The Uniter comes a-callin’

Ken Widmann writes about the People’s Republic of Davis.

Last week, I examined Bill Clinton’s Beatles at Shea Stadium-like visit to UC Davis. Turns out, it may have been the apex of his stint as campaigner for Hillary, as a few hours later he was shown on YouTube sparring with a Nevada reporter. Then he became an attack dog and may have scuttled his wife’s South Carolina primary chances by patronizing her opponent.

But before all that, I surmised in this space that a visit from the current president, eight years hence, would not be such a Roman triumph. One reader asked, “Why wait? What would happen if the president came to the People’s ’Public right now, as the lamest of lame ducks?” As long as we’re playing what-if, here’s how it would go down:

Including appearances before a quivering Democratic Congress, President Bush only speaks in front of obsequious, pre-screened audiences. So accounting for that, a visit to Davis could only arise from one of two events: plain old administrative incompetence, here in the form of a scheduling mix-up. This isn’t Davisville, Texas? Heh, heh, heck of a job, (White House travel coordinator-ie)! Or the president could arrive to promote alternative-energy research before cutting funding for it, as part of a classic photo-op bait-and-switch.

Either way, he’d motorcade into town, gumming up the Richards Boulevard undercrossing more than usual, only with black SUVs replacing the candy-colored Priuses. As it did for Clinton, UCD would then open its vast basketball arena, this time to house the protesters. Bush and supporter(s) could mingle at cozy Sudwerk. (I realize that a brew pub might prove too tempting for the abstemious Bush, but Sudwerk has played host to many an election-night Republican Party victory bash.)

While there, he could regale the approving 29 percent (note: national figure not adjusted for locale) about how Davis’ Dark Sky Ordinance, which requires hoods on streetlights to reduce their night-sky-blocking glare, dovetails with the eternal night promised by his own Clear Skies Initiative.

Might he feel the urge to dip a toe on campus, the ex-cheerleader could cajole the Davis College Republicans into reprising some of their stunts, such as the ill-advised “Illegal Immigration Capture the Flag” game thwarted by campus protesters last spring. (As reported by the Aggie, the “satirical” event featured “Team INS” vs. “Team Illegal Immigrants.” According to the written rules, “The trick is that the INS will have their hands tied behind their backs, the Illegal Immigrants team will vastly outnumber the INS team, and every 10 minutes the Illegals caught will be granted amnesty and set free.”)

However, immigration being the one issue with which the president is actually at odds with his own party, a safer “strategery” might be to visit the less controversial School of Veterinary Medicine. He’s clearly shown an interest in learning about barnyard animals—remember The Pet Goat (incorrectly cited as My Pet Goat in initial accounts)? UCD wrote the book on goat care. Really—it’s called Goat Care Practices, and part of the renowned veterinary school’s animal care series of publications.

The first lady is a former librarian, so a visit to the Hattie Weber Museum might win Bushie some points at home. Huh, you say? You’ve never heard of Hattie Weber? She was Davis’ first paid librarian; her tiny museum is dedicated to the history of our sleepy town. That’s right—we have a museum named for a librarian—and an ideal place for Bush to invoke GOP deity Ronald Reagan and take a nap.

That might wrap things up, as by then the Activities and Recreation Center would be bursting with committee meetings and protest songs, and Cindy Sheehan would have arrived from Vacaville. Plus, we really don’t have any brush in need of clearing.

It’s a shame the Uniter is such a concrete divider—he might actually enjoy this place. I don’t see the guy sampling heirloom tomatoes at the Co-op, say, but I hear he loves to tool around on his mountain bike.