Unlike W.C. Fields, I really wouldn't rather be in
Not that I don't like the City of Brotherly Love. I have a
wonderful memory of it from my second year of college, when I represented my commonwealth campus at a conference. While I was
touring around I witnessed an encounter between a flower vendor and prospective customer. The vendor was asking 50
cents for the first lilacs of the season; the woman tried unsuccessfully
to bargain, then angrily walked away.
Even though I had little money, I certainly had my
priorities in order, so I gave the vendor two quarters and a grateful smile. He handed me his best bouquet, and refused the
payment. So I stood on the curb inhaling my free lilacs and watching a parade, while the Shriners waved at the happy
small-town girl in the city.
But that was many years ago. I still love lilacs, parades
and the Shriners, but the small-town girl will be much happier not attending a political convention in any city this week.
There was a big controversy in the Massachusetts Republican
Party about which delegates would get to go, the ones elected in the caucuses or the ones selected by party leaders; it
caused a lot of hard feelings so as an independent voter I just hope all my Republican friends are still talking to each other.
We need a united front to defeat that Risky Big Government Candidate Al Gore.
It's not as if there are decisions to be made at the
convention, which is now just a Party party; the ticket already has its ticket. Bush/Cheney, better than Gore/any.
Dick Cheney seems like a nice guy. If George W. was going to
go to all the trouble to invent the phrase "compassionate conservative" to get the so-called women's vote, he might have
chosen someone a tad wimpier on the issues, but that would never be my recommendation. I prefer a man who consistently
supports the right to bear arms and a federal balanced budget. The National Taxpayers Union gave him
its "Taxpayers' Friend" Award in eight of his ten years in the House, and praised his
tenure as Secretary of Defense under the elder Bush: "Cheney presided over one of the most important cost-saving initiatives
ever undertaken at DoD -- the closure and consolidation of obsolete or unnecessary military bases."
At least we're not all going to be surprised by a Bush
choice during the convention, as I was in 1988. I happened to be in a country pub in the County Clare after a day spent
exploring my roots and some ancient brush-covered mounds. Well-misted and weary, I was perched at the bar while the
bartender heated me a cup of soup.
"What do you think of quail, then?", he asked me. I told him
that I'd be happy with just a grilled cheese sandwich.
"No, Quayle, the candidate for Vice President", he said. "Of
what country?" I asked. He turned on the television, where I saw this nice-looking blonde sharing a platform with George
Bush at that summer's Republican Convention.
"I never saw that man before in my life," I told him, and
got one of those male European looks that said "typical American female, pays no attention to politics, probably hasn't
a serious thought in her silly little head."
Well, I just wish I'd been sitting in that pub when Jack
Kemp was announced in '96! I'd have bragged that I'd met Kemp in '76 when I was working for a congressional candidate, and
talked the former football star into signing Nerf footballs for our contributors.
This year when I also know who the V.P. candidate is, I'm
spending the convention period in my own Massachusetts town, where it isn't my job to impress the natives on behalf of my
gender and my country.
I don't want to be in Philadelphia, but I'd kind of like to
be in Ireland, at that pub, assuring all the men there that I do too have some serious thoughts about American politics in my
silly little head.