Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Falling Slowly

(Image Credit: Random search of internets on "quiz")

Quiz time, kids, but don’t worry – It’s multiple choice!

1. We called this post “Falling Slowly” because we wanted

a) to honor Moose’s skills in prognostication – She predicted the sweet song from Once would win the Oscar for Best Original Song, and it did! Score one for the Crystal Ball Division of Roxie’s World.

b) to acknowledge the declining state of Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers. Goose does not want us to do this, but we reminded her that we promised readers we wouldn’t sugar-coat or happy-talk the state of the Democratic primary race. New polls out today show Obama opening up a significant lead nationally and a smaller lead in Texas. If things don’t change, the race may well be over soon.

c) to set up a really funny story about what happened to Moose Monday night at the end of a Clinton campaign appearance she and Goose attended at George Washington University.

d) all of the above.

The correct answer is d, all of the above.

2. The really funny story: Moose managed to make her way to the front of the auditorium on Monday evening after Senator Clinton’s thrilling speech. She unexpectedly got the senator’s autograph and caught her attention long enough to thank her for all she’d done and to say that middle-aged women were with her. (That was for all y’all in the large, cranky caucus of Perimenopausal Bitches For Hillary. We know you’re out there, and we love every hormonally unbalanced one of you.) She then turned to try to move away from the stage so some other happy Clintonista could get close to the candidate but found herself crushed in a sea of humanity. Eventually, feeling a little panicky, she decided the best way to get out was to start climbing over seats, despite the fact that she was wearing clogs, which are not, technically speaking, approved for that particular use. She made it over one row of seats just fine, but as she attempted the second, her right foot slipped, the seat flipped up, and her leg got wedged down in between the two parts of the seat. This, as you might imagine, hurt. A lot.

The question about the really funny story: In this moment of excruciating pain and public exposure, Moose’s first thought was:

a) I need Hillarycare and I need it now!

b) Holy crap, it’s going to be embarrassing if they have to bring the Jaws of Life in here to extricate me from this situation.

c) If I lose my leg and she loses the nomination, will I be bitter?

d) all of the above.

The correct answer again is d, all of the above, and don’t worry about Moose’s leg. You know she sometimes exaggerates things for comic effect. She relied on the kindness of a couple of Democratic strangers to help her get her foot out, and her leg, though numb and puffy, is doing fine. The wounds to her narcissism? Uh, we’ll have to get back to you on that.

3. Based on their experience last night, the moms do hereby declare that, live and in person, Hillary Clinton is

a) brilliant.

b) funny.

c) blessed with the most radiant skin we have ever seen. If this whole president thing doesn’t work out, we think she has a future hawking whatever skin-care product it is she uses. All the bitches in our house would buy it.

d) all of the above.

Incredibly, the answer again is d, all of the above!

4. Watching the Democratic debate tonight on MSNBC, Roxie’s World’s crack team of pundits came to the conclusion that Hillary Clinton is

a) brilliant.

b) funny.

c) able to talk circles around Barack Obama, who still sounds to us like a student giving an oral report that he cut and pasted off Wikipedia five minutes before class.

d) all of the above.

If you answered d, all of the above, you are right again!

5. Nonetheless, we know we will wake up tomorrow morning and read headlines declaring that the debate

a) was a loss for Clinton because the media have declared her a loser and that’s what losers do.

b) was a win for Obama because every move he makes and every breath he takes is a win for Obama.

c) was a win for Tina Fey, whose pro-Hillary episode of Saturday Night Live is giving Clinton some of the best lines she’s had to use in the campaign. Early in the debate, Clinton referred to the episode and asked Senator Obama if he needed a pillow or anything to make him more comfortable. (Clinton made the reference after pointing out a pattern in the debates of throwing questions to her first, which of course gives Senator “What She Said” Obama an opportunity to plan and borrow his answer.)

d) all of the above.

Shockingly, the answer, yet again, is d, all of the above.

How did you do? I promise before we do our next quiz we’ll consult more carefully with the Division on Learning Outcomes Assessment to devise a more varied and rigorous instrument for measuring the knowledge of our smarty-pants fans. This might have been just a little too easy for the brainiacs of Roxie's World. Peace out, kids. Tomorrow's a school day!

Update: You must, immediately, go read Sean Wilentz's scrupulous dissection of how effectively Obama has played the "race-baiting card" in the campaign and how compliant the press has been in the playing. It covers everything from the cynical outrage manufactured over references to Obama's youthful drug use to the photos of the candidate in Somali garb that popped up on The Drudge Report this week. Yes, Wilentz is a Clinton supporter, but he's also pretty fricking smart on the subject of American politics, so get on over to The New Republic and read his essay. There will be a quiz.

Tina Fey did not actually write the debate skit referred to in question 5, answer C. It was penned by SNL writer James Downey. And yet, we would argue, Fey's comic genius and pro-bitch attitude were felt throughout the episode.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Bitches Get Stuff Done!

