Author Archives: gordonglantz

Let It Be (And Other Thoughts)

No Wood

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — It’s been a long time, perhaps too long.

Let’s press reset with another installment of “What Is And What Should Never Be” (named in honor of the Led Zeppelin Song).

If you don’t recall how it works, it won’t take long to catch on.

And we’re off:

What Is: We just celebrated the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, providing a chance to relive all the music and magic that took place (without getting caught in the rain and mud, let alone having to sleep outside). One of the most amazing aspects about the festival – beyond featuring a lineup of classic acts (The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, etc.) that can only be duplicated by those who turned down invites (The Doors, Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel) – is that it was as peaceful as advertised. There were two deaths – one from an insulin injection gone wrong and one when an attendee sleeping in a nearby field was run over by a tractor – and two births.

And What Should Never Be: Attempts to mark the anniversary with a reboot. A 50th anniversary try failed miserably, but at least the plug was pulled to avoid the type of chaos that occurred at the 25th anniversary attempt (although the Philly-area band Huffamoose, featuring some real talented guys I’ve worked with, played the first day – before it went haywire on the second). That should serve notice to anyone wanting to make a 55th, 60th, 75th or 100th. It was a once in a lifetime event. It was a historical event. History naturally repeats itself anyway – often tragically – so we need not spur it along because we can’t think outside the box. In my mind, there was another Woodstock. It was Live Aid in 1985. I was there, at old JFK Stadium. It was my Woodstock. I’m good, thanks.

Iowa

What Is: In the landscape of our country still struggling to reach its potential greatness, consider Iowa as Exhibit A.

And What Should Never Be: Iowa wielding the political power that it currently does in the flawed political system that ultimately leaves voters from the other 49 states – and the District of Columbia, which somehow isn’t its own state – holding their noses in voting booths and feeling like they are voting for the lesser of two evils. Consider Steve King, the Iowa Congressman, who has uttered so many hateful and absurd pronouncements that they are not worth repeating. Do we really want a state whose voters elected this sad individual to disproportionately control to fate of America the way it does?

colin_kaepernick_jan_rtr_img

What Is: As soon as Eagles backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld was lost for 6-8 weeks, which equates to a few weeks of the regular season, the chirping began for the Eagles to sign exiled Colin Kaepernick began. It only increased when the No. 3 quarterback, Cody Kessler, went down for the count with a concussion and the Eagles coaxed 40-year-old Josh McCown out of a short-lived retirement.

And What Should Never Be: Sorry. Not the case. This was a football move, period. To paraphrase “The Godfather” (greatest movie of all time), this is business and not personal. A commitment to Kaepernick would have been complicated. Other teams – most notably, Seattle in 2017 – have kicked those tires. His reported contract demands were unrealistic (immediate chance to start, at starter’s pay). In a league with a fixed salary cap, and considering the pending media circus, the choice against becomes more vivid. I have my own personal feelings on Kaepernick, and where he was and is coming from, but it wouldn’t be fair to put them out there with any proof. Let’s just say, as both an Eagles’ fan and a bleeding heart liberal (i.e. snowflake) who supported his right to protest under the First Amendment, I’m fine with how it went down. If Sudfeld were out for the season, different conversation. He’s not, so drop it.

Bibi

What Is: Israel banned two U.S. Congresswomen, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, from visiting the West Bank, sparking such outrage on the left that Bernie Sanders – my Bernie Sanders, whose family fled the same Nazi persecution that help lead to the formation of Israel – called for an end to U.S. aid there.

 

And What Should Never Be: Hopping, skipping and jumping to the facts here. While it was wrong to not let elected officials visit, it’s also wrong to sweep with one broad brush about Israel. These are the actions of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (a graduate of Cheltenham High School right here in Montgomery County). Known as “Bibi,” he was elected by a narrow margin, with his Likud party eking out the more moderate Blue And White party of Benny Gantz. Sound familiar? It should. They are almost as polarized there about their leader, also working on his third marriage while operating under corruption charges, as we are with ours here. Just like many of us don’t want to be judged by the actions of your president (not mine) many there feel the same about their prime minister. When detractors quickly seek to punish “all Israelis,” I can’t help but think some other bells are going off in their heads.

Looop

What Is: John Hickenlooper, the former governor of Colorado, dropped out of a crowded Democratic presidential race that most average citizens didn’t even know he was in.

