HIGHTOWER: Pols "Reinvent" Third-Person Personas

What strange times we live in.Politicians today unabashedly announce that they've "reinvented" themselves. It's as though they're a set of leggos -- one moment they're an airplane, the next moment they've been reconfigured into a cockroach.So political figures need be made of nothing solid. If they stumble along the electoral path, no problem -- just jump right up and claim to be something else, reinvented.Take Bob Dole. Until last month's New Hampshire primary, Dole's bid for the Republican presidential nomination was based on the less-than-inspiring message that he's been a Washington political fixture for 35 years and now it's his turn to be president. He must have borrowed this strategy from Walter Mondale, who stunned America at the 1984 Democratic Convention with: "I am ready to be president!" Of course, America said, "We'll get back to you on that, Walter."So when Dole was tripped-up in New Hampshire by Pat Buchanan, Mr. Experience suddenly was "reinvented" as Mr. Savior, crusader for the soul of the GOP. He said he was adopting a new persona, asserting that, "You're going to see the Real Bob Dole from now on."Oh? So who was that we've been seeing for 35 years, chopped liver? "Bob Dole is not some sort of fringe candidate," he assured us.But wait a minute, why does he keep referring to himself in the third person? Do you do that? -- "Joe Jones is going to lunch now;" "Joe Jones'll have another beer;" "Joe Jones loves you, sweetheart."Of course you don't do that. Neither do real leaders. Imagine these moments in our history: "Give Patrick Henry liberty or give Patrick Henry death." Or, "Martin Luther King has a dream." Not quite genuine, is it?It's bad enough that today's political leaders aren't in touch with us -- They're not even in touch with themselves!

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