Editor's column

"How to pick the next presidentLittle known behind-the-scenes negotiations may result in a new U.S. President before we know it.The American electorate seems in no hurry for Florida to count its votes. We're like the two kids who looked in Mom and Dad's closet before Christmas. What we desperately wanted was the hot new Nader or the classic McCain, but all we found were the mundane Gore and Bush. We're not sure which one we will get when we unwrap the presents, but we do know it won't be what we wanted.But politicians see things differently, and they're frantic to know who our next president will be. That's why they're trying to settle things out of court, which could mean four more years of Bill Clinton keeping the Oval Office warm for its next occupant. Here are some of the ideas insiders say are being considered.An old fashioned duel: Bush favors this idea, and has offered the streets of Laredo as the site. But Gore fears offending the anti-gun crowd. His counter-offer is a 911 cell phone dialing contest.Indian wrestling: Gore, the more physically fit of the two, backed this idea, as long as the name was changed to Native American wrestling. But Bush was reluctant, saying he spent too many years flat on his back in the Yale Saloon.Flip a coin: Both candidates support the basic concept. However, Gore wanted to use a Kennedy half-dollar, while Bush demanded the Eisenhower version. They compromised on the new Sacajawea dollar, but to date nobody has been able to find one.Arm wrestling: Although simple in concept, arms negotiators are divided over such complex issues as staging platforms, grips, and throw weight. The candidates are pumping iron in an arms race in case an agreement is finally reached.Jeopardy: A bout of Jeopardy refereed by Alec Trebec could settle the issue. In a trial match, George Bush couldn't beat the fourth grade champion. Al Gore knew all the answers, but Trebec tried to strangle him due to his smug expressions. Both sides are now exploring Wheel of Fortune as an alternative, with Monica Lewinsky subbing for Vanna White.Lawyer toss: In this event, both candidates would go to Florida and start tossing lawyers into the Atlantic Ocean. The first one to fill it up will be declared the winner. Polls show that the American people like this idea so well that Bush and Gore could become co-presidents and jointly preside over the next recession. In 2004, they'll jointly be thrown out of office. "

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