Campaign politics for the trivial minded

When Democratic front-runner Howard Dean was asked his favorite movie he answered, "A Beautiful Mind." I'm looking for a candidate who favors my own biopic, "A Trivial Mind." A trivial mind recalls Dean's favorite movie - but not his exact position on what he did or didn't do when governor of Vermont, or what secrets he will release if President Bush does the same.

A trivial mind remembers Democratic candidate John Kerry's shopping-mall rhetoric for "the real deal" - but can't quite grasp what he says he meant by seeming to join in voting for the Iraq war.

A trivial mind remembers the woman on the radio saying "Dennis, I love you" when asked for a message to candidate Kucinich in a matchmaking contest for a potential first lady. But I can't remember what's wrong with his idea that a US withdrawal from Iraq would lead the United Nations to take over there as it should have been asked to do in the first place.

Well, maybe you don't have to be trivial to remember Carol Moseley Braun's embracing smile. But I can't remember why all the candidates don't embrace her single-payer health plan.

A trivial mind remembers retired Gen. Wesley Clark's line that only someone who has not seen combat would say "bring 'em on," as the US commander in chief did. But I can't be sure what Clark would've done, should've done, but might not've done and yet surely might've done on that Iraq war resolution.

Even a trivial mind can hardly believe the report that it was merely a decoration turkey President Bush appeared to be serving the troops in Iraq in that Thanksgiving photo op. But a beautiful mind would surely understand his switcheroo repealing steel tariffs in the face of European threats to retaliate against products from states of electoral interest.

A trivial mind wonders if Saddam Hussein looked better before his shave in captivity. But such a mind can't be sure (1) why Hussein will be given a trial, since he has been pronounced guilty by the President of the United States or (2) why any trial should not be in an international court.

When they make the movie of my trivia it will probably be hyped as a legislative blockbuster, "Kill Bill 3 Unless It's Approved by Karl," and it may not be my favorite.

Roderick Nordell is a former Monitor staff editor.

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