Big Daddy

Big Daddy

Hey Big Daddy,
I recently visited the state Capitol with my family, and saw hordes of cameras gathered outside the governor’s office. That giant bear right in front was covered in microphones, and tourists were all blocking the halls waiting for the governor to come out. Is that safe? Is that normal?

–Sally in San Diego

Hey Sally,
Ah, yes, the bear. The governor bought the bronze behemoth on a lark after one schnapps too many while vacationing in Aspen, or something like that. I forget the details of the story. His rationale had something to do with children.

And it’s true. The kids love the bear. Some of them do unholy things to the poor critter, but the statue is the most popular inanimate object inside the Capitol this side of John Garamendi.

But the children in the Capitol press corps, well, that’s another matter. The governor has a perfectly good press conference room just across the hall. Capitol Room 1190 connects to the governor’s press office. It’s outfitted with a nice lectern, ample space for television cameras, and nice swivley chairs for reporters to sit in while they wait the customary 20 minutes or so after the announced press conference start time for the governor to show up.

But lately, Room 1990 has been emptier than a Schwarzenegger promise to tear up the state’s credit cards. Lately, the bear has been the governor’s press conference meeting place of choice. Hey, I get it. This is a win, win. Not only does he get a more gubernatorial optic standing in front of those impressive wooden doors to the governor’s office, he also gets a couple hundred adoring fans at his press conferences.

Sure, the reporters don’t like dealing with the unwashed masses at their press conferences, but hey, tough luck. The confabs at the bear force the reporters to show tourists like yourself what they really are – heartless bastards who are under-shampooed, and who don’t hesitate to push a six-year-old girl out of the way if she’s in between them and their shot.

The bear is totally inconvenient. And really, that’s the point, isn’t it? Why should the governor meet the press on their terms, on their turf? Let them stand. Let them sweat. Let them shove. Let ‘em cry about it.

It’s difficult for reporters to get good audio from the bear. Hell, half the time it’s impossible to hear anything the governor’s saying. But really, is that such a bad thing? How many times has the governor actually said anything of merit, in front of the bear or otherwise?

So, don’t think of the bear as a bear at all. Think of it as a giant, broze middle finger right in the face of the Capitol press corps. Now that’s something the children might really love.


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