Thank dog for the end of the writers strike. Thank dog for a new episode of Saturday Night Live. Thank dog for Tina Fey, who declares in this brilliant bit from "Weekend Update" that Hillary Clinton is a bitch -- and so is she (Fey) and so is "Update" co-anchor Amy Poehler and so are all the Catholic nuns who teach in Catholic schools. "And at the end of the school year you hated those bitches," she deadpans, "but you knew the capital of Vermont." Watch it, Clintonistas. You'll feel better. It's really great to see some pop cultural recognition of the historic importance of Clinton's candidacy, not to mention a proud embrace of Bitch Power. (The title to this post is a line from Fey's bit.)

Equally hilarious is the opening skit, a send-up of a Clinton-Obama debate in which the reporters fall all over themselves declaring their love for Obama and asking such probing questions as, "Are you mad at me?" Best moment is Kristen Wilg as CNN's Campbell Brown threatening to escort Senator Clinton from the building if she interrupts Obama Girl again. Moose and Goose woke up laughing this morning reciting lines from these skits, which does not happen every day in Roxie's World, I assure you. Laughter is great political medicine, kids, so click on this and have yourself a good dose of something with no creepy side effects:

Rachel Sklar has a good summary of Saturday Night Live's return to liveness and to politics over at Huff Po.

Oh, and here is a link to a New Republic article by Elizabeth Cline on Clinton's struggle to win the support of younger women voters that was mentioned in Comments the other day. (Thanks, Rebecca!) The article suggests that young women tend not to experience institutionalized gender discrimination until after they graduate from college and enter the work force and so feel less compelled to identify with or support a woman candidate. That's cool, grrls. Just give us a call in ten years when the slacker guys who showed up to class with hangovers are earning 20% more than you are and getting all the promotions you thought you deserved. We'll be interested to hear if your thinking has shifted by then.

Okay, beautiful people -- It's Oscar time! We have to go see which incredibly bloody meditation on burnt-out manhood is going to get the gold statue. Love you, sweeties. Mean it.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Meet Fred Flintstone

Warning: Rants ahead. Long post, few links, hardly any jokes. Enjoy the eye candy. It's the only treat you'll get here today.

(Photo Credit: Random search of internets on "Fred Flintstone")

Tough week here in Roxie’s World, kids. Emotions are running high. Nerves are raw, frayed, exposed. Everything feels slightly off kilter, a little out of joint. It could be we’ve entered into the fourth stage of our grief over the apparent implosion of Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president – depression – though there is evidence some of us may have jumped back to stage two – anger. We’re glad y’all are here for us. We need our extended pack of happy political animals right now.

I pause here to note that there are no crybabies in Roxie’s World – or “whiny-heinies,” as they were called in the colorful Texas of Goose’s girlhood. We don’t see the junior senator from New York as the tragic victim of a vast sexist conspiracy. We recognize that the campaign itself is responsible for much of the pickle in which it currently finds itself. For example:
  • We’ve thought for a long time that Clinton should fire pollster/strategist Mark Penn and dump the middle-of-the-road strategy he and the Democratic Losership Council have been advocating for so many years.
  • We doubted the wisdom of running on experience in a year when voters were clearly eager for change, in part because it made it harder for the campaign to capitalize on the exciting, history-making aspects of Clinton's candidacy.
  • We are shocked that the campaign didn’t have a game plan for contesting the nomination past Super Tuesday, having obviously assumed that their girl would wrap things up on that day.
  • We give the Obama campaign major props for the brilliance of its ground game – the plan to rack up wins in small states and caucuses and keep the big states close enough to prevent Clinton from opening up an insurmountable lead in the delegate count. If he gets the nomination, it will be in large part because he and his team ran a nimble race that was strategically much smarter than the one run by the seasoned veterans of team Clinton.
Fine, so by some measures Clinton is getting beat fair and square. Then why do we feel as if she and to some extent we – her doggedly loyal supporters – have been kicked in the gut as she has morphed in the public imagination from the inevitability candidate to the vanquished witch who refuses to melt despite the buckets and buckets of water that have been poured on her? Why are we finding it hard to gather ourselves for the moment when she graciously steps aside and we are expected – as good sports and loyal Democrats – to switch out the yard signs, cover up the bumper stickers, and officially declare Roxie’s World a pro-Obama zone?

Because even if we don’t believe Clinton has been done in by a vast sexist conspiracy, the toxic levels of sexism and misogyny that have been released in the course of the primary campaign have saddened and sickened us. We reject the claim that the resistance to Clinton is not resistance to the notion of a woman president per se but merely resistance to the notion of this woman as president. As our pal the Gregarious Victorianist pointed out in a recent e-mail exchange, that is the logic of sexism pretending not to be sexism: I don’t have any problems with women, such logic goes, just this woman. And this one, and this one, and that one, and that one . . . We’ve seen that logic in action too many times to pretend it isn’t still very much with us. We’ve seen it in hiring and promotion decisions at the university, in the bitchification of women who too strenuously assert themselves in leadership positions, in the marginalization of women’s issues as narrow, special interests (even though women comprise a majority of voters). Consciously or unconsciously, such biases persist and have manifest themselves in a number of ways throughout the campaign. See, for example, the collected screeds of the venomous Maureen Dowd or the mountains of articles written that focus on aspects of Clinton’s person or body (hair, clothes, cleavage, laugh, tears) rather than on the substance of her campaign.

