Cory Farley, voted "Best of Reno" 26 times in 27 years by readers of his column in the Reno Gazette-Journal, takes an unconventional look at topics from presidential elections to the best way to cook Brussels sprouts.

Location: Verdi, Nev, United States

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Almost an embarrassment of riches

The old election-year line, "Just hold your nose and vote," isn't going to get much of a workout this fall if you're a Democrat.
I was going to say, "Sorry about you, Repubs," but I forgot that your senses of smell atrophied in 2003. How else to explain the election of '04 . . . well, yes, the Diebold machines, but other than that?
What brings this to mind is seeing two of the three main presidential candidates in person, and talking at some length with a representative of the third.
I've been of four minds over the coming election. In a perfect world, I'd like to send Dennis Kucinich in the White House just to see what would happen. He reminds me of Jerry Brown when he was governor of California in the '70s: He's right about a lot of stuff, but it's going to take another 30 years before most people realize it.
Since he's a no-hoper, I've been a reluctant Clinton man--reluctant because I really liked Bill at first, but he turned into such a Republican in his last term that he left a lot of things undone. But there doesn't seem to be much difference between Hillary and Barack Obama, and I think the election of a modestly liberal woman, especially a Clinton, would make a lot of people I don't like unhappier than the election of a moderately liberal Black.
I don't know what it says about the state of the nation that I'm choosing my presidential candidate based on which one will most piss off people I don't like, but there it is.
It's moot now, though, because I have a new favorite.
On Saturday, I spoke to a meeting of the Douglas County Democrats. It went fine; they bought me dinner and nobody threw anything.
On the podium after me was David Bonior, who's working for John Edwards. Bonior is often described as "the former renegade congressman," which generally means that when others are saying, "Right, sir! Good decision!" he's asking, "Are we sure this is a good idea?"
I talked with Bonior after the meeting, and he said, more or less, the following:
  • Washington is truly screwed up, even more than is obvious. "Broken" doesn't begin to describe it.
  • The country is run by Big Business, notably Big Oil, Big Drug and Big Insurance.
  • It probably isn't going to change under Barack Obama, and it sure as hell isn't going to change under Hillary Clinton.
OK, he's pimping for his boss. But then Wednesday I went to the Grand Sierra to a "town meeting" with John Edwards, and he's my new man.
Note, please, that I spent more than 30 years as a journalist listening to politicians, public relations people and other liars. My cynicism is deep and wide; I automatically dismiss about 90 percent of what they say, and examine the rest for weasel opportunities. I don't even like the elected officials I like.
But--I say this hesitantly--Edwards may be less phony than the rest. He has ideas, which can be dangerous but in his case isn't. Some of them aren't necessarily good ideas (I don't see how we can ban nuclear power and new coal-fired plants while simultaneously reducing greenhouse emissions and our dependence on foreign oil), but at least they indicate he understands that there are problems. That would be a new message from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.: Everything isn't perfect just because Big Oil is making billions. And wait until you hear him on education and health care.
Look, I'm not saying vote for him. I'm saying don't disregard him automatically. It isn't his fault he's a rich, good-looking white guy.


Blogger stevex said...

Which one of these three is ready to make a real committment to alternative energy? This country needs a president who will make a strong, Kennedy-like statement (and mean it) that we will make a full-bore effort to power this country with green energy. If we can land a man on the moon...
Just think of where we would be now if the money sunk into Iraq were instead invested in solar energy research.

8:23 PM  
Blogger ReconRanger said...

As a registered Independent, I recognize I’m not as intelligent as Democrats and only slightly less clueless than Republicans. I’m kind of between the guy in the classroom who has all the answers (that would be Cory) and the guy who smells funny in the back of the class (that would be me). I continue to strive in this limited capacity.

That’s why I can’t get a date.

You have to understand that I am one of those people who distrust all politicians of any stripe. I laugh and laugh at the party faithful who repeatedly get shafted by the political favorite in a given race once they’re elected. What they say to be elected and what they do once in office in another thing.

So I think Cory is stuffed with excrement to believe anything said by any of the candidates. He makes his choice, and his choice is as flawed as yours or mine is, given selective listening and cognitive agreement. That’s not…uh…smarts. That’s buying the party line.

Let’s have a contest between Obama and McCain. That will be one opportunity for me to vote FOR a candidate since the Nixon-McGovern race. That was the last time I voted for a candidate instead of against one.

Realize, though, that I am one of those less-than-intelligent people with whom Cory chooses not to hang out. Our Proust Discussion Group misses him.

8:35 PM  
Blogger Kit said...

Cory, I have read and appreciated you since we moved to Reno in 1988. I was having a difficult time deciding for whom to caucus on Saturday. I was leaning toward and Hillary and Obama. My web 2.0 kids want to caucus for Edwards. Having read your blog, I think I will also caucus for Edwards and see what happens.

9:28 PM  
Blogger Ken A said...

This is off topic but I just wanted to congratulate Cory on the RNR and the KOLO gigs.

9:56 PM  
Blogger mindervillain said...

Ditto, Ken A, but I already expressed my feelings in a PM to Cory.

I agree that Edwards is a viable candidate and would be my second choice, if a second choice became necessary. Like Cory, I can't imagine supporting anyone but the Democratic nominee, but I'm convinced that Obama is the only candidate who has a chance, or is even interested enough, to move our country beyond the "I'm right, everyone else is wrong - and probably stupid as well" mentality, which I have on my side just as strongly as my extreme right wing cousins. Whom I can't seem to convince that they're both wrong and stupid.

But I thought of Cory's column about hangin' around with smart people Tuesday night when I met Illinois Senator Dick Durbin at a meeting with a handful of Obama supporters. We are all sometimes so cynical about politicians, but during the Obama campaign I've met both Tom Daschle and Senator Durbin, active supporters of Senator Obama, and these guys, as well as the folks who are willing to engage them in thoughtful conversation at these meetings, make me feel like Charlie Brown who, when Linus could see Beethoven and Mona Lisa and the signing of the treaty of Versailles in the shapes of the clouds, was embarrassed that his imagination only stretched to seeing doggies and rabbits.

We have good honest leaders available, Barak Obama being one of them, and we're all at least smart enough to recognize them - if only we'd open our minds to the possibilities, and close them to our preconceptions and prejudices.

11:45 PM  
Blogger tuzoner said...

I'm always leery of people who claim government is beyond broken while serving there to make it that way.

As I mentioned before I don't vote because I believe it's a big waste-o-time. To blame non-voters for the current mess is like blaming voters for the same.

Politics and government at all levels is on the very far margin of my life. I'd like to keep it that way.

I like Clinton best of all the candidates only because she knows how the Washington game is played.

The only way Clinton could ever get me to vote for her in the general election is to offer me a... er... um... never mind.

Bill Clinton does not have a monopoly on wandering minds.

6:18 AM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

Yeah, but notice the recurring repub tactic of feminizing Edwards and masculinizing Clinton to frighten the traditionalists (or misogynists, if you prefer). So you know that if either one gets the nod, that stuff's going to get ugly and distract from the issues.

But ... they'll have a pretty hard time smearing Obama that way -- and it's going to be tough to invoke the race issue in a way that isn't going to backfire on them. I've noticed that Obama also has a remarkable talent to deflecting attacks by calmly and maturely calling his attackers on their BS. I'd love to see him up against Romney.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

We've had a similar discussion in our house, but someone came to his senses and we'll in the Edward camp on Saturday. So - what do you think the chances are that Gore would be nominated from the floor at the convention??

9:39 PM  

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