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Madness is a voteworthy characteristic

January 27, 2004|By TIM ROWLAND

George Will wrote that Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean is "a combustible brew of anger, pugnacity, moral vanity and intellectual condescension."

Funny, when I am considering a candidate, the qualities I look for are anger, pugnacity, moral vanity and intellectual condescension.

I am a fiscal conservative, a social Libertarian and on the environment, I skew toward Hippie. Since no one candidate ever shares my views, I have to look at personal qualities and no personal quality delights me more than anger, with intellectual condescension a close No. 2.

If a candidate is capable of blowing up like a mental patient on television, he has my support. If he implies that he lost because the rank and file were too stupid or too inbred to recognize his genius, that is only so much delectable sauce on the succulent main course.

Will was speaking of Howard Dean, whom I can't vote for in the March 2 primary because I am not a Democrat and I can't vote for in the general election because by that time he will have gone off like a Mideast car bomb, his scattered shards lost to the four winds.

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Pity. I want a president who is fun. Instead, we're going to be left with George Bush and someone like John Kerry, both of whom are about as entertaining to watch as that Home and Garden show, during which people walk around with a Realtor looking at empty houses.

So voters don't like anger. This is very bad news for John Munson. At least Dean didn't throw anything, except of course, his chances of winning.

On the upside, at least this is a huge blow to the Internet.

Dean was supposed to have this remarkable "grassroots" network of online supporters who would tap in to an untapped well of young folks who heretofore never had voted.

D'oh.

I guess no one told the "Internet-savvy" crowd that to vote, you need a ballot, not a blog. I mean, to vote, one would physically have to get up from behind his glowing computer screen and walk outside into the sunshine, and who wants to do that?

"Electoral college? Oh, I thought you said electronic college. Well, never mind then."

Until you can vote by clicking in one of those little round circles and hitting "submit," Webheads apparently are not going to be a force to be recognized.

And to my mind, there is nothing worse than someone who blathers on and on and on about how stupid everything is, but then when it comes time to vote, won't go out to do something about it.

Huh? What are you looking at me for? I vote. Sometimes. When there is a candidate I like. It has happened. I voted for Clinton because he satisfied my professional requirements because I need someone goofy I can make fun of, and he satisfied my private requirements because he knew how to run a country. Clinton was the one and only reason I was able to get the word "underpants" into print, and I'm loyal to a person like that.

But this year? Yuk, yuk and double yuk. Except for Governor Meltdown, everyone is as bland as Cream of Wheat. And I'm not one who votes solely because it is my "duty." It is my duty to go to the grocery store, too, but if all the bananas are rotten, I'm not going to buy any.

Too bad we immediately rule out anyone who shows any emotion. Crying killed Pat Schroeder in Colorado and Edwin Muskie in New Hampshire. Blowing up killed Bob Dole in '88 and Howard Dean in '04. Falling in love killed Wayne Hays and Wilbur Mills.

Anger is what made this nation great. Samuel Adams (the patriot, not the beer) and Thomas Paine were angry, angry men. Anger with competitors built the railroads, the steel mills and the oil patch. Anger with tycoons gave birth to the middle class. Anger kept the Spaniards out of the pantry, and when we got angry with Hitler, we saved the world.

Reagan got angry. Truman got angry. Jackson got angry. If Teddy Roosevelt hadn't gotten angry, the American consumer would have been left for dead. If Bobby Kennedy hadn't gotten angry, we'd all be paying protection money to the Colombos.

Why doesn't Social Security get fixed? Because nobody's angry about it - yet. But wait until folks start losing their pensions.

How can we turn our back on an emotion that has gotten us this far? Anger isn't to be managed, it's to be exploited. So when you go to the polls in March, do me a favor and write in "Mike Tyson."

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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