The men of MSNBC, led by Tweety himself, Chris Matthews, are in a class by themselves as the true Fred Flintstones of this campaign, for turning coverage of a woman candidate into what felt at times like a high-tech gang rape, so pronounced were their prehistoric masculinist biases and so gleeful and one-upping were they in the venting of them. Matthews may think he can redeem himself by “tough” (but long overdue) questioning of an obscure Obama supporter who clearly wasn’t ready for prime time, but his foaming-at-the-mouth excitement over every setback suffered by the Clinton campaign betrays an animus toward women’s aspirations to power that can’t be covered over by pointing toward his allegedly strong wife Kathleen. Matthews would be an embarrassment to his profession if the profession of cable network talking-head show host were in any way capable of embarrassment.

Tweety is not, of course, the only Flintstone to rear his obnoxious head in the course of this already long campaign. Jonathan Kaufman had an article in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week on the battle for the votes of working-class white men. Not all of the men profiled in the story expressed sexist opposition to Clinton (some, alas, expressed racist opposition to Obama), but such resistance to her candidacy is widespread enough that one Ohio political strategist flatly declared, "For a lot of blue-collar guys over 40, Hillary Clinton is a poster child for everything about the women's movement that they don't like -- their wife going back to work, their daughters rebelling, the rise of women in the workplace.” On the other hand, Dan Leihgeber, a steelworker, tells the reporter that he supports Senator Clinton for her experience and positions. Kaufman reports of Leihgeber:
He carries a book bag to work every day with his lunch and a newspaper inside and a Clinton button pinned to the outside. Some days, he says, he turns the bag around so the Clinton button doesn't show; he says he doesn't like dealing with his co-workers' derogatory comments. Mr. Leihgeber says he wouldn't be heckled so much for an Obama pin.
Mr. Leihgeber then offers one of the saddest yet most illuminating comments we’ve seen on the Democratic campaign of 2008:
"People don't want to speak out against Obama because of the fear of being seen as racist," he says. "It's easier to say you want to keep a woman barefoot and pregnant . . . .You can call a woman anything."
Moose can identify with Mr. Leihgeber’s story of the Clinton button on the book bag. She was in the hallway at school on Wednesday (the day after the latest string of Clinton defeats), rushing to get to her office before class, with her similarly festooned book bag thrown over her shoulder. A colleague came up behind her and said, in a voice thick with sarcasm, “Whoa, that’s dedication to the cause. Did you go out to Wisconsin to vote again?” “Yeah,” Moose tartly replied, “and you see how much good it did.” Her colleague – a good guy and actually a pretty good friend – went on to taunt her with some remark about Clinton’s vote on Iraq. She countered with something about Obama’s votes to continue funding the war he claims so much wisdom for opposing, and then she realized she needed to disengage – in part because she had to get to class but in truth because she realized she was deeply, viscerally angry.

Why did her colleague need to gloat about his candidate’s victory and needle her about her candidate’s defeat? Why has the left found it necessary in this campaign to turn Hillary Clinton into an evil power-grabbing bitch who must be driven from the field, her reactionary ideas consigned to the dustbin of history? Why must her supporters be mocked and ridiculed as sellouts, fuddy-duddies, and agents of neoliberalism – when there are, in fact, no substantive policy differences between Clinton and Obama?

People have worried a lot about Obama’s supporters staying home if Clinton manages to “steal” the nomination by winning Ohio and Texas, sewing up the superdelegates, and enfranchising the voters of Michigan and Florida. No one seems to worry at all that Clinton’s supporters might get mad enough about the way they and their candidate have been treated to sit out the election. If Obama gets the nomination and does not choose a woman as his running mate, we will know he is taking women’s votes for granted. He’s counting on them to be good sports, to be gracious in defeat, to be placated by a few more rallies with Oprah.

Or he knows what Dan Leihgeber knows: You can call a woman anything.

What would it take to consign that sad assertion to the dustbin of history, sweet denizens of Roxie’s World? What kind of change would we all have to be to make those words unthinkable? You tell me, beloveds. Your favorite dog blogger is one tired old bitch tonight.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Michelle, Ma Belle

(Photo Credit: Charles Ommanney, Getty Images for Newsweek; "Ready for my ascension, Mr. DeMille.")

For the Clintonistas of Roxie's World:

So you're sitting out there, poring over the polls and primary maps, trying to master the impenetrable arcana of superdelegates, wondering if Howard Dean will ever figure out what to do about the debacles of Michigan and Florida, and perhaps you're edging your way toward the third stage of your grief over what feels like the implosion of the Clinton campaign: bargaining. Perhaps you've started to think, Maybe it won't be so bad if Obama is the nominee. He comes with so much less baggage than the Clintons do. Maybe fear of being called racist will take some of the edge off the Republican attack machine. Maybe it will be a kinder, gentler campaign that actually focuses on the issues. Maybe Obama's soaring rhetoric, personal magnetism, and stunningly beautiful family will neutralize and triumph over all the poisonous waste Republicans have dumped into our political discourse in the last twenty years.

