Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 417, May 13, 2007

"Hi Mom!"


Presidential Elections: America's Nasty Habit

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

I love how it's May 2007 and the 2008 primary season is apparently set to get started.

The Florida Legislature recently voted to destroy every semblance of electoral order by moving its presidential primary from early March to January 29th. This move has angered South Carolina, which now may move its January 29th primary to January 22nd. If this happens, experts predict New Hampshire will move its January 22nd primary to an earlier date as well. Which, of course, would force Iowa and Nevada to move their January 14th and 19th caucuses to somewhere closer to New Year's.

I think this is great. Why wait till 2008 to hold the 2008 presidential primaries? Let's do it this year. In fact, let's do it last year. Then we could get the whole process over with, without even having to go through it.

If it sounds like I'm complaining, well, that's because I am. You should know me by now. I complain about everything. Sometimes, though, I also like to see the bright side. And believe it or not, I do see a bright side to the way these presidential elections keep getting longer and more drawn out.

Case in point: The Associated Press recently interviewed several of the major—which is another way of saying "approved"—candidates about their nastiest personal habits. This is the kind of unnecessary information we wouldn't be privy to if our election seasons weren't unnecessarily long.

According to the AP, Hillary Clinton confesses her bad habit is chocolate. I find this fascinating. I also find it slightly less than factual. I don't know, maybe it's me, but I always assumed Hillary's worst habit was simply existing. Maybe chocolate was her secret way of saying her worst habit is pandering to minorities.

Then there's former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who claims his worst habit is "talking too much." Really? I like when he talks. I never saw that as an issue. You'd think a worse habit would be not talking to his kid.

John McCain owns up to drinking coffee, while John Edwards admits to drinking lots of soda. I drink both of these things. I don't see them as problems. I also drink plenty of whiskey. And boxed wine. And beer.

Barack Obama has an interesting bad habit: He likes to check his Blackberry. Wow—just like other people!

Senators Chris Dodd and Sam Brownback both have a habit of being late. (Perhaps with their menstrual cycles?)

Tom Tancredo smokes cigars. (Hey, so did Bill Clinton.)

Mitt Romney fidgets. (Hey, so did Bill Clinton.)

Mike Huckabee channel surfs.

And Governor Bill Richardson kinda, sorta strays from his diet sometimes. (Sometimes?)

How do any of these things count as bad habits? Picking your nose and wiping it on people—that's a bad habit. Shooting homeless folks with potato guns—now we're talking. But John McCain saying coffee is his bad habit reminds me of every obligatory early morning conversation I've ever had with a coworker in front of the office coffee machine. That's all we are to John McCain. We're the office coworkers he has to pretend he doesn't mind talking to.

Coffee jokes and obligatory conversations—now those are bad habits, if you ask me.

You want to know what's really wrong with all these presidential candidates? It's not the everyday vices that make them "just like us." Nor is it the fact that they run for president longer than the length of your average presidential term. It's the fact that they shave. I'm sick of these clean-shaven candidates. In fact, that's my biggest problem with Hillary Clinton. If she wins, it'll represent the final culmination of this century-long trend away from presidents with beards.

This country was a better place when our commanders-in-chief had whiskers. You know it, I know it, and somewhere up in Heaven, Chester A. Arthur's fine mutton-chopped mustache knows it, too.

If Hillary wins next year, I hope she stops waxing her upper lip.

Jonathan David Morris writes from Philadelphia. He can be reached at

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