President Bill Clinton's inauguration was just the beginning. Tomorrow, Kenneth Scott Baer will be inaugurated as editorial page editor of the 109th Board of The Daily Pennsylvanian. Coincidence? You decide. Jerome Baer, father of the incoming editor of the DP's page six, claims his son has demonstrated a political bent since he "tried to start getting a higher allowance." Baer's grandfather has claimed he will be the first Jewish president. Both Clinton and Baer started 1992 at the New Hampshire primaries. Clinton, then a virtual unknown, was starting his bid for the White House, and Baer was there to cover it. Since then, Clinton has become legendary. But you probably don't know about Baer's high school Congressional fellowship and his photograph with Senator Joe Kennedy, Jr. You probably haven't heard about Baer's own bus trip across the United States. These days, Temple law student Dan Orlow describes Baer as "politically astute," a "cross between an old Jewish guy and a menshchy James Carville." Last fall, Baer worked with Orlow on the New Jersey congressional campaign of 1962 University graduate Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky that attracted nationwide attention. "In candor, Kenny is probably one of the smartest young political people I've ever met, and I've worked on Capitol Hill and with senators and blah, blah, blah," Orlow said. "In fact, in candor, I don't know why he's wasting time with the paper because he could be doing much better things than pissing away his time with the student paper." In fact, Baer's academic career has been a constant tug-of-war between politics and the press, studying and socializing. Take his high school resume, for example. Editor-in-chief of his high newspaper. Regional president, United Synagogue Youth. Active on the debate team, moot court and in Boys State. During college, Baer interned with Senator Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio). And while working as a DP beat reporter, he even caught Pennsylvania Senator Harris Wofford with his pants down -- in a hotel locker room where the senator awaited election results. When asked about Baer's future, presidential pollster Frank Luntz said the chances are . . . · one in four he'll be a senator, · one in eight he'll be editor of The Washington Post, · one in 20 he will be teaching journalism · one in 100 he'll be married. But to his freshmen roommates in the Quadrangle's Community House, Baer frequently appeared in the guise of "Hugh Hefner, in a bathrobe on a cordless phone," and was ever-smooth with the ladies. According to then-roommate Joshua Penn, things changed quickly when Baer began applying for political internships. Worried about his political viabilty, Baer ditched their freshman-cool Hefner answering machine message for a simple, polished greeting. Baer still believes in a place called Cherry Hill, New Jersey -- that semiurban sprawl, roughly an hour's drive and some traffic circles from Philadelphia, that boasts the world's first indoor shopping mall. His bedroom at home is testament to the fact that he saves everything, from political memorabilia to beer cans to baseball cards. Near the requisite Bruce Springsteen poster, a bulletin board is covered with pithy sayings torn from from quote-of-the-day desk calendars. Plastic cups hold years of his loose change, hinting at his fiscal conservativism. Even the family car couldn't escape his verve to perserve. The '78 Pontiac Catalina -- a bright red eyesore with 168,000 miles -- is affectionately referred to as "the blood clot." But when the warped upholstery on the car's ceiling started to peel away, Kenny diligently stapled it back into place. But when it comes to books and food, Kenny forgoes the junk. He's a voracious reader and a careful eater. Reading The New Republic has clearly shaped his character, along with his courageous battle against the stigma of lactose intolerance "He likes ice cream, but it doesn't like him," his mother, Gloria Baer, said.Comments powered by Disqus
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