Think again, my sweet benighted human. Think again.

Regular readers know we generally avoid the blogger's condition we like to call Digbyitis, in which the blogger fills huge expanses of prime blog un-real estate by cutting and pasting lengthy excerpts from other blogs, columns, or news reports. Much as we revere Digby (and we do), we kind of think that's cheating, and we know June Star agrees with us and we like to stay in June Star's good graces. Anyway, we're going to make an exception to our rule by printing an entire post by John Podhoretz that was published yesterday in "Contentions," a Commentary magazine blog, because we want to make sure even our non-linky-loving readers see it. Think of it as a preview of the scary movie we might all have to sit through in the fall if Obama is the nominee and his lovely but occasionally loose-lipped wife Michelle is the first-lady-in-waiting.
She Said What?

Michelle Obama today said that “for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction.”

Really proud of her country for the first time? Michelle Obama is 44 years old. She has been an adult since 1982. Can it really be there has not been a moment during that time when she felt proud of her country? Forget matters like the victory in the Cold War; how about only things that have made liberals proud — all the accomplishments of inclusion? How about the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1991? Or Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s elevation to the Supreme Court? Or Carol Moseley Braun’s election to the Senate in 1998? How about the merely humanitarian, like this country’s startling generosity to the victims of the tsunami? I’m sure commenters can think of hundreds more landmarks of this sort. Didn’t she even get a twinge from, say, the Olympics?

Mrs. Obama was speaking at a campaign rally, so it is easy to assume she was merely indulging in hyperbole. Even so, it is very revealing.

It suggests, first, that the pseudo-messianic nature of the Obama candidacy is very much a part of the way the Obamas themselves are feeling about it these days. If they don’t get a hold of themselves, the family vanity is going to swell up to the size of Phileas Fogg’s hot-air balloon and send the two of them soaring to heights of self-congratulatory solipsism that we’ve never seen before.

Second, it suggests the Obama campaign really does have its roots in New Class leftism, according to which patriotism is not only the last refuge of a scoundrel, but the first refuge as well — that America is not fundamentally good but flawed, but rather fundamentally flawed and only occasionally good. There’s something for John McCain to work with here.

And third, that Michelle Obama — from the middle-class South Shore neighborhood of Chicago, Princeton 85, Harvard Law 88, associate at Sidley and Austin, and eventually a high-ranking official at the University of Chicago — may not be proud of her country, but her life, like her husband’s, gives me every reason to be even prouder of the United States.
Way to go, Michelle. You see how easy it is to toss a big fat softball straight at the waiting bats of the right-wing commentariat? One little off-the-cuff remark and the terrifying specter of the America-hating left is conveniently revived. Give 'em an inch, and next thing you know 44% of voters (and 92% of Fox news viewers) will believe that your husband, Barack HUSSEIN Obama, helped plan the 9/11 attacks. Give 'em another inch and little old ladies from Texas will swear that you killed a man and personally wrapped his body in a rug. (This non-urban legend [with Hillary Clinton in the role of diabolical left-wing killer] was recently circulating in Goose's family in Texas. Apparently, they're not all yellow-dog Dems. Don't you [or "chu," as they say in the Lone Star state] just love it when relatives come to visit?)

John McCain's scary wife Cindy quickly pounced on Mrs. Obama's words, introducing her husband to a Wisconsin audience by remarking, “I’m proud of my country. I don’t know about you – if you heard those words earlier – I’m very proud of my country.’’ NY Times political blog has links to a lot of other reaction here.

Let us be clear: Roxie's World deplores the fact that American politics has been reduced to gotcha games and swift boats and common denominators so low you need a bulldozer to dig down to see them. But do not for one second kid yourselves that the man David Brooks today deemed "His Hopeness" will deliver us from this cesspool to a utopia of post-partisan, post-race, beyond-gender cooperation. (I guess that means there'll be no free tampons in the Obama era, huh? Moose was really hoping that the first woman president would place buckets of free tampons on every street corner. And condoms. And maybe dental floss -- all kinds of sensible things you might not have on you when you need them. Women are really good at thinking about stuff like that. Maybe we should have thought of that before we decided gender doesn't matter, which is the obvious corollary of Obama's supporters declaring that race doesn't matter, isn't it?) (Go read the rest of that David Brooks column, by the way. His analysis of "Obama Comedown Syndrome" is actually, surprisingly, funny, though it also affirms our sense that Obama-mania may be short-lived, followed by a nasty hangover, and lead to President John McCain deciding to stay in Iraq for ten thousand years. And we do intend to hold all our friends who voted against Hillary for authorizing military action in Iraq accountable for that.)

