It's all over. Forget about the presidential campaign. We already know who the winner is going to be.
"Clinton is going to win," Corey Ruzicka, a market analyst from Mishawaka, Ind., said. "And that's because his name ends in N. )) He probably will be a one-term president or something will
happen to him in office, however, because his running mate, Al Gore, has a name that ends in E."
"Nine out of nine times in American history when a vice presidential candidate's name ends in E, the president has not ++ gone on to a second term or gets shot or both," Ruzicka said.
Quayle ends in E, I pointed out.
"Exactly," Ruzicka said. "And it is interesting that of all the letters that Quayle could have picked to end the word potato, he picked E."
Well, actually, it is not that interesting. I doubt that even Dan Quayle would have tried to spell potato with a Q or an X or Z on the end.
"Of America's 51 presidential elections, 22 of them have been won by the candidate whose last name ended in N," Ruzicka went on. "And 33 elections have had at least one presidential candidate with an N-ending name."
OK, fine, but why do Americans seem to like people whose name ends in N?
"Your name ends in N," Ruzicka said.
Good point, I said. So Clinton is going to win because of that?
"Not only that," said Ruzicka, "but only two times in history have we had major presidential nominees whose names ended in H, and each time the economy has gone to hell."
What two times?
"Al Smith was the Democratic presidential nominee in 1928, and the country then faced the 1929 Depression," Ruzicka said.
But Al Smith lost, I pointed out.
"Doesn't matter," Ruzicka said. "His name ended in H."
And who's the other H?
"George Bush," Ruzicka said.
Oh, yeah, him. I forgot.
"I predicted that the economy would go bad as soon as Bush was nominated," Ruzicka said. "Everyone thought I was nuts because the economy was robust. But I was right."
Things get even more ominous, however, when you start looking vice presidential endings.
"Ten times in history, the election has produced a vice presidential candidate ending in E, and nine times the winning president was either shot, died in office, lost re-election or resigned," Ruzicka said.
The list is an odd one, however, because the vice presidential candidate does not have to be on the winning ticket to cause tragedy.
Henry Cabot Lodge was the Republican vice presidential candidate in 1960, for instance, and John F. Kennedy, the victorious Democrat, was assassinated in 1963. Walter Mondale was the Democratic vice presidential candidate in 1980, and not only did Jimmy Carter lose re-election, but the Republican winner, Ronald Reagan, got shot.
This leaves the matter of Quayle. If Bush loses (and let's hope nothing worse happens), Ruzicka then would have a perfect 10 out of 10 examples.
"I discovered all this when I was taking a statistics course at the University of Indiana in 1980 and I thought I would do something regarding the election," Ruzicka said. "Reagan was running and I started to look at all the other N-ending presidents and it was amazing what I came up with."
But why is the last letter important? Why not the first letter?
"The last letter is important because that is the thing people hear or see last," Ruzicka said. "That's why Coke and Pepsi do better than 7-Up or Dr. Pepper. Vowels are better for sales than consonants."
If you say so, I said. So Clinton is a shoo-in?
"Yes, absolutely, there will be a clean Clinton win in November," Ruzicka said. "But because of the E-ending vice presidential candidates [Gore and Quayle], he will either suffer a tragedy in office or lose re-election."
But how about me? I asked. I could become president because of my N ending, right?
"Right," Ruzicka said. "But you should avoid running mates with Y endings and L endings. Whenever we have a Y- or L-ending winning or losing presidential or vice presidential candidate, we have a major war with major casualties within four years."
"You could run with Ebert," Ruzicka said, "but not Siskel."
Hey, the country could do worse.