Sean Connery for president
(or was that Sean Edwards?)

Expanded from the Sunday, 2-8-2004, Daily Sparks, Nev., Tribune
2-12-2004 Comstock Chronicle

Think superficially, all ye who enter here. We're gonna talk politics.

In short attention span America, we have time for little more than surface tension. We dropped depth charges on in-depth coverage many fathoms ago.

What should we expect when our national discourse has long been governed by the limbo rock school of politics — how low can you go? (The converse question, how high can you go, only applies to the price of buying a future officeholder.)

But you already know all that.

I come today not to bury Caesar, but to give him a makeover because I look with queazy eye on the super-straight guy. If the Donkeycrats want to win in November, they'd better remember Billy Crystal's most famous admonition: It's more important to look good than to feel good.

And this year, no one looks better than Sen. John Edwards, D-N. Carolina. He's a compelling speaker who at the ripe old age of 50 retains his boyish good looks. I guarantee you that right now in the bowels of the West Wing, ex-Sparks schoolboy Karl Rove is assigning his dog robbers to find the oil painting of Edwards which ages in lieu of the candidate.

Why are pretty boy politics so important? Because unless the Demolitioncrats nominate Edwards, John Kerry will be the Al Gore of 2004. If Gore had the demeanor of an undertaker, Kerry's the embalmer at Big Al's Funeral Home.

None of this addresses the issues, but who cares? Dubya got elected on cosmetics, much as John Kennedy did in 1960.

Bush got close enough to steal the 2000 election by looking more affable and approachable on TV. The historical precedent lies in the legendary Kennedy-Nixon debates of 1960.

Those who heard the candidates on radio thought Nixon won. Those who watched on TV gave the nod to JFK. Historians have largely supported Richard the Rotten because of his better grasp of the issues. But the facts didn't matter. John Kennedy was cute. The hunk scored a slam-dunk.

Fast-forward 40 years. By the time of the second Bush-Gore debate, I was so disgusted with both that I decided to blow it off. My very wise wife watched intently. I occasionally glanced at the TV from the next room and forced myself to listen to one or two exchanges.

At the end, my wife thought Gore had won on the issues. My attention was so superficial that I was in no position to judge. All I saw was Dubya's "aw shucks" looseness vs. Gore's awkwardness. Like Nixon, Mr. Gore had proven himself a radio candidate in a television age. I felt a cold chill.

Gore's overall ineptitude let Bush get close enough to steal the election in Florida. I've publicly warned about flaws in computer election systems since 1978. Many states will use paperless touch-screen systems this year, an opportunity to savor for latter day emulators of the late Chicago Mayor Richard Daley or New York's Boss Tweed.

Once an election is known to be close, a gambler or thief is in his comfort zone wherein a reversal becomes plausible to the public. As Election Y2K proved, our vote counting system has always been approximate. To succeed in a high-stakes race, a frontrunner has to win big to get outside the ripoff red zone.

People want a president who makes them feel all ooey-gooey. Ronald Reagan was a non-intellectual introvert but the public seldom saw it. He knew what people wanted and developed a public persona by acting like his hero, President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Only Howard Dean and John Edwards possess the media presence to be competitive with the c-student born with a silver foot in his mouth. (Apologies to Lily Tomlin as popularized by Ann Richards.)

Alas, Dr. Dean did much more than shout and shout to knock himself out. That leaves only Sen. Edwards standing between His Accidency, Bush the Lesser and four more years.

Some have raised Edwards' support of the Yucca Mountain nuclear dump as damaging to his hopes in the Silver State. Bull. The dumpsite is not on the public's radar screen. Hasn't been for years and years. It's just a convenient way for politicians to act and sound heroic, the equivalent of opposing crime or kiddie porn.

Nevada is currently figured as safe for Bush in November, despite his decision designating earthquake-prone Yucca as scientifically sound. Nuke waste is currently on the way to the Nevada Nuclear Test Site. Game over.

When the Democrat demolition derby begins at caucuses statewide this Saturday, they need to remember the hard lessons learned by Nixon and Gore.

'Twas ever thus. Not long after JFK was elected, Hollywood producer Albert "Cubby" Broccoli reviewed screen tests to decide who would play James Bond in "Dr. No." Fortunately for his investment, he brought along Mrs. Broccoli who advised using a little-known actor whose only claim to fame was Disney's "Darby O'Gill and the Little People." She told her husband to cast Sean Connery because "the women will love him."

As Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., has long advised his followers, women and minorities elect Democrats. If the Donkeykongs want to win the electronic game, they ignore Mrs. Broccoli's advice at their peril., John Edwards has not.

PAY ATTENTION, PART DEUX. This Tuesday, the Alliance for Workers' Rights hosts a lecture on job exports. (Sen. Kerry voted for the disastrous North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) signed by President Clinton in 1993. Sen. Edwards was not yet in office and has been very critical of it.) David Solnit and former Tribune staffer Deidre Pike, who covered recent NAFTA/WTO protests in Miami and Cancun, Mexico, will speak at 1101 Riverside Drive (at Booth Street and the Truckee River in Reno), 6:30 p.m.

Pike and Solnit recently attended the events surrounding meetings of the WTO (World Trade Organization), NAFTA and FTAA (Free Trade Agreement of the Americas) in Cancun, Mexico, and Miami, Florida. Ms. Pike has worked as a columnist, reporter and editor at all three Truckee Meadows newspapers and is currently a journalism instructor. She was detained by Mexican authorities and was freed to cover the events only by fluke.

Solnit is a twenty-year veteran of progressive struggles. He was an organizer of protests against the WTO in Seattle and the FTAA in Miami. He is the editor of the soon-to-be published book "Globalize Liberation, How to Uproot the System and Build a Better World." He also organized a coalition of labor, environmental, anti-war and direct-action organizations called "Save Our Liberties."

Discussions will follow the presentations.

For more info, contact the Alliance at (775) 333-0201.

Be well. Raise hell.


Election theft Y2K: 1988 warnings ignored
Daily Sparks Tribune 11-19-2000

Budgeting for Another Florida
Fixing the machinery of American democracy wound up
at the bottom of President Bush's budget last week.
New York Times 2-8-2004

Great minds think alike — Nationally syndicated columnist
John Brummet worries about Kerry's likability factor.
Las Vegas Review-Journal 2-8-2004 | C.O.P. | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors
| BallotBoxing.US
Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive


Copyright © 1982-2004 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 35-year Nevadan, a member Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of and Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.


Site composed and maintained by Deciding Factors (CWA signatory)
Comments and suggestions appreciated. Sign up for news and bulletins.