Also, go read the long Newsweek profile on Michelle Obama. We've decided we can't stand her, but we're pretty sure that's just bitterness on our part. And, oh yeah, maybe that thing she said back in May about not "identifying" with feminism -- or progressivism -- because she's "not that into labels." Oh, yeah, us neither, Michelle, but we are into a crazy little thing called convictions. Got any?

This was going to be a much better post, kids, but we had some weird technical difficulties around embedding links that had my typist ready to throw her laptop straight off the observation deck and out into our ridiculously large backyard. Love you, have our doubts about technology.

Oh, yeah, and Clinton lost Wisconsin, but you probably already knew that. LA Times asks if it's "the beginning of the end for Clinton." And maybe you're asking that, too.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Saturday Funnies

My typist has a cold, and a deep laziness has settled over Roxie's World here in the middle weekend of February. We haven't yet come up with the magic formula that is going to save Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and rid the world of sexism and dangerously vapid media coverage. We are so astonished by Tweety's confession this week that hearing a speech by Barack Obama sends "this thrill going up my leg" and by MoDo's assertion, with no apparent trace of irony or self-consciousness, that "attacks against powerful women can be harsh and personal and unfair, enough to make anyone cry" that we are tempted to cover our head with our paws and declare Roxie's World a media-free zone. But we couldn't do that to you, our legions of loyal fans, who are out there, patiently waiting for a weekend treat from your favorite dog blogger. Here are a few morsels from the goody bag, mostly things passed along by devoted members of the pack.

Did Roxie's World neglect to wish you a happy Valentine's Day? By dog, I think we did! Here's a little Valentine greeting passed along by the moms' high-powered enviro-politico pal (who was last seen in Roxie's World wielding an ax for Hillary Clinton):

And here's something Moose stumbled on halfway through her first cup of coffee this morning:

And here's a cartoon that was much funnier when it was published in early January, before we started worrying that John McCain might actually be electable (with thanks to an exceptionally devoted reader who doesn't yet have a blog-name, though we are considering several that involve witty allusions to cats, England, New Jersey, and the racial politics of the Victorian period):

Speaking of cats, if two Maureen Dowd columns a week is not enough to line the floor of your litter box, check out the amazing Dowd-O-Tron from 23/6. You can make your own MoDo column any day of the week with just a few clicks of the button! (Caution: Studies show that spending too much time in the mind of MoDo may be hazardous to one's health, causing toxic levels of thoughtless causticity and uncontrollable bouts of pointless antiphonal word-play.) (With thanks to deputy internets troller Dudley the Beagle, who sniffed this out before his nose got so high in the air from Uno's win at Westminster that he stopped returning our calls.)

Eager for the absolute latest on the Obama Messiah Watch? You'll find it here at Is Barack Obama the Messiah? It's supposed to be a parody, but we're wondering if it might not have the opposite effect. Still, we'd be happy if one of our devoted fans were to call our snarky references to Jesus Christ Superstar in Wednesday's post to their attention. We wouldn't mind ending up in the list of "Heretics and Unbelievers" in their sidebar.

Finally, June Star phoned in from the Garden State Parkway the other day with word that Jon Stewart made a reference to the War on Terriers in a piece he did on the triumph of Uno the beagle at Westminster. It's short, funny, and related to the long-awaited end of the writer's strike in Hollywood. Follow the link; the video wasn't loading completely when we had it embedded here, so we took it down.

That's it, kids. We promise more original material when Moose and her head are on speaking terms again. Love you. Mean it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Who You Calling "Electable"?

The division of sports and leisure is in charge of Roxie’s World this evening, on account of the non-Lady Terps are down in Durham squaring off against the evil empire of Duke. The political team has taken the night off to lick its wounds following last night’s resounding defeat of Hillary Clinton in the Crab Cake primaries and to reassess our official position on the issue of electability. That position has been colorfully yet clearly articulated by Moose, who for months has maintained that Democrats could nominate “poop on toast” and win the presidency this year, given the unappealing field of Republican candidates and the spectacularly failed presidency of George W. Bush.

This morning, though, the moms woke up to a cold, ugly rain and the sound of a triumphant John McCain launching the peroration of his victory speech last night in Virginia – and the opening of his attack against the man many now assume he will face in the fall:
I do not seek the presidency on the presumption that I am blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save my country in its hour of need. I seek the presidency with the humility of a man who cannot forget that my country saved me.
“Holy crap,” Moose muttered, “turn off the radio. There goes the election.”

“No kidding,” Goose replied. “You just can’t beat such gorgeously balanced sentences, such elegant use of antithesis – ‘I do not seek the presidency on X. I seek the presidency on Y.’ That is poetry.”

I swear, Goose is almost as weird as Moose is sometimes.

“Yeah, but it’s also a withering attack on Obama’s sole claim to the office – his personal magnetism, his followers’ belief in his salvific powers. If McCain can effectively re-frame those appeals as signs of arrogance, vanity, or a young man’s belief that ‘all glory [is] self-glory,’ as he says earlier in the speech, well, that’s just devastating to Obama’s cause. McCain doesn’t have to bother pointing out that Lyndon Johnson’s support was crucial to the success of the civil rights movement. All he has to do is talk about the brotherhood of war, which he also does earlier in the speech, to prove that he understands interdependency and the nobility of fighting for a cause greater than oneself. He’ll never let someone label him a racist for saying that either.”

