Robert Goofdork, unclaimed son of Aaron Russo

Expanded from the 8-23-98 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune

If a picture is worth a thousand words, you may ignore the rest of this column and just look at the accompanying photo. Therein, you will find a campaign sign imploring you to "elect Robert Goofdork, Assembly."

It tells you all you need to know about the public mind as we approach another queasy fall of electoral discontent.

Life is supposed to be good right now. Unemployment is low, isn't it? Alas, figures don't lie, but liars figure.

I won't repeat all the details of what I've written dozens of times. Suffice it to say that the good life is not good for all. Statewide, many full time casino workers don't earn enough to eat and must depend on charitable food banks. Little kids go without proper nutrition or health care. Our beleaguered schools don't have enough room for all of them.

Throughout the nation, candidates spout pious pronouncements about taking care of the children. They decry eroding test scores and worsening dropout rates while largely ignoring the miserable state of many schools.

The byways of our High Desert Outback of the American Dream are currently besplattered with the blight of political signs. Encounter 40 in the same place and you suffer the visual equivalent of listening to 40 radio stations at once.

These damned things can cause accidents. I find them a pain, even though I've designed my share.

Somebody finally got fed up and came up with the best protest of the year.

In northwest Reno, at the southeast corner of Mae Anne and McCarran, stands a chain link fence under serious threat of collapse because of all the campaign flotsam thereon. It's an eyesore.

The graphic blight plaguing this portion of the body politic first erupted with side-by-side zits for Kenny Guinn. The well-monied GOP gubernatorial frontrunner is apparently attempting to post one sign for every Nevadan over 18.

The printed pimples quickly spread so that the fence in question now provides substantial shade for nearby sagebrush.

Some aggrieved passerby finally took action.

Driving by a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that one of Guinn's signs had been turned upside down. A couple of days later, it had been re-flipped to its proper position of predominance on the posted promenade.

The anonymous sign inverter soon struck again. He, she, or perhaps someone else angry at the system, apparently decided that the best defense is a good offense.

Person or persons unknown got cardboard and crayons and drew the sign for the mysterious Robert Goofdork.

If this inchoate campaign committee seeks to stimulate a write-in groundswell for Mr. Goofdork, they will be sorely disappointed. Write-ins are prohibited by state law and can't be counted.

Worse, daring to add words to your ballot qualifies it as defaced and thus challengeable. Heaven forbid that people be allowed to vote for whomever they want.

Nonetheless, I admire the spirit of the committee to elect Robert Goofdork.

Like voters everywhere, I share this increasingly sharpening fear of the corporately rich turning us, the great unwashed, into plantation slaves. They limit our opportunities and hog more than their fair share while full-time workers line up for soup at St. Vincent's Dining Room. They raise our taxes while reducing theirs. We work more hours just to stay even if we're lucky.

This miasma of discontent feeds the angry atmosphere around millionaire Hollywood producer Aaron Russo's gubernatorial campaign. At least the Republican newcomer wants to throw a monkey wrench into the machine and is not bashful about casting himself in the lead role of monkey.

Support Robert Goofdork and more power to all protesters.

Be well. Raise hell.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Aaron Russo is a Hollywood motion picture producer ("The Rose," Trading Places") who was a high-profile and pugnacious GOP candidate for governor in the 1998 Nevada primary election. He was defeated by Mr. Guinn, who went on to win the governorship. In 2004, he lost a campaign to become Libertarian Party presidential nominee.


Copyright © 1982, 1998, 2004 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413. He is a Reno-based syndicated columnist, a 29-year Nevadan, editor of U-News and campaign manager for Democratic candidate for Governor, State Senator Joe Neal.
Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.

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