theparkerfamily

‘Election’ Posts

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this feels like it has the longest election cycles of my lifetime and, regardless of what happens tomorrow night, a part of me is just going to be relieved that it is — well — over.

like most Americans, a dark portion of my soul would love to overthrow the two party system, abolish the 24-hour news cycle, and/or give the electoral college its marching orders.

but, without getting overtly political, here a couple of more reasonable thoughts coming out of the last 18 months:

we must demand politicians/media stop creating facts.

i’m actually pretty centrist (at least in principle) and honestly believe that good people will make good decisions regardless of ideology. unfortunately, this notion has been plowed under as more and more people (on both sides) make up facts to suit their ideologies versus tailoring their ideologies to meet the facts.

a functioning democracy is dependant on an informed electorate — and that is undermined if the electorate is only “informed” by a bunch of falsehoods, quotes taken out of context, fake statistics and ideology driven studies.

in this way, i think the recent rise of the various media “truth squads” is a promising sign.  and, while Candy Crawley is likely not going to get invited back to moderate another debate, we need more of her style “instant fact checks” from our media — not less.

if money is speech, then disclosure is the right to face our accusers.

i’m not a huge fan of limitless money in politics, but if money really is protected speach then i can make it work. but, the only way to make it work is for the thousands of deep-pocket donors to stand up and be counted along side of their money.

today, we find ourselves in the unusual situation where accused criminals have a better “due process” than our candidates up for election. criminals have the right to know our accusers, and to face (and rebut) their claims.  (not to mention, they are also afforded a presumption of innocence.)

seems like our politicians deserve at least this much — and if donors aren’t willing to disclose themselves, then we need to legislate a solution that brings transparency to the new, murky world of money-as-speech political contributions.

finally, we’ve got to limit the election season.

in light of the 24-hour news cycle, we’re getting to the point where all the people we would WANT to elect are refusing to run because of the impact the eleection marathon has on themselves and their families.

to make matters worse, the 24 month cycle doesn’t even provide its supposed benefit (eg. allow us to thoroughly address issues) and instead forces us to pay attention to all sorts of silly minutia and mini-scandles that the corporate media needs to maintain our daily (hourly, minute-ly) attention.

more than that, the lengthy election season directly depresses (and suppresses) the electorate, and requires huge influxes of cash into the political campaign arms race in order for candidates to stay competitive.

were we to prohibit electioneering more than three months from the primaries, and schedule the general no more than three months after that — elections would be cheaper, less corruptible, more focused (eg. more meaningful debate) and less taxing on the public — not to mention we’d likely have better candidates to boot.

somebody please find a way to make this happen.

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i didn’t have the patience (or spare time, or the death wish) to sit through the Republican National Convention this year, but haven’t missed a beat of the Democratic alternative. i’m a horrible person, but i’m in a much better mood because of it.

… that i’m the only prog in D.C. who’s jumping for joy on his couch right now.

and that’s because instead of watching the Democratic Party getting swept from the U.S. House of Representatives, i’m watching Tottenham Hotspur beat the crap out of reigning european champions Inter Milan in the champions league.

nancy pelosi? tottenham hotspur? i’ll take the younger one, with the fewer surgeries — zing!

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i was thiiiiiiiis close to skipping voting this year — it’s the off year for the presidentials, all of the local contests were decided back in the September primaries (which d.c. conveniently screwed up my ballot for) and our representative in Congress can’t vote anyway.

however, someone at work suggested it was sparklet’s civic duty to vote today, and who was i to get in the way a toddler executing her civic duty.

so we voted.

her picks were pretty reasonably across the board, until we had a bit of a disagreement over her choice for D.C.’s Shadow Representative.

Sparklet was drooling towards Republican Nelson Rimensynder and i was going to object — but he’s never going to actually win (with 75% of D.C. voters registered as Democrats) and the position has no power anyway (technically, he would be seated if the District ever got the right to vote in Congress but that’s never going to happen).

with that in mind, who am i to object?

besides, as a resident of D.C., sparklet needs to get used the the idea of throwing her vote away.

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there’s a tough primary for Mayor in D.C. today, between an incumbent (Fenty) who seems only interested in the white people of northwest, and the challenger (Gray) who seems more intent on spreading the city-coffers-love around to the other quarter million people who live more east and south.

it’s like the ultimate in liberal dilemma — do you vote for the person who clearly most benefits you, or the person who will most benefit the people who need the most benefit?

fortunately for me, i don’t actually have to make a decision between the two evils — because D.C. forgot to send me the absentee ballot i requested, and West Virginia is a long, long way away from the ballot boxes.

it’s too bad, because this is my one chance to vote this year — with 75% of D.C. voters registered as Democtats, the Repubs aren’t even expected to field a Mayoral candidate for the general.

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Favorite bit of coverage from the Glenn Beck-apalooza being held on the National Mall as we speak:

In a rather curious and confused way, some white people are starting almost to think like a minority, even like a persecuted one.

What does it take to believe that Christianity is an endangered religion in America or that the name of Jesus is insufficiently spoken or appreciated? Who wakes up believing that there is no appreciation for our veterans and our armed forces and that without a noisy speech from Sarah Palin, their sacrifice would be scorned?

It’s not unfair to say that such grievances are purely and simply imaginary, which in turn leads one to ask what the real ones can be. The clue, surely, is furnished by the remainder of the speeches, which deny racial feeling so monotonously and vehemently as to draw attention.

CREDITS: Excerpt from Christopher Hitchens’ White Fright, via Slate; Photo © Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post.

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there are times where i’ve been sad to be a human being, and watching the uneducated, partisan response to the health care bill is near the top.

it’s hard to imagine what’s bad/unconstitutional about:

  • New health insurance subsidies would be provided to families of four making up to $88,000 annually, or 400 percent of the federal poverty level.
  • Health insurance exchanges would be created to make it easier for small businesses, the self-employed and the unemployed to pool resources and purchase less expensive coverage.
  • Total out-of-pocket expenses would be limited, and insurance companies would be prevented from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.
  • Insurers would be barred from canceling coverage for sick people, as well as charging higher premiums based on a person’s gender or medical history.
  • Insurers would be required to provide coverage for non-dependent children up to age 26.
  • The Medicare prescription drug “doughnut hole” would be closed by 2020.
  • A 40 percent tax would be imposed on insurance companies providing “Cadillac” health plans valued at more than $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families. The tax would kick in starting in 2018.
  • The Medicare tax would be imposed on investment income for individuals making over $200,000 and couples making over $250,000.
  • The federal government would assist states by picking up 100 percent of the costs of expanded Medicaid coverage between 2014 and 2016, and 90 percent starting in 2020.
  • Individuals would be required to purchase coverage or face a fine of up to $695 or 2.5 percent of income, whichever is greater, starting in 2016. The plan includes a hardship exemption for poorer Americans.
  • Companies with more than 50 employees would be required to pay a fee of $2,000 per worker if the company does not provide coverage and any of that company’s workers receives federal health care subsidies. The first 30 workers would be subtracted from the payment calculation.
  • States could choose whether to ban abortion coverage in plans offered in the health insurance exchanges.
  • Illegal immigrants would not be allowed to buy health insurance in the health insurance exchanges.

Is it the mandates to have insurance that is so evil? I’m mandated to subsidize people who don’t have insurance now, through higher premiums and higher taxes. Seems like this is something “anti-everything” white people would be crawling all over themselves to support.

Crazy.

Source: Bill Summary from CNN; Photos by Matt Dunn, from City Paper.

Originally uploaded by 36widgets

we had a lot of time to think about the inauguration on our way out of the mall … it took us over an hour to go two blocks, and then another couple to get back to civilization (or lunch, at least).

ironically, the thing that stuck with me — more than the speech, the people, the hope — was the complete lack of respect the people on the mall had for the President until around 12:03 pm.

living in my own little world, I’d never really thought it through … sure, he had bad approval numbers, sure my hippie-prog friends had little respect for his policies on, well, anything.

but he was still President, right? i have always firmly believe that you have to respect the office, even if you believe the occupant doesn’t respect the office himself.

there is a basic level of civility that is needed to maintain ourselves as a nation, and violating that civility doesn’t no good in our efforts to establish a new tone of mutual respect in the nation’s Capitol.

now, don’t get me wrong … i didn’t hear anything that wasn’t shouted at Clinton eight years ago, but that’s not the point.

it’s very difficult to take the high road on an inclusive society, when we are exclusive ourselves. in the same way, we can’t fight intolerance with intolerance, regardless of how intolerant we feel the last eight years have been.

i already have conservative friends predicting assassinations, preaching the apocalypse, and plotting out their future lives in foreign countries — which is ironic because the best place for conservatives right now is probably France.

by being intolerant ourselves, we not only excuse this type of behavior, we encourage it. now, i’m about as opposed to neo-cons as anyone, but even I was able to give Bush the benefit of the doubt for his first two years in office.

if we really are going to bring change in Washington, it can’t just trickle down from the top. this started as a grassroots movement, and that’s the only way real change is going to succeed.

we scored some tickets to the “google ball” through the lady sparkler’s work — she actually asked *whether* i wanted to go (crazy lady!).

it wasn’t a ball as such (no obamas, so no dead swan dress) but was instead billing itself as a sort of pre-/post-ball party for the other (more official) balls.

the space was gorgeous. big enough to be spectacular, but small enough to be (surprisingly) intimate. and, to be fair, i didn’t even know the space existed (it’s in the old IRS building at the corner of 15th and Constitution).

we heard rumors that fancy-pants people would be there, but assumed they would be all roped off in some back room. it was great enough to have an excuse to dress up, but … i mean, JOHN PODESTA was there. and *WOLF BLITZER*!!!

anyway, the conversations were progressing along nicely, when the lady sparkler suggested our little group take a lap around the place. in a back room, the lady sparkler spotted ben affleck, and then it was all over …

i felt safe in my relationship, because i knew that she was only talking to him to get matt damon’s phone number … but it turned out that she wanted a picture, too.

she negotiated her way up to him, and tugged on his shoulder. i have no idea who he was talking to (someone later told me it was his brother Casey) but he barely broke (conversation) stride as he turned around, looked dashing for the picture, and went back about his business … not at all disturbed to be accosted by my wife.

john cusack, on the other hand, turned out to be a bit of an #$%. my beloved slid in for the kill, and he started negotiating with her about whether he would take the picture or not … i finally just took it, and think the expression is, well, perfect.

we actually ran into good friends shortly afterwards who gave us their tickets to a real, official ball (dead swann dress included). we headed over not too much later, but it turns out that the obama’s were gone even before we had the tickets in our hands.

still, one heck of an evening … especially riding home on the metro in our prom attire, with not a single raised eyebrow.

damn, i love DC.