“No one will even try. That’s the kind of weasely move Democrats only pull on one another. You know what this whole Obama cult of personality thing has got me thinking about?”


“The opening song from Jesus Christ Superstar, where Judas tells Jesus how dangerous this whole messiah thing has gotten to be. He accuses Jesus of succumbing to all the hype about him.”

“Oh, yeah,” and then Moose started to sing,
You’ve started to believe
The things they say of you
You really do believe
This talk of God is true
And then Goose chimed in,
And all the good you’ve done
Will soon get swept away
You’ve begun to matter more
Than the things you say
And then they both started to laugh. I covered my ears with my paws. It's so embarrassing when they go all 70s on me.

“But seriously,” Moose said, “you know what this debacle has me thinking about?”


“The iPhone. Obama doesn’t represent a new kind of politics. He represents the triumph of branding in politics. He’s positioned himself as the iPhone in this race, while somehow Clinton has been turned into the political equivalent of your grandmother’s rotary dial phone. The problem with that strategy is that voters-as-consumers or voters-as-fans are likely to be fickle. They may move on to a new product by fall.”

“But do you think McCain is a product they’ll be interested in buying?”

“Hey, Republicans are nothing if not marketing geniuses. They sold enough people on Shrub to get him into the White House for two terms. McCain’s speech last night unnerves me because it suggests a brilliant line of attack against all of Obama's pretty rhetoric.”

“But isn’t it just another version of Clinton’s experience argument?”

“Basically, but he’s a guy, a war hero. He doesn’t have to prove his commander-in-chief credentials, which is a big part of what Clinton’s experience argument was aimed at doing. McCain can make a contest between him and Obama all about who’s the manliest man, and the old white former prisoner of war is going to win that contest every time. All he has to do is stand there stiff as a board, make a couple of well-timed references to ‘Nam, and suddenly voters remember that grandma’s old rotary phone never dropped a call and didn’t shatter into pieces when it got dropped. Obama looks like a self-involved pretty boy, a puff of smoke. Faced with the two of them, voters realize they don’t want to be cool; they want to be safe.”

“A pretty boy? So McCain can use a subtle combination of racism, ageism, and effemiphobia to beat Obama, where Clinton’s age and experience are held against her?”

“Sure, honey. That, it turns out, may be how you beat the bitch -- and the black guy. C’mon. Let’s go downstairs and have some coffee. It’s time to face the day.”

(For a round-up of commentary on the Obama Messiah Watch, see this from our blog pal Jon Swift.) And if you, too, can still recall all the lyrics to Jesus Christ Superstar, even if you can't remember what you had for breakfast this morning, then click on this vid. Just close your office door first. Please.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

To the Dogs

(Photo Credit: Seth Wenig/Associated Press; Tequila, a chihuahua, wore a pair of sunglasses while competing in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, 2/11/08).

Virginia was called for Obama moments after the polls closed at 7 p.m. Same in DC at 8 p.m. Maryland polls don't close til 9:30 due to inclement weather in Terrapin Country, but it's not looking good. We apologize to all our loyal fans for being right in our predictions for the Crab Cake primaries. We were really hoping to be wrong. Moose spent much of the day scouring the internets looking for funny images of people eating crow in anticipation of more thrilling Clinton come-from-behind wins.

There is no bitterness in Roxie's World, but we can't face the long knives and the chortling and the prognosticating and the navel-gazing and the self-satisfied predictions that all boil down to, "The Homecoming King is way more popular than that geek-girl Valedictorian, don't you think? He is so awesome! Who cares if his health-care plan leaves, like, fifteen million people uninsured! Their hope will keep them healthier than insurance ever could!" Okay, it's possible we're feeling a little bitter this evening, but can you really blame us, kids? Could any candidate have withstood the unbridled sexist attacks to which Senator Clinton has been subjected? Is there really any concrete evidence to suggest Obama will be the kind of transformative leader his delirious fans seem to imagine he will be? Those convenient "present" votes in the Illinois legislature? All those votes in support of funding the war he claims to be so courageous in having opposed "from the start?" Is this really someone engaged in a new or progressive way of doing politics?

Sorry, darlings, but we can't do this tonight. We're tuned out the pundits and tuned into the finals of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show instead. As a tribute to our dear friend and deputy internets troller, Dudley, we are pulling for the beagle to take Best in Show tonight. It would be the first Best in Show win for the breed in the history of Westminster. If I weren't feeling bitter, I wouldn't bother to point out that terriers have won that title at Westminster a record 40 times, but there you have it. Go, Uno! Roxie's World is rooting for the hound!

Call us if official Butch Goddess Rachel Maddow shows up again on MSNBC, will you? She's on our short list for Best in Show, whatever the competition. We think Rache has a bit of the terrier about her, don't you? Smart, bossy, willful, full of fun -- Yep, definitely a terrier, and, this may be self-serving, but I'd say she's a fox, too, wouldn't you?