And What Should Never Be: I like to make fun of John Hickenlooper because, well, his name is John Hickenlooper. Worse yet, he actually looks like someone whose name is John Hickenlooper. However, to his credit, he did the right thing here. Not only is the herd thinned by one, but he is now going to run for a senate seat currently occupied by a vulnerable Republican. All he needs is a nickname. Go get ‘em, “Loop.”

This column appeared in Time Times Herald on Aug. 25

No Retreat, No Surrender

GunArt2

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE – So now your president (not mine) is willing to do something about gun control?

He’ll knock on Mitch McConnell’s turtle shell, see if he pokes that obtuse face out, and will let us know.

Then, maybe if they get a permission slip from the NRA, they’ll consider some background check language to file under “Red Flag” legislation.

While it’s a start, and you can never run down a start, I think we all know it’s not going to be sufficient.

And I think we all know that the next mass shooting after these laws go into effect will meet with a lot of “I told you so” remarks and smirks from the right.

The reality is that so much more would need to happen before the passage of time – five years, 10 years, etc. – shows a marked decrease in gun violence (mass shootings, street shootings, accidental shootings and suicides).

There are many facets to gun violence. It’s not a single-cause crisis, and there is no one magic-wand approach to making it vanish.

It’s a syndrome, with multiple causes.

And solutions.

We would be spraying Raid everywhere, except the hornet’s nest, without addressing the type of assault weapons used in Parkland, Vegas, Orlando, El Paso, Sandy Hook and so many other tragedies.

There was once a ban on these tools of destruction, and gun massacres (six or more deaths) dropped 43 percent. After it lapsed in 2004, under the George W. Bush administration, there has been a staggering 183 percent increase.

They like to say that the key to prevention is to turn every outpost in the country – from elementary schools to beauty schools, from supermarkets to dollar stores, from Little League fields to houses of worship – into armed fortresses.

Not that simple.

“I didn’t do anything because I thought police would think I was the shooter,” said an armed witness to the El Paso massacre.

Still, despite rather hollow willingness and passing-the-buck drills, we need to start someplace.

Those who are quick wrap body armor around the sugar daddy that is the gun lobby don’t want to go there, but any willingness to go somewhere that leads us out of nowhere is promising.

At least we are seemingly working past the “too soon to talk about (gun control)” and hollow “thoughts and prayers” mumbo jumbo.

Most of the country, as has been the case for a while, remains in favor of background checks. Democrats more than Republicans, but not by as much of a margin as you would think.

And there was this, in the wake of the recent shootings, from your president (not mine).

“Mental illness and hatred pulled the trigger. Not the gun.”

Actually, hatred did pull the trigger of the El Paso shooter, who was bent on shooting Mexicans after leaving behind a manifesto that was dipped in the DNA of the rhetoric of your president (not mine).

Your president (not mine) was not a welcomed guest in El Paso, and it showed when all eight hospitalized victims refused to meet with him.

He won’t own that, but he seems willing to move – after which he will likely shove it in the face of his 2020 presidential opponent.

It might be worth the tradeoff.

What are being called “Red Flag” laws could just be a trap serving as sort of a political flypaper. It should, by no means, lead to waving the white flag on legislation – the type that would have to come after a powerful left hook in 2020 – really needed for substantive change.

Taking ancillary causes (mental health, video games, Hollywood, etc.) and making them the core issue could be as dangerous, long-term, as doing nothing.

There are people called epidemiologists who are experts in studying, well, the science of epidemics in all forms based on statistics.

And that’s where we have been for far too long with gun violence.

How do you explain, for example, that women also have mental illness but 98 percent of those pulling the trigger in gun violence are men?

There are varied definitions of who is or isn’t mentally ill, although it is generally accepted that as much as five percent of the population have a condition that would require a psychiatrist (as opposed to a psychologist, counselor or member of the clergy).

Research shows that only 43 percent get help, and it is also noteworthy than an estimated 60 percent of American counties do not even have a psychiatrist.

The epidemiologists point out that people with mental conditions are, in fact, 3.6 percent more likely to exhibit some sort of violent behavior but are 23 times more likely to be victims of violence.

The FBI did a study in 2018, and it pointed more toward factors beyond being insane.

This is more about those who go temporarily insane, as the study pointed to financial stress and disputes/bullying at school and/or the workplace with co-workers. Substance abuse was also cited.

What happens when someone is infuriated?

