I had the pleasure this past Sunday of hearing our next president, Barack Obama, speak at The Frank Jones Center. That is a pretty provocative sentence, one that Iíve uttered several times this week, to which my Republican friends have reacted with predictable disdain.
"He is a junior senator with only scant experience and no significant legislative voting record. How does that qualify him for the presidency?" they ask. Usually I donít say anything right away, in order to see if by themselves they come around to the idea that the current Republican president canít read, write, or speak English.
Itís weird. The biggest job in the world now seems to have no particular requirements. The job Iím doing now in developing documentation for professional recording software requires knowledge of music theory, computer literacy, writing skills, and a familiarity with industry standard authoring tools. There is no way George W. Bush or Barack Obama would win this job over me in an interview.
Some of our most recent presidents have had pretty sketchy resumes. From Carter their backgrounds are peanut farmer, "B" movie actor, CIA bureau chief (pretty cool), disbarred attorney, and now the presidency is occupied by a failed oil baron who went on to be a failed sports franchise owner.
Obamaís resume looks pretty good next to Bush in this now nebulous set of requirements to become president. At least heís never lost millions of investor dollars because of his bad decisions, nor has he ever completely mismanaged a war. Also, Iíd love to see their university grade-point averages side by side.
Obama is smart. He spoke extemporaneously for a half hour about myriad topics, without even notes on index cards. Bush without a prepared speech, notecards and a teleprompter is like listening to a male version of Anna Nicole Smith.
Bush and Obama apparently have youthful cocaine indiscretions in common, only it looks like Obama is ready to say so, while Bush counts on his familyís big money smokescreen to disavow, distract and deny. Iíd rather have a penitent participant in the cultural vices of his generation than a liar who leverages his familial connections to obfuscate the truth.
Your humble correspondent has suffered an occasional beak full of blasters in the past, and when I am ready to wrest the Portsmouth mayoral mantle from Marchand, there will be no word of a lie about anything, though it would be great if I didnít have to get into the whole alien abduction scenario.
Low budget amateur linguist that I am, I naturally set about on an anagram quest for Barack Obama, and the best one I came up with had a Middle East/Mexican flavor to it, "kabob maraca." Also in the name game, itís kind of cool that his first name resembles Borat, and his last name is one letter away from Osama. The best anagram I found for George W. Bush was "whose bugger." The answer is, certainly not mine.
Hillary is the frontrunner for the Democrats this year, but using me as a test case, sheís a loser for the Democrats. If it came down to Hillary or McCain, there is no way I would for that buck-toothed, manatee-thighed disingenuous harpy. If it came down to McCain and Obama, there is no way I would vote for that Napalm bomb-dropping touch-hole.
Obama has fresh ideas, such as enlisting Woody Allen in the war effort, given his familiarity with the Soon-Yi triangle.
As it would turn out, Jake Tapper of the ABC Nightly News asked the woman I attended the event with a few questions. One of which was "I notice youíre wearing an Obama 2008 pin. Why are you supporting Obama when he hasnít even declared his candidacy?" She replied, "I was behind Senator Clinton prior to getting to know Barack Obama. Iím a woman, and I would love to have a woman president. But I think sheís too much of a politician. I think to effect change, we need somebody outside of that system." I suggested they get some footage of me reading the book, which they did. I was holding the book upside down and donning expression of surprise and delight as I perused the text.
Damned if they didnít run the sound byte on the ABC Nightly News and additionally on the morning news the next day. Sadly, they left out the upside-down book footage, though they did then cut away to a shot or her and me chatting. That was my friendís 15 minutes fame. I hope Obama gets at least four years of his.
I know we donít have much to go on in assessing Obamaís qualifications for the job, but we could hardly do worse than what we have now, and Hillary turns my stomach. When he signed the book for us, his hipness factor in my assessment went sky high when I asked him if he knew Chicago native Kurt Ellingís music.
"He sang at my first fund-raiser," the junior senator from Illinois said. "I consider him a friend."
Chris Elliott can be reached at CDElliott009@aol.com