The rumor is that Pat Buchanan is going to jump ship as a Republican and join the Reform Party as its leader. This is certain to cause trouble, as Gov. Jesse Ventura, the great wrestler from Minnesota, also wants to control the Reform Party.

Since everyone expects a stalemate, this could be a solution: We could let both contenders wrestle for the title on pay TV from Atlantic City.

Pat would wear a robe embroidered with "Mein Kampf," and Jesse would have one that says "There is almost no God."

Donald Trump would act as referee and make sure neither man accidentally hits the other in the groin.

The reason people would pay to see this is that it is the first time in a presidential election that they could watch one candidate slam-dunk an opponent.

My fantasy is that Buchanan starts laughing as Ventura comes toward him.

This infuriates the governor, and he picks Pat up and hurls him across the ring, bouncing him against the ropes. There is cheering from the crowd. Buchanan sneaks behind Jesse and kicks him in the pants. Ventura yells, "That does it! No more Mister Nice Guy." He grabs Pat's head, pushes him through the ropes and throws him out of the ring into George W. Bush's lap.

By this time Buchanan realizes he has no chance against Ventura so he climbs into the ring and starts slugging Trump, the referee. Jesse joins Pat in stomping on Trump and breaks his arm. Trump has no choice but to kick Pat in the stomach.

Buchanan's handlers jump in the ring and start swinging stools at Jesse. Ventura lifts Pat over his head and is about to toss Buchanan into the cheap balcony seats where Ross Perot is sitting.

Trump warns Jesse not to drop Pat on his head anymore.

Then Ventura flings Buchanan into a corner and starts biting his ear.

The bell rings. Trump announces that Jesse Ventura will remain the head of the Reform Party.

I believe that a match like this will return politics to the people, where it belongs. Voters will pay anything to see our candidates really debate the issues.

If it works, Ventura and Buchanan could appear on TV every week.

As we say in wrestling, "May the best man win."

(C) 1999, Los Angeles Times Syndicate