They might go home and punch a wall. They might get their drink on at the local tavern. They might go the gym and pump a battleship’s worth of iron.

But, in the land of the gun, there are other realities.

Even though our mental health issues are not different than that seen in other countries, the difference is access to guns.

We have 400 million civilian-owned firearms, which breaks down to 120.5 per 100 residents (i.e. more than one per person).

That puts us first, with lovely Yemen (just under 53 percent per 100) a distant second.

This is what we call a real red flag.

This column first appeared in The Times Herald on Aug. 18, 2019.

No Friction With Fiction

Anne with an E

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — After nearly two weeks north of the border – in Halifax and Charlottetown in Prince Edward Island (that’s Nova Scotia, for those of you who can’t find Nebraska on a map) — it was interesting to see how long it takes for me to be impatient and brusque with people after consistently encountering the complete opposite.

And it will be interesting to note if I will ever want to see a lobster ever again or if I will now crave the best lobster on the planet.

Probably won’t take much more than some deplorable aggressive driving by a grunt in a pickup truck, but I digress.

Just about every elevator trip at both hotels involved friendly conversation.

And my Flyers tee-shirt was a key spark in the land where hockey was invented.

“Philly, eh?” I was asked.

Since the Flyers are pretty much struck in neutral and don’t inspire the same ire they once did from hockey purists, the conversation switched quickly to Philadelphia’s pride and joy.

Independence Hall?

Nope.

Liberty Bell?

Nada.

The Eagles?

If you saw what passes for football up there, you’d know better (although my Eagles’ shirt did get one passing thumbs-up).

Give up?

Try Rocky Balboa.

Rocky Raw Meat

It struck me as interesting that Philadelphia, known for being the alleged birthplace of the so-called liberty we enjoy, is universally noted for a fictional character.

Then again, Charlottetown was where the groundwork for Canada’s independence was first laid when members of the rest of the British Commonwealth gathered in 1864, for what became known as the Charlottetown Conference, to discuss how to break from the clutches of the Crown.

And yet, that is not why we – or most others – were there.

It was also for a fictional character that Sofia has come to adore after reading all the books about her.

That’s Anne Shirley, the semi-biographical alter ego of author L.M. (Lucy Maud) Montgomery.

At the time of my elevator encounter, during which the friendly chap said “Rocky” was his favorite movie because of the life lesson about taking a beating and not giving up, the better half and Sofia were seeing a stage play based on the series of “Anne” books.

We spent multiple days in Cavendish, where the life of the author is a literal cottage industry, and we saw a musical version of the character’s life (I survived by dozing off for a good portion of it).

So I guess you would say that the two historic places are better known for their fictional icons is kind of messed up, huh?

Three mass shootings in a week, including two in the span of 24 hours? That’s messed up.

A grown man in Montana fracturing the skull of a 13-year-old for not removing his cap during the national anthem? Messed up.

Fictional characters being larger than life? No way.

As much as I dig history, and think it should be studied thoroughly (we did a whole walking tour to learn the history part of Charlottetown), I have to say it’s kind of cool.

Two characters were created that were so sympathetic — and relatable — that they are the first thought for many outsiders of the home terrains upon which they were created.

Visitors from around the world making it the first order of business of running up the Art Museum steps to play the role of Rocky, the brainchild of a then-struggling actor named Sylvester Stallone, is not an anomaly.

In PEI (Prince Edward Island), there was an abundance of Japanese tourists. It didn’t strike me as odd until it was explained to me that a local woman once went to Japan to teach and, due to the lack of age-appropriate literature of the time, she introduced the series of “Anne” books to her students.

It reminded me of a conversation I had with a Swedish co-counselor at summer camp, who happened to be a 6-foot-4 Olympic swimming hopeful that I could never convince to play on the counselor hockey team. He related how the original “Rocky” was common viewing at places where athletes there trained, and added how the sequels (there were only a few at that time) were a disappointment.

It struck me how what seemed to be the experiences of Rocky Balboa on the streets of my hometown were not uniquely unique.

That is the power of art.

That what makes bitter reality easier to swallow.

This column appeared in The Times Herald on Aug. 11, 2018.

Needed: Two Ingredients

DC State

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — Bob Dylan, writer of so many amazing overt and covert political/protest songs, was asked to name what he believed to be his most powerful statement.

The answer was not “Masters of War” or “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall.”

Instead, he was rather nebulous, leaving it blowing in the wind, stating that his most political songs may be his love songs.

