Half a dozen outraged elderly gentlemen are resolved to save their grandchildren’s country by taking unfamiliar measures to make Sarah Palin the next vice president.
In the process, they hope also to help elect John McCain president. Their exact ages, withheld to protect the geriatric, entitle them to regard him as their junior.
Their weekly ritual is a lunch, sheltered in a discreet corner of a local hash house where respectable customers cannot annoy them with their maddening tranquility. Back in the kitchen, under-tipped waiters came to refer to them as “those grumpy old men,” and the tribute stuck. They deny rigorously — one of the few social graces they still perform with vigor — that they are grumpy.
Within their hallowed company is as much indigenous lore, business acumen, unrepeatable jokes, economic profundity, political savvy, and preposterous sports malarkey as can be found in any small town or medium-size city.
On a recent Friday, these grumpy old men came to the table in atypical ill humor. They had endured a bellyful of weeks of left-wing media and envious politicians who were slandering the honor of Alaska’s woman governor.
Had such churlish conduct been inflicted on one’s mother, wife or daughter, it would have been answered in their day by horse-whipping in broad daylight. They’d had enough. Chivalry wasn’t dead, they decided, just in need of CPR.
Noting that the actuarial tables don’t hold many more presidential elections for them, they vowed not to let this one get past them without leaving their mark.
They ruled out throwing brussels sprouts at the television during newscasts or crumpling up pages of the local newspaper in exasperation.
They ruled out trying to influence relatives, including offspring who long ago stopped listening to their advice.
They ruled out preaching to the favorably convinced, other than to make certain they vote.
They chose instead to go after the possibly undecided among their remaining circles of friends and acquaintances.
This was the plan they adopted: Concentrate on six states where the election is likely to be determined — Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. In one, some, or all of the six states, each of the six GOM would contact by phone or e-mail six persons they believe to be on the fence. They would make the case for Sarah, urge each person contacted to get in touch with six friends in those six states and recruit their support for her. Then, they would ask each newly contacted persons to contact six others and do the same. Keep that pyramid going through six repetitions of six, and you have — not counting the original six GOM — a total of 279,936 persons contacted on Sarah’s behalf. No? Do the math. Then, before the Nov. 4 election, make follow-up contacts, urging everyone along the line to vote for Sarah and thus for McCain, too.
That’s not too much to ask of anyone, just six persons for each person to contact. That’s all, six — no more.
Like all pyramids, the odds of this one holding together through six iterations are somewhere between zero and 279,936. But, as one of the GOM noted, “it beats throwing brussels sprouts.”
Would this work just as well for other demographic groups? Why not? People are people, wherever they reside, whatever their gender, however old they are.
Will the grumpy old men for Sarah Palin make a decisive difference in this election? Perhaps not. If they don’t make the effort at all, the answer is absolutely not.
John L. Perry, a prize-winning newspaper editor and writer who served on White House staffs of two presidents, is a regular columnist for Newsmax.com.
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