Hey Big Daddy,
I’m a young Republican staffer, and I’ve been getting calls from a reporter
who seems to be personally interested in me. We’ve had coffee together
several times and dinner once, but I’m getting the feeling that the only
interest this reporter has in me is in whatever story can be gotten out of
me, not in me personally. I’ve heard similar stories from other staffers,
too. What do you think? Am I too suspicious?
–Suspicious in Salinas
That sound you hear emanating from the pages of your Capitol Weekly is the
sound of Big Daddy beaming. If you’re young and suspicious, then let me tell
you, you have a long and prosperous career in politics ahead of you.
Condemned to life in the minority party, but long and prosperous just the
Forgive me, but I’m not exactly sure of what the problem is here. You’ve had
a few cups of coffee and a dinner with a reporter, yet you’re concerned that
he’s not interested in you, only the political tales you can tell? I’m sure
you’re familiar with the line that most folks still associate with me, that
being, “If you can’t eat their food, drink their liquor ___ their ‘women’
and then vote against them, you have no business being here.”
Well, the same holds true for you with this reporter. If you can’t drink his
coffee, eat his dinner and still keep your boss’ confidence by refusing to
share any juicy tidbits or gossipy tales with him, then perhaps you don’t
belong in Sacramento.
However, as I said at the outset, your suspicious nature tells me you’ve
chosen the right career path, so let’s take a gander at what the problem is
and what your options are.
First off, it sounds like you yourself might be a little sweet on this
member of the fourth estate (who clearly isn’t a Capitol Weekly
reporter–I’ve seen how those guys dress and I know what they’re paid).
That’s OK. I used to love hanging out with reporters at Frank Fat’s, the El
Mirador and other places with real character that are long gone from
Sacramento. Truth be told, I awoke in the morning with a young female scribe
next to me on more than one occasion.
If your concern is that your aspiring Pulitzer Prize winner is spending too
much time trying to pry stories out of you and not enough time trying to pry
something else loose, maybe you should let him know what else is on the
menu, in a manner of speaking. After all, men–especially reporters–can be a
little slow on the uptake and often times the get so focused on a particular
tree they wouldn’t notice if the entire forest were engulfed in flames.
Now, what happens if you show a little leg and still get no response? Well,
that’s up to you. Clearly, you can continue to chase a man with little
common sense who desperately needs to get his priorities in order, but to
what end? Will you continue to suffer rejection after rejection as you guard
your political virginity from a man who buys his pants based primarily on
how many notebooks he can stuff into them? Or will your drive to see if his
hands are good for more than just typing force you to compromise your
principals and, just this once, give up goods about an internal caucus
Trust Big Daddy, trust those beautiful suspicious instincts of yours and
trust your mother. If the rejection continues, you can clearly do better, so
keep on walking. And if you’re even tempted to hand over something that’s
front page, above-the-fold material in search of true love, remember, no
reporter is going to buy the cow if they can get the milk for free.