He then added that everything is political.

I took that to heart, holding it near and dear as one of my personal 10 commandments.

So whenever the rightful issue of statehood for Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., is brought up, which it has been a lot lately, all the logical reasons why — such as that pesky little “taxation without representation” thing (some D.C. residents even have it on their license plates as a form of protest) — it gets real political real fast.

Let’s just say it has Republicans seeing red, as it is an idea of it being tangled up in blue.

A whole lot of it.

Two new states would mean four new senators, with the high probability of them being all Democrats, thus tipping the scales of social justice in what many of us believe is the right direction.

It would also mean more congressional districts, mostly blue, and the slow build toward the end of gerrymandering that has put a stranglehold on swing states like Pennsylvania and Florida.

That seems like a dirty trick to tip the senate, and it will be sold to right-wingers and centrists as such, but actually it is the right thing to do.

And — as in love and war — all is fair in politics.

If the need were to arise, citizens from both territories could not avoid serving in the military (unless they have bone spurs). Those from Washington, D.C., pay the same taxes as we do, and Puerto Rico’s residents pay some taxes depending on if they are a federal employee or a business owner.

The voting scenario, as currently constructed, heavily favors the Republican party and keeps the Senate within a swingable margin every election.

That would fine if only it represented the actual national population, but situations where states like Montana and South Dakota have the same number of senators as California and New York is, as Mr. Spock would say with one eyebrow raised, highly illogical.

How much traction, for example, would even a symbolic common sense gun control law have if smaller and more rural states didn’t have equal votes on issue favored by the majority of Americans?

statehood-poll

Residents of D.C. have voted overwhelmingly for statehood, and why wouldn’t they? It would provide residents with full representation in Congress, as opposed to what they have now — paper tigers called congressional delegates (as it stands now, Congress can run interference in D.C.’s local laws that don’t typically fall under congressional jurisdiction for other states).

It is a completely unfair scenario in which its residents pay federal taxes but have a muted voice in the legislative body that sets those tax rates. They point to numerous situations where local laws for marijuana policy, gun control and combating HIV/AIDS were interfered with by Congress.

The arguments against it — having to change textbooks (in an era of computer learning, it’s barely an issue), it’s not what the founding fathers wanted (yawn) — pale in comparison.

In terms of Puerto Rico, the gesture would be the least we could do after the abhorrent response there was in the wake of Hurricane Maria in 2017.

It immediately raised questions as to why a territory without true political clout and power would get second-class treatment after a natural disaster, and it put the island’s history as a territory under the microscope.

Unlike D.C. residents, those in Puerto Rico — under U.S. colonial rule since 1898 — are not even able to vote for president.

Residents call it “The Island,” but it is nothing but a colony under the rule of a nation that turned its colonies into states when it broke free from British rule after the Revolutionary War.

With approximately 3.2 million new citizens in Puerto Rico, and close to 700,00 in D.C., we would suddenly see Republicans thinking twice about the arcane and absurd electoral college that left us with two of the poorest excuses for presidents in the modern history.

Puerto Rico would be the 29th most populated state, with four to five representatives in Congress and six or seven electoral votes. D.C., which currently has three electoral votes, would be 50th, ahead of Wyoming and Vermont (and barely behind Alaska and North Dakota).

Putting it in more local terms, to show the disparity, just Philadelphia alone would be the 40th most populated state and have two senators voting for cheese steaks as the national food.

Adding Puerto Rico and D.C. as states would not be some crazy socialist idea – as Mitch McConnell told some non-journalist on Fox News – as we all know, he would be the first in line if the shell were on the other tortoise.

The reality is that this not some revolutionary idea. Every 50-60 years, U.S. territories were accepted into the union as states.

I started elementary school in 1970 – the year “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was on the radio and “Airport” was in drive-in movie theatres – and can remember American flags that still had 48 stars on them (Alaska and Hawaii became the 49th and 50th states in 1959, 60 years ago).

So, it’s not really time to just think about it.

It’s time to do it.

This column ran in The Times Herald on July 22, 2019.

Time Is On Our Side

Snowy-School-Bus

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — Often to my wife’s chagrin, Sofia and I are so much alike that is frightening.

If you ever wondered what the saying of two peas in a pod means, just observe us in our national habitat for a while.

But there is one area where we clearly differ.

I pride myself on being not only on time, but at least 15 minutes early.

