Do You Like Him?

Sharon and I were sharing a scoop of ice cream in a parking lot somewhere in the suburbs of St. Louis, and there were two couples that we overheard talking politics. A younger couple in their forties, and an older couple, probably parents to one of the younger ones. They all looked like they were fairly well off.

The younger man was arguing that it was time for change, that Bush had screwed up the war and the federal budget. Even though I agreed with him, it was obvious that he wasn't gaining any traction in the conversation. Political discussions often seem like that to me, so I don't usually engage in them unless I'm hoping to gain some insight into an opposing point of view.

After a few minutes of being harangued, the older woman laid out what she obviously thought was her trump card: "But your guy, do you really like him?" Huh. Actually, she sounded like she had him there, because the haranguing kept going on, but spinning off in several directions.

After four years of a purportedly "likeable" president, I think I'd rather have somebody in the office that I don't want to have a beer with. What is "likeability" anyway? I "liked" Gore better than Bush, but then, he projected a thoughtful demeanor as someone who liked to challenge his own thinking. This was a sharp contrast to the constant moral certainty from Bush.

I suspect that this is all more of a matter of people projecting their own ideals on their political avatars, mixed in with the careful image management of the campaigns. But anybody thinking Bush or Kerry "is a regular guy, like me" is insane.

As for Kerry, no I don't like him. I "liked" Dean, with his floundering on the religion issues and his earnest wife. Kerry's displays of macho sportiness drive me up the wall, especially the Harley-Davidson. Still, that doesn't seem nearly as phoney as any of Bush's "environmental" photo-ops, or his "compassion" visits to highlight the work of government programs just before the White House hits them with crippling budget cuts.

So, pick your aloof, phoney, elitist, poseur jerk. You're going to get one either way, so maybe you should, I quess, vote on the issues, or as an evaluation of the current administration. No matter how likeable "Dubya" is, he's brought us raging deficits, turned Iraq into a terrorist breeding ground faster that Saddam Hussein could, ruined our international credibility in all areas except destructive capacity. I don't care whether the president is "like me" or not, because somebody "like me" is not ever going to run for president.


Base Ball in St. Louis

I just finished ten days in Missouri helping Sharon with some of her research. It was a pretty enjoyable trip, though we only have one laptop, and it is getting to the point where I really don't like to leave my own machine. I don't want to litter her machine with my stuff, and it's kind of a drag trying to remember to move over all of my work.

Still, our first hotel room had a neat view of the Old US Courthouse where Dred Scott's case made a stop on its way up to the Supreme Court. Behind it, you can see the stadium where the Mariners will lose yet another series later this summer.  Posted by Hello We also made a trip out to Jefferson City, so I got to see the Missouri capital.

Since this was an educational trip, here are some things that I learned:

  • Hotels with free breakfasts are more likely to have free broadband. I also learned that I'm capable of making irrational choices in order to continue to have access to the broadband.

  • traveling BBQ festivals have not gotten any better over the last few years. Especially if they are run by Clear Channel. And food prices at these things have gotten very confusing.

  • Historical re-enactment now has a athletic twist with the creation of Vintage Base Ball teams. This looks like fun.

  • For some reason, there is no marker at Fourth and Market commemorating Mollie Fitzgerald's saloon, where female "beerjerkers" were regularly arrested during the late 1860s for having bad reps and serving beers, despite their possession of the requisite licenses.