Give Move On some bucks, and watch a Republican’s head explode.
And hey, holla! to Amber Benson! Tara’s … alive?!!!!
Big weekend underway. New York bigwigs watertiger, res ipsa loquitor, (and Brooklyn Girl, I think) will be flying into Austin. They’ll be mixing things up with the local, and some wider flung, Texaschatonians. The inimitable Four Legs Good will be serving as Cruise Director of this whole movable shindig/hootenany, which includes BBQ tonight, a yard party at Chez Doghiney tomorrow, and other goings-on. It is my understanding that the ladies from NY will be on the prowl for hunky cowboys. Good luck with that, ya’ll.
Homegirl racymind started the weekend off early, and got into Austin last night. We hung out, drank and dined, then headed over to the Cedar Door to the very happening Texas Progressive Blogger Caucus party, which was impressively well-attended by bloggers, delegates to the state convention, pols, reporters, etc.
Photos and more anecdotes later, I’m sure.
I was thinking about this in the Crack Van last night, so trust me, it is not that profound. That said, if we notice them at all, it’s usually the simplest things that we resist the most, or that we dismiss.
Just because something is simple doesn’t mean it’s easy for us.
You are the young people who’ve been inspired for the very first time and those not-so-young folks who’ve been inspired for the first time in a long time.
There has been much criticism of Obama that focused on his “pretty speeches,” dismissed his masses of supporters as kool-aid drinkers, claimed his oratory was no substitute for substance and experience.
I know, Christ we all know, that American governance has become a hardball, lowdown wrestling match of brawn and exquisitely orchestrated greed. And we all know also that like calls to like. Greed rewards greed and the thug life is engineered such that only thugs can win.
And for the past decade, we’ve been given one message, over and over and over. It’s been called many things and described in a thousand euphemisms and disguised in a hundred different government programs, but it’s the same message that’s been repeated to us, the citizens of this country:
Suck on it.
We’ve been deliberately and painstakingly conditioned to be cynical and dispirited and complacent. No one in this administration gives a rat’s ass that Bush stumbles and slurs and tap dances his way through another press conference, that every speech and interview is just a succession of nervous tics and malapropisms. They don’t care any more than anyone cared when your principal would stammer through the morning announcements over the school intercom. No one in this administration wants us to be inspired. If they want anything from us, it’s our disinterest.
And in truth, we know the Dems in power have been conditioned to lead the same way. What else explains Reid and Pelosi the last two years? They got handed a mandate and they opened the top drawer of their desks and stuffed it inside, then went down the hall to play the game like the game is played. And we sucked on it some more.
Clinton reads her way through her campaign speeches and drinks the boilermakers and panders to the apathetic and the tired. She wants to win the game like the game is played. No one can argue that she lacks that experience. We recognize it in her and she knows it and she reminds us she is tested and ready.
The pundits were talking on the television last night about those Americans, the one that vote for Hillary and say that they’ll defect to McCain when she loses the nomination. We laughed in the van when they said that there were people who didn’t know Obama, didn’t recognize him as something they might want. It’s true, though.
We are so risk averse in this country, so afraid to settle on something that might not be the right thing, we hedge our every fucking step. Drive giant tank SUVs so we can walk away from unforeseen disasters, watch picture-in-picture televisions so we don’t miss what’s on the other channels. We do not like the unknown, we guard against every possible contingency. We assume any choice might be the wrong one, so we don’t choose anything, really. We do not trust the world around us. We do not trust ourselves. We have seldom been asked to do so by the current administration. We’ve been asked instead to be afraid, and then we were told outright, over and over, that we must be afraid. And as if there wasn’t enough in the real world to fear, they invented and hyped new stuff and force fed it to us, straight into our lizard brain.
And we sucked on it.
So here we are. There are plenty of us, including Clinton voters and for that matter, Republicans and Independents, who are weary and beat down and ready for change. The thing is, people want the change to be quantifiable and recognizable, they want to know what they are getting into before they jump. They want their change to look familiar and welcoming, and above all, safe. And if possible, easy.
The thing is, we are miles past that being able to happen. We are so far past safe and easy that it would take the light from safe and easy decades and decades to reach us. Taking our country back is not going to be safe and it certainly isn’t going to be easy and it’s going to take a long time.
We need inspiration to make those changes, not fear. We need leaders that make us feel bigger, stronger, not useless and insignificant. There are valid, time-honored uses for incantation and ritual, for what some call preaching and prayer, for inspiration.
This is not some romantic, kool-aid influenced daydream, nor is it business as usual. The time for either of those is past.
“Wow. Wow. Wow.”
NTodd was on the ground at the Portland rally. See his photos.
Also, an interview with Gore Vidal @ UKTimes:
I ask if he thinks Obama has a similar charisma to that of John F Kennedy, whom Vidal got to know because he was related to his wife, Jackie.
“I never believed in Jack’s charisma,” Vidal says shortly. JFK, he believes, was “one of our worst presidents”; Bobby, his brother, was “a phoney, a little Torquemada”; and their father, Joseph, was “a crook – should have been in jail”.
