When I talk about American presidential elections and tell people about the kind of slanders politicians have bandied about for over 200 years, the initial reaction tends to be, who are you kidding? Who would actually believe that John Quincy Adams was a pimp while acting as ambassador to Russia, or that Martin Van Buren wore women's clothing or that Al Smith built the Holland Tunnel in order to secretly meet the Pope under the Atlantic Ocean, or that Michael Dukakis would really let serial killers out of jail to satisfy his liberal lust for going easy on criminals?
And what I always say is: there are always people willing to believe anything and everything.
Case in point: this afternoon I take my daughter to her gymnastics lesson and while she is out rolling and tumbling the following conversation takes place directly behind me in the observation room parents are confined to:
"There's no way that Obama guy can be in the White House," says First Woman.
Second Woman says: "You don't think he can win?'
First Woman: "I don't think he can win, but even if he does win, he can't be sworn into office."
Second Woman: "Why not?"
First Woman: "Because of the Bible. It says in the Constitution you have to take the oath of office on a Bible and he can't. Because of the Koran or whatever you call it."
Second Woman: "Oh, I forgot --he's Muslim."
First Woman: "That's right. He's Muslim and if he swears on a Bible he'll, like, burn in hell or whatever."
Second Woman: "So what are they going to do?'
First Woman: "Don't worry -- McCain is going to win. Are you kidding?"
Second Woman: "But I hear McCain's not an American...."
At this point, I tiptoed gently out of the building. If I still smoked, I would have lit up one and inhaled deeply. As it was, I just inhaled.