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Susan Estrich
12 Feb 2016
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First Dude


First Dude. That's what they call him in Alaska. It's OK. Todd's Ok. Whatever. He smiles at Greta Van Susteren. Not a touch of noblesse. More like plan old politesse. I always laugh a little when I see people who are very much not ordinary Americans in any respect (pay, fame, education or overall wealth, for starters) try to speak for them. "This is what ordinary Americans want," says someone whose only contact with them may be while his face is getting powdered for TV.

The truth is George W. Bush was not an ordinary American, nor was John McCain, nor has Joe Biden been one for 40 years (which is long enough to not be one) nor is anyone who graduates from Harvard Law or Princeton or Columbia. Maybe once, but not now. Heiresses who buy easily forgotten numbers of houses aren't regular.

There may be only one truly regular guy, a guy regular enough that he doesn't begin to have the arrogance to believe he speaks for anyone other than himself, in this race. And therefore, of course, he does.

He is not fancy. He is not elite. He is not a single one of the things that Barack Obama has been criticized for. He is from a town even smaller than the one he grew up in. He was secure enough to marry a smart and ambitious girl, a girl he has always thought had great things in her.

A Beverly Hills dinner with 300 best friends at $2,850 apiece is not where you would ever place him, much less ever imagine him to be. The Democrat is the guy in Beverly Hills, as comfortable as he could be, even if he didn't grow up there. He has the pedigrees.

So does his wife. So does his opponent, and his opponent's wife. So ultimately does a 36-year member of the Senate wherever he is from. It is the Republican guy who is real not rich, hard-working not fancy, so All Alaskan that he is in fact much more in touch with what he is, which is a whole lot easier for a very lot of he voters who are likely to decide this election.

A funny thing is happening on the way to this election. Actually, I am not laughing. The Palins are out there rolling their eyes at people who actually get protected in all these various banking bailouts, because it certainly seems that ultimately the only people who made out and then got bailed out were the big-money guys. Lehman and Bear Stearns don't just pop out when you're thinking about what the modern American dream means today.

Obama is in Beverly Hills, cavorting with Barbra Streisand not because he'd rather do that than snowmobiling, but because in fact he must. But the mere fact that he can is damning, not to mention time-consuming.

So the Republican are the populists on billionaire bailouts and the Democrats are debating the fundamentals of the economy. Why not blame the Republicans for the deregulation that led to the crisis? Why not point out who has been president for the last eight years, as things have gotten out of control and fallen apart?

First Dude sounds like the kind of guy many girls in this country aimed to marry, and some of them actually did, and even those who didn't (or aren't) think well of him anyway. He 's a regular guy in a posse of anything but.

Of course, I should officially report, Greta isn't quite so sure. She's waiting to find out if he can bowl.

To find out more about Susan Estrich, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