[Photo]
ECPA20090120_1727, originally uploaded by [ecpark].

again, i tried to live blog, but there was little chance with the telecom issues down on the mall. we’ve got an inaugural ball tonight (not one that he’s going to) so more thoughts later. here we go:

5:12 am we’re up: go, go, go, go!
5:35 am people are so … happy. I am sleep deprived, but “people” are awake, sunny and happy.
5:44 am green line, Columbia heights station to l’ephant. trains are crowded, but not slammed.
6:15 am tons of people backed up getting out of l’efant. saw man with “bush is a punk assed chump” bumper sticker on his back. nice.
6:22 am in silver ticket screening line. line “starts” at third and independance. we’re on independance, a little before sixth.
6:43 am 20 ft closer.
7:10 am another surge. now we are *halfway* to fifth.
7:24 am cops need to chill with the sirens. we’ve heard it before. hundreds of times. all this morning.
7:32 am saw James carville, walking *away* from the Capitol. he did NOT look amused.
7:41 am it’s getting markedly colder… just dipped below 20 degrees.
8:12 am through the gates! onto the mall! storm the reflecting pool!
8:33 am so, we went up to the front section, but all the spotsleft were obstructed views. picked a spot a little farther back, but with good view of the Capitol/jumbotron.
9:12 am people have started singing (good) but first up is “if I had a hammer” … (bad)
9:18 am “this little light of mine…”
9:35 am “American Pie…” dear god.
9:48 am people are booing Gingrich. we’re with a nasty, petty bunch.
10:08 am Muhammad Ali just walked in … “Ali! Ali! Ali!”
10:24 am john cusack? john cusack!
10:41 am biggest ovation so far for ted Kennedy, tho ho-ho dean wasn’t too far behind.
10:48 am huge jeers for liberman (youch!, but a great, warm reception for colin Powell. I guess the US took his side in that whole Bush/Powell divorce thing.
10:51 am hova! hova! encore, do you want more …
10:59 am well michelle’s dress makes up for that election night shag rug disaster.
11:01 am bush is smiling so much he looks vaguely unbalanced.
11:12 am bush one ain’t looking too good. didn’t realize he was hobbling so much. he needs to get health tips from jimbo carter, who looks like he could build a house, today, single-handedly.
11:15 am can’t wait to see how hilary is announced. mrs. clinton? secstate elect? oh right, senator… (oops!)
11:20 am catcalls for the bush twins. easy boys, this one’s taken!
11:29 am try as I may, I can never get my hair to look like Lynn Chaney’s.
11:35 am dick Chaney looks even meaner in a wheelchair. looks like old man potter from “it’s a wonderful life”
11:42 am di-fi not looking so good, either. she’s hobbling more than bush one.
11:52 am ick. not enchanted by that convocation. gene Robinson’s at the concert was 10 times better, and way more appropriate. too Jesus-ified doran official state event.
11:55 am sing it areatha! first time Obama has smiled was at the end there.
12:00 pm that whole “you may now be seated” thing is getting old for the odd million or so of us stuck back here in the fields.
12:02 pm damn, yoyo and yitzak’s fingers look *cold*.
12:07 pm I think I like Obama *more* for flubbing the oath.
12:28 pm  great speech. hit all the right notes. little bummed his first words were “I’m humbled by the task ahead” as opposed to being humbled by the moment, his surroundings, the warm reception, his colleagues, etc. more thoughts later.
12:34 pm it’s begun to snow :)
12:43 pm me and my two million closest friends have decided to leave, starting riiiight about … now.
1:14 pm we made it one whole block!
1:28 pm there is something creepy/apocalyptic about “evacuating” the mall through an interstate highway tunnel. don’t get me wrong, it was a brilliant idea … but still creepy.
2:18 pm well, we walked up the 395 tunnel (goes under the mall, following what would be third street) up to N street, and across to Scott Circle … where I just ordered a beer and a hamburger. god bless America.
n5409143_32670501_3448i’ve got a nice pair of inauguration tickets in my hand, courtesy of the immortal jojo, who will *easily* go down as the very best middle sister in the history of the sparkler family.

we headed over to Capitol Hill today, a little after lunch, to pick up said tickets from jojo’s member (who is super cool himself, and someone i worked with a lot back in the days of comrade bernie sanders).

we got there a little after 2pm, thinking it would be an easy in-and-out before they shut down around three … but instead, we walked straight into the fourth circle of hell.

the metro platform was backed up, with an easy hundred people waiting to just get *out* of the turnstiles.

it only got worse when we got topside.

there are probably three entrances to each of the three house buildings, so a total of nine different paths to get to your tickets. when we arrived, each of the lines had hundreds (if not thousands) already lined up.

i was surprised, but then i started doing the math … 435 members of the house (times) two-hundred tickets per member (equals) approximately 87,000 tickets.

factor in that (a) everybody had to be present to pick up the tickets, (b) they only allowed one day to pick up the tickets, and (c) there was only six hours in which to distribute them …

a little more math reveals that the powers that be thought *each* door/security queue/metal detector could move just about 2,000 people *every* hour.

i’m sad to say they were wildly, and stoopidly optimistic.

now, there is a happy ending … because we lucked out. i worked in said house office building for four years and i knew it had a back door … and thought to check to see if there was a line there.

we also lucked out, because the throngs were so bad at the front (it went up and down the length of the building twice) that they decided to open the back door (where we were looking) at the exact moment we arrived.

we were (maybe) fifty or sixty people back from the door when it opened.

after that, it was all gravy.

we just had to find our room, the lady sparkler had to pretend she was her sister (we had an old passport for ID that it turned out we didn’t have to use) and i had to smile, nod, and say “duude” a lot (trying to pass myself off as a left coaster).

it wasn’t until we walked out the front that we realized how incredibly fortunate we were. there was an easy two thousand people waiting to get in just that *one* entrance.

i would love to know how late those offices had to stay open tonight. my guess was that there was a line well past dark.

first the bus yesterday, now the tickets today. let’s see if the luck holds through tomorrow …

[Photo]
Obama Inaugural Conc, originally uploaded by [ecpark].

Live blogging the Inaugural Concert on the mall today. Actually, not live blogging — because AT&T can’t maintain a #$%& signal on the mall — but kept blogging into my iPhone and uploaded it after the fact. Here you go:

11:01 am on the 42 to the inaug concert on the mall. there is standing room only two stops in.
11:42 am made it through security. no where near as nuts as I thought. no bags … except purses, shoulder bags, backpacks, bodybags …. *sigh.*
12:10 pm lots of jumbotrons. early tweeters said there was only one. were they trying to drive down attendance?
12:18 pm pre-flight entertainment has started. wonder if they will use the same 20 songs from the manassas rally.
12:35 pm why does my blanket always end up as a prime cut through for people wandering the venue?
12:38 pm elmo leading a chant of “we are one.” sweet Jesus, take me now.
12:53 pm it’s nuts down here on the mall. two hours ’til showtime, and the place is packed.
1:10 pm amy Hawthorne!
1:25 pm The Lady Sparkler flipping out that people are stepping on her blanket. gonna be a long hour-twenty.
1:52 pm Yup. same soundtrack.
2:10 pm just noticed snipers on top of the Lincoln. btwn that and the low planes coming in to national, I’ve become temporarily distracted by mundane safetly concerns.
2:20 pm convocation.
2:31 pm nice reception for the first couples.
2:36 pm denzel actually got more screams than Obama did in our little section. ear drums bleeding from pre-teens behind.
2:44 pm Bruce Springsteen and a 100 person gospel choir. Sparkler’s happy. I think we can leave now. Oh, wait. Not until U2.
2:49 pm mlk3 just mentioned the peace corps and half the crowd holla’d. think there are hippies around?
2:52 pm jamie foxx doing an Obama impression is creapy good.
2:56 pm clapping with gloves on makes people sound stupid.
3:00 pm some just screamed “run forest run” when tom hanks took the stage.
3:06 pm is it too much to ask for ATT to keep a functioning network for 2m people in then mall?!?
3:11 pm I’m in such a good mood today, that I don’t even hate James Taylor … well, not *as* much.
3:19 pm at the climax of mellencamp’s “pink houses” we had a dramatic fly-over by a perfect formation of 20 very confused looking Canadian geese.
3:22 pm wow, the Daughters of the American Revolution just got thrown under the bus for denying African American singer Marian Anderson the right to perform at Constitution hall … in 1939. ouch.
3:25 pm someone just asked if josh groban was an American idol winner. ouch.
3:28 pm Is that the guy from “Harold and Kumar escape from Guantanamo bay”? what do you have to do to not deserve to appear at this thing?
3:32 pm tiger woods? hmm.
3:41 pm Garth Brooks singing American pie? this is the atlanta-olympics-memorial-36-white-pickups-stuffed-with-cheerleaders moment of the afternoon.
3:43 pm nope. garth brooks just medley-ed into “shout.” *this* is the stuffed-with-cheerleaders moment. I guess “pie” was just the white-pickups part.
3:47 pm celebrity #239 and #240 just spoke. can you imagine how big the greenroom must be?
4:01 pm not one, but TWO songs by U2? Sparkler has left her mind. I repeat. Sparkler has left her mind.
4:07 pm how do you follow that? two tethered eagles? ick.
4:10 pm or, maybe, Obama?
4:18 pm great speach. well written. made up for the awkward eagles thing.
4:24 pm sing-a-long. I get the feeling I am in kindergarten, and beyonce is my teacher (WOHOO!)
4:35 pm walking out.
4:38 pm there is a boy on a leash rolling around on the ground like a dog. interesting lesson in socialized behavior.
4:46 pm no way we are getting on public transportation. no way.
5:10 pm wow! made it on a bus. a metro manager stopped a south bound S2 and turned it around in the middle of L street. it has these fuzzy seats, as if it were a charter. strange.
5:16 pm Being interviewed by the Washington post. can’t wait to see how that story pans out. (pdf)
5:21 pm final thought: if this many people showed for the concert, the inauguration is going to crazy. CRAZY!
for me, this election cycle has highlighted three glaring reasons why the Republican party should be more than a little worried about 2012:

first problem: party unity

the party illuminati are already deconstructing the election, and half the party is saying they lost because they pushed away minorities and the intellectuals by pandering to the conservative base. of course, the other half says they lost when they left the party’s traditional base and moved towards the center (where the minorities and intellectuals seem to be hanging out).

this argument is going to resonate well beyond 2012, but the next nomination cycle is going to be an ugly battle for the Repubs … between a candidate who energizes the party’s base, and a candidate who energizes the party’s intellectual / policy / more progressive center.

that bruiser of a process is going to disenfranchise half the party, and make it very hard the nominee to win out. for those who weren’t paying attention, sarah palin brought about party discord, not party unity. her presence in 2012 is only going to make the situation worse.

second problem: policy not security

we are starting to see the signs that simply changing the subject isn’t going to work anymore. Republican candidates are going to have to retrench to a time when they had holistic policies (contract with america, anyone?) and didn’t just rely on national security to win the day.

sure, it’s great to have two wars going on, and to be under attack by the terrorists, but eventually the repubs are going to have to get comfortable on a new set of issues and not just keep changing the subject to national security.

(oh, and taxes… dems are starting to figure out how govern without raising taxes, so the “all dems raise taxes” line ain’t going to work forever.)

third problem: the “other” conservatives

the republican party seems to be defining itself only through religious and social conservatives. under Reagan, there was room for every flavor of conservative under the big tent (fiscal, pragmatic, progressive, military, intellectual).

today, people who don’t meet the strict social/religious litmus-test are either tossed out of the party (for not being “right” enough) or are forced to assimilate in order to stay. the world is becoming way to diverse (ethnic, religious, cultural) for the Repubs to rely on owning the white, conservative, and evangelical votes.

here is the problem: 89% of mccain votes were from white voters, but they represent only 74% of the electorate. 58% of mccain votes were from conservatives, but they are only 34% of the electorate. 42% of mccain votes were evangelicals, but they are only 26% of the electorate.

this isn’t a knock on any of the above demographics, just a recognition that winning these demographics isn’t likely to be enough moving torward. it’s also a classic sign of “engaging the base,” and not competing on the field of ideas and policies.


well, good luck, my republican friends — it’s going to be an interesting time in the wilderness for you. may you come back in less time (and maybe a little more progressive?) than the dems last time around.


