Dear Jake,

Nancy and I are delighted that you have been selected to become the first politician to go into space. As you know, I, too, love to travel. I do some of my best thinking on the road. Perhaps you've heard me talk about driving down the California coast, wondering about how future generations will judge us. I didn't have time to finish that thought during the second debate -- Edwin Newman cut me off. But if you have a few days sometime, I'll tell you all about it.

I myself would love to go into outer space. George Bush and I often talk about me going into space. He wants me to. But Deaver and Meese don't. Something about the metaphorical possibilities.

While you're up in space, there are a few things you might be able to do for me. I'd like you to pray up there, Jake. That will set a precedent I might need for later on. I'd like you to be gracious to any women on board, open the cargo bay for them, and when it comes to the heavy lifting of the robot arm, Jake, you do it; you know our position on equality. And please, Jake, when the crew jettisons the personal waste material, make sure they don't do it over the United States or any of our allies.

I hope you get your ride before that teacher does, Jake. Education was one of Fritz Mondale's issues. Space weaponry was one of ours. When you go, carry a knife. Politics is a never-ending struggle, Jake. We'll show them which party really has the Right stuff. The Democrats -- there they go again -- will talk about the fairness issue. They'll want equal time in space. (Heaven knows I'd love to send Tip O'Neill up there. Bang, zoom, to the moon!) I can hear Jesse Jackson now, going on about the extraterrestrialization of poverty. If I live to be 100, and I just might, I'll never understand that man. Maybe I ought to send him into outer space. Somewhere over the rainbow he might find his coalition.

You know, Jake, there are times when I think about the whole Congress going out there. Those future generations, opening that time capsule, might learn about a Congress in permanent orbit, hurrying to pass our program before we let them land. Oops, before they decide to come back. Wouldn't it be swell if I could pick up the red phone and say, "Earth to Congress." Finally.

In closing, let me ask you one more favor. While you're up in space, if you happen to see anything that looks like my shining city on the hill, please take a photograph of it. I'd like to give it to Jack Kemp to use as a model for his enterprise zones.

Thumbs up,

Ron