They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it; for it is money they have and peace they lack.
  -James Earl Jones "Field of Dreams"
and don't go mistaking paradise for that home across the road
  -Bob Dylan "Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest"

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Seeing a President

Unlike my sons, who saw Bill Clinton in Tempe in 1996, I have never looked at a U.S. President. I have seen a few people who ran (or are currently running) for President but never one who served as president -- yet.

In high school I was a member (one of two in my home town) of the TeenAge Republicans. I helped set up for rally in downtown Imlay City for George Romney, who was running for re-election as Michigan's Governor. This was probably 1964. He stood on a stage -- I think it was actually a haywagon -- at the corner of Third and Almont and addressed the curious crowd that had gathered. Romney was later the frontrunner for the 1968 Republican Presidential nomination until he told a talk show host he had been "brainwashed" by the government on the subject of the Viet Nam war. Apparently folks in those days didn't care that he was a Mormon but weren't too enthusiastic about someone susceptible to brainwashing.

Bruce Babbitt was Arizona Governor in the 80's and ran for President in 1988. I saw him several times in Phoenix, including once at the office of our pediatrician, where he was bringing one of his children. I had a brief volunteer stint working for him in the Iowa Caucuses and on my last full day there drove his van.

On that same trip to Iowa I saw Michael Dukakis, who would ultimately be the Democratic nominee, in the lobby of a Des Moines hotel. Boy is he short.

Somewhere in the early 90's I was in the snack bar of the Petrified Forest National Park with the boys. I think that this was in conjunction with one of our camping trips to Sunset Crater. In walked John McCain with a few other people, no ceremony, just people getting sandwiches and Cokes. I have no idea what he was doing there. When I ran for the legislature in 1986 I had been on the same ballot as McCain, who was running for the Senate for the first time. We were scheduled to both be at a debate at Shadow Mountain H.S. but he didn't show up.

And of course I saw Barack Obama at the rally at the Colisseum a couple of weeks ago.

This means that unless Hillary Clinton manages to come from behind and get the nomination, I have seen the next President.

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