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Role models

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A new version of "The Manchurian Candidate" is showing, and right-wing media are busily spreading the rumor that the character played by Meryl Streep in the film - a monstrous mother and United States senator - is based on Hillary Rodham Clinton. The story is as groundless as the usual Matt Drudge or Rush Limbaugh report. Streep has repeatedly denied that she based her movie character on the Democratic senator from New York by way of Arkansas. Instead, the inspiration appears to have come from members of the other political party. The actress told Entertainment Weekly that she prepared for the role by watching hours of political talk shows, "anything with Peggy Noonan, Karen Hughes … " Noonan is a far-right pundit, former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan and furious Hillary-hater. Hughes is a longtime aide to President Bush. There is no mention of Streep watching Anne Coulter. Apparently she wanted her character to retain some human qualities. But Streep did add that "jewelry is very important as well," calling to mind a prominent real-life political mother. The movie character wears Barbara Bush pearls and constantly fiddles with them while plotting assassinations and other mischief to install her zombie-like son in the White House. Barbara Bush has long been known as the mean one in the Bush family. Richard Nixon, an expert in the field, is said to have expressed admiration for her skill as a hater. Come to think of it, her oldest son often seems as overmatched as the son in the movie. Typhoid Ralph Does Ralph Nader have no relatives or friends who can step in and save the silly old coot from himself? And save the rest of us from him too, while they're at it. Nader is like a senile Typhoid Mary, wobbling around the country and endangering the public good wherever he gets his name on the presidential ballot. Every vote for Nader is a vote for George Bush, which is why Bush supporters everywhere are aiding Nader's peculiar candidacy. In Michigan, Nader volunteers gathered only 5,000 of the 30,000 signatures needed to get his name on the ballot, so the Michigan Republican Party furnished another 43,000 signatures. In Arkansas, Republican office-holders, candidates and party employees are lining up to sign petitions for Nader. They know what they're doing. Nader clearly doesn't. The people opposed to the Nader candidacy are, of course, those who are serious about standing up for workers, consumers, the environment, equal rights and national health insurance, and who recognize that the defeat of George Bush is necessary to advance their causes. People like Nader seemed to be before the headaches and the voices came.

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