Bob Bestler

Sorry, folks, but I’m not tossing my hat into the crowded 2020 Democratic primary

Shown are “I Voted Today” stickers at a polling place in Philadelphia, Tuesday, May 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Shown are “I Voted Today” stickers at a polling place in Philadelphia, Tuesday, May 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) AP

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for showing up on this beautiful day.

Let me be blunt. Many, many people have told me I must join all other Democrats and run for president of the United States.

Many of those people have said, “Bob, you cannot remain the only Democrat on the planet to sit on the sidelines at this critical point in our nation’s history.”

How, they ask, will you explain your failure to act when your great grandchildren and their great grandchildren ask, “Pop-pop, what did you do in the election of 2020?”

Telling them I continued to play golf once a week won’t impress any of them and that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I have been considering, at long last, tossing my Ballybunion visor into the ring. I’m no John Hickenlooper, but who is?

I have not set up an exploratory committee. I have not prepared an announcement.

But I have held many robust kitchen-table discussions with family and friends. Suffice it to say, they are divided.

Some say our nation needs my quiet voice in this time of chaos.

Some say only I can put the “united” back into the United States.

Others say I may be right for the job, but they fear that I may be too old for a rigorous primary campaign against a small continent of eager young candidates and Joe Biden.

It’s a strong argument. I will be 80 on election day and, while some say 80 is the new 78, I am not so sure. It’s true that I look younger than Bernie Sanders. Don’t we all?

I believe, as the wise man once said, age brings wisdom. I also believe age brings a lot of other stuff I’d rather not discuss during the Iowa caucuses.

There are other hard realities. For one thing, I don’t have a large built-in constituency.

McClellanville’s 500 citizens and its handful of voters could hardly start a national landslide. And I’m afraid it may be too late to move to a metropolis like South Bend, Ind., or Anywhere, Mont.

Someone — I’m not naming names — wondered if my head would even fit on Mount Rushmore if I won. “It’s pretty small,” she said. Size does matter, I agreed, but let’s not rush things.

So I have heard the voices of the people, many, many people. I have heard the chants. I have witnessed the marches. I have envisioned my picture on a can of Grape Nehi.

But the final decision is mine and mine alone. And so, ladies and gentlemen, let me just say:

I may be a Democrat, but if nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve.

Now watch this drive.

Contact Bob Bestler at bestler6@tds.

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