On the way to South Carolina on Friday to see my mother, who is recovering from hip replacement surgery, I listened to talk radio.
I got to hear Glen Beck, Neal Boortz, and Rush Limbaugh, all of them straight with no chaser.
Not those soundbites that make the news, but hour upon hour of their radio shows.
Somebody should have warned me.
Glen Beck, it seems, is infatuated with Glen Beck.
Neal Boortz almost put me to sleep. Not because he was boring, but after Glen Beck, he sounded like Uncle Charlie on My Three Sons.
Rush Limbaugh sounds like he is tired of the whole idea of The Rush Limbaugh Show - between all the weird sounds he makes with his mouth, and the intermittent arguments he has with the production people on his show who are talking into his headphones while he's on the air, which sound to the rest of us like the rantings of someone who is losing it, he pretty much comes across as a jaded impresario.
He's still better at actually stringing together coherent sentences than Boortz and Beck will ever be, but Limbaugh sounds kind of the way Elvis used to look when he wore those crazy outfits in the early seventies that were so cool back in the sixties
I had a thought while I was riding along, taking in all the shucking and jiving, the juvenile smears and the patriotic vitriol.
What if these guys ran the country?
Not for real, but for a week or two, the way we used to do back in school.
When I was in the eighth grade, my middle school had a day near the end of the school year where the students ran the school for a day. I took the place of the principal. Other students were the vice principal, the guidance counselors, the teachers – if I remember right, we did everything but serve lunch.
Being the principal was cool.
We walked around the hallways and talked on the intercom and stuck our heads into classrooms.
What we didn't do was any of the reporting or tabulating or recording of information that the real administrators did every day.
The piles of papers that the principal had stacked neatly on the credenza behind his desks, the piles that normally sat on his desk in front of him, didn't mean a thing to me.
Maybe Barack Obama needs to just turn up on day at the Limbaugh studio and hand him the keys to the Oval Office for a month.
"Rush," Obama would say, "my family is having a reunion back in Kenya. You know how it is in Africa - when they celebrate something, the party lasts for three weeks."
Could you imagine that? Rush Limbaugh running the country? Glen Beck being the Secretary of, the Secretary of, the Secretary of...
...well, maybe an Undersecretary of the Interior.
Could you imagine Rush Limbaugh giving a State of the Union address with a straight face? Rush Limbaugh discovering how hard it is to get a congressman or a senator to do anything?
If he ran it the way he runs his radio show, he might not make it three weeks.
After having thoughts like these, its no wonder that on the way back to the ATL yesterday, I ended up listening to the blues.