We decided we'd rather hear from folks whose opinions we really care about -- the people who make this city a livable place. We're talking about the hipsters and freaks who may come out only at night but keep Kansas City from being the bland, sugarcoated place its official leaders try so hard to make it.
In other words, what follows is a sampling of how KC's cool set is gonna pull on November 2.
Given the other polls' insistence that the race is too close to call, this pontificating pot roast was certain that, lurking around Kansas City's cultural frontiers, there must be plenty of folks who support the president. Was the Strip's method scientific? Hardly. Was it fair and balanced? Shya right.
Just quit yer whinin' and check out what the late-night set is saying before you hit that chad. Jeremy Scheuch, Camel cigarettes party planner and ubiquitous nightclub presence: "I'm voting for Bush. I asked myself how the last four years has personally affected me. I'm financially better off than I was four years ago. I have a good job, good benefits and good opportunity for advancement. I want four more years of that. I don't want higher taxes, and Kerry will raise them. I want someone as president who gets the job done. I don't think we should have to ask Cuba or Latvia if we can defend ourselves. President Bush gets up in the morning, his feet hit the floor, he scratches his balls and says, 'Let's go kill some fucking terrorists.' We didn't find weapons of mass destruction? Good, no one else can use them. But I don't think the hundreds of thousands of Kurds Saddam Hussein gassed think we went to war under false pretenses. Bush bashing is the cool, trendy thing to do, but hopefully voters will educate themselves and not be swayed by a Meg Ryan anti-Bush quote they read in Entertainment Weekly. Bush wears his heart on his sleeve. I know exactly what he thinks and believes in. If you don't agree with him, don't vote for him."
Greg Beck, Kansas City's best blogger and a fixture at the Hurricane: "I'm voting for Kerry. Not that I like Kerry, but he's a Democrat. I really wanted Dean to win. Anyone who can make noise like that I want leading the country. I mean, can you imagine Dean saying 'Fuck off' after a few minutes at the UN? Also, I just want to punk out George."
Linda Duerr, wonderchef at Frondizi's: "I'm voting for Kerry. I am an avid environmentalist. I'm not really 100 percent sure what Kerry's stance is on the environment, but I know that Bush has a lousy track record. So I'm one of those people I'm sure you've run into who are voting against Bush more than for Kerry."
Lea Hopkins, the first black bunny at KC's Playboy Club back in the 1960s and a gay activist today: "I'm voting for John Kerry. The economy, soldiers going to war, you don't have much say in that. But with gay rights, we won't be totally ignored by John Kerry. I think he has some compassion even though he doesn't believe in gay marriage."
Astoroth Occultus, lead singer of Descension, the campy local shock-rock troupe: "I wish we had another choice. Someone that has a different view and doesn't bullshit us. Someone who will tell it like it is, no matter what. Someone who likes demons and nun sacrifices. Someone who eats cats. Someone like -- ALF. That's it. ALF for president. Sounds good to me."
Denise Osborne, renowned feng shui expert: "Kerry. I'd like to hear some complete sentences in the White House for a change. Really, it's been a horrible four years for me. I have an editor's brain, and I want to correct everything Bush says."
Nate Bogert, video artist, photographer and renegade scooter rider: "I fall under the anyone-but-Bush camp. Most of my voting life, I have not been enthusiastic about any of the candidates, and this November will be no exception. I have directly been affected by the 'Bush Reign,' watching my former employers in not-for-profit organizations struggle to tread water as federal funding got chopped off at the pee-pee. About the only thing that has trickled down to my rung has been piss. I never want a big business marionette as president, let alone one that stole his way there. I have a hard time comprehending how Bush stands a chance after killing overtime, allowing even the possibility for automatic weapons to get back on to our streets, destroying every environmental policy set up by Clinton and making the biggest mess we have seen since Vietnam, but he does. Can a couple hundred bucks from tax cuts be that influential?"
Keith Ashman, University of Missouri-Kansas City astronomer and rock musician (we know, he's a Brit and can't vote, but he's cooler than you, so shut up): "I have a friend, Kate. And when I think of her, I know why I would vote Kerry-Edwards. Kate is an artist. Kate is a mother of three children. Kate's husband hasn't held a regular job for three years. A few months ago, Kate was diagnosed with MS. She can no longer hold a paint brush, but she learned how to express her beautiful art using a computer. About once a month, Kate has an episode from her illness that leaves her bedridden. She can't afford the medication that would ease these episodes and potentially extend her life and improve its quality. Well, maybe I'm selfish, but I would cast my vote for a candidate that would best protect Kate and the tens of millions of other Americans who need not a handout but a helping hand. The miserable record of the Bush administration makes it clear they don't see the same America I do. If they did, they might have some notion of what it is they are supposed to be protecting."
