Tag Archives: friends

Best Buddies won’t desert Obama

Best: adj. superlative of good, excelling all others

Buddy: n. companion, friend, partner

[Quick update/apology: I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote this yesterday. Neither Best nor Buddies begins with P. I guess I’ve been in an alliterative frame of mind and mistook B for P. Oh well. I’m leaving it up because I like the sentiment.]

My heart warmed to read today that the Obamas have a group of Chicago friends that they’ve been close to for years – friends who were neighbors, parenting buddies, friends to hang out with regularly, to play scrabble with, eat with, take vacations with – and most recently to be campaign helpers.  These friends will be stuck in Chicago when the Obamas leave, and they’re trying to figure out how to maintain the connections at such distance.

It made me wonder why we never heard about the Bush’s friends. Did they have any? (I mean social, not politicos like Karl Rove). For that matter, did they have much of a relationship with their twin daughters?  Maybe Laura did, but I had no sense of that with GW.

You learn a lot about a person by looking at his social circle, such as it is.

Last summer Maureen Dowd wrote a great column about Father Pat Connor who’s been  giving a lecture — “Whom Not to Marry” – to high school seniors for about 40 years. I picked out some of Connor’s points because Obama embodies them in many ways.

“Never marry a man who has no friends,” he starts. “This usually means that he will be incapable of the intimacy that marriage demands. I am always amazed at the number of men I have counseled who have no friends. Since, as the Hebrew Scriptures say, ‘Iron shapes iron and friend shapes friend,’ what are his friends like? …

“Does he use money responsibly? Is he stingy? Most marriages that founder do so because of money — she’s thrifty, he’s on his 10th credit card.

“Don’t marry a problem character thinking you will change him. He’s a heavy drinker, or some other kind of addict, but if he marries a good woman, he’ll settle down. People are the same after marriage as before, only more so.

“Take a good, unsentimental look at his family — you’ll learn a lot about him and his attitude towards women.  Is there … an atmosphere of racism, sexism or prejudice in his home? Are his goals and deepest beliefs worthy and similar to yours? …

“Finally: Does he possess those character traits that add up to a good human being — the willingness to forgive, praise, be courteous? Or is he inclined to be a fibber, to fits of rage, to be a control freak, to be envious of you, to be secretive?”

It strikes me that a good choice for president would do well to start here. Obviously too few of us gave GW Bush the test.