Final Obama Campaign Rally, Prince William Country Fairgrounds, Manassas, Virginia

i’m posting out of order, but the lady sparkler and i went out to Manassas last night for barack obama’s final campaign rally, at the Prince William County Fairgrounds. (see the pictures on facebook, or check out the panorama above.)

i’ll have more thoughts later (ie. tomorrow) but the rally was spectacular. they estimated the crowd at 90,000 and i’d absolutely believe it. he’s every bit as charismatic as clinton (mr, not mrs, who i met in early 1992) but hopefully without the, er, prominent character flaws. the lady sparkler and i went to the rally on a complete whim, but it felt great to be there for (hopefully) a little bit of history.

we didn’t get back until just about 2am, so i am way too tired for coherent thought, much less coherent election night coverage … but we’ll see what happens as we get through the night.

7:00 PM i love numbers! just like crack, only they are a little more addictive … and have a little less nutritional value.
7:03 PM vermont is the first to go blue! as a former cog in the rep. bernie sanders (i-vt) machine, i am proud (i say) proud of this development … and can feel the entire city of Rutland (viva, rut-vegas!) having a conniption fit.
7:18 PM cnn is using faux-hologram technology to project a chicago-based reported into the atlanta situation room. help me obi wan, you are my only hope. @#$%ng ridiculous.
7:31 PM cnn has mccain up 8 to 3 … if that ratio holds, it’s going to be a landslide.
7:40 PM What we should be watching … Early tells: Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina. Must McWins: Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri. Late flags: Montana, Colorado.
8:02 PM on a bus, away from CNN and it’s killing me. I trust nothing important is happening?
8:11 PM CNN mobile says electoral college is 77 to 34 in favor of Barack, but only KY and VT have been called. That’s a Palin sized WTF?!?
8:27 PM oh, the northeast happened. and Maryland. and Illinois.
8:34 PM Obama won granite staters who “never attend church” and “make less than 25k” … not sure that’s a good thing.
9:02 PM dole goes down… burn, dole, burn! you godless heeeethan.
9:10 PM 51 senators and Michigan. it’s early. why do the people on fox look so sad?!?
9:13 PM it’s silly, but I was really hoping for Georgia. sad.
9:20 PM fox calls Ohio for obama. stick a fork inmac, he’s gone!
9:34 PM I [heart] the CNN magic state/county map. it may be my new celebrity exception. mmmmmmmmm.
9:37 PM malvo (CNN) went a little heavy on the orange bronzer.
10:13 PM giddy. just giddy.
10:15 PM breaking news! CNN announces that a source in the McCain count says that he may have lost!
10:20 PM Jessica Simpson appears to be providing election coverage on fox news, and seems to have just high-fives Brett Hume.
10:28 PM Steve Forbes is on comedy central, and BET seems to have a “magic map” made from refrigerator magnets.
10:35 PM William bennett looks like he wants to blink out of existance.
10:42 PM Jon King just touched Joe Lieberman’s blue tile and it turned blue! Will someone please, please call something.
10:55 PM wow, this has been a slow, slow 10-minutes…
10:59 PM you heard it here first, BET just called virginia for Obama.
11:00 PM that’s it kids!
11:06 PM wow, Jesus. wow.
11:09 PM ten minutes ago, this had nothing to do with race. now, it’s hard to see anything but …
11:17 PM is saying “our long national nightmare is over” too strong?
11:19 PM no, boos, repubs. no boos.
11:24 PM McCain: Dude, if you gave this tone of a speech six months ago, you would have won. Who wrote this? Why now? Legitimately beautiful.
11:27 PM This is the pre-2000 McCain … the one I could have been content as president way back when.
11:29 PM well, lots of repub boos, but atleast no “drill, baby, drill!”
11:41 PM Am I the only one who honestly doesn’t believe that this has happened?
11:51 PM Florida, Nevada? Montana would be the end zone spike.
11:56 PM CNN: “people are celebrating in front of the white house.” that’s not celebrating, bob. that’s taunting…
12:00 AM Michelle Obama’s dress made me think nice things about Cindy McCain. Damn her!
12:10 AM God, he makes a lot of sense.
12:16 AM how long has he been writing this in his head?
12:17 AM this is really happening, huh?
12:25 AM seeing Jesse Jackson cry makes me hate him just a little less…
12:45 AM the steers are a wall of noise. horns honking everywhere. trucks, cars. it’s beautiful.
12:49 AM people are litterally shouting and clapping on each street corner. And I just face planted because i should have been walking instead of typing.
12:56 AM if park road is half as noisy as Connecticut Ave, I won’t be sleeping tonight.
1:05 AM I’ve seen a hundred people since the returns, maybe two… but not one hasn’t been happy, laughing, smiling, honking or shouting. even the one repub I’ve seen was happy.
1:33 AM 18th and Columbia is a parking lot of people high-fiveing, strangers making eye contact and grinning, people shouting “yes, we did.” it’s like DC melted away, and became Portland, Oregon for a couple hours.
1:34 AM screw people who say that DC isn’t a sports town. our sport is politics, it’s just that we don’t win often enough …
2:20 AM watched CNN’s replay of obama’s acceptance speech. it’s even better the second time around.
2:20 AM g’night.
after a lovely Saturday of belated anniversary present shopping (we settled on a one-third off console table from pottery barn) the lady sparkler and I settled in for a long evening at home … watching two-month stale coverage of the Beijing Summer Olympics.

a couple things, looking back two months:

  • it’s been at least a week since I had heard any one say “michael phelps,” which made me wonder if he had fired his agent considering his best post-Olympic gig has been for Rosetta Stone.

  • It seems like (back then) John McCain actually ran ads that weren’t entirely focused on trashing Barack Obama. heck, August was so long ago that I didn’t even know that MILF had a political context.

  • I once again contemplated changing my celebrity exception clause to be U.S. Olympic indoor volleyball team silver medalist Logan Tom, but quickly realized I am already married to some one who can kick my @$& so what would the point be?

  • Whichever Olympic scheduler put synchronized swimming, canoeing, water polo, and rhythmic gymnastics in the same four hour block should be fired … or shot.

  • I got to thinking about politics, the economy and my 401k, and actually got nostalgic for a minute, thinking “wow. that was a simpler time, wasn’t it?!?”. yeah, way back in august.

so, back to the present. much of our weekend was spent on the couch watching soccer.

the taped USA vs. Brazil woman’s gold medal match was one of the best this year. goalie hope solo (I heard she is Han Solo’s niece) pitched a shut out over 120 minutes, making her world cup benching last year — and USA’s subsequent 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Brazil — that much more inexplicable.

but perhaps the best news of the weekend came from the English premier league, where my team (Tottenham Hotspur) finally won their first game after nine attempts (that, and the midnight firing of the entire management structure.) while the win wasn’t enough to get them out of last place, they are now just one win away from a once unthinkably-good 15th place. (weeee!)

to be fair, Tottenham could have actually been the second best news of the weekend … the best may have been the news that the Anchorage Daily News endorsed *Obama,* saying something about “putting her one … heartbeat from the leadership of the free world is just too risky at this time.”

in the words of conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan, the Anchorage Daily News editorial board is obviously filled with “goddamn East Coast elitist hippies.”

i’m desperately trying to come up with something else to liveblog tonight, mainly because i am struggling to come up with anything original that i could possibly say during another ninety minutes of political discourse.

sure, mccain could come out with some kind of plan, and sure, obama could suddenly start spouting in arabic about the downfall of the great satan … but i am thinking the odds of this are a little low.

I will say that there has been a lot of ink floating around lately which seems to be setting up nicely for an Obama win. The most interesting are from (admittedly moderate) Conservatives such as David Brooks:

He’s phenomenally good at surrounding himself with a team,” Brooks said. “I disagree with them on most issues, but I am given a lot of comfort by the fact that the people he’s chosen are exactly the people I think most of us would want to choose if we were in his shoes.

… and Andrew Sullivan:

… McCain would have to concede that he didn’t vet her, made his decision impulsively based on no real knowledge of her, and that his first serious judgment as a presidential candidate was so monumentally irresponsible that it doesn’t just disqualify her for the vice-presidency. It disqualifies him for the presidency.

This story line is the most interesting to me, as someone who was on the hill during the later part of Gingrich’s Republican revolution. I can say, the prevailing wisdom was that we had seen the death-knell of modern American liberalism, and that people we’re hoping that the Conservative lock on the halls of power would only be a couple of decades long.

Sure, I’d take an Obama presidency in it’s own right, but just the possibility that we haven’t become a country of one permanent majority party is what’s making me feel warm and fuzzy right now.

8:54 PM just heard five minutes on CNN where I couldn’t make out one pundit making one discernable point. it’s going to be a long, long night.
8:58 PM tired of hearing deal people talking about real problems. can we have some fake voters talking about some artificial problems?
8:59 PM john king: “john McCain is George bush’s older brother.” ouch!
9:03 PM the candidates almost hugged. what are they up to?
9:06 PM mccain has now started two-thirds of the debates with a hospital update about a prominent political figure. some one needs to explain to him that the demographic he should be targeting isn’t exactly on hospital watch.
9:10 PM schaeffer: “senator mccain, would you like to ask a question?” mccain: “um, no.”
9:11 PM obama: “senator mccain has obviously been listening to his own ads … now, let me tell you what I’m *actually* going to do.”
9:12 PM eating 53-week old wedding cake. third slice. it’s *that* good …
9:13 PM this is much more socially awkward that usual, and i honestly didn’t think that was possible.
9:18 PM McCain shouldn’t talk about the Depression era like he was there. Oh, wait. He *was* there.
9:20 PM I wonder if there is a “debate moderators” support group, where they go through therapy as a result of the candidates refusing to answer their questions.
9:21 PM Ooo, McCain is getting feisty. “I’m not President Bush. If you wanted to run against him, you should have run four years ago.”
9:22 PM … and he just tanked the rest of his response. a promising attack, snuffed out in its youth.
9:27 PM multi-tasking. just posted pictures of a weekend of hiking in sky meadows state park, virginia.
9:29 PM wow. jesus. finally. mccain brought his “a” game to this debate. him looking so hurt about the john lewis thing kinda made him look like a wuss, though.
9:31 PM it seems like a slippery slope for either of them saying that the other one is going too “negative.”
9:32 PM i’ve decided … these two need marital counseling.
9:36 PM mccain pressing how he has been treated by the obama campaign is a bold gambit. i wonder if it pays off … or makes him look completely unfocused on the issues.
9:40 PM obama: “I think that your focus on [Ayers and Acorn] shows more about your campaign, than it does about my campaign.”
9:41 PM okay kids. that was fun. can we get back to the issues the rest of us care about now?
9:48 PM i wish i had more to live blog, but nothing terribly original is happening … other than the rising levels of condescension.
9:50 PM i wish the campaigns would watch the stupid little audience response graph on cnn. talk about issues? graph goes up. talk about each other? graph goes down. how hard is this to understand?
9:52 PM the lady sparkler and texas in africa said within minutes of each other that this debate is waaaay too inside baseball.
9:53 PM tee-hee! i’m going to start playing the “drink everytime McCain slips an attack in on Obama” game. think i will make it through the next 3 minutes?
9:55 PM you know, we were *just* talking about how much better a model that Peruvian free trade pact was over the Columbian one. like, last night over dinner. this is the best debate ever!
9:57 PM the lady sparkler just broke out the vodka. i was going to avoid telling you that it’s lemon vodka, but that tidbit was just too tasty.
9:58 PM obama: “i was just talking to a couple of women who had to be in their mid-50s…” i hope they don’t turn out to be 40, because he may have just lost their votes. thank god he didn’t guess their weight.
10:02 PM if mccains smile becomes any more forced, people are going to think he died.
10:05 PM why does Joe the Plumber get all the love??? how about Evan the Fundraiser, or HGM the Freelancer, or Texas the Professor? oh, that’s why. we’re the white intellectual elites. damn.
10:07 PM HEY! mccain is a self professed federalist. dig out those papers, kids!
10:09 PM john, saying justices must strictly adhere to the consitution *is* a litmus test.
10:11 PM I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of televisions cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.
10:12 PM we have to change the culture of america, john? i thought america was the most perfect country around. you can’t change it! that’s un-american …
10:16 PM that stupid little audience response graph just went through the roof when obama started talking about education, and working to reduce the demand for abortions.
10:16 PM last question! oh, thank god …
10:21 PM i love soldiers too, but making them all teachers without requiring certification? i’m not sure that is such a great idea.
10:25 PM the CNN pundits’ scorecard is currently 46% mccain, 54% obama.
10:25 PM YES, SARAH PALIN KNOWS ABOUT AUTISM. YES. NEXT SLIDE, PLEASE.
10:29 PM john mccain’s closing statement was perfect. it’s a damn shame (for him) that the rest of his campaign hasn’t carried out that theme …
10:31 PM go vote now, it will make you feel big and strong …
10:32 PM cindy needs to adjust her vertical hold, or her white balance, or something … i mean, daaaaaaaamn girl.

