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

Monday, February 18, 2008

At last the dreadful suspense ends...

At last, the suspense is over: John Ensign, Dean Heller and George H.W. “Who Would Have Thought Version 2.0 Could Be Worse?” Bush all came out today for . . . .
Go ahead, take a guess.

Did the former one-term, widely scorned president and Nevada Ideologues No. 2 and 3 (Gov. Jim Gibbons being, of course, No 1), after long and painstaking consideration, decide to throw their might behind:

  • Hillary Clinton?
  • Barack Obama?
  • Or John McCain?

Aw, you peeked.
The non-development here, though, does point up an interesting phenomenon, perhaps the only one left in this tedious and enervating presidential campaign:
Do endorsements really make a difference? A positive difference?
I’ve been trying to imagine a scenario under which the endorsement of a politician might change my mind, and I’m almost unable to do it. Every effect I can concoct is deleterious: I would be less likely to support a candidate endorsed by Ensign, Heller or Bush (or Gibbons, for that matter). No matter how much I thought I liked him or her, one of them coming out in favor would send me looking for what I’d missed.
But maybe that’s not fair: I’ve long thought Gibbons and Ensign dwelt on the bottom tier of desirability where elected officials were concerned, and Heller has demonstrated sufficient obliviousness to seem certain to join them. It’s natural that I’d reject almost any candidate they favored.
But the recommendation of a politician I liked wouldn’t sway me much, either.

It’s a hard thing to measure, actually, because I don’t like many politicians. There are some I can tolerate, but it’s a stretch to say I like even many of those I’ve voted for.
My favorite national pol of all time is probably Jimmy Carter, a decent man trying to fight his way upstream against the confluence of a horrible congress and a perfect storm of bad luck, plus he’s the greatest ex-president in American history (if you want to feel even worse than you already do, imagine what kind of former pres George W. Bush is going to be).
So far in 2008, now that John Edwards is out, I’m undecided between Clinton and Obama—I’d rather see Obama in office, but the thought of how unhappy a Clinton victory would make a lot of people who deserve to be unhappy sustains me in my despair. If Carter were to endorse one over the other, I might go along.

Other than that, though? A recommendation by Harry Reid, say, or Nancy Pelosi or Barbara Boxer (all of whom I admire; I’m not using those names to indicate disapproval)? Probably not. I’d still go with the candidate who best represents what I want America to be.

Let’s be generous and assume that some conservatives are about as smart, about as honest and about as patriotic as I am, and that they’d demonstrate those qualities by, first, paying attention, and second, voting in what they saw as the best interest of the nation. I don’t actually believe that , but let’s just say.
So why would a recommendation at this juncture change anybody’s mind?
Certainly there was no possibility of surprise. Ensign has been as predictable as the coming of night (which he in some ways resembles) since his first day in public life, Heller works off the same script and Bush hasn’t had an original thought since, “Read my lips—no new taxes.” You could have predicted five years ago whom they’d endorse. That they waited this long to announce, you'd think, would weaken their endorsement even further: Even though everybody knew which way they'd go, they didn't jump until the nomination was locked up, so they wouldn't offend The Base by getting a half-beat out of step. Way to take a chance, guys.


Blogger tuzoner said...

News Flash!

The republicans are going to get their clocks cleaned come Novermber.

Whether its Clinton or Obama, no matter.

All the Deomcrats have to do is tie McCain to the very unpopular Bush and that's the end of the general election story.

McCain is the beginning of the end for the Republican party.

God Bless America

8:27 PM  
Blogger Ann Onn said...

Would an endorsement from John Edwards have any influence with you? Not that it matters since we've already had our caucuses, but I switched my preference to Obama when Edwards dropped out. However, I would take another look at Clinton if Edwards (or Carter) endorsed her. (I will vote for whatever Democrat is on the ballot in November).

8:29 PM  
Blogger DrSparks said...

It's not that an endorsement carries great influence; it's that not endorsing by political leaders carries the stigma that "he ain't my kinda guy*."

Especially in primaries (and perhaps in caucuses too), endorsements don't change votes but do get voters to the polls.
*OK, it's politically incorrect...get over it.

8:52 PM  
Blogger mindervillain said...

Not precisely on topic, but I've gotta share. The fact that Dean Heller has been a huge disappointment for me says more about my own, hidden political naivete than it does about him - I suppose.

I first met Dean at a race track; like him I muddle around in car racing, but unlike him, I'm just a fan turned worker and official; Dean is a not half bad short track racer, and more to the point, a tremendously honorable guy in helping and mentoring younger racers - there are some specific examples that I won't waste time with here, but are well known to anyone who spent time around the now defunct Champion Raceway in Carson City.

In person, even at the race track where he's simply enjoying himself, he's a tremendously nice guy - the kind you'd want for a next door neighbor.

