DURST: Chinese President Jiang Zemin

You got to feel sorry for Chinese President Jiang Zemin. The poor guy comes over here ostensibly on a trade mission, announcing a $3 billion purchase of passenger planes from Boeing, which after all our whiny talk about deficits, he has to assume will be met with some half way positive press. Wrong! He ends up sharing news coverage with Richard Gere, and since China doesn't get Entertainment Tonight, he can't even float a couple of spurious Cyndi Crawford rumors in response. Probably wasn't briefed about the gerbil bit either. And how was he supposed to know the first state visit by a Chinese leader in 12 years would coincide with Halloween and he'd be forced into private sessions with Tom Daschle, Trent Lott and Newt Gingrich all dressed up in their most impressive red white and blue neon freedom costumes? Every politician in America is offering up their mother as Salman Rushdie's food taster to be photographed lecturing the leader of a fifth of the world's populace on the merits of Democracy as interpreted by them, and the fact that next year is an election year is a mere co-incidence. The two ways out are for him to kick the crap out of Jackie Chan for the rights to Hong Kong or to denounce and officially outlaw MSG. Will Durst would opt for the latter.

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