BY JONATHAN VALANIA A long time ago, in a Clinton campaign far, far away, James Carville famously declared that Pennsylvania is Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and Alabama in between. Aw, yeah: Pennsyltucky. We know thee well. It’s sort of like watching the Dukes Of Hazzard after smoking too much kielbasa. Like sweat socks with a Sunday suit. Like the Deer Hunter costumed by Wal-Mart. It’s the long dark Chicken Dance of the national soul. Lord help us all. Anyway, with the national press are already converging on the Keystone state to get some local color on their laptops, we feel an obligation to Sherpa them up to the mountaintop electoral bellweathers that only a local nature boy would know. Every day, or close to it, from now until April 22nd we will be calling up some unsuspecting Pennsyltuckian picked randomly out of the phone book and ask them point blank: Hillary or Obama? Today we talked to Tom Olewine, past president of the Ontelaunee Rod & Gun Club in New Tripoli, PA.
PHAWKER: Hello, my name is Jonathan Valania, I am calling from the Internet, where everyone is bitter and loaded for bear! Are you planning to vote in the upcoming PA primary?
PHAWKER: Are you registered Democrat or Republican?
PHAWKER: Interesting, who are you leaning towards?
TOM: Nobody right now.
PHAWKER: Still undecided? Let me ask you, have you been following the latest controversey over remarks made by Obama about how people in broke-dick small towns have become bitter and disillusioned with the political process? And will it impact the way you vote?
TOM: No. All the lies they tell, you can’t believe anything they say.
PHAWKER: I will take that as ‘yes you are’ and ‘no it won’t.’ Can I ask how old you are?
PHAWKER: So, was there ever a time when you weren’t cynical about the political process in this country?
TOM: It’s not a matter of being cynical. I am a registered Democrat, and that is how I have to vote in the primary. In the general election it’s another story. [lowers voice] Sometimes I cross party lines.
PHAWKER: Ah, a Reagan Democrat. So you will be pulling the lever for John McCain in the fall.
TOM: That is correct.
PHAWKER: What do you like about John McCain?
TOM: Well, he’s a veteran.
PHAWKER: Are you a veteran?
TOM: Yes. [talk about ‘Nam, the DMZ, 1969 and mortar fire ensues]
PHAWKER: Can I ask you, with all due respect, do you have any non-white members of the Ontelaunee Rod & Gun Club?
TOM: As a matter of fact we do. We have over 4,000 members and people come from all over the world to use our trap-shooting range, it’s one of the few Olympic-grade ranges on the East Coast.
PHAWKER: Glad to hear it! Thanks for you time, Tom.