Working at their regular guyness

The Baltimore Sun

It sure is a hoot watching Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, two wealthy, powerful U.S. senators with Ivy League backgrounds, trying to out-regular-guy each other.

Here's how the story is shaping up so far:

Clinton says she's a regular guy and accuses Obama of being an elitist. The other night she went to Bronko's Restaurant and Lounge in Crown Point, Ind., and had a couple of drinks.

If you drink at a place called Bronko's, right away you're proving your regular-guyness.

And Clinton didn't just demurely sip a margarita and nibble from the bowl of trail mix, either.

No, she had a beer and knocked back a shot of Crown Royal whiskey, too.

OK, she took two little sips of it first, which isn't what regular guys do.

But then she slammed it back, like you're supposed to. And a few minutes later, she had a slice of pepperoni pizza.

Pepperoni pizza - you can't get more regular guy than that.

Regular guys don't go for those froufrou pizzas with the little pineapple slices and arugula and rinsed capers and freshly grated Asiago cheese and all that stuff.

But pepperoni, that's regular-guy all the way.

Obama rejects the elitist tag and says he's a regular guy, too. He likes bowling!

He doesn't bowl very well, though. Lots of gutter balls. Plus he kind of looks like someone in a cod-tossing contest when he releases the ball.

But what the heck. Lots of regular guys don't bowl very well, either.

Especially around the second or third game when they're hitting the Budweiser pretty good, and then the ball-and-chain calls on the cell phone, and starts yakking about "When you coming home, Earl?" and, "Stop and pick up a pack of smokes for me, willya?"

Maybe Obama's old lady was driving him nuts on his cell and that's why he didn't bowl too well. Or maybe it was that he didn't take off his tie. You never know.

Obama likes sports bars, too. All regular guys do. What's not to like? Ten beers on tap, big plasma TVs everywhere with the ballgame on, burgers the size of manhole covers.

In the last sports bar he visited, Obama had a couple of cold ones - well, one, anyway. He didn't knock back any shots. But that's not because he didn't want to.

All regular guys want to do shots. But he was running late for one thing or another, maybe a Senate vote, so he didn't have time to knock back a shot of Jack or Wild Turkey.

Getting back to Clinton, she's a big Second Amendment backer now, as are all regular guys. And she likes duck-hunting! Says she went duck-hunting - in full camo, too! - back in Arkansas when Bill was running the state.

Shivering near a cold pond and blasting a duck out of the sky - you can't get more regular guy than that.

And Clinton cries! Regular guys cry all the time, although usually it's when someone drops their favorite power tool on a cement floor and breaks the damned thing.

Or when they're out fishing and someone stands up suddenly in the canoe and knocks the tackle box into the drink.

But Clinton cried from exhaustion on the campaign trail.

Regular guys don't usually cry from exhaustion. But they will go to a bar like Bronko's and pound a few Buds and shots to feel better.

Although then, wouldn't you know it, the wifeis on the horn again and it's "Yak-yak-yak, this is the third night you've been out drinking this week, Roy" and all that business.

Of course, no one's perfect, and there are a couple of serious flaws in the regular-guy resumes of both Democratic presidential candidates.

For one thing, Clinton attended Wellesley College and Yale Law School, and Obama attended Columbia University and Harvard Law School. And to tell you the truth, regular guys don't generally attend schools like that, where they don't even let you blast ducks.

Also, there's their nonregular-guy income: more than $109 million in gross income for the Clintons since 2000, a combined income of about $1 million for Barack and Michelle Obama in recent years.

But let's not quibble over that.

They do beers and shots! They bowl! They blast ducks to smithereens!

You can't get more regular guy than that.

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