Carnes: The president is not my pal
I do not want a beer buddy for president.
The man, or woman, elected to lead me and my fellow countrymen, or countrywomen (that’s getting a little silly now) into the future had better not give a rat’s patootie about enjoying a frosty cold one with the likes of me.
Nor do I wish for my president to ski alongside me down Riva’s Ridge from top to bottom on the last day of the season, or slam a shot of Jack at E-Town, or play 18 in Singletree, or hike to the top of Holy Cross so we can do a high-five at 14,000 feet.
I couldn’t care less if my president is good at tennis or golf or bowling or if they can grill a mean burger or toss a great salad.
I want a leader.
The pandering platitudes promulgated by our latest and greatest political prospects for president are perfect problem cases in point.
I want a candidate who sells themselves differently from the way we sell ourselves deodorant (Smell better! Don’t stink as much!). Having a beer with the media’s most recent interpretation of Joe Six-Pack does not automatically qualify a candidate as down-to-earth any more than it means they are thirsty.
Wolfing down a corny dog at an Indiana fair or sharing a Philly cheesesteak the day before a primary means nothing to me, especially when it is done in front of a camera.
I do not wish to attend a sporting event with any of these candidates because I could not stomach their patronizing statements about “being a lifetime fan of (fill-in-the-local teams name)” simply because they passed through the city once as a small child and “remembered the people and their endearing charm.”
Nor do I want to watch a movie with any of them.
If John McCain says his favorite flick is “True Grit,” Barack Obama says “Malcolm X” and Hillary Clinton lays claim to “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood,” I will still refuse to think any different towards their ability to run America.
If one claimed “Duck Soup” by the Marx Brothers as a favorite, it would not subliminally make me think they are a Marxist.
I don’t care how old they are, or if they have the looks of an American Idol, or the color of their skin, or whether they stand or sit to pee.
I do not want a potential president who makes preposterous promises during their campaign, such as dropping the federal gas tax from one holiday to another.
Thomas Friedman sums the issue up beautifully in this paraphrasing: “If you are going to use tax policy to shape energy strategy, then raise taxes on the things you want to discourage (gasoline consumption and gas-guzzling cars) and lower taxes on the things you want to encourage (alternative and renewable energy technologies). We are doing just the opposite.”
I want a leader.
I want a president who is smarter than me, better educated, quicker on their feet, who can tell Iran where to stick their nukes and force Pakistan to tell us in which cave to search for bin Laden.
I want a president who will engage in diplomacy before firing a pre-emptive shot and not blindly send our sons and daughters to die in a distant land without a long-term or exit strategy. One who could care less about gay marriage, does not say “go shopping” to fix the economy and understands why evolution and the origin of life are two completely separate issues.
I want a president who will not cherry-pick hundreds of federal appointees from two very specific evangelical nut-job “schools” and has the internal strength to ignore those who rely on magical beings to make their decisions for them.
I want a president who acts presidential and knows hope becomes a reality only with action, not more hoping.
I want a president who will uphold the oath of office and support and defend the Constitution of the United States. And I want him (or her, dammit) to keep their eye on the prize, which is not the nuclear trigger, but the continuation of the American public to live their lives with uncompromising liberties while pursuing their own definition of happiness.
And perhaps most importantly, I want a leader and a president who is better than me in just about every possible way.
Otherwise I would run myself.
NOTE: The preceding opinions belong to Richard and are not necessarily shared by this newspaper … but for some narcissistic reason, he thinks they should be.
Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a column for the Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.