'Rocks thrive in outdoor environments' 

How do politicians resemble 4-year-olds? There are the obvious ways, of course; they're greedy, disinclined to share, have a poor command of the English language, have a less than fully developed sense of right and wrong, and they'd like to have someone else clean up their messes. But I think that the most striking similarity between pols and curtain-pullers is that they both lie -- frequently, clumsily and transparently.

If you ask your otherwise adorable child, face and fingers smeared with frosting, what happened to the rest of the chocolate cake, he's liable to say, with perfect sincerity, "I don't know, Mommy." It'll take him a few years before he realizes that effective lying requires that he both conceal the evidence and concoct an alibi; unless, of course, he embarks upon a political career, in which case he'll still expect people to believe absurd and unlikely falsehoods.

Consider a few recent examples, from our own lowly council chambers to the highest levels of government.

Last week, our intrepid elected officials toyed with the notion of appointing a blue-ribbon panel to help determine the fate of Memorial Hospital. No sane person believes that the purpose of this panel would be to make an apolitical recommendation; they're supposed to come to a predetermined conclusion, i.e., that Memorial be protected from any possible sale for all time. And suppose that the panel came to a different conclusion? Well, like, duh, since the mayor's gonna appoint the panel members, she already knows what they'll come up with. So round up the usual suspects, and let's get on with the charade.

Meanwhile, Sen. Wayne Allard blocked Denver lawyer Jim Lyons' nomination to a federal judgeship, because he didn't like one of Lyons' clients. The client in question? President Clinton. Supposedly, Allard had grave reservations about the contents of a report that Lyons prepared at Clinton's request about Whitewater. Oh, come on, Senator. Lyons is a Democrat, you think Bush might get elected, so you'd rather cripple the federal judiciary for a year or so in the hopes that you can help Dubya choose a Republican.

And speaking of George W., how about his latest fiasco? Trying to reverse the public's growing belief that he's dumber than dirt, he claimed to have read a dense and no doubt thoroughly boring biography of former Secretary of State Dean Acheson. Asked by a mischievous interlocutor what he learned from the book, he came up with a couple of perfunctory clichs; clearly, he hadn't opened the book and hadn't even prepared a convincing fib.

Governor, as a "C" student at Yale, you must have learned how to tell a decent lie; has politics so corrupted you that you can no longer be credibly mendacious?

And a little closer to home, how about Rep. Joel Hefley squeezing a million dollars out of the federal budget to build shelters for the petrified redwood stumps at the Florissant Fossil Beds? Major federal pork for Teller County!! Way to go, Joel; you the man!

But Joel, you didn't really have to say that the poor ol' stumps are suffering in the rain and snow and need decent housing. These are rocks, Congressman! Rocks thrive in outdoor environments; look at Pikes Peak. Face it; you're a porkmeister.

Embrace it, or tell better lies.

And now that the rocks in Teller County have nice homes, how 'bout a little affordable-housing-type pork for your constituents in El Paso County?


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