As someone who has spent the better part of the past two decades interviewing folks in politics, I have seen an interesting phenomenon taking hold in the past few years. A growing number of political candidates seem leery of appearing in any forum in which they are not guaranteed a friendly audience and a neutered interviewer.
It's used to be that they just wanted to see all the questions before hand (but there are lots of ways around that) but it has gotten much, much sillier.
Though this probably affects candidates of all stripes, including liberals, my impression is that conservative candidates are the ones least likely to step out of their comfort zones, especially in time when so many are literally terrified of offending the newest Bullies in the Bar, the Tea Party movement. With so many of their public pronouncements strongly written to caress the brain stems of those who demand adherence to their beliefs, many candidates become, in a way, walking cliches.
They quote the Founding Fathers at the drop of a hat, but often have little to no understanding of the office they are seeking, or the matters they may face, save for a few hot-button issues.
The truth is that there probably isn't a television or radio interview show in the state that would turn away a political candidate, nor would any civic group, but the new breed of candidate avoids most of the opportunities they have before them. They run to where it is safe, and the crowds are friendly.
The downside of this is that philosophies that fit neatly on a bumper sticker or on a placard at a rally become the deepest ideas of their campaign. If you engage them in a real conversation for more than 20 minutes, and they have to actually explain their views, many of them are left confused, with a deer in the headlights look in their eyes.
And sometimes they get elected. And then they sort of left feeling like Robert Redford at the end of The Candidate, wondering what the hell they should do next?
Well, the Bullies in the Bar will no doubt have some ideas for them . . .
Quote of the Day
There's nothing people like better than being asked an easy question. For some reason, we're flattered when a stranger asks us where Maple Street is in our hometown and we can tell him. - Andrew A. Rooney
Thank God my doctor is smarter than I am . . .
So I went to my doctor this week and told him I thought it might be a good idea to have an Upper and Lower GI done. I wondered if they could both be done at the same time.
He looked at me like I was insane.
"You want a Lower GI?" he asked. His nurse, standing behind him, just smiled.
"Well, yeah, I've had them before," I explained. "Why not kill two birds with one stone, and have them both the same day?" My father had colon cancer in the 1980s, and so I am a firm believer in having the inner plumbing checked out - and so should you, berserk reader.
"It's awfully complicated," he said.
"How," I said. "I'm on the table anyway?"
Finally, he looked at me as in the manner of a headmaster looking at a particularly foolish pupil. "You want a barium enema?"
"What? Dear god, no!"
He wants a colonoscopy," his nurse laughed.
We all laughed, though mine was perhaps a little forced.
""It's a little late to change your mind after they insert the hose," he said.
"Yeah," I agreed. "I would want to be the guy running down the hallway, yelling, this wasn't what I had in mind at all!"