Republicans make day for Dirty Jim

RAY MCALLISTER

TIMES-DISPATCH COLUMNIST Mar 29, 2001

Ray's column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Write him at the Times-Dispatch, Box 85333, Richmond VA 23293; call (804) 649-6333; fax (804) 775-8059; or e-mail rmcallister@timesdispatch.com.

You can picture Jim Gilmore, focusing in on Republicans who dared cross him.

"Go ahead," the GOP governor says, with a steady gaze.

"Make my day!"

The line belongs to Clint Eastwood, of course - a.k.a. Inspector "Dirty Harry" Callahan.

In 1983's "Sudden Impact," Callahan confronts a would-be stickup kid at a local coffee shop. The kid calls him "turkey" as he points a gun at a hostage.

"Go ahead," Dirty Harry growls, wielding his own gun.

"Make my day!"

The film was so well-publicized, the public already knew the catch phrase by the time it opened.

President Reagan even used it to challenge a feisty Congress.

But no one had pulled the trigger before.

Gilmore's real catch phrase, of course, is "No car tax."

"No car tax" is as inspired as "Make my day." The latter won Eastwood a huge box office. The former won Gilmore an election.