With that kind of out of the box, off the hook, under the bus thinking, the cell phone industry grew into an entity so powerful that it can actually punish customers for its own faulty products. Bring in a phone on the fritz for repair or replacement and you quickly learn that the only way to have the piece of electronic fecal matter made right is to extend your sentence of fiscal servitude for another two years from the date that the product failed. Verizon has kept me on its hamster wheel for almost six years by invoking this clause. (In Verizon's defense, I must say that there is excellent cell reception in its hamster cage area.>

Fun fact: If you get brain cancer from a cell phone the standard agreement clearly states that the service provider is not responsible for such an eventuality, however once brain cancer has been diagnosed the user is obliged to make the proper legal arrangements to guarantee that the cell phone company gets paid for the balance of the agreement before any heirs collect a dime.  
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That's the kind of innovation Mark Warner believes in and he's a man who as governor used his skills to bring 300 high tech jobs to a high school gym in a small town. Don't believe me? Read his speech. In it he tells us this election isn't about Democrats vs. Republicans or Liberals vs. conservatives or even cultists vs. blithering idiots, no, this election is about the past vs. the future. Mark Warner believes in the future. If you had millions of people legally bound to pay you for a shitty product for years to come, you'd believe in the future, too!

updated: 10 years ago