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An Alias for All Seasons 

Our hero finds an interesting way to track the sources of his junk mail

Wednesday, Jan 15 2003
Dear Fellow Republican,

If you are not already actively supporting the Republican Party's 2003-2004 national campaign effort -- Now is the time to act!

The 2003-2004 election cycle will be among the most important in our nation's history. You have a crucial choice to make ...

... Will we continue on the course President Bush has set, building a better future for America or ...

... Will the Democrats win total control of the government and return our country to the failed Clinton/Gore big government, tax and spend ways of the past? ...

Please let me hear from you today.


Marc Racicot

RNC Chairman

What a difference the mail makes.

I went to bed last night quite sure I was not a Republican. I'd never voted for their party, was quite at odds with most of their principles, and certainly had never given them any money.

But today everything was different. Why was I now receiving letters from the Republican National Committee?

My first thought was that this must have been a mistake. You've got the wrong guy, I wanted to yell at the envelope. As far as government goes, the bigger the better. I love taxing, and I love spending. But there it was, my name, right on the mailing label:

"Benjamin Westhoff."


That's when I knew there was a problem. Nobody except my grandmother and the characters in the fantasy novels I write about myself calls me Benjamin.

But now I was in business, because I have a system to track down who's responsible for my junk mail.

See, I go by different pseudonyms when I sign up for magazines. The name on my subscription to The Atlantic is "Benjie Westhoff," and that's how I know where organizations like the ACLU, Sierra Club, and Amnesty International get my address.

Harper's is even further left of the border, and whenever I get a mailing for "Benny Westhoff" I know they're responsible. The last one was from Earth First!, the eco-terrorist group that blows up ski lodges in Colorado.

The rash of women's clothing catalogs that come for "Bern Westhoff" are undoubtedly due to my Victoria's Secret subscription, but I want to thank the Adam and Eve catalog for its discretion; I have yet to receive a single junk item for "Benet Westhoff."

But getting back to "Benjamin," I quickly realized who had sold me out to the Republicans like a cheap pen-named whore. It was those penny-hoarders at Forbes.

Now I know what you're thinking. How can I call myself a Democrat if I subscribe to Forbes?

Well, if you must know, I happen to enjoy Forbes. It has lots of cool graphs and pie charts, and once in a while its editors send out a supplemental issue about what wealthy people should do for fun. That issue is chock-full of ads for Rolls-Royce and caviar. It makes me feel rich, and I like it.

I just don't like being on the Republicans' mailing list.

One thing is for sure, though. The Republicans have their act together. The Democrats haven't even hit me up for a donation, and I live in Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's district. I'm an easy mark for Dems; if they ask for 25 bucks, they'll get it, no questions asked.

I want big government, goddamn it, and I'm willing to pay for it.

About The Author

Ben Westhoff


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