final thoughts

the pundits are saying that mccain was great out of the gates (agree) that it was mccain’s best debate (agree) and it wasn’t obama’s best (agree) and that obama was on the defensive for the first third of the debate (agree).

but they are also saying that mccain let obama back in the debate by dwelling / looking emotionally disturbed by the ayers / john lewis thing (agree a hundred times over). mccain looked angry. obama looked like an academic. wonder how all this translated into the masses …

after the last debate, there was a lot of conversation about how mccain’s window was closing, and that this closing window means he would have to take larger risks (attacking obama) and those risks would have a greater chance of backfiring.

i certainly think that mccain has either slowed or stopped the hemorrhaging, but did he fundamentally change the course of the debate? dunno, but my guess is no. and i am certainly not going to loose any sleep about it.

speaking of which, good night. god bless. i’ll most likely kill you in the morning.

i normally draft blog posts by revision. each post that goes up has probably two hours of typing through a dozen or two versions. i write like a talk, and i have to talk a *lot* before it sounds very good.

the focus of the effort? trying to codify why mccain’s selection of palin has shoved me over the ideological edge.

i fervently believe that the once great republican party has been hijacked by a small group of people who are squandering it’s reagan-era “big tent” appeal in order to further their own shallow, limited political motivations. a lot of people are turned off by palin for a lot of reasons, but this anti-intellectual chauvinism (from the party that brought you lincoln, no less) is the big one for me.

so, i completed 20+ drafts, but i could never get the tone right … i could never scrub my progressive perspective from the piece, and there is such a fine line between constructive and destructive criticism anyway.

then, after all that work, i read this piece by david brooks, a conservative commentator for the new york times … and in 800 words said what i had been trying to say for the last 12 days.

it kills me to compliment a conservative, but this one is worth it … *sheesh.*

Tags:

crap. there is a debate tonight, isn’t there. ugh.

8:07 PM who am i. why am i here? no, really. why *am* i here?
8:59 PM blah, blah, red states. blah, blah, undecided voters. blah, blah, obama, blah, blah, ohio, blah. blah, blah, debates don’t matter. blah, blah.
9:01 PM if tom brokaw is approving the questions, why doesn’t he just ask them? i hate the townhall format. does that make me an elitist?
9:02 PM i think we need to reevaluate making me a despot. i promise to be benevolent.
9:08 PM mccain looks like a compassionate human being. what is he up to?
9:14 PM oh, man! naked gun 2 1/2 is on. what am i doing with my life?!?
9:16 PM obama isn’t looking good pointing so many fingers. just ignore mccain, and talk about a PLAN.
9:18 PM NO ONE OUTSIDE OF THE BELTWAY THINKS THAT WRITING A LETTER IS DOING ANYTHING AT ALL. DROP IT.
9:23 PM i hate this format. now instead of not answering the media’s questions (which we all agree is perfectly acceptable) they are now ignoring the questions of the general public. how is this good thing?
9:25 PM mccain is going to cut entitlements and build a bunch of nuclear plants. i’m guessing he isn’t trying to turn dems to his cause …
9:26 PM good for Obama knowing the price of gas in Nashville. nice touch.
9:30 PM mccain is really spending a LOT of time talking about his record. are there that many who are unsure about it? if the are unsure about it, are they going to take his word at face value? i’m guessing not.
9:30 PM “we’re not rifle shots here.” what exactly does this mean?
9:38 PM CNN: the little audience response graph at the bottom of the screen *flatlined* on mccains crack that keeping track of obama’s tax plans are like nailing jello to the wall.
9:42 PM social security reform isn’t tough, why hasn’t it been done yet, John?
9:45 PM i’m thinking john’s record on climate change is a little suspect if his veep isn’t even sure global warming is caused by human beings. speaking of, i wonder if she falls into the “caused by cow flatulence” camp.
9:49 PM don’t do it, obama. don’t go negative on mccain. we expect it from him, not from you.
9:51 PM i have to look up that “politicians haven’t done anything in 30 years about energy, and mccain has been there for 26 of them” comment. if you *have* to go negative, that’s the way to go. let people draw their own conclusions. lead the horses to water, and most of us will drink.
9:58 PM health care as a right for every american. god bless that man. god bless him.
10:02 PM john mccain’s response to when to use military might is the best he has ever given … right up until that patronizing part at the very end.
10:03 PM either i’m drunk or these things are getting easier to sit through. wait a second, i am drunk. nevermind.
10:07 PM CNN has these analyst score cards … and i added up all six results for both candidates — Obama, 60. McCain, 11. Youch.
10:09 PM I’m so tired of McCain’s hero-worship of Petraeus and Reagan. Why does he feel he needs to do it, and what would the analogy be for Obama. Clinton? Kennedy? LBJ?
10:12 PM Hey, McCain’s got a new hero!!! It’s Teddy Roosevelt, now. Maybe he will shut up about Petraeus. (Or maybe not…)
10:19 PM McCain’s negative comments flatlining on the audience response graph reminds the missus of McCain’s heart flatlining, which reminds her that he’s old, which makes her sad.
10:21 PM gawd, he really is old.
10:22 PM crap, Obama forgot his lines about Russia. slow and steady, my friend. noun first, then try a verb, then maybe an object … nice and slow.
10:27 PM i am soooo tired of the “pre-conditions before talking to iran” issue. even if you are right, it’s not a campaign issue. NEXT SLIDE, please.
10:29 PM stupid question! iran will not attack israel, and (if they did) china and russia would never oppose a response. the entire question is non-sensical. not to mention, isreal would beat the bejeeebus out of iran, so there would be no need to respond by the time we could muster the troops.
10:31 PM question from new hampshire: “what don’t you know and how will you learn it?” damn hippies. wiskey-tango-foxtrot?
10:32 PM wrap it up kids, i’m done.
10:34 PM there is such a generational gap between the two candidates, and it shows in every single word, look and response.
10:35 PM Final score from CNN — McCain, 29. Obama, 69.
10:37 PM the disdain between the two candidates is actually pretty sad, especially considering they have both run a (relatively) clean campaign … at least when compared to the last two elections.
10:56 PM three debates down, one to go. i hope i’m out of town for that one. maybe i should start planning a trip …

final thoughts

The generational gap was more apparent tonight that it ever was before … and i’m guessing it was due to the absence of the podiums. McCain looked old, and the more he looks old, i think the more the rank and file Americans (who aren’t beguiled by Palin’s neocon-ly charms) bail on his campaign.

I’m glad the onslaught of personal attacks didn’t come … i think slinging mud would hurt both sides more than they’d help, because it causes the middle to stay home. We’ve had enough elections in recent memory that were about mobilizing the base, and that doesn’t help the national discourse by any means.

Yet again, I don’t there was anything here to change the conversation, and status quo favors the guy in the lead. My main concern is as it was after the very first one … Obama needs to start building up a lead, because once the white people are in the voting booth alone, all polls and predictions become bogus.

update: i just heard cnn’s republican and democratic analysts hand the election to obama (pending major implosion, etc). basically, the argument was that the things that mccain would need to do to take the lead are either too late (policy shift, separation from bush) or have too high a potential to backfire (personal attacks).

other interesting tidbit … in the initial poll, 50%+ thought that obama won (not news) but mccain’s unfavorable ratings are at 46%, while barack’s fell to 34% after the debate. if mccain is really 12% behind in unfavorables, there is no way he wins … you just can’t overcome a gap like that.

I’ve been looking to avoid this evening since I heard the veep nominations…

The expectations for Palin are so low, that if she strings two coherent sentences together she wins. If Biden crushes her, she wins. If the moderator asks her hard questions, she wins. If she shows up with a star-spangled swimsuit and poses with a gun, she wins.

To quote the pimply faced boy from the Simpsons: this is only going to end in tears.

7:33 PM To get warmed up, some favorite veep-debate quotes:
7:33 PM “Who am I? Why am I here? I’m not a politician…”
– Admiral James Stockdale
7:34 PM “I will never have another Jimmy Carter grain embargo, Jimmy, Jimmy Carter, Jimmy Carter grain embargo, Jimmy Carter grain embargo.”
– Senator Dan Quayle
7:36 PM “George Bush taking credit for the Berlin Wall coming down is like the rooster taking credit for the sunrise.”
– Sen. Al Gore
9:01 PM Ahhh … back on PBS, but I am already missing that little audience response graph on CNN.
9:02 PM If you flip between CNN and PBS, CNN is on a 5 second tape delay. Are they expecting a wardrobe malfunction?
9:04 PM How come Joe in a black suit looks professional, but Sarah in a black suit looks like she is going to a funeral?
9:07 PM Well practiced responses from both candidates. Palin stumbled right out of the gate, but settled down quick.
9:12 PM Wow. I mean, like wow. Satan prepped this woman. She is on point, on message, and (like all good pols interacting with journalists) completely ignoring the question.
9:15 PM Joe’s gotta watch it … he’s going to come across as a inside-the-beltway wonk, and she is going to become the guardian of the people.
9:18 PM Satan, i tell you, Satan. Ham-fisted (barking at Gwen where there is nothing to bark about) but is going to do great for the anti-PBS vote.
9:20 PM She’s stumbling just enough to increase her foloksy cred, but not enough to embarass herself.
9:22 PM Flip over to CNN. Human’s are perverts. I can understand the audience response for men jumping when she speaks, but the audience response for women jumping when *he* speaks?
9:26 PM Oh. Need something to distract me.
9:28 PM How is she being allowed to successfully stake out their ticket as the one of change? Joe’s got to step up his game …
9:33 PM Am i the only one who is a little disappointed that she didn’t say that Climate Change is just God hugging us closer?
9:39 PM Oh, my. She just used tolerance as a reason to be intolerant. Artful.
9:44 PM She just paused about 5 seconds before responding to a question about Iraq, and you could actually see her sifting through the mental file folders / media training looking for the appropriate canned response…
9:45 PM When, exactly, is she going to start drooling again?
9:49 PM I think she wants to sleep with Petraeus, too. What is the deal?!?
9:55 PM Joe Biden shouldn’t talk about Joe Biden in the third person …
9:57 PM Is anybody buying Sarah Palin as the harbinger of change? The Dems are “spending too much time pointing backwards” to convince Palin that they are going to move us forward. Ouch.
10:00 PM I want to live in the parallel universe that she’s living in.
10:06 PM I never thought in a million years that Palin would be the one who would need to watch coming off as being condescending.
10:07 PM SOMEONE BRING ME A DRINK!
10:09 PM “a team of mavericks.”
10:15 PM This folksy thing is at the point where it’s just making me mad … literally, and certifiably, angry. You, betcha!
10:17 PM Does Cheney have a doctrine now? And is she actually supporting it? How in God’s name does she think that a more active role for the veep will get her ticket elected.
10:22 PM Sarah Palin: the candidate of change and tolerance. Doublethink. Blackwhite. She must be a closet fan of Orwell.
10:35 PM thank god that’s over.
10:36 PM observation number one: this answers the question about whether she can be properly media trained, not about whether she can be a chief executive.
10:37 PM observation number two: mark shields called her “relentlessly colloquial” and i think that hits the nail on the head. the open question is whether or not the people want that right now, after 8 years of someone who couldn’t pronounce “nuclear.”
10:41 PM observation number three: she threw the bush administration under the bus. i know that it won’t be remembered in 50 years, but if bush is expecting a positive legacy … oiff.
10:52 PM that’s it. i’m done. good night, kids …

a couple more thoughts after the debate … it’s fascinating the sea change we have seen in regards to women and their roll in society. i’m sincerely happy that a woman can go into a veep debate with a folksy, soccer mom schtick and hold her own against opposition in a power suit.

