This lake not placid with politicians

May 25, 2006|by TIM ROWLAND

Editor's Note: Tim Rowland is on vacation. This column first appeared June 9, 2003.

LAKE (NOT THE ONE IN THE GATOR MOVIE) PLACID, N.Y. - This place is about as far from anything political as you can get, which is one of the reasons I come here.

It's in the heart of a massive wilderness protected by the New York state constitution, so Bush's buddies can't pave it and Daschle's buddies can't tax it. So, basically, no one pays it any mind.

Oh, you might be subject to a good environmentalist rant every now and then, but even these are generally limited to whether it is ethical or not to use a piece of surveyor's ribbon to mark a trail. In general though, it's an excellent antidote to living most of the year within filibustering distance of Washington, D.C. Or so I thought.


But I get up there last year for the tranquility of fishing and mountain climbing and you can imagine my shock and horror when I find the place is crawling with ... Democrats. Big national types who are all running for president. And all their supporters. They were more plentiful than bad backs on moving day. (Those who are awestruck at the scope of that last joke may be excused for wondering if my keyboard has been corked. But while I do keep one corked keyboard handy for use whenever a tour group comes through, I assure you my other 76 are nothing but solid plastic and circuitry).

The Democrats were here to discuss "rural issues." So why do they need to come here and disturb my peace? When they discuss "Iraqi issues," do they go to Iraq? I mightily wish politicians would leave Lake Placid alone. But they won't. Bush came here one Earth Day, or Arbor Day, or whatever - to see what a tree looked like, I suppose.

This is the administration that says that we need to cut down trees because they provide "fuel" for forest fires. I agree that if you don't have any forests you won't have any forest fires, but oh, never mind. It just makes you wonder how the woods were ever to save themselves from fires in those millions of years before man showed up to log them.

Before Bush, Bill Clinton came here, too. One of the great true but unreported stories occurred when Clinton strolled into a Lake Placid diner and a young woman walked up to him and hiked up her shirt to show him her "local issues." But it was before the pool reporter arrived, so few people ever knew. However, being the savvy, dedicated columnist that I am - and even though they were interrupting my climbing - I made sure to jot down some of the happenings solely so I could help you become a more informed voter, thus allowing me to write the trip off on my taxes.

For example, a man named John Kerry called for "an end to the special deals for corporate hog farms." Whew. That was tops on my list of worries. This is also a true story: Kerry said later he deviated from his written speech - which, he said, would have detailed how to create 2.7 million jobs in 500 days - because "the podium was too short." And this is supposed to be the best guy the Democrats have in their stable? A major policy shift based on shortcomings in the furniture doesn't bode well for a stint in the Oval Office.

You have a scenario where the Secretary of State is less influential than the guy from Office Max. "When you told me I was going to be Secretary of the Interior, I assumed..." I'd hate to go to war over an unattractive ottoman.

But then, thanks to the Bush tax cuts the Democrats are at a strategic disadvantage because basically their platform in 2004 has to be, "We Are Strongly Opposed to Giving You More Money." I hate them all equally, but if one party is going to give me $400 every year and the other isn't, all I can say is "Vive le corporate hog farms."

I just wish they'd leave a tree or two standing.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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