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If you're one of those rare individuals known as an "undecided voter," you have a choice to make, between two men whose opinions offer stark contrasts.
Responsible pundits will tell you to compare each candidate's positions on Iraq, taxes, or terrorism, then vote with your family's best interests at heart.
I say forget trying to use policy as a guide. If you can't pick a horse by now, further study of the racing form is not going to help.
In fact, maybe it's time we all realized that -- despite all the back-and-forth jabbering -- what really divides President Bush and Senator Kerry is not their differences as statesmen. It's their differences as sportsmen.
When do they work?
Once, politicians mugged for the camera by kissing small children. These days, the athletic photo op is the imagery of choice.
Kerry has been photographed skiing, snowboarding, riding a bike, sailing, shooting skeet, playing ice hockey, heading a soccer ball, and, most famously, windsurfing around Nantucket Sound.
For his part, Bush has been shot running, biking, golfing, fly fishing, and bird hunting. He's not one for winter sports (there's not much snow in Texas). But he does get out on the family cigarette boat in Kennebunkport -- no doubt annoying windsurfers knocked off their boards by his wake.
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Both candidates went to elite Eastern boarding schools, the kinds of places where sport is supposed to be "about how you play the game."
Turns out, that's a lot of hooey.
The tussle over athletic bragging rights has been every bit as spiteful as the tiffs over Swift boats and the National Guard.
Kerry talks up his hockey days at St. Paul's. Republicans say he hogged the puck.
Bush led the pep squad back at Andover. Democrats pound him for those pom-poms.
When Bush remembers running the Texas Rangers baseball team, his opponents point out that they lost more than they won. If Kerry mentions that he was a varsity soccer player at Yale, his foes note that the French are good at that game, too.
Level playing field
Who is the bigger, better sportsman today? Depends on your party affiliation, I suppose.
But fair-minded folks of any political stripe can agree that both guys have really nice equipment.
Kerry, for example, rides a Serotta bicycle. These virtually hand-made beauties are among the best road bikes made, and priced accordingly. Kerry's model runs for about $8,000.
Bush rides, too. But while his rival is road-racer, the president prefers mountain biking, further proof that these two can't agree on anything. The president's Trek 98 costs about $3,000.
Each claims to be an outdoorsman, continually trying to one-up the other with his own manly-man bona fides.
Kerry got into a bit of a flap by saying he likes to crawl on his belly hunting deer, which is a tough way to bag a buck. He compounded it by saying his favorite gun is a Chinese assault rifle (picked it up in 'Nam, you know), which may or may not be illegal to own.
The president is the proud owner of a Weatherby Athena, worth about $2,000. But when it comes to hunting, Bush is no Teddy Roosevelt. Mostly he shoots birds.
Bush did do well to appear on a bass-fishing TV show. But he may have lost some street cred among fly fishers by implying in a magazine interview that he's no stranger to bait.
So whom to support? That's up to you. I'm still trying to understand the distinctions between a windsurfer and a kiteboarder, to say nothing of figuring out what you kill with a 20-gauge shotgun.
I do know this much: I could take either one of these guys in a game of hoops. But they'd both probably wear better sneakers.
The Good Life is a weekly column that chronicles products, people and trends in luxury consumer goods, travel, and fine food and drink. Write to: firstname.lastname@example.org.