let’s be honest, if geraldine ferraro went for this approach 24 years ago, she would have been run off the ticket on a rail.

to me, this election was all fun and games until tonight. honestly, i suspect i could live under a McCain administration … even if i would prefer pre-2001 as opposed to this particular incarnation. but, imho, the country just can’t survive even two years of a Palin administration.

the way she looks down on intellect, forces herself to be colloquial, follows her politico-driven script, her obviously ultra-conservative credentials … that’s just a continuation of the bush approach which has proven bankrupt.

that’s it for me. i’m (right now) going to go donate a lot of money to the Obama campaign, and go to bed to get the nightmares over with.

Guess who live blogged the debate tonight? Tonight’s coverage came from waaaay out in suburban Maryland — home of the very mighty baby boig. Also, in case you missed it, I live blogged that joint appearance by Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton on Saturday night two weeks back.

thoughts from the debate

8:05 AM I honestly can’t imagine a better prologue for the debate than McCain calling for it to be canceled, and Obama educating John that a President needs to be able to walk *and* chew gum at the same time.
12:08 PM debate is looking like it’s a go. washingtonpost.com reporting that mccain has agreed to participate, citing “significant progress” on the bailout.
12:14 PM in case you hadn’t heard, mccain has already won the debate … and this “happened” while he was still trying to kill it.
5:10 PM i’m more than a little nervous about rolling out new technology (posting from iPhone) in a live broadcast event … even if it there are just three of you watching/reading.
8:18 PM at the party … negotiations have commenced as to which network coverage to watch. it doesn’t look good for PBS.
8:55 PM So we have the option of watching RoboCop or the debate. Dunno, I do like Peter Weller.
9:01 PM Here we go, in the land of the stars and bars. On CNN. *Sigh*
9:03 PM I [heart] Jim Lehrer.
9:05 PM Interesting how McCain entered from the *right* of the stage … hmmm.
9:05 PM Barack = too much makeup.
9:07 PM McCain trots out Kennedy’s illness? Nice try, but poor form … especially for what was deemed a “mild seizure.”
9:08 PM At least McCain practiced his response to the financial bailout question. Barack should have had that speech polished. You’ve *got* to map out your first fifteen offensive plays if you want to coach in this league, kiddo.
9:10 PM It’s going to be a long night if they don’t start answering Jim’s questions…
9:11 PM How is the financial crisis like the landings at Normandy? I got WAY confused on that one…
9:13 PM Point to John McCain for making a joke … proof that he’s actually alive. Especially important as he (a) isn’t moving much, and (b) his makeup makes him look like a corpse.
9:16 PM That lighting makes McCain look like he has a comb-over … or maybe that’s just reality doing that.
9:20 PM “I didn’t win Miss Congeniality in the US Senate..” NICE!
9:27 PM Barack is looking great … and I don’t think McCain is winning many points being *so* focused on pork barrel spending. It’s a bullet point, John. It’s not the whole speech.
9:31 PM Is McCain running for President or Accountant-In-Chief? Next slide, John-boy.
9:35 PM Barack is much more nimble at jumping from issue to issue … John-boy isn’t flustered, but isn’t exactly fleet of feet here.
9:44 PM I hope Petraeus doesn’t retire … who is McCain going gush over when he’s gone.
9:48 PM Watching on CNN, I am fascinated by the little graph on the bottom of the screen measuring audience response, one line each for dems, indies and repubs … I know it prolly has no substance what-so-ever but I can’t tear my eyes away
9:51 PM Barack is calling McCain out for “misrepresentation” a lot. People here are standing saying “Hallelujah,” but I wonder how the confrontation is looking to the undecideds.
9:52 PM I feel like McCain keeps fighting the last argument.
9:56 PM Is McCain sleeping with General Petraeus? I know about this “don’t ask, don’t tell” thing, but maybe John-boy should do a little more “don’t tell…”
9:58 PM John-boy supports extinction for North Korea and jokes about bombing Iran? Two good lines to Obama. I’m thinking he was well prepped.
10:00 PM McCain’s jowells are twitching … I think he’s getting ready to combust.
10:01 PM Oy. A verbal battle of soldier’s mother’s bracelets … unseemly. You can see that Obama is wearing the bracelet, John. Why bring it up?
10:05 PM McCain just called Iran an “existential” threat. Was that “existential” as in “existentialism,” as in Albert Camus and Friedrich Nietzsche … as in “I create my own reality?” Heck, I’d agree that John-boy creates his own reality …
10:07 PM I know that I’m partial, but I’m pretty sure Obama is doing waaaay better keeping McCain honest than vice versa.
10:09 PM “Punishing countries by not talking to them does not work…” *great* line from Obama, putting McCain square in the Bush camp.
10:12 PM So, this reminds me of a funny joke I heard: Raul Castro, Hugo Chavez, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and President Obama walk into a bar — stop me if you have heard this one …
10:18 PM I can’t hear the word “Russia” without thinking about Tina Fey saying: “I can see Russia from my back yard.”
10:20 PM You know at least a hundred people outside Atlanta just called the Georgia state police to report that the Russians have invaded.
10:24 PM That smirk on McCain’s face is positively Bush-ian. Do you think the general public finds it as pompous (and vaguely unstable) as I do?
10:26 PM Does anyone know what Nunn-Lugar is? Two of you? Great. Are you an undecided living in middle America? No, not so much …
10:28 PM If the U.S. is safer now than after 9/11, can we get step down from that “Code Orange” thing that’s messing up all the airports?
10:30 PM I know Obama isn’t going to say it, but could the biggest threat to our security be to remain in Iraq? Or, for us to not fix our standing in the world?
10:31 PM Spoke too soon. Obama just said “we must restore our standing in the world” and that statement shoved that audience reaction graph through the roof. Dems and Indies are way up. Even the repubs are up, up, up. Who knew America cared? Or, who knew a focus group in Atlanta cared?
10:33 PM McCain just said “blood and treasure.” Which brings up an important point … does middle America celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and do they know it was actually last week?
10:36 PM McCain just said Bush and Obama shared foreign policy stubbornness. Sharpest knock on the president so far, though (imho) it seemed a bit forced.
10:37 PM John is tiring out, Barack. Just smile and nod… and say you love America, a lot. And babies.
10:38 PM It’s over, enter the Stepford Wife!
10:45 PM Well, that’s done … not sure anyone really won or loss, but I’m drooling over the next round of polling.
10:46 PM How far up does Obama have to be to overcome people swapping teams in the voting booth due to the latent racism of Americans? Someone here at the party said 15%, though I’d guess Palin may have moderated that a bit (target for latent sexism).
10:47 PM Okay, gotta drive home. More thoughts later …
10:51 PM Not leaving quite yet. Was there any moment of this debate that we will remember in 20 years? I am thinking not. And it seemed to me that debating with McCain sullies Obama. I don’t like seeing such a gifted orator have to deal with a bean-counter like that.
10:55 PM Lotta people talking (in person, on the telly) about Obama saying “John is right” so much, and that being a sign of weakness … I’m not so sure. A sign of bipartisanship, yes. Weakness? Maybe not.
10:56 PM Okay, now I really am leaving…

a couple thoughts from the drive home

first, i liked how approachable obama seemed … he had a “kitchen table” schtick about him, and it think that will serve him well. it’s not him at his most eloquent, but i think everybody is expecting a good state of the union already. it’s still a question of if you want to drink beer with him, and the debate was a personal win for him here.

second, that stupid audience reaction graph seemed to map indies and dems very closely together, with repubs more often swinging the opposite way. if that graph has value, which is a bold assumption, then this correlation is a very, very good sign for Obama. actually, anecdotally, i’d say that the three lines were more “together” when barack was speaking, and a little more separated when mccain was speaking. that could be good, too.

finally, a Conservative commentator (not sure who) mentioned that foreign policy and national security are the bread and butter issues for McCain, and that if he doesn’t score in this debate, he probably isn’t going to score at any debate. Now, call the debate how you will, but i don’t think anyone is saying that McCain did any better than “holding his own” … so, that could be good, too.

well, good night! god bless you … and god bless the united states of america.

p.s. i want you to know i did this whole thing from a couch using my iPhone. come on in, my friends … drink the kool-aid. the water is *mighty* fine.

so, i not going to watch the whole Repub convention (a man can only take so much), so it’s just Wednesday and Thursday this time around. To be fair, i wasn’t going to watch any of it … but i have to say that I think the nomination of Palin for Veep (or Trophy Veep, or VPILF, depending) is a masterwork. the dems are in real trouble on this one, and i hope she’s not the harbinger of the apocalypse for their ticket.

Also, in full disclosure, I must confess that I am not live-blogging this, but instead “tivo-blogging” this … on wednesday night, the lady sparkler and I had to decide between going to RFK to watch D.C. United win its 12th major championship, or stay home and bear witness to the coming apocalypse. it didn’t turn out to be as hard of a decision as i’d have thought.

UPDATE: I was going to try and tivo-blog both nights right now… but my weak psyche just can’t take another three hours on top of what i’ve already endured. You’re on your own until the weekend when i’ll plow through the final night.

UPDATE #2: It’s two weeks later, and the last night of the convention is still untouched on my Tivo. I’m beginning to question my dedication to this effort …

UPDATE #3: It took three-odd weeks to gain the courage to finish the repub convention. Boy, the things that I do for my loyal readers … all three of you.

