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Dartboard

Where editors weekly empty their quivers with their most pointed arrows

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Dartboard says FDR got it wrong: The only thing to fear is…the vicious arrogance of the Republican Party.

Last month, a group of lawmakers began pushing for a redesign of the dime, swapping the profile of Franklin D. Roosevelt ’04, the man who led America through the Great Depression and World War II, for Ronald Reagan, the man who led us through the ’80s. The bill has gained 80 co-sponsors so far, including practically the entire House GOP establishment. “Tax-cut and spend” Republicans—who’ve apparently been unsatisfied simply giving away the federal budget to the wealthiest Americans—now want to manipulate the currency itself.

Good ol’ Grover Norquist, chair of the Reagan Legacy Project, says Reagan is underrepresented in the legacy contest with just 60 streets named after him. He compares that to 600 for John F. Kennedy ’40, a former Crimson executive, and to 800 for Martin Luther King. “Our goal is to do at least that well,” Norquist says—forgetting of course that Kennedy and King were both assassinated in their prime and thus fittingly memorialized more vigorously.

(By the way, Dartboard aspires that Harvard might one day found the Dartboard Legacy Project so as to ensure that Dartboardonomics—although, shall we say, a practical letdown—gets the recognition it deserves.)

Dartboard realizes some Republicans worship the Gipper as though he were a golden god, but alas, the man is a mortal—and he wasn’t a particularly good president, either. For astronomically inflating the deficit and absentmindedly posing for photo ops while the “evil empire” went under on the other side of the planet, Reagan’s moniker has already been slapped on an aircraft carrier, a federal building—hell! even our nation’s capital has an airport in his name.

This entire situation makes Dartboard nauseous. Republicans, in fact, make Dartboard nauseous. They weren’t content just trying to pack the courts, rewrite the constitution, force their crazed, illogical, far-fetched, bigheaded agenda on the rest of the world—they have to take on HISTORY as well!

FDR was a great president. Period. Reagan was a bad president. Period. Dartboard calls for boycotting any and all Reagan dimes—if ever any such horrible symbols of partisan vanity come into existence. Better yet, send them all to the Democratic nominee.

—BENJAMIN J. TOFF

A Lesson from Down Under

Being a Democrat these days is a little like being Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. While Republicans have their fun with the judicial, legislative and executive branches, the opposition party can’t join in the governing game. So perhaps the Dems could learn something from their political cousins Down Under. Australia’s Labour Party has been shut out of power for the last eight years by the conservative Howard administration, which, incidentally, has been strident in its support for President Bush’s foreign policy. Labour has just chosen a new leader to challenge Howard: maverick politician Mark Latham, who recently denounced Bush as “the most incompetent and dangerous president in living memory.”

You know where Dartboard is going with this. Democrats such as Daschle the Demure and the folks at the uber-centrist Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) have offered us years of uninspiring “opposition.” Which is why the party was so thrown into such a tizzy when Al Gore ’69—a leading light among centrist Democrats—descended from on high this week to anoint Howard Dean.

The centrists—from the DLC to candidates such as Lieberman and Kerry—tell us they know what Repulicans want: a Bush-Dean showdown in ’04. Dartboard doesn’t dispute that Republican strategists such as Karl “Darth” Rove have not been subtle in expressing their desire for Dean to win the primary. But let’s be realistic: Karl Rove is a sly devil, a crafty political animal. If he really did want the Democrats to nominate Dean, would he be so careless as to let us know that? That is not the way of a sly devil.

It’s the waffly, spineless centrists—not Dean—who would be hung out to dry by the Rove machine, and Gore’s endorsement reflects a recognition of that reality. He would know: His dull, centrist campaign, aimed at the swing voters upon whom the DLC is forever fixated, turned off three and a half million liberals, who flocked to Ralph Nader and handed the election to Bush. Are many on the left going to bother to schlep to the polls to vote for a Democrat who kowtowed to the President on tax cuts, the Patriot Act and the invasion of Iraq? Not bloody likely, mate.

—EOGHAN W. STAFFORD

Of Fat and Factor Weight

Many of us who have to fly home for the holidays will go through the same frustrating airport routine: We will present our driver’s license and our bags will get weighed, and if they’re overweight, we’ll have to pay a fee to account for the extra fuel that will be spent in order to lug our extensive library and Imelda Marcos shoe collection across the skies. But what of the unweighed excess that sits around so many Americans? Is it not unjust that Dartboard is persecuted so that the gluttonous can be left to go free?

Well, it certainly is. What determines how much fuel an aircraft uses is the net factor weight of everyone and their items on board the aircraft, including themselves. Ten pounds of t-shirts increases the fuel requirements of the aircraft as much as an extra 10 pounds of fat. But this wouldn’t be hard to fix. At the airport, we could put your bags on one scale, and stand you on another. Supermodels and other infamously skinny people could elect to pack a few more pairs of shoes, those who decided to remain morbidly obese would have to pay the excess or limit themselves to mumus.

Almost anyone can undertake to change his or her weight, and we should do everything we can to encourage Americans to lose a few pounds. Granted, there are people with particular thyroid conditions and genetic afflictions that cause them to be severely overweight, but they do not make up the 40 percent of the population of this country that is taking up 25 percent of Dartboard’s seat.

—ALEXANDER B. TURNBULL

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