I SUGGEST THAT YOU members of "the party of Jefferson" do something that Jefferson would have done -- I don't mean make like Bill Clinton with Sally Hemings -- and stop and think for a minute. Why are you a Democrat? Are you a Democrat because you're poor? Poor people vote for Democrats. Rich people vote for Republicans. Do you think the big-wigs in the Democratic party don't know this? So Democrats are great at pushing "poverty programs" through Congress, but when was the last time Al Gore called you with a hot tip on Occidental Petroleum stock?

Are you a Democrat because you're a union member? Then why, after eight years of Bill Clinton, does some Chinese guy in Guangdong province have your job? Besides, union muckety-mucks are as bad as Democratic party pooh-bahs. Notice it's called "organized labor," not "organized you're-the-boss." Have you ever heard your union president say, "Look at the loot we've got in our pension fund and all the swell rackets we're in on with the mob guys -- let's just effin' buy General Motors"?

Are you a Democrat because you're a woman? Then how come you're married to a Republican? Most women are. Face it, you were afraid that a two-Democrat family might cause the kids to grow up to be liberals. Picture them at 35 still wearing nostril rings and living at home, clomping around the house in Birkenstocks with no job yet except volunteer work on the Nader 2024 campaign.

Are you a Democrat because you're gay? Come on, do you really think Republicans hate gays? You've been to Republican houses. Do they look like they were decorated by Pat Robertson? What are interior design firms going to do with Democrats -- go rearrange the bowling trophies? Who appreciates Karl Lagerfeld -- Nancy Reagan or Barney Frank? What kind of culture does the UAW sponsor? Imagine II Barbiere di Siviglia sung by the Grand Ole Opry.

Are you a Democrat because you're part of a minority group? Forget about it. Mexicans, Blacks, Jews, Italians, Irish, Puerto Ricans -- you guys hate each other. Become Republican and at least you'll be allowed to admit it -- after three drinks. "Wall Street? I'll tell you what's wrong with Wall Street. Ever since that sonofabitch Joe Kennedy, the goddamned shanty Irish have been running Wall Street. Say, Patrick, another G&T and make it snappy. Hey, what's in this? Arrrrrg . . . [Drops dead.]" Although even Republicans have to watch their mouths sometimes.

Anyway, don't be fooled by affirmative action. It's just another trick the Democratic party uses to keep you poor even after you get a law and a medical degree. Affirmative action makes employers think, "Black woman nuclear physicist? Hah! Probably let her into Harvard 'cause they were looking for a twofer. Bet she got C's in high school practical math. Give her a job in personnel." Meanwhile the same guy is thinking, "Whoa, male, Japanese and Jewish -- he must have been really good to get into chiropractor school."

You see, it's actually Republicans who favor racial and ethnic diversity. Just look at the people who are cleaning Republican houses, mowing Republican lawns, cooking Republican meals, and caring for Republican children -- black, brown, yellow, you-name-it. And every single one of these people is in this country illegally. I mention that in case you are a Democrat because you're a criminal. You'd be a lot better off as a Republican. Republicans know crime. Would you rather swindle corporate shareholders out of billions or knock over a convenience store?

What Americans don't understand about Republicans, and what causes a lot of Americans to continue being Democrats, is that Republicans don't want anybody to become Republican. This is because, in a boom economy like ours, it's already hell trying to get a tee time. And that's why Republicans insult gays, attack feminists (like Sandra Day O'Connor is a Stepford wife), support Confederate flag-flying (as if the slave owners voted for Lincoln), make bigoted remarks, threaten everybody with "law and order," and pretend to love born-again religious lunatics. It's to put you off. It's so that Republicans can take five hours to play a doubles match while half in the bag from afternoon mai tais without some parvenu former Democrat coming up and saying, "Vernon Jordan and I reserved this court."

But I'll tell you a little secret. If you want to join the Republican party, they have to let you in. There's nothing they can do about it. I mean, if Republicans will take Al D'Amato, they'll take anybody.

P. J. O'Rourke is a contributing editor to THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

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