And the final, and most important recommendation came from a friend of mine, a legal secretary for a Carson City law firm, who told me that, as Secretary of State, all the local lawyers thought he was nuts because he tended to goose around the local political establishment. I can't think of a better endorsement than that.

My personal struggle over voting for him was brief; earlier in my life I would have voted for him, regardless of party. At this stage in my life, during which the Republican party is basically trying to destroy my country, and I have become beyond cynical, I couldn't vote for a Republican even if god, in her infinite wisdom, told me I should.

Dean has turned out to be the worst sort of apoligist for the Bushies - I say "worst" because I truly don't believe that he truly believes in what he's supporting. And our politicians don't get much more dishonorable than that.

And it's just one more damn shame thing that we have to confront in our politics today.

10:45 PM  
Blogger Kayte said...

Come on, tuzoner. We all thought that the American people wouldn't be stupid enough to vote W in a second term. Never under-estimate the stupidity of the voters.

12:13 PM  
Blogger angelosdaughter said...

I agree with you about Jimmy Carter. He was too good a person to be president; he lacked the dishonesty, phoniness, and hypocrisy of a politian. Unfortunately, those qualities are required (as well a plenty of money and wealthy backers) to survive in Washington.
katye, AMEN!!!

4:44 PM  
Blogger renoactor said...

Frighteningly, a large portion of the Rebubs would vote for Idi Amin were he running against Hillary. And the vitriol levelled against McCain by the Rush Limbaughs of the world tends to make me think he's not as bad as what we've got.

But politics is politics. I expect that when whomever is nominated to either party, they will eventually lower themselves to the pig wallow that gets them elected. God help us, if there is one.

I trust none of these fuckers. I fear even Obama must sell his soul, along with what's left of our faith to be elected. I pray with all my shrivelled agnostic heart that that ain't so, but I have doubts.

All that said, I'll echo Tuzoner and say, truly, God Bless America, and I hope that (He or She) will shine some kind of Light down on us and let us choose righteously.

6:59 PM  
Blogger rosebud said...

i shared mindervillain's view of heller. based upon his prior conduct, and the reluctance of the bimbo who ran against him to acknowledge that she was a democrat (she was an "independent voice"), i thought that he was the best man for the job. after the previous 6 years, i didn't vote for him, i voted the straight party ticket. but, i still thought that he was the best man for the job.

now, we know that he isn't a man at all. his pandering rivals that of his predecessor, jim gibbonsisamonkey. unfortunately, i think that says as much about his congressional district as it does about him.

and, although i voted for the bimbo, i gave it a second thought and i really didn't get all that worked up when she lost. she had already betrayed her own lack of character. now, she's considering another run. i'd probably even vote for her again (if there was no other choice) and this time without a second thought. but, i would probably feel the same if she lost again.

sad to say, that's pretty much how i feel about hillary, too.

7:26 PM  
Blogger mike said...

After a month of talking with folks about whom they plan to vote; or have voted for. I find it odd that many have no basis for their decisions. I have watched this almost frenzy surrounding Barack Obama I figured these people would have reasoned thought, yet no. So I have come to the conclusion it is much like George Bush. George found the word God and Barack found his word, change. How this change is going to happen is all but unknown to most. It seems it does not matter; he speaks well, much like a preacher. And let’s face it; those who preach for a living can convince the hordes to believe in the most unusual things. There is little difference between Obama and Clinton, but as a gay man I have to take that in to consideration. I am very suspicious of who Obama sidles up too and with whom he is unwilling to meet because of their favourable stance for gay men and women.

As for voting for McCain; yes endorsement I think does make a difference. I heard a few young females talking about watching the view the other day and the blonde on the show saying she is voting for McCain. This seemed to have relieved them of having to think about going over to the dark side, there words not mine

9:03 PM  
Blogger tuzoner said...


There goes McCain spreading (pun intended) those sacred conservative Republican family values like having a mistress or "friend" if you will on the side.

The GOP made the right choice. *grin*

God Bless America

8:27 AM  
Blogger wally & lisa said...

Speaking of Jill Derby & Heller. Jill Derby is planning on running again. I hope she can beat him this time. Since he's one of Bush's yes man, maybe Bush will take him back to Texas with him.

10:39 AM  
Blogger nopastels said...

Since the beginning of the election season, seems a lot longer than last year, I knew I would not vote for Hillary for the simple reason that the "right" would come out with guns blazing, bring up all the old crap about White Water, the Rose Law Firm, Bill's women, et. al. That would ensure that McCain would win, wether the Republicans can stand him or not.

I also happen to like Barack over Hillary for the reasons stated about Jimmy Carter. I think Barack talks in "real language" not Washington speak. His speeches seem sincere and from the heart, not some canned left over to throw out with the trash.

Bush did us one favor, he has pretty much destroyed the Republican party. That is enough reason to open the champagne.


