GOP Panhandling

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Description: Struggling in the polls, [Mike Huckabee] lunged desperately toward folksy John Edwards territory. He unconvincingly laid into Fair Tax critics, opining that he was "tired of the boobirds," who inexplicably oppose "taxes so simple that a seven year old ninning a lemonade stand can understand." Would these kids be collecting 30 cents for the federal government for each glass they sold? Huckabee didn't say. After finishing his pitch, he dutifully strapped on the bass guitar and played "Brown Eyed Girl" with a local band. The bassline didn't quite match the drums."I've accomplished big things, and we need a president who can accomplish big things," he grasped, with the conviction of a man who had run out of ideas months before. "We have to think about great goals for this country" like "putting the first person on Mars." It was clear that [Rudy Giuhani]'s campaign had sunk.As the dreary '80s hit "Danger Zone" blared for the umpteenth time, I conversed with 88-year-old Ted Boutwell, a veteran in the Cotton Hill mode who, his daughter told me, "was one of the original Top Guns" in World War II. The steely-eyed Boutwell sat in a lawn chair, sporting a wool coat and ski hat. Asked why he supported [John McCain], he smiled inscrutably, chuckled, then rasped, "I don't want to say why-it wouldn't be appropriate in mixed company."
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