Marc - Column for 10/28

Can you really like a politician from TV?

So, everyone has been talking about politics. I havenít said much, but I figured I should. If I donít, Iíll feel all left out. As I have said previously, I grew up in Indiana. I havenít lived there for about ten years, but my family is from there and I still have a lot of family there. I spent college in Massachusetts, which is at the polar opposite of the political spectrum. My freshmen year I remember being shocked by ads on the five-college buses that proclaimed, ďWelfare! A solution for tough times!Ē I had a very vivid Dorothy out of Kansas moment when I saw that sign.

After college I bounced around the country a bit, with a short stint in Texas. Wouldnít recommend it for most folks, but the job was too good to pass it up. My wife and I have settled in DC for the last four years, so we are lucky enough to get completely inundated with political news, commentary and all sorts of other crap. I know a lot of that is regional, but it does get old at times.

Now, I donít know if itís a function of my interests or what, but I seem to have moved into social circles that are almost completely made up of Democrats. Itís weird, since I grew up around folks on the other side of the spectrum. Itís also weird, since I live Virginia, which is the most conservative of the two states around DC. At work, itís more diverse, with a leaning towards the toward Republican side of the spectrum. Politics rarely come up at work though, which is kinda funny since I work at a research and development center for the government. We talk about government policies all the time, but the political motivations are normally treated as exogenous sources of frustration. :-)

This all amounts to me having not met a single voting Republican that has made an articulate argument for Bush. I say voting because I have had some discussions about the topic with someone that is a staunch Republican. Of course, the person was a Greek national who couldnít vote. The few times I have talked with voting people about the election and why they are supporting Bush it seems to be all about the way they Ďfeelí about the candidate.

I freely admit that personal interaction with someone does create an impression. I just think itís a huge leap to say that the snippets of clips that people see on TV are enough to really get a feel for another person. Heck, from all accounts Bush is a really likeable person in face-to-face situations. Al Franken even said that in one of his ĎI hate Republicans!í books. I just think itís silly to use that as the discriminating factor in choosing who you would vote for in the election. It becomes even scarier when that sort of impression is used as some sort of magical solvent to wash away facts. Pat Buchanan has said he completely disagrees with Bush about the War and many other things, but he is supporting because he is a man of convictions. To me, that just seems like a further evolution of the whole support someone because you like them. True, Buchanan has probably met Bush. I just donít think itís silly to whole-heartedly support someone, when you make a laundry list of things that you donít like.

Iím not claiming that Kerry is perfect, and thatís kinda my point. In my mind, I think that a Kerry administration will do a better job for the country. I donít really care if I like the candidate that much or not. In the end, Iím not going to go out for drinks with the guy. Iím going try and live and prosper in the country that he governs.

Columns by Marc