If You Can't Beat Bush . . .

The date is July 14, 1992, the second night of the Democratic Convention. Because George Bush retains such a towering lead in opinion surveys that his re-election seems a foregone conclusion, no Democratic heavyweight has been willing to seek the nomination or even show up at the event. Several candidates who make the Seven Dwarfs of 1988 seem giants by comparison have competed for the devalued prize, but none has mustered the 2,144 votes needed for nomination.

Chaos reigns. Then Bob Strauss, the party's guru in chief, comes onto the podium. For President, he intones in a syrupy drawl, we must...

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