Political expert offers take on election

I LOVE CHATTING over coffee. It’s not the caffeine I crave as much as the conversation. So I was really excited to match wits, last week, with fellow news junkie Joe Tuman. Joe lives in Oakland and is an expert on campaign rhetoric, often appearing on network news shows. I couldn’t wait for his take on Obama and Hillary.

“Barring another eruption, (i.e. a major gaff) I’ve done the math,” he says, and “Clinton can’t make up the delegate count.” Even a fight on the convention floor won’t be enough to save Hillary, he feels. That leaves Obama and McCain for the presidency and Tuman likes Obama’s chances. “I look at McCain and think Bob Dole,” he says, adding age will be McCain’s unspoken Achilles’ heel.

But what about the rhetoric? What kind of guy makes a living studying that? Tuman says it goes back to childhood, when he saw John F. Kennedy give a campaign speech in his hometown of Turlock.

“I saw how rhetoric gets crafted for a particular audience,” he says, remembering how Kennedy used turkey references to warm up the crowd of Nixon supporters in a town where the primary industry was poultry.

But enough about politics. Tuman can talk about other things. He’s an avid runner and a coach for a group that runs, just for fun, every Thursday morning. The fact that they meet at 6 a.m. shouldn’t deter you. If you want to join his group, just show up at the Piedmont High track. Oh — and if you want more rhetoric, get his new book “Political Communication in American Campaigns” from Sage Press — available in bookstores everywhere.SHOWING GRATUTUDE: It’s refreshing to uncover acts of patriotism and kindness in this day and age. That’s why I’m giving Julie Orman at Piedmont Network Chiropractic a plug. A Montclair resident, Dr. Orman is offering free chiropractic care to Iraq War veterans who come home with post traumatic stress.

“There is no popping,” she explains, “but rather a spreading of ease throughout the body as the way of healing.”

It sounds good to me and should be a welcome relief for the anxious young vets returning from war.

AROUND TOWN: Talk about a rebirth! Just months after J&J Hardware disappeared into the night, literally — the empty Montclair space has been transformed into a cool, new nail salon.

“We do nails differently,” owner Uyen Nguyen laughs, drawing a parallel between hardware nails and the kind with which she works. I had a “mani-pedi” the other day and fell in love with the new salon that Nguyen named after her daughter, Isabella. She gutted the space and redesigned it in a breezy blue nautical theme that reminds her of going to the beach in her native Vietnam. More important, this place is immaculate. Tools are sterilized in an autoclave, buffs and pads are disposable and the footbaths use the latest anti-fungal technology. The salon has a fun side, too. You can sit at the bar and have tea, watch TV or even have a glass of champagne (BYOB and over 21, of course) while you get your fingernails done. If you ask me, Isabella is a great addition to the neighborhood.

CLUTTER BUSTER: Springtime is garage sale time and Joaquin Miller Elementary School has one of the biggest with its annual yard sale on May 3. But who has the time to go through all their closets and storage for donations? Instead of a chore, Nina Johnson suggests you look at this as an opportunity to lighten your load. Her business, Simply Organized, is working with Joaquin Miller supporters to clean out their clutter in kitchens, garages and other areas. The school gets cool treasures and homeowners get more space. It’s a match made in heaven.


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