Random thoughts below.

thursday night

8:07 PM “Sometimes the best sermons aren’t preached, they are lived.” Pithy, but I don’t actually know who this guy is.
8:08 PM eighth incancation of “John McCain put our country first.” at least those wacky repubs got that call and response thing down … drill, baby, drill!!!
8:11 PM Now he’s extolling the virtues of “Sam’s Club republicans.” Big, empty, ugly, destroys family businesses, filled with crap you don’t need in quantities you can’t use. Interesting analogy.
8:12 PM Who is he again? Oh, Governor of Minnesota … the state that brought you Jesse Ventura. Of course, I say this from the city that brought you Marion Barry.
8:15 PM Bill Frist is talking about HIV/AIDS? That seems like an odd play for the Trade Federation. What’s he up to…?
8:16 PM Interesting to see Frist explaining the genocide in Rwanda to the Convention … wonder if he is going to need a map. He might want to explain what “Africa” is first, and move on from there.
8:17 PM Frist ended with “God bless the children of the world.” Is he some sort of Commie? Who ends a speach with something other than “God Bless the United States of America.” I mean, really?!?
8:24 PM Nothing’s better than a white man in a $800 suit saying “Are you ready to rock, America?”
8:25 PM Brownback is highlighting McCain’s historic vice presidential nomination. Has he forgotten about Geraldine Ferraro, or is he just highlighting that the RNC is historically 20 years behind the DNC on social issues?
8:27 PM Great talking point for the repubs: “Last week in Denver, the other party was encouraging us to ‘believe.’ They told America over and over, ‘Yes we can.’ But when you look at the past two years with Democrats controlling the House and Senate, all we’ve seen is, ‘NO we can’t.’ They said we can’t reach energy independence by finding new sources of oil and gas in our own country. We can’t cut spending. We can’t have a health care system run by doctors and patients instead of a federal bureaucracy. They say we can’t win the war in Iraq. While the other side may say ‘yes we can’ and then votes ‘no you won’t’ — John McCain says ‘yes we will.’”
8:28 PM okay, okay, okay, okay, okay … call and response. i get it. you guys are *just* like baptist preachers. i get it. please stop.
8:34 PM Now Mary Fallin (R-OK) is digging up the OKC bombing? They really are the party of the past … how about we focus on health care, education, foriegn policy or the economy? Heck, I think talkin’ babies, guns, gays and jesus would be more useful for the party.
8:37 PM Candidate for most forced soundbite of the evening: “We need a president who knows you can’t negotiate with Evil.”
8:39 PM Oh, God. A video about 9/11. This can’t possibly be good news for either party.
8:39 PM “The first attack came in Iran.” Wow. Subtle. I wonder who we should invade next.
8:40 PM “And kill us they did.”
8:41 PM “We remember buildings burning, bodies falling.”
8:42 PM Video closes with: “We will never allow that to happen again.” Wonder if that statement comes with a life-time guaruntee. I can just imagine: “We voted for McCain, and then it happened again. Can we sue for false advertising?”
9:01 PM Sen. Lindsey Graham is discussing the “surge” in Iraq, with a picture of military headstones (Arlington National Cemetary?) in the background. Now, *that’s* an unfortunate image …
9:02 PM Newsflash: According to Lindsey Graham, John McCain is presponsible for the Surge! If we pair his surge up with Al Gore’s internet, I wonder what crazy things we could make …
9:04 PM Oifff: “Ladies and Gentlemen … thank God for Joe Lieberman.”
9:06 PM Graham just downgraded “Mission Accomplished” to “We are winning.” Maybe “we are doing pretty okay” is next?
9:06 PM There are some *really* awkward pauses in Graham’s speach, while he waits on applause lines. Is the convention just waiting for big names, or does Lindsey have the speaking presence of a turnip?
9:10 PM Video on Palin. Starts with: “Mother, Moosehunter, Maverick.” I don’t think they were kidding …
9:11 PM Palin’s daughters make me … uncomfortable. How much of the under-25, Middle-American-male vote do you think they bring in for McCain?
9:13 PM “Alaskan Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.” What noun exactly does “Conservation” modify in that sentance, “Alaska” or “Oil and Gas”?
9:14 PM So, this whole “candidate as sex-symbol” thing the video is pushing … Sarah Palin creeps be out in one direction, and Hillary Clinton goes the other way. Isn’t there a happy median somewhere?
9:18 PM Tom Ridge is great and all, but couldn’t they find a better setup man? And where is Cindy. I thought she was speaking today.
9:20 PM Again, the applause from the audience is really weak. Where did they get these delegates? Shouldn’t they be making a ruckus?
9:22 PM Not being glib (this time) but I honestly don’t understand this line: “For the consideration before us is not about who can take a 3 a.m. call. It’s about who has answered the call throughout his life.” Is it a reference to something I missed?
9:25 PM Oh, no. I sense another “call-and-response” thing coming on. Do repub operatives read my blog? I’m honored and all, but i think you took my advice a little toooo literally.
9:31 PM Hey, hey. Here she comes. Cindy McCain video: Why don’t they recognize his first wife, and those three kids? Strange, from the part of family values.
9:35 PM Yup. I’m sold. Cindy McCain is just like me. I have a $300,000 dress, too.
9:36 PM No podeum? Shut up and get on the stage, woman. No speaking for you!
9:37 PM Speaking without a podeum?!? Interesting. Veeeeeerrry interesting.
9:38 PM Nope, strike that. Without a podeum, she looks like a talk show host … only less Whoopi Goldberg.
9:39 PM No, wait! An NFL sideline reporter … only more awkward.
9:40 PM No, wait … Sally Struthers! Yes, I want to give money to the Christian Childrens Fund! Yes, yes, yes!
9:41 PM Must. Resist. Fast forwarding.
9:42 PM “From the beginning of time, no matter how accomplished in other fields, women have always sought a husband with an eye to what kind of father that man would be. Well, I hit a home run with John McCain!”
9:45 PM No more! Where is the #@$%@ tivo remote?!?
9:46 PM We get it. No animal is safe so long as Sarah Palin has a gun. Next slide, please.
9:50 PM This speach goes … ever ever on, over rock and under tree, by caves where never sun has shone, by streams that never find the sea.
9:52 PM Rwanda again. Crazy. It’s like there are at now atleast 10 or 12 other countries in the world.
9:55 PM “STAAAAND BYY YEEEERRR, MAAAAANNN! ‘CAUSE AFTER ALLLLLL, HE’S JUST A MANNNN.”
10:05 PM McCain video: John’s father ordered the place he was being held to be carpet bombed?!? Did I just hear that right? — "Gee, thanks Dad!"
10:08 PM Okay, I admit … his Viet Nam story is great. I would have gone insane by day two. Okay, okay … hour two.
10:10 PM Ooooooo. They just name-dropped “Mother Theresa.” They are goooooooood.
10:13 PM Now, *there* is the audience applause that the GOP handlers have been waiting for. Thank god they showed up before the coverage shifted to the networks.
10:15 PM How did we get here? He was written off more times than I can count …
10:17 PM Listen to that applause for good ‘ol Dubya.
10:17 PM “Finally, a word to Senator Obama and his supporters. We’ll go at it over the next two months. That’s the nature of these contests, and there are big differences between us. But you have my respect and admiration. Despite our differences, much more unites us than divides us. We are fellow Americans, an association that means more to me than any other. We’re dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal and endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights. No country ever had a greater cause than that. And I wouldn’t be an American worthy of the name if I didn’t honor Senator Obama and his supporters for their achievement.
10:23 PM What just happened? They showed three people tussling, one of them holding a flag.
10:29 PM Fascinating. THe protester was holding a flag that said, “You can’t win an occupation” on one side, and “McCain votes against vets” on the other. Unfortunately, it appears to be the work of Code Pink, which almost completely de-legitimizes the whole thing.
10:31 PM It’s a bad sign that I am paying more attention to researching the protest than I am the speach. Come on, McCain … earn your nomination.
10:32 PM Hmm, didn’t realize CodePink disrupted Palin’s speach, too.
10:33 PM McCain’s an environmentalist! He keeps recycling his lines … “I’d rather lose an election than see my country lose a war.”
10:33 PM Good decision to bring regular people to shout out during speach. Very presidential. Very “state of the union,” actually.
10:34 PM Senator Obama passed a corporate welfare bill for oil companies? That doesn’t even sound possible. Wonder if it was another republican rider to an appropriation bill.
10:38 PM This is a sharp change in tone from the rest of the convention so far. I know you send your pitbulls to do the attacking, but it’s almost like a completely different convention …
10:38 PM This is a sharp change in tone from the rest of the convention so far. I know you send your pitbulls to do the attacking, but it’s almost like a completely different convention …
10:39 PM First time I have heard a call and response that consisted of “boo-ing.” Did the Dems do this? Doesn’t seem like a way to bring in undecideds and moderates.
10:40 PM He’s doing a much better job that I’d have thought. Very mellow. Not snippy. Almost seems compassionate, which is something his public persona could use a little more of.
10:40 PM Good line: “My opponent promises to bring back old jobs by wishing away the global economy. We’re going to help workers who’ve lost a job that won’t come back, find a new one that won’t go away.”
10:40 PM Another good one: “Senator Obama wants our schools to answer to unions and entrenched bureaucracies. I want schools to answer to parents and students. And when I’m President, they will.”
10:43 PM Speaking of … it’s amazing how intrenched charter schools are now in our culture. Not sure I saw that coming. Maybe it’s just because i’m in DC …
10:46 PM So glad that America got to hear chants of “Drill, baby, drill!” in prime time.
10:48 PM Georgia (the country, not the state) must be so happy to have gotten invaded at such an opportune moment. The republican party couldn’t even find it on a map two weeks ago.
10:53 PM John has been practicing the “earnest” vibe. Wonder if he has been watching old tape of Ronald Reagan. The repubs only wish he had the same level of charisma.
10:57 PM It all comes back to a prison cell in Hanoi. I wonder if that is going to be enough to get him elected…
10:58 PM This whole “choosing” to stay another four years … if the Viet Cong really wanted to send him back, why would they be bound by the wishes of a prisoner? It seems a little non-sensical.
10:59 PM He’s starting to get warmed up: “I’m not running for president because I think I’m blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save our country in its hour of need. My country saved me. My country saved me, and I cannot forget it. And I will fight for her for as long as I draw breath, so help me God.”
10:59 PM Yup, definately going for the Reagan-esque grand finish: “Fight for what’s right for our country. Fight for the ideals and character of a free people. Fight for our children’s future. Fight for justice and opportunity for all. Stand up to defend our country from its enemies. Stand up for each other; for beautiful, blessed, bountiful America. Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. Nothing is inevitable here. We’re Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.”
11:04 PM Well, time will tell. McCain definately came across as more of the 2000-01 McCain that moderates fell in love with, but he didn’t seem to make an overarching statement. There was a lot of traditional conservatism, and I’m guessing once Palin went right, McCain felt better about moving to secure the center. In my humble opinion, I don’t think this speach was a win for McCain … but it certainly wasn’t a loss either. One thing is for sure: Palin has oppened him up to whole new strategy in the last two months … and I think only time will tell if it’s going to pay off the way he hopes it will.