Chins up, kids. Tomorrow is another day.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Who'll Take the (Crab) Cake?

(Photo Credit: Random search of Internets on "crab cake")

We won't lie to you, kids. Our reputation for excellence in electoral prognostication means too much to us to start cutting corners now. We won't sugar-coat it. We won't happy-talk it. We won't tell you what we wish we saw in our crystal balls rather than what we actually see. Can you handle the truth? Okay, here goes.

Roxie's World cannot with confidence predict that Senator Hillary Clinton will win any of the contests in tomorrow's Crab Cake (or Chesapeake or Potomac) primaries (DC, MD, VA). We say this with considerable sadness, knowing how many of our loyal readers are Clintonistas. We love the Obamaniacs and the broken-hearted Edwardians among you, and we feel for the tortured undecideds out there, but our diligent audience research suggests that most of you have drunk the kool-aid for Clinton. (Some of you had to put in a shot of vodka to make the kool-aid go down, but you did and we're proud of you.) So it is with a heavy heart that we report that right here in our very own ridiculously large back yard Senator Clinton will most likely lose -- and possibly lose big -- tomorrow.

Real Clear Politics averages show her trailing Senator Barack Obama by 22.3 points in our home state of Maryland (99 delegates at stake) and by 17.7 points in Virginia (101 delegates at stake). DC has 38 delegates, but RCP doesn't have any polling data up. No comment. As we all know, the polls have been less than reliable in this strange election season, particularly in Democratic races. (Al Hunt weighs in on that problem here.) Still, our feeling here on the ground in the mid-Atlantic is that signs are pointing to an Obama tidal wave in the tidewater region.

We did what we could to prevent it, kids. The moms went out yesterday (accompanied by a hot and high-powered enviro-politico pal of theirs) in 40-mph winds to put up yard signs and posters in high-traffic areas around Takoma Park. It was all very L Word, I assure you, except that none of them have spiky hair and they did not pull off the road one single time to engage in a spontaneous road-side orgy. The enviro-politico pal did bring along nails and a roll of tape, though. And an ax, just in case. Anyway, in further proof of their determination, Goose got up early this morning and put Clinton bumper stickers on both cars -- and you know that's a serious commitment. Finally, Moose refused to cancel her class this afternoon to allow her students to attend the big Obama rally that was held today on the Maryland campus -- because, hey, it's Monday, and why on earth should we pretend to be serious about the hard work of education on a Monday? Moose insists this was not a partisan move on her part, that her devotion to high academic standards would have resulted in her holding class regardless of the candidate or cause being rallied for at 12:30 on a Monday afternoon when she was planning on a scintillating discussion of the violence of gendering as explored in Ma vie en rose and Judith Butler's "Doing Justice to Someone." (I swear, Moose gets more Maggie Smith in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie every day. [Insert eye-rolling icon here.])

But you know what this means, don't you, kids? If Clinton fails to take even a morsel of the crab cake tomorrow, on the heels of her several losses over the weekend, it means the long knives will be out, again. It means we'll have to endure endless dissections of "what went wrong" in the Clinton campaign and growing pressure on her to step aside "for the good of the party." It means Tweety and all the other villagers will piously and certainly declare that the bitter partisanship of the Bush-Clinton years has ended and the horrors of racism have been transcended and, conveniently, the spooky specter of post-menopausal female ambition has, for the time being, been banished. Whoooey, that was close, fellas, wasn't it?

How will we get through it, sweet children of Roxie's World? Same as we get through all our little challenges. I will do a lot of napping. Moose will type and drink and troll the internets looking for stories that will accentuate the bright side. Goose will cook and drink and laugh at all the funny lines we come up with to help keep desperation at bay. You all will point and click and drink or not drink and leave witty/encouraging/gently critical comments and links to other upbeat progressive news. We'll get through it, together, because that's what we do.

Here, for example is a happy story to help you face whatever tomorrow may bring. Wa Po includes Rachel Maddow, official Butch Goddess of Roxie's World, in a group of "Cable News's Latest Hotties" who have broken out from the pack in this intense electoral season. We are beyond thrilled to see Rachel breaking through to mainstream media stardom. We are amused that she quips that she feels that she is "dressing up like a high school principal" when she prepares to do TV, but disappointed that she thinks her most interesting fan e-mails are from "straight guys who write, 'Does it make me a lesbian if I have a crush on you?'" Um, Rache, would it kill you to read our letters? Or to do a quick label search here on Roxie's World to see how truly devoted we are to your butch fabulousness? I'm just sayin'.

Finally, we remain adamant in our refusal to link to the worshipful "Yes We Can" video produced in homage to Saint Obama, but we can never resist a good parody. This one also has the virtue of reminding Democrats that, no matter who they vote for tomorrow, the real battles lie ahead. Vote early and vote often, children. Vote your hopes and not the hype. May the best biped win. Peace out.

