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Pansophy proffered by prez primaries

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By Ned Cantwell

Presidential primary politics came packed with rewarding wisdom.Hillary gave me the knowledge a super bright, dynamic woman can contest for the presidency and have a real shot at coronation.McCain gave me hope that in this wacky world of waffling, there is still hope for a tough old boot who tells it as it is.Obama gave me inspiration in that our country, once shamed by slavery, could well elect its first black president.Mike gave me joy in the realization a fun-loving, guitar strumming rock and rolling former Baptist minister with the unlikely presidential name of Huckabee could capture the American imagination.But the greatest gift of all came from our friend and our governor, the beloved Bill Richardson. Bill gave me kerfuffle. What a marvelous, marvelous word. I can’t stop saying it. Kerfuffle, kerfuffle, kerfuffle.Actually, Big Bill had an assist in passing along this gift. When he returned to New Mexico from the national stump, bowed, not broken and certainly not humbled, there were a plethora of news stories trumpeting his return from the campaign wars.One of them was written by Leslie Linthicum of the Albuquerque Journal. Leslie described a CNN interview in which the governor “talked about the kerfuffle over alleged Iowa caucus-night vote trading that had Richardson steering his supporters toward Barack Obama.”Theory has it that Bill, who has professed disinterest in the vice presidential slot but wants to be vice president so bad his eyes may bug out, is covering his bases. I had thought the Clinton-Richardson scuffle was a mere dust-up rather than a full-blown kerfuffle.Apparently it made Bill Clinton so mad his eyes did bug out. Hillary’s husband pouted it was the Clintons who took an obscure New Mexico congressman and transformed him to political star. How could he do this to us, the potential First Gentleman wondered.Well, he didn’t do it. Bill Richardson says this is all one big misunderstanding. In fact, according to Linthicum’s story, Richardson said Bill Clinton called him and he and the former president were able to “clear the air.”So, there you have it. The cynic might say the “clear the air” story suggesting all is hunky dory between the two Bills might be more believable had it come from the mouth of the Bill who was former president rather than from the Bill who aspires to high position. But let us not deal in political trifles.No, let us rejoice instead in knowing the episode has given New Mexico “kerfuffle,” a word that joins “ultra penultimate” on my list of all-time, really cool things to say.Kerfuffle is more popular across the pond where it found life from “carfuffle,” the Scots’ “car” meaning awkward and, “fuffle,” meaning disheveled. There is nothing awkward about our governor but he can look a little disheveled with his bolo tie askew and traces of a super-sized Snickers Bar on his lips.A kerfuffle, we learn, is smaller than a contretemps but larger than a snag. Let me put that in perspective for you, guys. If you forget to send flowers on your anniversary, you’ve got yourself a snag. If you forget you have an anniversary, you are smack dab in the middle of a contretemps. A kerfuffle would be when you say, “honey, I love you, but I sent the flower money to Obama.”Kerfuffle can be just about anything. To me, it means “favorite new word.” To Bill Richardson, it may never mean “vice president.”Ned Cantwell welcomes response at ncantwell@ beyondbb.com.