Hunt for common ground leads but to quicksand


As soon as the two large cranes finished lifting Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich out of their seats in Claremont, N.H., last weekend, Good Roger and Bad Roger took the stage.

Good Roger, the upright and decent side of me, had decided to try to find polite, common ground with Bad Roger, the evil and twisted side of me.

Though C-SPAN broke away to cover a meeting of the New Zealand/Papua New Guinea Fisheries Commission, a transcript of the historic meeting follows:

Good Roger: First, I'd like to say what a pleasure it is to be here in the Granite State.

Bad Roger: First, I'd like to say I now realize why they call this the Granite State. It's because you all have rocks in your heads!

Good Roger: Let's try to find common ground. Don't you agree with Bob Dole that there is too much sex in the movies and in music?

Bad Roger: Hey, Bob Dole ought to be grateful for any sex. Has he looked in the mirror lately? He's got a face that could scare a moose!

Good Roger: Let's move on. What about affirmative action?

Bad Roger: If it gets me a job, I'm for it. If it gets you a job, it's racist.

Good Roger: Can we at least agree that the firing of Connie Chung was sexist?

Bad Roger: Can we at least agree that if you cut off Connie Chung's head she wouldn't be any dumber? She could barely read the news, let alone report the news.

L Good Roger: What is your opinion of the O. J. Simpson trial?

Bad Roger: Let's go for a trade: They can free O. J. as long as they hang all his lawyers.

Good Roger: You are not taking this seriously!

Bad Roger: You're right. Hanging a bunch of lawyers isn't serious. It shouldn't even be a crime.

Good Roger: Let's turn to some good news upon which we can agree. I am sure we are both very happy that Mickey Mantle appears to be doing well following his liver transplant.

Bad Roger: Oh, sure. And maybe if he drinks enough to kill both his kidneys, we can get him a new set of those, too.

Good Roger: That's grossly unfair.

Bad Roger: What's unfair is that a guy boozes all his life and when it comes time to pay the piper, he snaps up a spare liver while ordinary people have to wait months.

Good Roger: He got the liver because he was on the critical list!

Bad Roger: The median wait for a new liver is 104 days. Mantle got his after two!

Good Roger: He would have died without it!

Bad Roger: I guess he should have thought of that before he started tossing back the Jim Beams.

Good Roger: This is not working out the way I planned. We were supposed to come to New Hampshire and show the world we could engage in polite discourse.

Bad Roger: Now that you mention it, what do the rubes do for fun in this backwater state? Go down to the grocery and watch the changing of the fruit?

Good Roger: Let's wrap this up by agreeing that our newest national hero, Capt. Scott O'Grady, represents everything that is great about America.

Bad Roger: Some hero. He loses a $20 million airplane and now they want to want to do a TV mini-series on him. Well, I've got a title for it: "Missiles? What Missiles?"

Good Roger: He survived for six days by eating bugs and grass!

Bad Roger: I went to second grade with kids who loved to eat bugs and grass. Plus paste. But they never got on the covers of Time and Newsweek.

Good Roger: He escaped capture by our enemies!

Bad Roger: He escaped capture by a 10th-rate military power and a bunch of farmers who probably weren't looking for him anyway.

Good Roger: Scott O'Grady is an American hero!

Bad Roger: Scott O'Grady is an American victim. There's a difference. Besides, he's a crybaby.

Good Roger: A crybaby!

Bad Roger: He cries at press conferences; he cries at airports; when he goes on the talk shows he'll probably cry there, too. I'm sick of this guy. If he wants to cry, let him be a civilian in Sarajevo for a year with the artillery shells falling on his head. Then he'll have something to cry about.

Good Roger: That is the most disgusting, repulsive, unfair and insensitive thing I have ever heard.

Bad Roger: Thank you. I try.

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