And with the ongoing PennDOT conspiracy to road work in my path, I like to leave even extra travel time to get to where I need to be.

If we’re early, we’ll deal with it.

We can always sit in the car and chill with some tunes, until we don’t look too early, right?

I never want to hear the words “it’s about time” when I – or we – are late for wherever we need to be.

That vibe carries into the outside world, where I find myself saying “it’s about time” when enough red tape is cut for logical decisions to be made.

Today, I bring you some examples:

-Ana’s Corner Store, at Township Line and North Wales roads in East Norriton, was held hostage by road work for what seemed like a biblical 40 years. While I like to stop there on my way to make musical magic at Morningstar Studios, I have been avoiding it like the 11th plague that the scenario was. I feared for the survival of the privately owned business but, lo and behold, it has outlasted the road crews.

Instead of amen, let us bow our heads and say, “it’s about time.”

-Speaking of PennDOT –which has twice damaged my car with new road paint, but I digress — it announced that multiple police departments in Eastern Pennsylvania are launching a special aggressive driving enforcement campaign. It will last through the end of August.

Among the participating departments are Norristown, West Norriton, Upper Merion and Plymouth. They will be focusing on a host of aggressive driving behaviors (running red lights, tailgating, speeding, distracted driving, etc.)

I kind of sort of thought this was their job to begin with, and I also wonder what happens after August, when the initiative concludes (17 fatalities in Philadelphia’s five surrounding counties were the direct result of aggressive driving in 2017).

While my own temper is my own worst enemy, I have successfully tamed the beast within as I have mellowed with middle age. Still, nothing like a schmuck thinking the road belongs to him (and it’s usually a him, not a her) to get me angry.

It will be nice to know police will be out to curb this stupidity, which will protect me from myself as well.

Again, instead of amen, let us bow our heads and say “it’s about time.”

-Finally, we no longer have to hear about those a bit longer in the tooth than we are walking to school – 18 ½ miles, each way, in two feet of snow – and mocking us for calling off school before one flake hits the ground.

I guess it does seem a bit foolish, and there have been times when it has backfired, but it is better to be safe than sorry – especially with all those aggressive drivers out there who don’t respect the conditions.

As a kid, I loved snow days. The options were endless. Sledding, shoveling for do-re-mi, playing tackle football or – as it was often with me – sleeping in and then watching movies.

As the parent primarily responsible for Sofia’s transportation, I had quite a different view. There were a few times when the school attempted to stay open during a bad snow storm, and I had to pick up Sofia amid worsening conditions on a day when the school should have planned ahead.

It’s always a tough call, as school districts want to get in at least a half-day so that there won’t be makeups at the end of the year.

But extra buses on the road, with road crews trying to do their thing, make for an added mess.

Why mess with a messy situation?

Tom Wolf signed a bill (Senate Bill 440) this week that will allow the option for “cyber snow days.”

Translation: With computers, which have been around since Al Gore invented them, stay home and do your schoolwork – and still have a chance to be a kid in the snow.

“School districts need the added flexibility of ensuring their students’ continuity of education is not interrupted by the weather or any other unplanned school closure,” said State Sen. Kristen Phillips-Hill said in a statement.

Phillips-Hill, of York, was the sponsor of the bill that is open to all schools, public and private, for approved periods of three years.

To Phillips-Hill, we stand and applaud and say, “it about time.”

The following column ran in The Times Herald on July 15.

Back To The Future

warrensanders

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — You know what I miss most from my younger days?

Going to this place they called a newsstand to purchase something I could hold in my hands. It was usually a sports magazine and the purpose was to check out the latest rankings in boxing, college sports, etc.

In the spirit of the times of yore, let’s review my rankings, post-debate, in the Democratic presidential field (all listed, and even those who missed the cut, are 110 percent better than what we have now):

1) Bernie Sanders (BernieSanders.com): I’m including that website – as I will for all – because my chosen candidate since last presidential election is mistakenly depicted as someone who wants to “give everything away for free” without a plan to pay for it. There is a plan. You’ll love it, trust me.

2) Elizabeth Warren (ElizabethWarren.com): Not much substantive difference between her and Bernie, and I’d vote for her in a heartbeat if it came to it.

3) Tulsi Gabbard (Tulsi2020.com): This is where there is a big gap between the top two and next group, where I saw a lot of people who would make quality cabinet members for Pres. Sanders or Warren. Among them was this 38-year-old Iraq War vet. Secretary of State Gabbard? I like it.

