I’ve been sitting in the editor’s chair way too long to be super impressed by any political candidate or any super star for that matter. Once you interview Jimmy Carter and Barbara Bush, have a sit down with Mike Ditka and Reggie White, there’s not a whole lot of room to grow. I’ve talked to Chuck Grassley, who sits at the pinnacle of world political power, enough to know folks are pretty much folks.
It’s rare that I have run into a person on the campaign trail I didn’t find interesting, regardless of political party. Were I to have the misfortune of interviewing somebody like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or maybe Elizabeth Warren, I might change my mind.
But this week I had the chance to sit down for a half hour with former Maryland Congressman John Delaney and I’ve got to say, he came across as a genuinely nice guy. A week ago I was mildly impressed watching the debates when he stood up and told the truth to the likes of Bernie Sanders, Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke and the other socialist mal-contents, about the impossibility of passing and funding universal Medicare, including coverage for illegal aliens.
He got booed by the crowd. Sanders cursed at him.
We had a very frank conversation about the chances of his winning the Democrat nomination. It’s not for sure that he will even be in the next debate because of his polling numbers. I told him I didn’t think he was radical enough to win in the primary that is largely driven by far left lunatics.
He said that the closer it gets to the primary, the more moderate Democrats will begin to show up. Maybe he’s right. Apparently, like most Republicans, moderate Democrats have to go to work every day and get their kids to soccer practice and don’t have time to zero in on a presidential primary.
The other thing he told me that I thought was interesting was his take on the history of immigration reform. In 2013 a bi-partisan immigration reform bill passed the U.S. Senate. He was in the Congress at the time and John Boehner wouldn’t bring the bill to a full House vote because (according to Delaney) he feared newly elected Tea Party representatives would take his job as Speaker of the House. I’m not sure that makes perfect sense since Paul Ryan ousted him from the Speaker’s chair anyway.
But what was interesting is that the 2013 bill, which Delaney is sure President Obama would have signed, is virtually a mirror image of most of the things (minus the tweeting) President Trump is pressing for.
This stuff happens. My dad and I had an often volatile relationship. We argued about everything and ultimately it turned into sport. A sport my mother, my wife and almost anyone in earshot hated. We loved and respected each other, but liked to draw verbal swords, thrust and parry. It became particularly intense when my dad decided to hate on H.W. Bush and voted for Ross Perot.
Anyway, I can’t remember the nature of the argument, but we got tangled up and went for an hour in exhaustive verbal combat. At the end of it, we both just stopped. My wife took me aside and said, “You know for the last half hour you’ve been agreeing on everything you’re arguing about.”
At that point, we started to lower the temperature of our own rhetoric. It was crazy, though, to have someone point out the blindness that occurs in the midst of heated argument.
Democrats won’t lower their weapons of spite and hatred toward Donald Trump because they think it will cost them election points. Republicans won’t sheath their swords because they don’t want to look like weaklings.
Delaney called the President an “idiot” in the course of our conversation, so it isn’t like he is Gandhi or some other middle ground purist, but he did speak with reason and seemed to mostly listen to the questions I was asking instead of puking out campaign rhetoric.
I still can’t come to grips with the climate change hysteria, although Delaney’s plan to combat man-made global warming reaches out 30 years instead of the 10-year Armageddon of most of the rest of the Democrat field. Using the sale of carbon credits and gradually phasing out coal in lieu of nuclear, natural gas, wind and solar, Delaney would have us “carbon neutral” by 2050. Except that man-made CO2 is miniscule to CO2 produced by nature. Plus, the CO2 created by Americans is a fraction of the carbon pollution emitted by China, India and other emerging nations around the world.
You bring that up, even to the moderate thinking Delaney, and you get sort of a glazed over look. “What if you’re wrong, sun spot activity changes, the earth starts to cool and you’ve destroyed a large portion of the U.S. economy in the meantime?” I asked him.
“Well, the earth would still be a better, cleaner place,” was his reply.
Okay, I get that. It’s an argument that Christian apologists use in trying to convert the agnostic. “What if you’re wrong and there is no God,” the God-denier will argue.
“Well, then you’ve lived a righteous, well-meaning life following the precepts of Christ,” is the answer.
I’m not sure how effective that reasoning is, though. It’s the truth, but as John Delaney discovered in his last debate, the truth sometimes doesn’t get you too far.
A football aside. A story in the Register a couple of days ago interviewed University of Iowa strength and conditioning Coach Chris Doyle, and the subject wasn’t lifting weights, but getting the correct amount of sleep. Doyle used quarterback Nate Stanley and Chariton tightend (now NFL tightend) T.J. Hockenson as poster children for getting adequate sleep.
Their regular sleep pattern is nine hours, which Coach Doyle says keeps them healthy, encourages healing and allows for maximum performance. This is a far cry from the Paul Hornung (Notre Dame and Green Bay Packer great) model. Hornung was a legendary party animal who would show up for practice (even games) still hung over from the night before, with maybe an hour or two of sleep, and rush for 145 yards.
I’ve never been a party guy, but I’ve also never gotten even eight hours of sleep on average. I top out at six and a half or maybe seven on the weekends. If I get to bed at 2 a.m. (rarely happens) I’m up at 5 a.m. But my lifelong lack of sleep does explain a lot about my “maximum performance.” Thankfully there is coffee.