Ray Barone

For some people, life is tough: a never-ending series of uphill battles and shoveling shit. In these people, the fires of constant struggle forge iron political wills and steely resolves for change.

Ray Barone is not one of these people.

Growing up on Long Island in the 60s, Raymond enjoyed a comfortable middle-class upbringing. Benefitting from the Keynesian economic policies of America’s “golden era” , he received a high quality education, and although never shining academically, excelled at sports.

The sixties and seventies went by in a whirlwind of little league games and mama Barone’s pasta bake, supported by Frank Barone’s salary as a bookkeeper.

When he got his first chance to vote in 1980, two years of rising inflation and a recession under Carter had largely gone unnoticed by Barone, the only lifestyle change a few extra dollars on gas to commute to his new job as sports reporter at the New York Newsday.

It was the influence of Frank Barone, Korean War Vet and tax accountant rather than a strong anti-Carter sentiment that pushed him towards voting Reagan, but then again, who didn’t? He voted for Reagan again in ’84 , and for Bush in ’88 but swung to Clinton in 1992.

In 2003 while sitting in bed watching ESPN, to her dismay, Debra Barone discovered that her husband had voted Bush in 2000 after interrogating him about an offhand comment he had made about Gore being a “sissy”. According to Ray, he had voted for Dubya “cos I dunno, he seems like a good guy who I’d watch a game of football with.”

Debra, one of two girls brought up in a well-to-do Catholic family, had fallen in love with the Democrats at an early age, instantly smitten with JFK, who would become a role model during her teenage years.

In 2004, Debra, this time aware of her husband’s past voting record, guilted Ray into voting for Kerry. In the immediate aftermath of the election, Raymond whined incessantly that Debra had “made him choose the loser.”

Raymond’s vote for Obama was sealed after his Newsday colleague sent him a YouTube clip of the candidate sinking a three pointer while touring Iraq.

Ray Barone

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