To make an intelligent choice in the Nov. 8 presidential election, the informed voter needs to know not only what the candidates will do but what they will not do if elected.
Here's a look at some of the ideas the candidates considered but discarded:- The B-5 Day-Care Bomber. To court the votes of working parents and address the high cost of advanced weapons systems, George Bush was going to propose the B-5 Day-Care Bomber, the so-called "Winnie-the-Boom."
The sub-assembling of the B-5 would have been done at federally funded day-care centers. The Pentagon would have benefited from the low-cost labor of 4-year-olds, while the little tykes would have received solid training in avionics, radar and strategic ordnance.
The idea was scrapped because of the image problem of having a major defense contractor named Wee Kiddies Play-All-Day Inc.
- Civilian Aircraft Carriers. As an inexpensive rebuttal to charges he was soft on defense, Michael Dukakis proposed a fleet of 8,000-foot-long mega-supercarriers, each capable of carrying the world's sixth largest air force.
The carriers would not have been deployed but, rather, docked in New York, Boston and Los Angeles as additional airports to ease overcrowding at JFK, Logan and LAX. In time of war, the carriers could have slipped away unnoticed by announcing to the waiting passengers that all flights had been canceled because Denver's Stapleton was snowed in, an excuse that oddly seems to work even in summer.
Political ops nixed the plan for fear Illinois' Cook County Democrats would want a piece of the action.
- The Retroactive Death Penalty. Bush had planned to get even tougher on crime by proposing that the president get the power to commute a life sentence to death.
Bush would have cut through such liberal legal technicalities as a jury verdict and a judge's sentence by being able to execute criminals the general public found particularly repulsive. This would also ease prison overcrowding.
While his aides thought the slogan "If elected, I will fry Willie Horton" - was great, they figured the campaign had gotten all the mileage it was going to get out of the law-and-order theme.
- Putting Social Security under National Security. To save money, Bush thought about classifying Social Security as a military secret. All mention of Social Security would be stricken from public records, and Social Security would be administered from unmarked offices.
An aggressive, alert citizen would still be able to collect Social Security benefits, but Bush was banking on most eligible recipients either forgetting about them or giving up in frustration.
The plan itself was so secret that Bush's speechwriters were denied access, and so the candidate was never able to mention it.
- Drafting Senior Citizens. Dukakis had a scheme that he thought would both solve the military manpower problem and appeal to the elderly: He would draft senior citizens into the armed forces on the grounds that they had a lot of free time and liked to travel.
- Curiously, the proposal that many analysts thought was most far-fetched made it into both campaigns. It is an answer to the deficit problem known among economists as the Tinker Bell Solution.
We close our eyes, wish real hard and - shazam! - four years from now the deficit is gone.