As the polls closed and the pundits pontificated Tuesday evening, the grassroots gab was flying fast and furious in the cramped study of a modest, lily-white, suburban ranch home somewhere in the Deep South:
Fourteen-year-old son: So Dad, what’s the deal with these primaries?
Pater Familias: They’re the process that each party uses to select its nominee for the general election. In most cases, the candidates are competing for that state’s delegates who would then have to promise to vote for the winner at the convention next summer.
Son: Okaaay…so Pops, if Hillary wins, are we going to move?
PF: Move where?
Son: You know, Canada, or someplace like that. A lot of the kids at school are saying that.
PF: Well, first off, someone running away from Hillary wouldn’t be better off by moving to Canada. And secondly, if Hillary wins, we’re not going to move.
Son: Does Alabama have a primary?
PF: Yes, but hardly anybody ever pays any attention to it.
Son: Do you think Alabama will vote Republican again this year?
PF: Is the Pope Catholic? Is SEC football the best in the land?
Son: Gotcha. Say, Big Dog, do you know who you’re going to vote for?
PF: First off, let me say this: I love it when you call me “Big Dog.” But to answer your question, no, not yet. I’m still watching and listening and trying to make up my mind.
Son: Don’t you always vote Republican?
PF: Hardly. I’m more of an independent. I’ve voted for both Democrats and Republicans in my lifetime, depending on the person and the circumstances.
Son: What do you think of McCain?
PF: I like him. If there was ever a bona fide American hero, he is one. And if he says waterboarding is torture, I’m not going to argue with him.
Son: Got that right. Hey get a load of my Huckabee imitation: “Hey evrabody! I’m a Baptist Preacher–Vote for Meeeeee!”
PF: (chuckling) That’s pretty good. I think he’s funny, and I think he would be a great guy to run a 10-miler with. But I’m pretty sure I don’t want him to be my President.
Son: If you vote for a Democrat I’m going to kill you.
PF: Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
Son: Most of the people at church are Republicans.
PF: So I hear. But there are a few Democrats.
Son: No way.
PF: Yes way. I know a few of them. They just don’t go around talking about it. It’s not the kind of thing that you mention in polite company-it doesn’t get you very many invitations to Sunday lunch at Logan’s Roadhouse.
PF: You know what I think would be fun?
PF: Putting an “Obama ’08” bumper sticker on my car and driving it into the church parking lot just to see what kind of reaction I get.
Son: They would think you’re nuts!
PF: So what else is new?
Son: Dad, if you do that, I want to get an Obama t-shirt and wear it to youth group.
PF: (smiling) It’s a deal.