TANGENT A candidate for the whole family

By Brian Lind

In an election year that has become more polarized than the Ice Caps, neither major party is setting the electorate on fire. And Ralph Nader is going to get the same number of electoral votes as the wooden spoon I accidentally put in the dishwasher last week. Americans need a candidate who embodies the values of both parties. Humbly submitted for your consideration, our next president: Tony Soprano.

Father. Leader. "Alleged" mobster.

I can hear the objections flying like lead into Sal "Big Pussy" Bompensiero's traitorous hide. Why would the antihero of HBO's gangster drama "The Sopranos" be a good candidate for the presidency?


Although Tony has never been a politician, mob groups that he is allegedly affiliated with have been actively involved in elections since JFK beat Nixon (thanks to some creative ballots in Chicago). Can it be a coincidence that Tony recently learned that his dad's mistress had an affair with JFK?

In his native New Jersey, Tony is a well-respected "captain of industry type," making his living in waste management. If expertise in sanitation isn't a pedigree for the White House, I don't know what is.

How does Tony compare to modern politicians?

Tony repeatedly addresses his rivals with profane language, goes to great lengths to keep his dealings secret and avoids getting into serious trouble despite many shady business dealings. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Dick Cheney.

When his wife, Carmela, kicked Tony out of the house for his extramarital affairs, they didn't divorce but eventually worked out a business deal to save their marriage. Sounds positively Clintonesque.

After being a troublemaker as a kid, Tony fell into the family business with help from his father's friends. If you discount the fact that Tony has been successful in his business endeavors, you are reading the resume of one George W. Bush.

How about the issues?

Tony Soprano on terrorism: Are you kidding? A man who put beating up a Russian gangster on his Christmas list (for his sister Janice) would have put Osama bin Laden out of commission before 9/12.


Tony isn't afraid to fire his top-ranking officers if they screw up. And by fire, I mean blow them away with a shotgun, as he did to his best friend, Tony Blundetto (who, admittedly, had made an unsanctioned hit).

Finally, when difficulties interfere with his job, Tony isn't afraid to seek outside help -- even if it means seeing an attractive psychiatrist who seems to think that wearing a short skirt is conducive to administering therapy. We might be in Clinton territory again.

Yes, Tony Soprano is a fictional character, but even real politicians have staff writers, wear makeup and don't get elected unless they look good on television. Also consider this: More people pay to see the season premiere of "The Sopranos" than watch the presidential debates on free TV.

When you go to the polls this fall, vote for the real Family Values Ticket: Soprano '04. Fugetaboutit.

Brian Lind is a Rochester freelancer. If you feel so inclined, write to him at

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