No. 177: "Them!"

No. 177: "Them!"

No. 177: "Them!"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
Jan. 22 1999 3:30 AM

No. 177: "Them!"

In his inaugural address Tuesday, Texas Gov. George W. Bush said, "We should celebrate them in festivals, we should enjoy their traditions in our homes, we should share them with friends." What?


by noon ET Thursday to e-mail your answer to

Tuesday's question (No. 176)--"Wrecking Ball":

"It did the Vice President and me a lot of good to pick up those hammers and crowbars and tear something down," President Clinton said Monday. Tear what down?

"That twirler's frilly little underth ...--oh, I meant the chains of racism and homophobia."--Meg Wolitzer


"The chains that bind the workers of the world. The president was speaking metaphorically, of course, about his achievements in estate tax relief."--Jennifer Miller

"A Habitat for Humanity house. 'Sometimes he just doesn't listen,' apologized Jimmy Carter to the bewildered family."--Beth Sherman

"Lani Guinier."--Susan Vance

"All ideological differences between Democrats and Republicans."--Daniel Radosh (Tom Banker had a similar answer.)


Click for more responses.

Randy's Wrap-Up

I believe Jimmy Carter was the only Democratic president of the 20th century to convincingly wield hand tools. Republicans tend to be better at this sort of thing. Ronald Reagan looked at home with a chain saw, although he badly gashed his leg attempting to read a book for some photographers. Of course, George Bush was befuddled by a supermarket scanner, which isn't even a real hand tool, and besides, no one expected him to operate it, just carry the bags of groceries out to the car. Teddy Roosevelt liked to take a 9 pound sledge hammer out to the woods and pound a moose into the ground up to its antlers. He said it impressed the Spaniards. The real purpose of these sweaty efforts is a display of manliness and blue-collar virtue. For Roosevelt and Reagan, this meant the conquest of nature. Carter's was a more modest Christian carpentry. Maybe someday we'll have a true liberal Democrat in the White House, secure enough in her ideology to put down the tools, pick up the phone, and call a repair crew.

Hard Hat Area Answer


At a Washington retirement home, the president helped demolish a wall to make room for a health clinic, an activity meant, in some weirdly elliptical way, to commemorate the life of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Republican Response Extra

Because so many people turned off the set right after the president's speech, then stumbled toward the liquor cabinet, clutching their head and moaning, they missed these highlights from the opposition. If you read between the lines, you can infer what new measures are being proposed.

From Rep. Jennifer Dunn, R-Wash.


  • "I know how that knot in the pit of your stomach feels; I've been there."--Some say the president's wire-tapping measures are grotesquely intrusive, but apparently the Republicans want to deploy some sort of shrinking machine that can inject a tiny congresswoman right into your digestive system.
  • "Our country is not in crisis. There are no tanks in the streets."--She seemed so disappointed. I think what she's getting at is a crime-fighting plan involving larger, more heavily armed Jeep Cherokees.

From Rep. Steve Largent, R-Okla.

  • "I got to live every boy's dream: playing in the National Football League."--Actually, my dream involves a time machine, Carol Lombard, and a thermos of Manhattans, but that's not an actual government policy. Not yet.
  • "It wasn't until after I was elected that I attended a Republican function where a banner hung that read 'GOP.' I had to ask someone what those letters stood for."--You'd think at that point, mortified by his own ignorance, Largent would have resigned. Maybe this signals an interest in on-the-job training?
  • "True liberty and freedom come from God."--Largent may have mixed up GOP and GOD; he did get hit in the head a lot living out his dream (whereas in my dream, Ms. Lombard and I say amusing things to each other in the bathtub and then slip into attractive robes and then the camera slowly zooms in on the fireplace). I'm not sure how Largent's idea translates into policy, but I'd look for these words in any bill he introduces: human sacrifice.

Race Results

Top target: Betrayal of FDR's legacy.

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