The Rant 

Here's the thing about our friend Tim Sampson, who fills this space most weeks: He knows what he's talking about. He reads all about the politicians, forms detailed opinions, then writes his columns secure in the knowledge that he is well informed. You'd think that's a good thing, but the problem is so many of the rest of us are completely uninformed and therefore don't fully understand what he's talking about. Although I have figured out that he stays pretty pissed off.

Yes, I am one of the deliberately unaware. There may have been a time when the whole politics thing seemed groovy to me and I kept up to date, but those days ended sometime around President Clinton's Hummer-Gate. All of those old white guys getting squeamish while trying to make political hay made me find other ways to keep entertained. I've been very busy deciphering the instructions to my new cappuccino-maker. Hours of my life have been filled laboring to teach my cats tricks. This is important work, people.

Still, I try to read Tim's column because he's an old friend. In fact, the dissolute misanthrope was once my boss. (Wrap your head around what that was like.) Now, I open the Flyer and wade my way through his screed, often baffled at who the players are and what their agenda may be. Tim knows his local politics, and there, I've got nothing. There are a whole lot of Fords, and they seem to get folks awfully riled up, but I don't like getting riled up. We've had the same mayor for a really long time, and whether that's a good thing or a bad thing isn't for me to say.

On the national front, as far as I can determine, the Republicans are apparently going to run Fred Thompson, Rudolph Giuliani, or the Mormon guy who doesn't want to always be referred to as the Mormon guy. I understand his wishes on this, but the only name I have for him is the Mormon guy. I will give him this: He has majestic hair. If we elected presidents solely on their sartorial splendor, he'd already be measuring for drapes. Or one of his wives would be. (It's a joke, son.)

Giuliani seems pretty cool to me. What I love is that at one point while he was mayor of New York City, he was living in the mayor's residence with both his soon-to-be ex-wife and his mistress. That's not bad for a squirrelly guy with a bad comb-over.

I've met Fred Thompson, and he was very actorly. When you meet someone who is actorly, you know it. They're very well spoken, have a practiced conspiratorial wink, and know how to wear makeup. Unfortunately, I can't shake the fact that I know lot of actors and they're, um, not that smart. They can memorize words really, really well, but you don't want one doing your taxes.

On the Democrat side, they seem destined to run Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, or Barack Obama. There's also that crazy little elf, Dennis Kucinich, but this country will never elect a President Dennis. Damn it.

John Edwards seems like a genuinely nice guy, but it's hard to get past the whole fighting for the poor while having a house the size of an airport thing. Obama is a very charismatic guy. The few times I've seen him on TV, he's come across as totally prepared to be president. You know who also seems totally prepared to be president? Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Yeah, that's not going to happen either.

Hillary. If you noticed that I saved her for last, it's mainly because I'm afraid of her. We can quibble about whether her eight years of icily smiling at her husband while she was first lady qualifies as "experience" or whether it even makes sense that she's a senator from a state she had never lived in before, but the truth is, most every American is scared of the woman. I don't mean that we fear that she'll do something crazy as president. I mean we're afraid that if she got angry at one of us, she would personally kick our ass.

Between now and whenever we're supposed to vote — which I think is probably sometime next fall — I'll do some actual research. Or I'll just keep reading Tim's column. And do the exact opposite of whatever that lunatic advises. Like I said, I know the guy.

Dennis Phillippi is a Memphis writer, comedian, and radio host.

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