James Duft, lead singer of the righteous Lawrence rock band Conner: "John Kerry. Not that I think Kerry is going to change the world, but I think any change would stimulate the economy. The thing that irritates me the most, though, is the way Iraq is being handled. We're not the world police. We need to clean up our own backyard before we go knocking on someone else's front door. In 2000 I voted for Nader because I wanted him to get enough of a percentage to get federal funding for another election. But this election is more important to me, and I want to vote for someone who will win. I think that even some Republicans may vote against Bush. My mom, in Nebraska, is a diehard Republican, and she's voting for Kerry. I think Republicans voting against Bush are going to make a difference."
Peregrine Honig, artist and underwear purveyor: "I'm voting for Kerry. Primarily because I don't agree with the war that's going on. And I'm terrified of too many things getting privatized. And arts lose so much priority when we have a Republican in office. What really amazes me, I just took a trip to Texas, and you're really struck by how everyone there seems sure to vote for Bush. But in Kansas City, I've surrounded myself with artists and musicians, liberals with like minds. But it's so important that we vote, because sometimes we don't realize how close this election is going to be."
Shay Ving, singer and bartender at the Brick: "I'm voting for John Kerry because he's not George Bush. Besides the horrid, horrid things Bush has done to this country, I have a special resentment for John Ashcroft. I'm the child of a Missouri public educator, and when Ashcroft was in office in Missouri, he did horrible things to public schools. I don't know that John Kerry is going to do a great job, but in the last four years, Bush has not done what he said he was going to do. No child left behind? Tons of children left behind. Billions wasted on a war he can't find a justification for even after the fact. I saw a bumper sticker that expressed my opinion perfectly: 'John Kerry -- he'll do!'"
Mercury 2, lead singer of gender-bending Vibralux: "What the fuck do I know? I'm just a bitch musician. I'm voting for the one with the best hair. I'm voting for John Kerry."
Lloyd Daniel, former state legislator and black poet: "As millions go without health care, go without jobs, go without adequately funded schools, and as the Constitution is disregarded, the Bush administration continues to waste billions of dollars on an American blitzkrieg. Here are three things we can do. We can speak up! We can speak out! We can vote! I'm voting for Kerry."
Heather Hands, owner of the organic-food store Local Harvest: "Kerry, by process of elimination. My first choice was Kucinich. He is real and on a level that I believe more people can relate to. I think it's quite gutsy to propose a Department of Peace. I also appreciate his approach to the farmer and the broken system of agriculture this country is supporting. Keep in mind that you vote every day by where you spend your dollar -- where are you voting?"
David Wayne Reed, actor, playwright and celebrated party boy who does a mean impression of Axl Rose at karaoke nights at the Brick: "I'm a devoted and lifelong Democrat, so of course I'm voting for Kerry. As far as I'm concerned, Bush and Co. is the enemy of the people and has made the United States a worldwide joke. By him catering to the rich and to the congregations of the right, he is running our beloved country into hell. His policies are working only to strip America of all civil rights and freedoms and cater to his own country-club crowd. Unless you're white, rich, straight and religious, there's no reason to vote for this village idiot. Also, anyone who's considering Nader can just sit down and shut up. This is not the year for it, got it?"
Hampton Stevens, ESPN.com freelancer and nightclub denizen: "I'm voting for George Bush. John Kerry could have contended for my vote had he offered one progressive idea for keeping America safer. He could have proposed a massive effort to end dependence on fossil fuels. He could have promised to end the insane war on drugs, the real culprit in our loss of civil liberties and a huge revenue producer for terrorists. He could have proposed some plan for dealing with hateful regimes like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan beyond vowing to be more sensitive and beefing up the Coast Guard. But he didn't. Even if I agreed with Kerry on every domestic issue, therefore, I would still vote against him. John Kerry simply has not articulated a vision for responding to the defining challenge of our age."
Craig Glazer, nightclub impresario and co-owner of Johnny Dare's: "I'm voting for John Kerry. Any regime that can put Martha Stewart and Tommy Chong in prison shouldn't be running the country."
Tony Ortega talks about this week's Pitch with KRBZ 96.5's Lazlo after 4 p.m. Wednesday.