Postman politics

Show business and politics have so much in common it is hard to tell them apart on television.

Recently a large number of short-fused Democrats exploded over a social security ad on TV in which a kindly old actor (not Ronald Reagan in this case) plays the part of a postman who has just delivered a social security check to a solid, middle-class home. He stops on cue, looks into the camera, and with well modulated Republican voice says: ''I am probably one of the most popular people in town. I'm delivering social security checks with the 7.4 percent cost-of-living raise that President Reagan promised. He promised that raise, and he kept his promise. In spite of the sticks-in-the-mud who tried to keep him from doing what we elected him to do. . . .'' There is a lot more, but that is the gist of it.

Well, any postman who could deliver this neatly phrased soliloquy wouldn't be delivering mail very long. He would be hired before the year was out to play a supporting role in ''Little House on the Prairie.''

In spite of the unlikely quality in this mailman skit, a lot of Democrats were upset. Up and down Pennsylvania Avenue their screams were so loud Nancy had to close the kitchen windows to keep the new china from breaking. The real cause of this brouhaha, according to sources on Capital Hill, was that the act providing for this cost-of-living raise in social security predated the Reagan administration.

There was an expected response from the Speaker of the House, Thomas ''Tip'' O'Neill, who, when the occasion demands, becomes a film critic. ''The President knows this ad is not true. . . .''

Nowadays, hardly any ads are true. Certainly when it comes to dishing out money for social security, or social anything, Democrats can hardly be classed as ''sticks-in-the-mud.'' They do not have the reputation of reluctant dishers-of-money. Such an idea is sure to send Claude Pepper of Florida storming out to make a speech at the nearest bingo game.

Even the usually pedantic National Association of Letter Carriers showed that neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night on television could keep them from righteous objection. It seemed to some that the portrayal of a letter carrier in the ad meant that the union might be endorsing the Reagan administration's social security policies, whatever they might turn out to be.

We also have our own reasons to take issue with this Republican Party ad. Not so much on the basis of the postman claiming that Ronald Reagan should get credit for the rise in social security payments, but because the postman claims he is one of the most popular people in town. This is a very debatable point, at least in our town. We are big on street cleaners. Especially during the tourist season.

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