March 20, 2008

REQUIRED READING:

Politics and you … (Joe Posnanski, March 20th, 2008, Curiously long posts)

A few years ago — well, I can tell you, it was 12 years ago — I read a story in Esquire or GQ or one of those magazines by one of my writing heroes Richard Ben Cramer about Bob Dole. This was before I read RBC’s brilliant “What it Takes,” his book about the 1988 Presidential Candidates and what it takes to become president — more, what it takes to even WANT to become president.

Anyway, at the time I didn’t know much about Bob Dole — this was before I moved to Kansas City — and I was not especially open to knowing more. I always kind of just felt like he was a grumpy old guy who would stop you on the street and lecture you about wearing your baseball cap backward. I’m sure I only read the story because I was on a plane, and perhaps because I was intrigued by Richard Ben, who had written a very interesting and offbeat piece in Sports Illustrated about Baltimore.

Anyway, I started reading it, and I found something odd. I found that I really liked Bob Dole. This had nothing to do with the presidential race or his political history or anything else. I liked HIM. I liked his life story. I liked the way he dedicated his life to this country. I liked that he had (has) convictions, and while he wasn’t perfect, while he had made his mistakes, that didn’t make me like him less. It actually made me like him MORE. Because he kept coming back. He survived German machine gun fire. He survived the turbulent 60s, when he was at various times despised by the conservatives and moderates alike. He referred to himself in the third person, but didn’t seem to mean anything by it. I really liked the guy. I admired him in a way that goes beyond politics.


You really ought to read Mr. Posnanski if you're at all interested in sports and every American should read What it Takes.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 20, 2008 8:16 AM
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