wednesday night

8:17 pm parade of female ceo’s (meg whitman, carly fiorina) testifying.
8:26 pm michael steele is no baptist preacher, but holding his own. “we need someone who won’t play to the public applause.”
8:28 pm beautifully framed argument against affirmative action: “the ideal of a color blind society is worth fighting for … because each man, woman, and child is an individual, and not the member of a hyphenated class or group.”
8:29 pm good god, did steele really say “drill, baby, drill. and drill now.”
8:30 pm omg. the crowd is now chanting “drill, baby, drill.” i’m not kidding. i swear, they are actually doing it. oh, god .. and there are signs, signs that say “drill now.”
8:31 pm btw, the republicans get the call and response thing. steele’s use of “do you want to put your country first” was exactly how it should be done.
8:34 pm damn. if i was african-american, i would have some poignant things to say about mr. steele’s position visa vis our shared ethnic background.
8:35 pm “the only label that counts isn’t partisan, but ‘American.’”
8:36 pm romney is up. oh, my.
8:37 pm “For decades, the Washington sun has been rising in the east – Washington has been looking to the eastern elites, to the editorial pages of the Times and the Post, and to the broadcasters from the coast. If America really wants change, it’s time to look for the sun in the west, cause it’s about to rise and shine from Arizona and Alaska! “
8:40 pm Oh, my. He’s not kidding when he says … “Is a Supreme Court liberal or conservative that awards Guantanamo terrorists with constitution rights? It’s liberal!”
8:41 pm “Liberals would replace opportunity with dependency on government largesse. They grow government and raise taxes to put more people on Medicaid, to take work requirements out of welfare, and to grow the ranks of those who pay no taxes at all. Dependency is death to initiative, risk-taking and opportunity … It’s time for the party of big ideas, not the party of Big Brother!”
8:43 pm I hate to be naive, but could we at least kind of not lie about your opponent’s positions? “Democrats want to use the slowdown as an excuse to do what their special interests are always begging for: higher taxes, bigger government and less trade with other nations.”
8:44 pm Ouch: “And I have one more recommendation for energy conservation – let’s keep Al Gore’s private jet on the ground!”
8:45 pm Well, good news if we elect McCain … “radical violent Islam is evil, and he will defeat it!” I was so worried … can we sue for false advertising if it turns out he can’t do it?
8:46 pm Ooooff: “There’s never been a day where i haven’t been proud to be an American.”
8:48 pm That speech was amazing. Who abducted Mitt Romney and replaced his brain with Newt Gingrich’s? I think he just staked out the Conservative right for 2012.
8:52 pm I’m starting to get nervous. Sick to my stomach, but nervous.
8:57 pm mike huckabee. he just called McCain his “second” choice for the nomination (behind himself, of course).
8:58 pm Just thanked the “elite media” for unifying the republican party behind McCain and Palin.
9:01 pm First props to Obama for being the “person of color” nominee.
9:04 pm Good message point. “Barack Obama’s excellent adventure to Europe took his campaign for change to hundreds of thousands of people who don’t even vote or pay taxes here.”
9:08 pm Biggest applause line of the night: “I’m not a Republican because I grew up rich, but because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life poor, waiting for the government to rescue me.” It’s going to take a long time for Dems to shake this image in middle America.
9:14 pm Good line from Gov. Linda Lingle of Hawaii about the authenticity of Palin: “She will not be trying to reinvent herself during this campaign! She is who she is.” They are just daring the opposition to take her head on … sheesh.
9:18 pm This is going to be tough … i the Dems don’t take Palin on, she gets a free pass. If the Dems do, then they are beating up on a girl. We are so screwed.
9:22 pm Oh, God. Someone get Mrs. McCain a gay man. I didn’t know they *made* dresses in that color of florescent green. That being said, it’s the only thing that could have topped her gold dress that looked like it was made out of my grandmother’s drapes.
9:32 pm Rudolpho Giuliani. Can you imagine his career if it weren’t for September 11th? I’m pretty sure, he wouldn’t be speaking at the Convention, that’s fer dern shure.
9:34 pm He’s started off being quite conciliatory, but I can just feel the wheels getting ready to fall off the rationality bus.
9:36 pm Another refrain the party is obviously pushing: “America comes first.” Fascinating in the number of nuances you can read into that.
9:37 pm Sure Giuliani can rip on Obama’s Harvard education, but he’s ripping on him for being a community organizer?!?
9:38 pm Did Obama really vote present at 100+ State Leg votes? “For president of the United States, it’s not good enough to be present.”
9:39 pm Giuliani doesn’t know how good of a speech he has. He keeps looking surprised at each of the reactions he gets.
9:41 pm Giuliani is such a good old boy. Audience is eating up all the condescension. Is the key to Conservatism about the promise that one day you might get the chance to be a good old boy?
9:43 pm Best line yet (despite the poor delivery): “They would have you believe that this election is about change versus more of the same, but that’s really a false choice, because there’s good change and bad change. Because change is not a destination, just as hope is not a strategy.”
9:44 pm “Drill, baby, drill” again. Is this a NIMBY thing? Repubs live in middle america, so they don’t care about drilling so long as it’s off the coasts of the Blue states?
9:47 pm “For four days in Denver, the Democrats were afraid to use the words ‘Islamic terrorism.’ I think they believe it will insult someone. Please tell me, who are they insulting if they say ‘Islamic terrorism’? They are insulting terrorists.”
9:50 pm “And I believe, ladies and gentlemen, when they gave up on Iraq, they had given up on America.”
9:52 pm Israelies and Palestinians aren’t “morally equivalent” and some United Nations bashing. [Insert punchline here.]
9:53 pm At least they recognize the problem: “Like Ronald Reagan, John McCain will enlarge our party, open it up to lots of new people.” [emphasis added mine.]
9:55 pm Oiiff, that hurts: “She’s already had more executive experience than the entire Democratic ticket combined.”
9:57 pm “One final point. And how — how dare they question whether Sarah Palin has enough time to spend with her children and be vice president. How dare they do that.” Who did this? Someone tell me the name of the Democrat who did this?!? Speeches should require footnotes.
10:00 pm  More awful delivery, but good lines: “We’re the party that has expanded freedom from the very beginning, from ending slavery to making certain that people have freedom here and abroad … And we’re the party — and we’re the party that unapologetically believes in America’s success, a shining city on a hill, a beacon of freedom that inspires the world. That’s what our party is dedicated to.”
10:02 pm Here come Palin, and she’s a’ wearin’ pink. Or is that a light taupe? Or is that lavender? Why the h-e-double-hockey-sticks did they put her in something that is even allowing me to think about this …
10:05 pm Palin’s son (who’s service is being trotted out again) is deploying, to Iraq, on September 11th. There is no way we can win an election against these people.
10:06 pm I’m going to hell, but i am not sure i can support a woman for elected office who named her children Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper, and Trig.
10:08 pm At least her flaunting of her special needs baby was a *little* less crass.
10:13 pm More community organizer bashing, “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.” I just don’t get it …
10:18 pm This little gem is the byte I woke up to this morning on NPR (and my day never recovered): “Here’s a little newsflash for those reporters and commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion. I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this great country.”
10:23 pm Much better response to drilling (and certainly more subtle) than I had expected: “Our opponents say again and again that drilling will not solve all of America’s energy problems, as if we didn’t know that already. But the fact that drilling, though, won’t solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all.”
10:26 pm More ouch: “But listening to him speak, it’s easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or even a reform, not even in the State Senate.”
10:28 pm More comments I’d like to see the footnotes for: “America needs more energy; our opponent is against producing it. Victory in Iraq is finally in sight, and he wants to forfeit. Terrorist states are seeking nuclear weapons without delay; he wants to meet them without preconditions.”
10:30 pm She is trying incredibly hard to make McCain the candidate of change … “In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers, and then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change.”
10:32 pm I’m running out of nice things to say. “And though both Senator Obama and Senator Biden have been going on lately about how they’re always, quote, ‘fighting for you,’ let us face the matter squarely … There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you in places where winning means survival and defeat means death. And that man is John McCain.
10:33 pm Another knock on community organizing.
10:34 pm Apparently, It doesn’t count if you aren’t being shot at by foreigners: “And though both Senator Obama and Senator Biden have been going on lately about how they’re always, quote, ‘fighting for you,’ let us face the matter squarely … There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you in places where winning means survival and defeat means death. And that man is John McCain.”
10:38 pm Objectively, a good speech … but I see the strength as energizing the base. Very aggressive against Obama, and (obviously) very positive about McCain, but I don’t think it will turn the undecided and there was very little on policy. There was a lot of mocking and condescension, and I don’t see how that grabs the independent, undecided middle.
10:49 pm The more I think about this, there is no way she pulls disaffected dems. Big pull for the heartland, tho, but I don’t know how much of the heartland they didn’t already have.
10:55 pm Gawd, I’m depressed.

for some reason, i got a hankering this weekend to watch the dem’s convention … i also got a notion to do a triathlon, oddly enough, but that sounds much harder. maybe i’ll stick with politics for now, even though this certainly violates my prohibition on paying attention to the news.

thursday night

6:45 pm early start … and only CNN is covering so far. (resisting the urge to put my foot through the television.)
6:55 pm tee-hee! gold medal winning u.s. olympic gymnast shawn johnson led the pledge of allegiance today. i don’t know why that makes me giggle, but it does.
7:04 pm why couldn’t they have put civil rights legend rep. john lewis in prime time when someone would have seen him?
7:11 pm and while we are asking stupid questions, what are the odds that obama’s acceptance speech would fall on the anniversary of the day m.l.k. gave his “i have a dream” speech?
7:18 pm i just saw michael dukakis! no tank or helmet, tho. (booooo!)
7:20 pm i hope u2 is getting royalties for each time “beautiful day” is played at the convention. they’d be like bajilionaires or something.
7:36 pm oh, will.i.am. what have thou wrought?
7:42 pm sheryl crow? dear god. i never thought i would say this … but i’d like a little more substance, and a little less wolf blitzer dancing.
7:50 pm make. the. pain. go. away.
7:58 pm “i cann seee cleeeeearly nowww the raiiiiiin has gonnnnne.”
8:00 pm whew, pbs.
8:10 pm i love when pols wave to the audience as if to recognize their cheers, but with no actual cheering … udall just left the stage as if he had sacked rome, and all to the sounds of crickets chirping.
8:19 pm bill richardson looks, dare i say, statesman-like? well, except for the ferret that appears to have attacked his neck.
8:26 pm we’ve got to lose this “take america back” message … too confusing from a party that keeps talking about moving us forward.
8:38 pm the baylor bears are loosing (shocked, i say, shocked!) on the other tuner. no option but to watch stevie wonder.
8:46 pm i *swear* i just saw Jin-Soo Kwon from Lost.
8:52 pm gore got a great speech, but has the personality of a wooden plank. there was a glimmer there around the environment, but he couldn’t spin it into the traditional platform issues.
8:56 pm jeez, al. slow down …
8:58 pm al needs to go back to being an elder climate statesman … ugh.
9:07 pm i know that michael mcdonald has a “core demographic” but i’m damned if i can figure out who that would be.
9:17 pm an eisenhower at the dem convention? i can’t *wait* to see who the repubs dig up for theirs …
9:22 pm you know, i’d think eisenhower and the generals were good enough to really make a difference … if i thought any undecideds were actually watching this convention.
9:30 pm (yawn) isn’t someone important supposed to be speaking tonight? i want ice cream. speaking of, do you think that the ballpark vendors are working tonight? i’m guessing veggie burgers, freedom fries, and tofu ice cream. no! sushi, fruit smoothies and an organic espresso bar.
9:36 pm okay, disadvantaged soccer mom just went off on “what has george bush done for me” and all i could think of was “ask not what your country can do for you…” jeez, i’m slipping into the abyss.
9:38 pm now *there* is the message we want: “i voted for nixon, reagan, bush and bush — but i can’t afford four more years…”
9:44 pm those average joes just changed the convention … who ever found them, wow. authentic. completely unforced. life just doesn’t get better than a crowd of 70,000 people chanting the name of someone they just met for the first time.
9:47 pm the lady sparkler just finished her puzzle.
9:52 pm watch out, folks. pbs commentator david brooks has started drinking the kool-aid.
9:59 pm dick durbin is such a happy man. joey biden was just a happy man. *everyone* is happy, and (most importantly) not faking it. who’s party is this again?
10:08 pm  is this what 1960 was like?
10:09 pm … well, except the sixties probably had less u2.
10:13 pm wide shot of the stadium, at capacity, with flashbulbs popping. awesomeness.
10:19 pm “That’s why I stand here tonight. Because for two hundred and thirty two years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women — students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors — found the courage to keep it alive.”
10:21 pm the convention is using the words “democrat” and “republican” too much. it’s got to turn away some centrists and moderates …
10:25 pm okay, barack. we get it. time to stop going after McCain’s plans and start laying out your own …
10:33 pm Better, thank you: “That’s the promise of America — the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother’s keeper…”
10:38 pm No taxes: check. Energy independance: check. National service and higher education: check, check.
10:42 pm Damn, he’s good. And he’s just getting warmed up. “We must also admit that programs alone can’t replace parents; that government can’t turn off the television and make a child do her homework; that fathers must take more responsibility for providing the love and guidance their children need.”
10:44 pm The national security parts were, quite literally, perfect. “You don’t defeat a terrorist network that operates in eighty countries by occupying Iraq. You don’t protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can’t truly stand up for Georgia when you’ve strained our oldest alliances.”
10:46 pm Keeps coming … “We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don’t tell me that Democrats won’t defend this country. Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe.”
10:48 pm Is the crowd chanting “USA, USA”? … I don’t think I have *ever* heard that one at a convention. “And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.”
10:52 pm “I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don’t fit the typical pedigree, and I haven’t spent my career in the halls of Washington. But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the nay-sayers don’t understand is that this election has never been about me. It’s been about you.”
10:57 pm Unreal. I have no words. Crazy good.
11:01 pm Big wins: going to be harder to cast him as soft, or as an aloof eastern liberal intellectual, and he made a solid play for the center.
11:11 pm You know, he might just pull this off.

