Who cares how candidates say Nevada?

Well, you can't screw up the pronunciation of Nevada in print. That's just one of our many advantages over TV and radio.

Not to insult my new neighbors, a famously quirky bunch by reputation outside the Silver State, but ant or ont; tomadah, tomahdo or tomatoe - so what?

No one pronounces my home state correctly, either. Ever. They even laugh when I say Hawaii. A clue: It's not HaWhy.

Maybe this is why I'm in print and not broadcast, besides all the ums and ahs and unruly hair, in addition to a slightly inappropriate sense of humor that might not carry quite right when the script calls for somber.

Learn to laugh, Nevada. That's what the kamaheinas do at the bus stops and bars and beaches in Waikiki. Easterners and Brits talk funny, duh. Deal with it. Be glad when they are here, ya know? The party train moves on quickly.

No doubt rank jealousy is pushing my pen this caucus morning as I write. The Record-Courier news staff has had access to candidates and their major spokespeople that the Colorado paper I just left would kill for.

Staff Writer Scott Neuffer just picks up the phone and gets Obama? News Editor Sheila Gardner and a thousand other Carson Valley folks get up close and personal with Bill Clinton? In campaigns 2000 and 2004, we in Colorado were reduced to whimsical stories about how it was impossible for a reporter from the electoral desert even to get past a campaign intern.

So I'm a bitter man, reduced to teasing Nevadans for protecting their good name.

Actually the instinct makes more sense than the stuff coming from our presidential candidates. The rich guy for the poor people. The sitting senators touting change in Washington. And oh God, I've soured on the Bible thumping after nearly eight years of that prop in office.

I do enjoy the Mormon with only one wife and ever-changing core principles, and the candidate leaning the most on justice and morality with a string of wives, affair or two on the side, and the barest taint of mob ties through a once-trusted lieutenant.

I do like that skin color and gender finally have become the nonfactors in politics that they should be in life.

Now if I could only find a candidate I'd trust with my vote. The Republicans need a good, cleansing bitter defeat to turn away from their baser instincts. But the Democrats are too goofy, and dangerous in their way, to take seriously.

I don't need to see the candidates in person. They invariably disappoint in the flesh. I can only take small doses on TV and radio.

The current crop has said nothing new since at least 1968. Only the names and a few nuances vary; otherwise the speeches on the stump never change. Especially the ones about how candidate X, Y and Z will "change" Washington. Sure.

So I read. Newspapers, magazines, Web sites, books. The candidates disappoint in print, too. But you can begin to shear away their attempts to be likeable personalities and get a little closer to how they think, maybe even how they would lead.

For example, the two candidates I saw as the brainiest Ð Romney and Obama - wrote several months ago for Foreign Affairs, a fairly wonky journal of essays by leading and up-and-coming academics and diplomats. I picked up the issue specifically for the candidates' pieces, eager for their views in some detail.

Alas, what I read were longer versions of stump speeches. Ugh. Trite, inane, a pack of truisms. Pretty much veneer rather than oak.

Their grasp of America's place in the world didn't come across as exactly brilliant. And I'm not talking as some scholar here, either; I read a bit of everything, that's all.

Perhaps their greater sin was so obviously misunderstanding their audience. My overriding impression after reading their essays was that they'd never opened a copy of Foreign Affairs, a fairly significant journal.

I don't care how they pronounce Nevada (or Hawaii). But they sure lost me there.

n Don Rogers is publisher of The Record-Courier. Reach him at drogers@recordcourier.com or 782-5121, ext. 208.


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