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These excerpts are from Jim Hightower's If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates (HarperCollins).

I watched these presidential hopefuls join
Together for debating in Des Moines,
And many times I heard allegiance sworn
To Jesus and to babies not quite born.

The spectacle of human beings acting out mindless violence through pack behavior instills more terror in the heart than perhaps any other event in the natural world.

The records show, as you have heard,
McCain is not a cuckoo bird.
Yes, he's OK. That's no surprise.
Now how about the other guys?

The last remaining superpower
Might get a leader who would tower
Above a smallish premier of Japan.
The Third World wouldn't be euphoric

CORRECTION (from the Dec. 27 issue): In Micah L. Sifry's "Public Citizen No. 1" [Dec. 20], Carl Mayer, although he is among those urging Nader to run, was incorrectly identified as a member of the Draft Nader Committee. Also, the town of Amherst is in Wisconsin, not Michigan.

A version of this article also appeared in Salon magazine.

Imprisonment and torture are the sort
Of things that might just drive a person daft.
So just in case that happened to McCain,

The candidates are constantly reviewed.
The questions raised by analysts include:
Will Pat Buchanan matter as a mauler?

Research assistance for this article was provided by the Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute.

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