So much for Camelot. “But Jack had great charm,” he adds. “So has Obama. He’s better educated than Jack. And he’s been a working senator. Jack never went to the office – he wanted the presidency and his father bought it for him.”
Not surprisingly, Vidal has no love for McCain:
His views on the man the Democratic candidate will have to beat are even more brutal than his views on Hillary: “ You could beat McCain! I’ve never met anyone in America who has the slightest respect for him. He went to a private school and came bottom of his class. He smashed up his aeroplane and became a prisoner of war, which he is trying to parlay into ‘war hero’.”
In his view, McCain is “a goddamned fool. He was on television talking about mortgages, and it was quite clear he does not know what a mortgage is. His head rattles as he walks”
Here’s why I don’t blog about politics more: because I often don’t notice things like this until a day or two after everyone else does. Granted, the PA primary blocked out the sun for most of the week so far, but even so Michael Moore’s endorsement of Obama was big news for a couple of reasons.
First, it almost certainly caused the candidate some cringing. The poo-flinging from the Rebublicans began in earnest this week, and HRC’s tactics haven’t eased any either. Moore’s endorsement has the potential to be albatross material for either side to exploit. It’s no surprise, therefore, that Bill O’Reilly jumped at the chance.
On the other hand, despite saying he’s more for the movement than the man, Moore does some helpful water carrying for Obama by calling attention to the Clintons’ own earlier association with Jeremiah Wright during the Lewinsky days, and by noting that Obama hasn’t struck back at HRC with it himself.
Mrs. Clinton continues to throw the Rev. Wright up in his face as part of her mission to keep stoking the fears of White America. Every time she does this I shout at the TV, “Say it, Obama! Say that when she and her husband were having marital difficulties regarding Monica Lewinsky, who did she and Bill bring to the White House for ‘spiritual counseling?’ THE REVEREND JEREMIAH WRIGHT!”
But no, Obama won’t throw that at her. It wouldn’t be right. It wouldn’t be decent. She’s been through enough hurt. And so he remains silent and takes the mud she throws in his face.
That’s why the crowds who come to see him are so large. That’s why he’ll take us down a more decent path.
For the record, I pretty much agree with Moore’s assessment of Clinton. Much as I hate the circular firing squad sniping between BO partisans and HRC supporters on the neighborhood blogs, I jumped off the fence after the Move On attack, because for me, that’s the first time she sounded downright crazy.
Clinton vs Obama aside, it should be noted that Moore’s endorsement statement isn’t altogether rosy:
I know some of you will say, ‘Mike, what have the Democrats done to deserve our vote?’ That’s a damn good question. In November of ’06, the country loudly sent a message that we wanted the war to end. Yet the Democrats have done nothing. So why should we be so eager to line up happily behind them?
I’ll tell you why. Because I can’t stand one more friggin’ minute of this administration and the permanent, irreversible damage it has done to our people and to this world. I’m almost at the point where I don’t care if the Democrats don’t have a backbone or a kneebone or a thought in their dizzy little heads. Just as long as their name ain’t “Bush” and the word “Republican” is not beside theirs on the ballot, then that’s good enough for me.
I, like the majority of Americans, have been pummeled senseless for 8 long years. That’s why I will join millions of citizens and stagger into the voting booth come November, like a boxer in the 12th round, all bloodied and bruised with one eye swollen shut, looking for the only thing that matters — that big “D” on the ballot.
Don’t get me wrong. I lost my rose-colored glasses a long time ago.
It’s foolish to see the Democrats as anything but a nicer version of a party that exists to do the bidding of the corporate elite in this country. Any endorsement of a Democrat must be done with this acknowledgment and a hope that one day we will have a party that’ll represent the people first, and laws that allow that party an equal voice.
I waited to vote till last night because I wanted to caucus. I drove home from work and arrived in Wimberley about 6:15 to find traffic backed up through the town square. Coming out of the square and over the bridge, this was the view:
A line of cars waiting to turn into the community center parking lot. This was just for the Democratic primary. (The Rs voted in a church…what a surprise, huh?)
I waited in line to vote about a half hour, and there were still tons of folks in line at 7 pm. In addition, we discovered we had a drama on our hands: the largest of the three precincts, 337, had to use the main hall of the community center to convene but the Wimberley Lions Club was meeting in it and wouldn’t give it up at 7. Assholes!
So, there was a lot of milling around, inside and out, till about 7:45. There was also, luckily, lots of pizza and coffee. I had bad luck getting any good pictures.
We got in the room and got called to order just before 8. I’m lousy at counting crowds but it looked like somewhere between 200 and 300 people crowded into the big room. Everyone agreed that the Hillary voters would sign in on one side and the Barack voters would sign on the other, for ease of counting the sign-in sheets. It quickly became evident that Obama voters outnumbered Clinton. At least 3/4 of us were on the Obama side.
I left after signing in, got home close to 9p, and hung out in the First Draft Crack van for a few hours.
UPDATE: Racymind’s posted a good roundup from all over.