- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 25, 2004

There has been an awful lot of speculation about what really determined the outcome of the recent presidential election — all of it spurious. Now I can reveal that the real reason for the Red State/Blue State configuration had nothing to do with moral values, foreign wars or the Washington Redskins’ failing to win their game just before the election — it was driving.

One look at the Red States and it is obvious that they are places where people have to drive a long way to get anywhere. On the other hand, Blue States, and in particular Blue Counties, are places where people don’t have to do that much driving, or if they do, it’s just a maddening commute that you would have to be crazy to put up with. Los Angeles, for example.

Unfortunately, there are some exceptions to this rule, but what rule has no exceptions? The exception in this case is rather large — the entire West Coast. Not to worry. They have always had problems out there, so their exception is really no exception at all, and the rumored secession of these states from the rest of the Union may soon remove this complication in any case.

Having settled that issue, I leave it to the spin doctors to interpret my keen insight. Some will probably say that driving long distances clears the mind, refreshes the body and lends itself to insightful, deep thinking. Clearly this is true, they will maintain, because places where people don’t have time to drive and ponder the great truths of life typically exercise very poor judgment, as demonstrated by the fact that they live cheek by jowl in overcrowded cities in the first place.

Urban spinmeisters, however, will maintain that long-distance driving obviously clouds the mind, wearies the body and dulls perception. Short trips, conversely, make for clear thinking, they will say. This is self-evident when you think about it: Who but a dullard would live in some place where you have to drive hours just to get a good latte?

As a driving proponent, after all, this is supposed to be a column about cars and driving. This puts me in a very difficult position. It’s true that I love to drive, to feel the rush of the wind and the thrill of the road unwinding before me. However, after a couple of hours of rushing and thrilling and unwinding, I get a little bored — even drowsy. I have even, on such occasions, yearned for a latte. So I can see both sides of the question.

Maybe I should accept the next offer from the press to elaborate on my novel thesis. I could debate the guy who insists he foretold the outcome of the election by reading tea leaves.

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