Connecticut Post (Sunday)
If columnists can run for office, I nominate ...
Between us, Nicholas Kristof and I have won two Pulitzer Prizes. Unfortunately for me, he has won both of them.
Kristof, as a New York Times international affairs columnist, has lived through malaria and reported from red hot war zones. He once encountered an Indonesia mob carrying severed heads on pikes, and, when entering the Congo, survived the crash of his plane, only to have to leave the country hurriedly, fleeing the wrath of a warlord.
Now he is about to do something really dangerous: enter the fray of American politics as a candidate. Kristof is leaving his job as a New York Times columnist to run for governor of Oregon.
Running for (and, even worse, holding) public office in America did not used to be routinely hazardous, but in 2021, if you would like to avoid being shot with a curare-tipped dart out of a blowgun, you would definitely be better off in the forested areas of northeastern Peru than running for the school board in Florida.
School board used to be kind of boring, but now it is like being Indiana Jones, as you try to get from your car to your front door without being squashed by a boulder being rolled at you by crazy-eyed anti-health, Uncritical Race Theory weirdos.
Remember when Americans used to sneer at the tin-pot politics of foreign places where life is cheap and power resides in hereditary tyranny and meaningless acts of violence?
Yeah, that’s basically us now.
I was watching one of the current flock of cuckoo birds on TV the other night and he said, “We had 40,000 Brazilians come through (Arizona’s) Yuma Sector alone headed for Connecticut wearing designer clothes and Gucci bags. This is not economic migration anymore.”
My first thought was: Of course they shop a lot in Brazil. Where do you think the name Amazon comes from?
My second thought was: Our worries about a population drain are over. Connecticut is about to become the samba capital of the Northern Hemisphere.
My third thought was: Oh, it’s just Lindsey Graham, the “cute Beatle” of post-Trump, mid-Trump, pre-Trump, Age of QAnon Politics.
There are no Brazilians coming here. No Gucci bags. Remember when lies had to be sort of plausible? No more. You just make up batpoop crazy stuff, and it gets you five extra minutes on “Hannity.”
This, Nicholas Kristof, is the political Thunderdome you’re walking into. Actually, a life spent running, notebook in hand, toward hot zones where khat-chewing militias with anti-aircraft guns mounted on flatbed trucks try to carve out small parcels of power might actually be good preparation for entry into American politics, circa 2022.
Still, do we want this to become a trend? American news columnists running for office? What if my friend and fellow Hearst columnist Danny Haar ran for mayor of West Hartford (or, as he calls it, West Haartford) where we both live?
Would I be expected to vote for him? I like Danny and very much appreciate his columns; but, between you and me and the lamppost, he has the attention span of an Irish setter. If he were mayor, lampposts would rise 12 feet in the air and abruptly stop while he moved on to something else.
Also, the current mayor, Shari Cantor, is famous for doing cartwheels in town parades. She’s only about six years younger than me, and I’m closer to being wheeled in a cart than I am to doing cartwheels. You don’t give up on a mayor like that.
Actually, West Hartford is worth watching, whether Haar runs or not. A group of Republicans, exasperated by the general lunacy and the enabling of U.S. Capitol rioters, has broken away from the GOP and revived A Connecticut Party, the principled, centrist vehicle created by Lowell P. Weicker Jr. in 1990.
The goal of this new group is to be, as far as I can tell, Republicans, but the kind we used to have before the Era of Elective Rabies.
I’m excited. Not enough to do cartwheels but to bang excitedly on the sides of my cart. I’m going to vote for a few of them because I’d almost rather have Republican officeholders who can control their saliva than Democrats.
I’d also consider supporting Connecticut for Haar, but if I don’t, I’m pretty sure he’ll forget in a few hours.
Colin McEnroe’s column appears every Sunday, his newsletter comes out every Thursday and you can hear his radio show every weekday on WNPR 90.5. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up for his free newsletter at http://bit.ly/colinmcenroe.