4) Kamala Harris (KamalaHarris.org): In real time, her verbal assault on front-runner Joe Biden seemed more calculated than off the cuff. Still, while I’d like to see her serve more time in the senate, I would pay good money for ringside seats to see this 54-year-old former prosecutor dismantle your president (not mine) in a debate. Attorney General Harris? I like it.

5) Eric Swalwell (EricSwallwell.com): A 38-year-old with a boyish smirk that reminds me of the kid no one really likes but who always wins the election for student council anyway. Still, he ranks this high because of he is the strongest of all the candidates on gun control, my long-standing No. 1 issue.

6) Cory Booker (CoryBooker.com): When Booker spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2016, I said to myself, “Self, this is a future president right here.” I still see it. I’m just not sure about 2020.

7) Jay Inslee (JayInslee.com): The Washington governor is a single-issue candidate. That single issue, though, involves trying to save us from ourselves on climate change. Some of the candidates want to save the country, Inslee wants to save the world. Cabinet seat? Please?

8) Julián Castro (JulianForTheFuture.com): Before the debate, the former Housing and Urban Development secretary was just one of those guys in the red shirts on U.SS. Enterprise who met a tragic fate early in Star Trek episodes. But he came prepared and vaulted himself into a position to sway what will be the vital Hispanic vote. Vice President Castro? Who knows?

9) Andrew Yang (Yang2020.com): Want an extra $12K per year? Yang is your guy. Like Sanders, there is method behind what sounds like madness and worth investigating. Since he has no real opinion on anything else, he’s not a viable president candidate, though.

10) Marianne Williamson (Marianne2020.com): Let’s be clear. I have as much chance of being elected president as she does, and she’d be the first one to tell you so. That was liberating enough for her to really say what needed to be said a few times. Before a rather bizarre Yoko Ono moment toward the debate’s end made this Oprah disciple the butt of day-after jokes, I was semi-impressed.

11) Joe Biden (JoeBiden.com): The presumptive nominee ranked behind Marianne Williamson? Yeah, right now, that’s the way it is. Consider it a wake-up call, my man. Nobody wants a guy named Joe to be ordinary.

12) Beto O’Rourke (BetORourke.com): The flavor of the month has lost its taste, and the well-meaning congressman whose claim to fame is a moral victory in a Senate bid against Ted Cruz didn’t seem to have much focus on the debate stage.

13) Tim Ryan (TimRyanForAmerica.com): In the debate, he sounded a lone resonating note that ignored applause-line topics that won’t amount to a hill of baked beans in the general election (LBGTQ rights, legalizing marijuana, prison reform, etc.). That note – winning back key swing industrial states like his own (Ohio) and ours (Pennsylvania).

14) Amy Klobuchar (Amy-Klobuchar.com): This well-meaning Minnesota senator is failing to distinguish herself.

 

15) Steve Bullock (SteveBullock.com): He wasn’t in the first round of debates, but that could add to his mystique as the new sheriff in town (he has the ideal name for it for a hero in a Western).

16) Pete Buttigieg (PeteForAmerica.com): How dare I, right? Well, I just dared. He brings a lot of good qualities to the table, but let’s turn those qualities into more experience on the national level and we can talk down the line.

17) Kirsten Gillibrand (2020.KirstenGillibrand.com): First of all, is that domain name even legal? Secondly, she was quite the annoying Ms. Budinsky for a while on the debate stage, but then something happened on the road to Rudeville. She made sense on a variety of issues.

18) Wayne Messam (WayneForAmerica.com): Interesting to note that Messam was just elected to his third term as mayor of Miramar, Fla., which has a larger population than Buttigieg’s South Bend, Ind.

19) Joe Sestak (JoeSestak.com): Once upon a time — in a galaxy far, far away — I sat in on an editorial conference with Sestak during one of his failed bids for the senate. A former three-star Navy admiral, he called me “sir” – twice. That earns him a spot on this list.

20) John Hickenlooper (Hickenlooper.com): Pres. Hickenlooper? Try saying that out loud. You can’t? Neither can I. It’s a shame, because he is tough on gun control (see website).

Missing the Cut: John Delaney (JohnKDelaney.com); Bill de Blasio (BilldeBlasio.com); Seth Moulton (SethMoulton.com); Michael Bennet (MichaelBennet.com).

This Column ran in The Times Herald on July 7.