[politics] The guy you’d rather have a beer with

I was thinking on my walk this morning. Dangerous, that. About President-Elect Obama, and what he represents to me. A lot of things I’ve talked about before here, and many others have touched on as well. Hope, change, trust. A belief that the government can be good again, and govern with the interests of the American people and the world at heart, instead of cynical power-mongering and ideological blindness. I may be wrong, dead wrong, and if I am, I’ll fight this administration just as I’ve fought the last, but right now I feel pretty good.

One thing I never did understand about Bush the Younger was the “guy you’d want to have a beer with” meme. That was a big one in the 2000 election, and got some play in 2004. I was living in Texas when he became governor there, and there was nothing about the man I found likable. Incuriosity, petulance and smug entitlement are qualities I associate with University of Texas frat boys, and I never wanted to have a beer with them. Why would I want to have a beer with a candidate who radiates those same characteristics as if they were virtues? Besides, I don’t like beer.

Barack Obama is the first presidential candidate I would actually want to sit down with over dinner and shoot the shit. Even candidates I’ve supported in the past didn’t resonate with me personally the way Obama has. Neither Hillary Clinton nor John Edwards raised any sympatico in me during this election cycle. But Obama? Different. I’m not sure why, and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter in the larger scheme of things, but if he’s ever in Portland with an hour to kill, I’d be happy to buy him a basket of Cajunized tater tots and talk about life. I’ve never before been moved to say that about a political leader.

But I’m having limeade, not beer.

5 thoughts on “[politics] The guy you’d rather have a beer with

  1. Michael J. "Orange Mike" Lowrey says:

    I think the “guy you’d have a beer with” meme was aimed at precisely the redneck fratboy mentality: the kind of rural ruling-class that still holds sway in my native South and all over rural and small-town America in general. They are the swaggering BMOCs who hold court in honkytonks where they can hit on the waitresses, and put on suits if they have to look respectable at the country club daddy bought his way into.

    However, that said: the Democrats are fools if we don’t recognize the legitimate resentment of ordinary Americans who don’t think a degree from either Yale or Harvard is a necessary qualification for the Presidency.

  2. Jay says:

    @1 Democrats are fools if we don’t recognize the legitimate resentment of ordinary Americans who don’t think a degree from either Yale or Harvard is a necessary qualification for the Presidency.

    Yet, where did “ordinary guy” Bush get his education? I take your point completely, but the irony would be stunning if it hadn’t been killed off by the last few years.

  3. Perhaps Obama is like Clinton and Reagan. Those who hate Obama, can’t really explain define why people adore Obama so much. People who adore Obama, can’t really define it either. They just know that Obama is appealing and has magnetism on an almost unconscious level, and this has been lacking in the last 8 years. Even for conservatives, many of who (the honest ones anyway) lamented a lot of Bush’s shortcomings.

    I know I’d have voted Obama in a heartbeat, if I were still in my early 20’s. Alas, I feel I have become a jaded fuck in my 30’s and Obama seemed too good to be true. Or maybe it was all the hype surrounding him — the near religious zeal of his followers — that I found too good to be true.

    Anyway, the rubber hits the road in January. I hope Obama does well.

  4. Jaws says:

    Of course, there’s been an Eli elected in the Executive Branch for nearly three decades:
    Vice-President (1981-89), then President (1989-93), George H.W. Bush (Yale BA)
    President William J. Clinton (1993-2001) (Yale JD)
    President George W. Bush (2001-present) (Yale BA)

    And, in contrast, consider this:
    President James Earl Carter (1977-81), BSME U.S. Naval Academy
    Vice-President Walter F. Mondale (1977-81), BA and JD, University of Minnesota
    Doesn’t say much for them public universities, does it? (And before anyone shrieks, I’m a multiple-AB from a Latinate private university, but my doctorate is from a public university.)

  5. Jeri Merrell says:

    It may be unpopular to suggest this in this venue – but for all that I sure don’t want her to be my vice or actual president, and our views on many, many issues diverge, I think Sarah Palin would be a heck of a lot of fun to spend a morning drinking coffee and shooting the breeze with.

    But then, I’m all mavericky that way. 😉

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