Mr. Cope's Cave: Blue Square Fits in Red Circle


Did you get in to see the president, Mr. Cope?

I didn't even try, Scooter. A few too many long lines and interminable waits involved for these old feet. But I would have loved to be there.

It was really exciting. I've never been that close to a president before.

So you were there?

Not "there," exactly. But I was watching on television in the Student Union, and that's only a few blocks away. I might as well have been in the men's room with him.

Yeah. Same thing.

It was weird he came here, don't you think?

To Idaho? I wouldn't say "weird," exactly. Odd, maybe. Bold, maybe. And I have to think a little ballsy. But not weird. "No-Drama Obama" may be the least weird president since "No-Trauma Truman."

I've never heard Truman called that before.

Neither have I. I just made it up.

So why do you think he did it? Come to Idaho.

Could be he really does believe what he's been saying all along.

About what?

About America. "There are no red states, there are no blue states. There are only the United States."

He said that Tuesday night in his big speech. Or something like it.

And he said it 11 years ago when we all saw him for the first time. Just maybe, he believes it, you suppose?

What's so surprising about that? Are you implying that politicians don't always believe what they say?

Now how old are you again? 12?

No need to get all sarcastic, Mr. Cope. So you're saying it doesn't matter to him that this is about as red as a state can get, or that Idaho is full of people who think he's the worst thing ever?

I'm sure it matters to him, but this guy has shown over and over he isn't intimidated by a few shit-headed Republicans.

Mr. Cope! That's not very charitable of you. And not at all in the spirit of how the president would approach philosophical differences. 

Junior, I've always said I admire Barack Obama. I've never said I was him.

So tell me, have you ever been close to a president?

Nope. Not that I know of.

What's that mean?

Nothing, really. But... and don't tell anyone else this... but sometimes I like to imagine there was a president who would disguise himself and sneak out to mingle with regular people.

Like Henry V.

Yeah, like Henry. Because he sincerely wanted to hear what people think. And maybe, that night way back when, when I sat in that bar talking with that total stranger about all that stuff, it was really Jimmy Carter. Or Gerald Ford.

Or Ronald Reagan?

No! No way I'd sit in a bar talking to that asshole, even if I didn't know who he was.

But wouldn't all those Secret Service guys make a president easy to spot?

Uh... yeah. But they aren't part of this fantasy.

It just doesn't seem very realistic, Mr. Cope... that a president could go out to bars and hang around, listening to a character like you without having a bunch of Secret Service guys right there, making sure you don't try something. Does it?

Um... no. Now it doesn't.

Before I go, I wanted to ask what you think about the deflated football thing.

I have a better idea. Why don't you go first, then ask me about the deflated football thing?

Mr. Cope, when everyone else in the whole country is either watching football, or talking about football, or waiting for the next football game, what do you do to occupy yourself?

Well, see, I used to imagine what I would say to a president disguised as a total stranger in a bar. But now, I guess I'm going to have to think of another way to spend my time.