7:42 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

(Stepping outside in the 70 degree Tucson afternoon for a minute)

I'm back--just had to go out and put my Obama '08 sticker on my car. (It is warm enough today to actually put it on.)

Enough gloating--I couldn't come up with any valid reason for voting for Obama in the Super Tuesday primary--except that 'wouldn't Martin be proud!' Who would Martin Luther King be endorsing? If Obama is good enough for him . . .

But I've been thinking lately about Obama and Hillary. I'd vote for either in the General, and endorsements mean little to me.

But I haven't forgiven Bill Clinton for the free trade sellouts, and he pretty much had his nose firmly stuck in corporate greed's ass. Hillary represents to me, ties to the past, "Bush lite" if you will.

Obama doesn't appear to have that baggage, he hasn't been around long enough to have been totally bought and paid for, maybe there's a chance that he and a Democratic Congress can get going on some of the unmet needs of America.

"God Bless America" ????? My ass! We don't need idiots that think God will take care of us--god takes care of those who take care of themselves. Time for whoever to get off the pot and take care of America's interests--health care, education, infrastructure, an equitable tax system that pays the bills, and a less dominant, aggressive world view.

McCain says that we've been in Japan and Germany since '45, Korea since the 50's, and will be in Iraq for essentially the next hundred or so years. I'd say, time to let them take care of themselves and bring our military home and put them in a peace time 'sleep' mode.

Think about how much money we could save if our department of defense was actually concerned with defense.

Maybe President Obama will take us in a radically different direction? We can hope!

2:31 PM  
Blogger honkytonkman said...

Clinton or Obama? No brainer. If you take the given that national politics is FUBAR, you must agree that those involved in national (or any level) politics for the past, say, 20-30 years are responsible. Clinton screams ad nauseum that she has 35 years experience. Need I explain further?

As for McCain. He has just announced that he is a Federalist, or, in his words, he is for strong states' rights and less national government. I know Republicans like to change history by just saying stuff, but a little check of a history book will show that the original Federalists (e.g., Madison and Hamilton) were staunch supporters of a strong central government and the Anti-Federalists, embodied in Patrick Henry, were adamant that the states should have the majority of power with the federal government running the post office or some such entity. Check me out in Joseph Ellis' American Creation; Alfred A. Knopf 2007.

McCain is a joke, I'm afraid. He could have retired from the Senate a national military hero and been revered by many for ever. Now his legacy will be, He's that guy that got fewer votes for President than any candidate in history.

2:40 PM  
Blogger NevadaJan said...

Where are you Cory? I've been looking for you every day. Hope you are just traveling and having fun.

10:11 AM  
Blogger Happy Camper said...

Obama scares the beejeezus ot of me, he is the most inept, spin artist,scam man I have seen since Bush 2 came through the door. I am glad Edwards is not doing any endorsements, I don't think Hillary Clinton is the most personable candidate, but hands down Obama is the most vapid. So it is HC for me... Really watch Obamas body language the next time you can pay full attention, this guy is in a state of rage most of the time.

9:51 AM  
Blogger Derek McKenzie said...

Clocks cleaned? Your dreaming. The popular vote difference will likely be under 5%. Probably more like 3 or 4%.

That with an extremely unpopular outgoing president.

Don't kid youself, McCain can win. He likely would have the upper hand against Clinton. She is almost unelectable.

As a moderate-conservative, I must say that Obama's message, personality, and ability to stay above the mud-slinging has touched me.

To those of you who believe that he is full of "rhetoric", without substance, I only ask "What if it is not all rhetoric? What if it is real?".

"You may say that I am a dreamer, but I am not the only one?"

Every voter should first see the movie "Primary Colors", this will give you what I believe to be a pretty fair characterization of the Clintons. Do/Say Anything to get elected. Ends justify the means.

I am very proud to be an American, but I am extremely ashamed of our last two leaders (while Bush Sr. was a pretty lame President, I never doubted his honorability).

Lastly, I must ask you Cory to reconsider your thought that either Democrat would be fine with you. Are you willing to live with the next 4 - 8 years of devisive politics? Not the normal politicing that has gone on for over 200 years, but the venom and hate-filled politics that has divided this country for the last 16 years of our history.

My daughter is a bit younger than your children. I want the best would possible for her and her children.

Frankly, while I want Obama to get in, I am willing to live with McCain. I will be very concerned for our country if Clinton gets in.

Thanks for the space to rant.

11:31 AM  
Blogger Ray said...

You OK Cory? There's an irony in the recent titles. "Regularly scheduled," and "suspense" are titillating, but now what?

7:59 PM  
Blogger mindervillain said...

Cory, will it stir you out of your torpor if I tell you that over the past 24 hours I've been exchanging emails with Jon Carroll regarding one of his columns.

We Farley fans aren't really fickle; we just need to stay in the game. As do you, my good friend.

11:11 PM  

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