The Beer Buddy Vote

17 Sep

Snarky fun via the Boston Globe:

How Not to Vote For a President

IN THE MIDST of this remarkable campaign for the presidency, it continues to amaze me that some people still want to talk about issues. By now, all but the most naive first-time voter must realize that what’s important is not where the candidates stand on healthcare or job creation, but whether or not they would be fun to have a beer with. I mean, do you really think Al Gore or John Kerry would have made a better president than the affable fellow we have in there now? Would you seriously want to have Gore over to your house for dinner and Monday night football? Are you really saying you’d want to sit down in front of “American Idol” with JK instead of GWB?

You would think, listening to these types, that the country was in some kind of trouble.

We are clearly winning the war, which proves it was a smart and just war to begin with. Pretty much everyone I know still goes on vacation every summer, still drives a nice car, still manages to put some money away for their later years. Crime is pretty low. Gas is cheaper than it was recently. It was so cold at one of my country houses the other night that the idea of global warming has become pretty hard to swallow.

These same types – “Issueists” I want to call them, and some of them are my friends – insist on negativity. Yes, sure, a bunch of nerdy scientists talk about the earth burning up, more cockroaches, fewer trees, no polar bears, and so on. Yes, right, there has been a blip in the economy, with a few medium-sized companies getting bailed out. That happens, people. Last time I looked we were a free-market system, and the market is going to have its cycles just like the climate does. Osama is still running loose, true. And there are some other bad guys out there who want to do us harm. But Bush seems to have dealt with them OK so far, and he’s fun to be around at the same time. You don’t see him getting bogged down in complicated explanations for things. You don’t see his sense of humor withering in the heat of the Oval Office. You don’t see Dick Cheney wringing his hands and putting off hunting trips until his term is over.

Which brings me to Sarah Palin. Issueists complain that looks shouldn’t matter. I beg to differ. After a few years I get sick of even the politicians I like, so tell me it isn’t important for them to look hot when you have to see them on TV month after month for most of a decade? Palin might not be the most experienced pol I ever heard about, but she’s got personality. Verve. She hunts, for Pete’s sake. Plus she has five kids. Why would anyone need more than that from the person who is a heartbeat away? Guys, tell me you wouldn’t want to sit down with her over a cold one and talk about rifle barrels or snowmobiles or the move that left-winger made before he hit the post. And ladies, admit it, your heart beats a little faster seeing one of your own up there on the biggest stage in the world. You’re telling me you were happy with Hillary, the brainy law school grad, but not with SP, Queen of the North? Sorry, not buying.

Over the next five or six weeks there are going to be some debates, and a lot of talk about this and that. Here’s my advice: Watch the Sox and the Pats. Or “Law and Order.” Or “Dress My Nest.” If anything even remotely interesting happens in the debates, it will be all over the news for the following three days. If one of the candidates slips and does a bad photo-op in a tank or something, or if it turns out he says he was in the war and won a medal but some of his fellow veterans say he shouldn’t have won it and wasn’t really there, you’ll get the word, trust me. Other than that, go with your gut. You might not want to say it in front of an Issueist, but you knew who you liked at first glance. Run with that. The second you hear one of the candidates talking about the cost of health insurance, the so-called disappearance of manufacturing jobs, the resurgence of the Taliban, or – and revive me here if I faint – illegal wiretapping, torture, and rendition, turn the channel. Snap off the set and go bowling. Drop the radio in the sink, grab a magazine and flip through that article on how to build better abs in three weeks.

I think it was Johnny Mac’s campaign manager who was quoted recently as saying, “This campaign is about personality, not issues.” You know what I say to that? Finally, an honest politico! I hope he himself runs for president next time around, because based on that one line alone I’d give the guy my sacred vote.

Roland Merullo’s latest novel is “American Savior.”

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