12 Comments | Post Comment
Good article.
Here might be a suggestion for the next administration whoever it consists of: New cabinet position: Dept. of Everyman. Someone to be liaisons with everyday citizens and keep the career politicians grounded in reality. Oh, you say that's what representatives and senators do? I think they are too busy campaigning for their next election and reacting to polls.
Second suggestion: TERM LIMITS
Comment: #1
Posted by: jbaugher
Wed Sep 17, 2008 7:27 AM
Actually the Bev. Hills fundraiser was $28,500 per person and that was without the Barbra Streisand concert. They were able to raise $9Million that night. I just think of all the people all this money that's being spent on the election could help. I've heard that this is called the $1billion election. l may just skip the box that marks president in November. But I live in California and it doesn't matter who I vote for this electiion- my state always goes blue. Funny how the election is usually decided in those states by people who've never been to a celebrity fundraiser.
Comment: #2
Posted by: barbara
Wed Sep 17, 2008 10:59 AM
Susan, if you check your History, you will find much of this deregulation occurred in the Clinton years. Even Robert Reich admitted as much the other day during an interview. Add to that that the top targets of political donations from such enterprises as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were Democrats...Chris Dodd, Barack Obama, Joe Biden. Then look at how much money the CEO of those organizations ran off with, in the hundreds of Millions of Dollars. And guess where they all are now; advisors to Barack Obama. In fact the Democrats in congress blocked an attemtp to reign in The Fannie/Freddies a couple of years ago. John McCain suggested action as much as two years ago. so it would behoove all of us to quit throwing stones around, you will inevitably break your own glass house
Comment: #3
Posted by: Randy
Wed Sep 17, 2008 1:18 PM
Susan --
You're the best!
(and this coming from a right-wing republican!)
Comment: #4
Posted by: George
Wed Sep 17, 2008 3:04 PM
Susan, I usually love your column. But This one -- not so much. I think there's a point there, but I'm not exactly sure what it is.
Comment: #5
Posted by: cadbury
Thu Sep 18, 2008 5:05 AM
Susan, If an investigation into the banking crisis occurred most top Democrats would wind up in jail. That is why Nancy Pelosi has not ordered one. Shumer tops the list along with Obama being in there too. Why does no one put in the headlines Charlie Rengal and his part in all this along with the special mortgage privilege that he received. Please write an article on what really happened and who was involved and educate your readers on what really happened. The truth is John McCain and others tried to address this prior to election time and it fell on deaf ears of the democrats because they were making money on this. I call for an investigation!!!!!! for the people to know the truth!!! If it involved top republicans you can bet there would be one.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Kathaleen McCausland
Thu Sep 18, 2008 5:08 AM
Hi, Susan. Lee Rodgers from KSFO said to say hello.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Larry
Thu Sep 18, 2008 7:57 AM
Susan, the common voter definitely wants to be able to connect with the person running for office. The person elected is supposed to represent the people who votes for them and this is where it gets scary in that politicians sell out to the special interest groups, lobbyists and influence peddlers. The average common man does not have a chance while these groups ply the halls of Congress or the Senate.

This is the real reason Governor Palin scored a big hit with the people and why Senator Obama has yet to close the deal with the people. He can make wonderful great speaches all day long, but, the majority of people have a had time in believing what he is saying. The Chicago style of politics does not work on the national stage regardless of what Axlerod thinks.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Gene44
Thu Sep 18, 2008 7:58 AM
Will any Democrat/Liberal ever get it right when trying to label our current economic system? We do not have capitalism right now; we have a mixed economy. We do not have a free market economy; only one that is less regulated than your typical socialistic economy. So to blame the current financial/credit market crisis on the free market is wrong. The current crisis has its roots during the Clinton presidency when President Clinton mandated that banks and lending institutions give loans to individuals who normally would not qualify for one (i.e., to low income individuals) or else be fined. That is not a free market or capitalistic economy. And the results of not having a free market are plain to everyone who is willing to look at the facts.
Comment: #9
Posted by: E Ortiz
Thu Sep 18, 2008 2:06 PM
Susan, as usual your misplacement of the facts gets in the way of your opinions. When you speak of "blaming the Repulicans for the deregulation..." you conveniently forgot to note John McCain introduced a bill in 2006 calling for tighter regulation and reform of Freddie and Fannie. In signing the proposed bill he wrote, "Failure to enact this legislation may end up costing the American taxpayers millions and millions of dollars, negatively impact the mortgage banking industry, and adversely effect the overall U.S. economy." The bill was defeated by the Democrat-controlled Congress. Barrack Obama was a solid NO vote, which was not surprising since he has received $85,000 directly from his corrupt buddies at Fannie and Freddie.
If you're going to write a column, try a little harder to tell the whole story.
Comment: #10
Posted by: webass
Fri Sep 19, 2008 7:46 AM
Todd Palin - an ordinary guy? Ordinary people show up to court when they're subpeoned - don't they? Ordinary people are not active members of a Secessionist Party - are they? The combined income in my house is not over $100,00/year. Todd Palin - ordinary? Give me break....
Comment: #11
Posted by: No Name
Sun Sep 21, 2008 9:16 AM
Hmmm, I think Susan digs the First Dude. I guess when you spend all your time around liberal metrosexuals it's eye-opening to see a real man for a change. Tell me, Susan -- in a dangerous world do you want your country populated and led by sensitive metrosexuals and militant Marxist-feminists, or by people like Sarah and Todd Palin?
Comment: #12
Posted by: Paul
Mon Sep 22, 2008 9:09 AM
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