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February 20, 2008 - Image 11

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2008-02-20

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Sympathy for the GOP

s one of the country's
prominent liberal enclaves,
Ann Arbor has provided a
bubble in which Democrats lord
over the few Republicans on cam-
pus who muster the energy and
courage to defend their political
beliefs. From a personal stand-
point, all of this has been fine for
the past five years. I've enjoyed sit-
ting around with friends discuss-
ing the epic failures of the Bush
administration. it was a comfort-
able pseudo-debate between who
knew, if nothing else, that it was
wrong to be a conservative.
But that unity came to an end
last semester when I found myself
in a politically defensive minor-
ity - when I came out as a Hillary
Clinton supporter.
To hear it romanticized by the
press, Barack Obama's success on
the Democratic delegate score-
board has been propelled by the
grassroots campaigning of college
students swept up in the fervor of a
youthful, inspiring candidate. The
candidate I support, on the other
hand, has been characterized as a
corrupt representative of an old-
school establishment we young
people supposedly abhor. Given
the weak state of the Republican
Party and the time yet to go until
the general election, Clinton has
taken on the persona of political
enemy and threat to Obama Demo-
crats. And, as one of her fans, I'm
implicated.
An first-person article on Slate.
com, written by a male staffer of
the website covering the Clinton
campaign, describes the awkward
situation of being the lone young

man in an office almost entirely
peopled by women. The gender
divide hasn't really affected me,
though. I don't have enough pro-
Clinton friends of either gender to
compare.
The larger surprise was the lack
of support from people my age.
At the beginning I thought that
perhaps I was just surrounded by
Obama fiends, and tried to search
out Clinton kinship by talking
politics with people outside my
immediate circle. Instead, I kept
finding myself the guilty Clinton
supporter encircled by Obama
faithful who demanded to know
how I could support a candidate
who would spend her presidency
partaking in shady backroom poli-
tics and paying back favors. How
could I support a candidate who
was more concerned with getting
elected than creating change?
Why would I back someone who
"couldn't possibly"beat the Repub-
licans in November?
Unprepared and not used to
people on campus questioning
my political preferences, I threw
back half-hearted answers that
only seemed to fuel the Obama
endorsements, as well as the so-
called cult mentality news sources
often attribute to his supporters.
This, I realized, is what it prob-
ably feels like to be a Republican in
Ann Arbor.
I e-mailed my sister, a talent
agent in Los Angeles, confused
about how I had become the out-
sider. Didn't they realize that
Obama was a first-term senator
whose key political momentto date
was a speech? Didn't he essentially

just spout idealistic hope rhetoric to sway a few of the less fervent
that could never so easily manifest Obama fans to my side. Sound-
in a complicated political environ- ing like a jaded critic, I criticized
ment? Obama and his supporters' belief
She said she found herself in in wholesale change of the gov-
the same situation. In one of the ernment as wishful thinking. The
few places more liberal than Ann people change, but the machine
Arbor,her fellowDemocratsinLos doesn't, I'd say. This didn't really
Angeles had latched onto Obama. work, though, since it reinforced
They considered her the ignorant the image of Clinton as a well-
heretic who, if they could only worn part of that machine.
explain how much Obama would I also tried using football meta-
change the government, would phors. Clinton was the seasoned
realize the foolishness of her ini- veteran who had some ups and
downs, but had the experience to
handle high-pressure situations.
Obama was the highly touted
Republicans on freshman phenom who wasn't
campus have it quite ready to start, but could be
a superstar in a few years. Instead
hard but try of heads nodding in newly enlight-
ened approval, people just started
supporting talking about whether Terrelle
Pryor will decide to grace the Uni-
Hillary Clinton versity with his freshman quarter-
back star power.
Nothing really worked, and
tial choice. Obama's support base only seemed
For both my sister and I, every to grow stronger. I did convince
party would inevitably result in one drunk, undecided friend that
someone pointing out the hilarity he should support Clinton. It
of our Clinton support and ask- was my sole victory in a skirmish
ing if we had changed our minds against Obama supporters also
yet. This is what we used to do to vying for his vote. The victory was
Republicans, both out of curios- for naught, though. I'm not even
ity for beliefs so different from sure he voted in the primary.
our own and out of a need to make His lack of participation reflect-
them feel embarrassed for those ed the general disinterest in the
beliefs. Michigan primary since an ill-
It didn't appear my passive advised primary date cost the
approach, hoping people would state's delegates their seats at the
come to their senses and realize Democratic National Convention.
Obama wasn't ready to be presi- Michigan's delegate situation had
dent, seemed to be working. I originally angered me, but it actu-
realized I might as well attempt ally turned out to be an escape

route. Any political debates that
went on for too long were easily
ended with a remark about how it
didn't really matter who we want-
ed. This pushed people's criticism
away from me and toward Michi-
gan Democrats.
The tactic worked for a while,
but Obama's strong push toward
the Democratic nomination, as
well as the possibility of Michi-
gan's delegates being seated, the
odd sense of isolation continues.
I look at the so-called liberal
media, including The Michigan
Daily, with a hint of skepticism
- knowing its contributors are
likely Obama supporters. I fall
in line with campus Republicans
who see stories written from his
campaign offices, but none cover-
ing other candidates', as a sign of
bias. In large part, news segments
on TV seem to trumpet Obama
while only pointing out Clinton's
missteps. Turning to FOX News
obviously doesn't help.
Fortunately, though, it will all
be over soon. Only a few key states
remain until the nomination will
be announced. Then, no matter
who the nominees are, we'll be
back to focusing on the national
election. And I'll welcome that
return to comfortable Demo-
crat-Republican animosity, along
with the chastisement of Republi-
cans that will inevitably ensue as
November nears. Although, this
time around I think I'll lay off a
little.
- Punit Mattoo is a Daily
Arts Writer and an Engineering
graduate student
in the way that "sometimes the ball
takes a weird bounce."
Gienapp said now when he visits
Pinball Pete's he often finds him-
self only playing pinball. And while
pinball may be underappreciated
by the bulk of arcade-goers, Linden
said the game continues to draw in
players from all ages.
"A lot of times when I'm working
I'm surprised at how often they're
played," Linden said. "There's a
couple college kids I see who every
now and then come in and play the
'Lord of the Rings' game. That's
their thing."
Death throes or not, it seems the
game's small but devoted follow-
ing will keep the pinball in Pinball
Pete's for some time yet.
-JESSICA VOSGERCHIAN

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ABOUT CAMPUS
From Page 6B
Linden currently owns
machines featuring "Terminator
2" and "The Twilight Zone," and a
1973 model called "Fun Fest." The
machines are showcased in the
game room of the house owned by
Linden's fraternity, Sigma Phi.
Linden said he's considering
trading them all in, though, for
the newest model on the market
- a "Family Guy" machine intro-
duced this year by Stern Pinball,
the only pinball machine manu-
facturer still in business.
Before Linden began buying
and selling pinball machines, fra-
ternity members used the game

room mostly for storage. But Lin-
den's hobby encouraged others to
clean it up and transform it into an
arcade that includes a pool table, air
hockey, a multi-game arcade con-
sole and alot of pinball.
Linden's collection has also
turned several of the fraternity's
members into pinball enthusiasts.
Engineering junior Adam Gien-
app said he's found a love of pinball
machines he didn't know he had
until he lived with some. He takes
advantage of Linden's ever-chang-
ing collection as much as he can.
"I can thank Brad for that," Gie-
napp said.
Like Fischer, Gienapp, another
mechanical engineer, enjoys the
physics of the game. The essence of
the fun of pinball, Gienapp said, lies

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