wednesday night

8:01 pm hillary moving to accept the nomination of barack obama by acclamation is a *really* nice touch. bravo, hillary (and her handlers), bravo.
8:08 pm this notion of energy independence as an imperative to cut funding for “the terrorists” is a fascinating theme for the convention, and not one i was really expecting.
8:16 pm the lady sparkler has given up and is doing a puzzle.
8:26 pm why does Rep. Patrick Murphy have a men’s choir of secret service agents standing behind him?
8:37 pm evan bayh?!? i *love* people named Evan … they are so smart, and handsome.
8:40 pm note to senator bayh: if you are going to do an audience refrain, you need to wait for the audience.
8:43 pm if i think evan is sexy, does that make me a monosexual?
8:45 pm “We can no longer be divided into red states and blue states but must stand united as 50 red, white and blue states.” (groan…)
8:53 pm in the movie of life, the Honorable Jack Reed (D-RI) would be played by William H. Macy.
9:02 pm here he comes … jesus, bill. don’t screw up.
9:06 pm four minute standing ovation. wow, we have a *very* short memory … has everyone forgotten the last 12 months?
9:11 pm it’s like watching the Prodigal Son come home. jeez, he just exudes charisma.
9:12 pm “Barack has the curiosity that every President needs.” wow, bill. now that you mention it, i think you needed a little less curiosity …
9:15 pm “The world is always more impressed by the power of our example, than the example of our power.” Oh, Bill. I want to bear your children … hold me.
9:24 pm *i love you, Bill!* i’m sorry i ever doubted you … take me back. please, take me back. (call me!)
9:35 pm if we are dragging out john kerry, can michael dukakis be far behind? (ooo, and in his tank and helmet, please.)
9:39 pm Is it just me, or does Kerry look positively gleeful to be asked to portray McCain as a flip-flopper? “Before he debates Barack Obama, John McCain should finish the debate with himself.”
9:43 pm Did they just bring out Barack Obama’s white uncle?!? Oh no they didn’t!
9:47 pm Note to Senator Kerry: Dude! Where was this four years ago? If you had showed this much spine in 2004, we’d be having a very different convention right now.
9:59 pm Palace intrigue? How funny would it be if Bill Richardson got bumped because Bill Clinton went 10 minutes too long.
10:04 pm  Quite a short film from Spielberg and Tom Hanks. Worth watching if they post it.
10:20 pm Joe Biden’s dad told him that the reason we fall down is to learn to pick ourselves back up. I think that means he is Batman.
10:31 pm For the record, I had no idea Joe Biden wrote the Violence Against Women Act. Now, I did know that he called Slobodan Milosevic a war criminal to his face …
10:35 pm Get Grandma Biden’s face on a stuffed animal. Cutest. Celebrity Grandma. Ever. (Except for that “bloody the bully’s nose” story. Little scary.)
10:44 pm Does anybody get it? If you do an audience refrain, you *must* wait for the audience. Come on, people. Please.
10:52 pm Joey is going to be quite the pit bull. Between that and the international affairs background, Biden’s shaping up quite nicely. Wish he brought more than three electoral votes, tho.
10:58 pm Awwww. And the DNC even sought fit to invite the nominee. Isn’t that sweet?
11:01 pm All joking aside, I love it when the families crash the podium. If only they could select slightly less obvious music than “We are Family.”

tuesday night

8:01 pm first sign tonight is going to have a much different tone, from Gov. David Patterson of New York: “If McCain is the answer, the question must be ridiculous.”
8:15 pm second sign tonight is going to have a much different tone, from Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland: “Eight years [after the start of the Bush administration], what do they have to show for it? Surpluses squandered, our national reputation tattered, jobs lost.”
8:24 pm anna berger (Change To Win, SEIU) should be harnessed as a military weapon … her voice could shatter reinforced steel.
8:51 pm is a mayor of fairbanks, alaska *really* the best republican the dem’s could dig up? (update: he’s actually the mayor of a borough of fairbanks, not even fairbanks proper…)
9:06 pm Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (of Kansas) ain’t all that. She makes McCain look like a Baptist preacher. No way she makes national office, and would have been a *horrid* veep.
9:17 pm Another refrain of “We can’t afford more of the same…” I’m sensing a theme, here. Not terribly original, but a theme none-the-less.
9:26 pm It just dawned on me … Joe Biden is from Scranton, Pennsylvania. Dunder Mifflin is in Scranton, Pennsylvania. I’ve never seen Joe Biden and Andy Bernard in the same room. Coincidence?
9:42 pm If Mark Warner’s jaw was any more square and rugged, it would be classified as a mountain range.
9:50 pm Nominee for quote of the day: “When we look around today, we see … an energy policy that says let’s borrow money from China to buy oil from countries that don’t like us.”
9:52 pm Now, *there* is the theme they need to keep hitting: “This election isn’t about liberal vs. conservative. It’s not about left vs. right. It’s about the future vs. the past.”
9:59 pm Who wrote Warner’s speech? Damn, brother should get a raise …
10:11 pm  Gov. Deval Patrick (D-MA) just gave the third “shout out” of the Convention. We need to stop it with the “shout outs.” Pols just shouldn’t try to get “jiggy” wit da “lingo.”
10:21 pm Is everyone on the planet from the southside of Chicago?!?
10:33 pm The world needs more Brian Schweitzer’s in specific, and bolo ties in general.
10:37 pm BWAHAHAH! The Hillary tribute video just featured Bill Clinton, and the only caption said “Hillary’s Husband.” Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
10:41 pm I’ve loved Chelsea ever since that MTV inaugural ball where she gushed over Michael Stipe and 10,000 Maniacs.
10:42 pm the lady sparkler is certain that Hillary’s had (at least one) face lift.
10:52 pm Hillary just thanked “everyone in the 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the territories.” Damn it, D.C. get’s no love. *No* love at all.
10:58 pm I (mostly) get the Hillary thing now. Once she got out of the thank you’s and into her stump speech, she became quite a speaker … and very eloquently told her supporters to stop yammering and get in line.

monday night

6:45 pm just started watching coverage on CNN.
6:48 pm egads, it’s wolf blitzer! just stopped watching CNN. starting to watch “Family Guy” instead until convention coverage starts on PBS.
8:05 pm i think that Jim Lehrer just referred to the next president of the united states as “beru.” as in, “aunt beru” from star wars. i don’t think that can be a good thing.
8:22 pm early nomination for the most awkward moment of the convention: jimmy carter walks on stage, waves, walks off stage. you’d think if we trusted him with control of the nuclear football for four years, the dem’s would trusted him with a microphone for four minutes.
8:33 pm second nomination for most awkward moment of the convention: somebody tell me why barack’s sister (Maya Soetero-Ng) wasn’t allowed to read her speech before she gave it.
8:49 pm god, i love Jesse Jackson, Jr. now, only if his daddy would shut up.
8:54 pm oh, that’s why carter wasn’t given a microphone … when asked by lehrer if obama had enough experience, carter said barack had more experience than he did when he was elected (ooof).
9:16 pm carolyn kennedy taking the stage to the tune of “sweet carolyn.” i should be horrified by the cliche, but instead i’m getting my red sox garb.
9:17 pm oh, god. why are they showing the kennedy’s at play on their yacht? are we trying to steal mccain’s $5-million-or-less middle class voters? let’s put him in a golf cart next, to seal the deal.
9:27 pm ha! there’s the golf cart.
9:33 pm damn, teddy looks and sounds good. can’t we find just one of the next generation of the kennedy clan who is fit for public office?
10:04 pm   jim leach. glad he’s a republican. glad he supports obama. but, he sounds like kermit the frog.
10:12 pm nominee for the soundbite of the evening from Leach: “This is not a time for politics as usual or for run-of-the-mill politicians. Little is riskier to the national interest than more of the same.”
10:21 pm second nominee for the soundbite of the evening goes to Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri: “we’re not a red state. we’re not a blue state. we’re a united state.” (groan…)
10:29 pm the lady sparkler is crying watching the michelle obama tribute video.
10:37 pm the lady sparkler thinks michelle looks good. i’m a little nervous about her condi rice inspired hair cut.
10:45 pm the lady sparkler is interested that “they” didn’t put michelle in a suit. i’m thinking she’s spoken in front of a crowd once or twice before …
10:46 pm michelle spoke of military families saying grace with an empty place at the table for their deployed family. she’s gooood.
10:47 pm … and *then* a shout out to hillary clinton. damn, that girl is crazy good.
10:52 pm she’s got the entire audience in tears. i wish i had something snide to say, but i’m coming up a bit short … where is Cindy “20 year old face, 80 year old neck” McCain when you need her.
10:58 pm one more nomination for most awkward moment of the convention: the satellite cameo by barack with his family. i know it was supposed to be cute, but *awkward*.

man, i shouldn’t have watched … now i’m going to be really bummed when the republican machine rip the obama campaign to shreds.

well, i don’t even know where to begin on this one…

now, we weren’t exacty backing hillary in this horse race (tho admittedly we’d have voted for her as the nominee) but, as late april turned to mid may turned to early june, our patience with hillary’s mathematical chances to secure the nomination started to wear a bit thin.

once it became clear that the her only chance for nomination rested on convincing superdelagates to vote against their constituencies, i (for one) started to flip out … ’cause overruling the populace isn’t something *we* do, that’s something the opposition does.

now, i’ll give hillary mad props for toning down her rhetoric as this dragged on … but the notion that her supporters would threaten to boycott the general election (bad form) or vote for McCain (worse) because of how “poorly” they/hillary were treated?!?

ick.

the view from here was that hillary was giving just as much as she was getting … and not necessarily in that order. actually, our “insider” circles were *rife* with tales of hillary supporters linguistically kneecapping fellow party members with threats of reprisals if they took the “wrong” side and she pulled off the win in extr innings.

it is the very peak of sad that, at the time we should all be celebrating *whichever* pioneering nominee came out on top, we are instead debating recriminations and writing bitter blog posts.

sigh.