Friday, February 08, 2008

On Losing Our Mittens

(Photo Credit: Richard Perry, New York Times)

There is sadness in Roxie's World today, children, as we mourn the loss of Mitt Romney from the field of presidential contenders. The faithful among you will recall that back in July we proposed organizing a group called Democrats for Romney because we thought it would be so much fun to run against the good-haired replicant from Massachusetts. (By the way, has anyone noticed what a tough political season it's been for guys with good hair? Edwards didn't win a single primary, and the poor Mitster mostly took the Mormon states and states he or his father had governed. Meanwhile, dudes with little to no hair are still in the running. Go figure.)

We will miss Mitt. I can't say why, really, since we haven't watched a single Republican debate and realize that the Democrats would have been squeamish about exploiting anti-Mormon bigotry as a way of peeling votes away from Republicans in the fall election, even though Mitt's clicky eyes offer fairly compelling evidence that Mormonism actually is a cult. We will miss the calm efficiency with which he disposed of millions upon millions of dollars in the misguided belief that America was eager to embrace a candidate who had to explain that one wife was plenty, really. We will miss the pandering and the brutal attacks on McCain and the faked outrage at reporters. We will miss having a Mormon story almost as entertaining as HBO's Big Love to follow while our favorite show is between seasons.

Sigh. Mitt, we hardly knew ya. Seriously, fella -- Who the hell are you?

In any case, did y'all happen to notice how spot-on our Super Tuesday predictions were? Seriously, kids -- The prognosticators of Roxie's World beat the Zogby pollsters right into the dirt! We predicted Clinton and Obama would each win their home states, and they did, to the surprise of no one on earth. More impressively, we predicted Obama would take both Georgia and Alabama, and he did, though Real Clear Politics showed a slim lead for Clinton in Alabama ahead of the vote. In the clearest sign that our crystal balls are working pretty darn well, we predicted that Clinton would take California by at least 8 points and that Hispanic voters would, unlike Ted Kennedy, stick with her. She won by 9.6% and got close to 70% of the Hispanic vote. We also predicted that Mittens would quit the race, but anyone could have seen that coming. On the whole, though, we're mighty impressed with our skill at tea-leaf reading. We're hoping that Butch Goddess Rachel Maddow might notice and consider making us a regular feature on her radio show. C'mon, Rachel -- Every show needs a novelty act, and your dyke listeners will love the dog angle. We await your call!

From the crystal ball to the radar screen: We're starting to see some good take-a-breath coverage of Obama, particularly on the cult-of-personality issue. Jake Tapper has a nice piece called "And Obama Wept" (with links to several other similar bits) that suggests a certain queasiness with the messianic tone that has crept into the language of Obama's supporters and of the candidate himself. We won't put in a link to the already infamous "Yes We Can" video, but if you haven't seen it you should. It's the weirdest mixture of politics, entertainment, Starbuck's-style branding, and non-denominational evangelical religiosity we've seen in a long time. And I'm sorry, folks, but it is really hard to imagine the object of so much awe-struck reverence sullying the hems of his garments by engaging in the hard and often dirty work of governance.

Finally, we don't even remember how we stumbled upon this, but here's a thoughtful piece by Melissa McEwan on why some women might be reluctant to come out too strongly or too publicly in support of Clinton. "A lot of women who support Hillary see the depth and scope of the organized institutional misogyny being levied against her and feel, somewhere in their guts, that a massive 'women for Hillary' movement would actually be used against her and undermine her campaign," McEwan speculates. The moms think McEwan may be onto something. They have been noticing lately that women tend to talk about Clinton in whispers and asides, the way they used to talk about hot flashes and other supposedly shameful aspects of their femaleness. Goose thinks this is one reason Obama has done well in caucuses -- because women may be reluctant to stand up publicly and show their support.

Golly, kids, whatever happened to that whole hear me roar thing? Ain't it about time we stood up and shouted for the sister? Assuming, of course, we're not already down on our knees for the brother? I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Hermeneutics of Hillary

Today, there is another song on our minds, that classic of obsession recorded by the immortal Ms. Patsy Cline:
I fall to pieces
Each time someone speaks your name
I fall to pieces
Time only adds to the flame
(Photo Credit: Ruth Fremson, New York Times; Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea embrace on the evening of Super Tuesday, 2/5/08)

Flat-Out Funniest Bit to Emerge on the Phenomenon of Obsessive Hillary Hatred (from TBogg [musing on another alleged incident of misty-eyedness by Hillary] by way of James Wolcott, who voted for Senator Clinton yesterday in New York):

Clintonalia scholars studying her every gesture will tell you that a smile (accompanied by her harsh and unappealing laugh) means that she is thinking about how much she would like to destroy America. A pensive look means that she is wondering who Bill is fucking at that moment. A raised eyebrow means that she's going to have Vince Foster killed. Again. In fact she has no emotions, no expression, that is without meaning, whether it is to fulfill her insatiable need for power or, in some cases, to hide her secret insatiable need for power. Part of it is Hillary and part of it is the fact that she is a woman (and God knows that dealing with white women can be a problem) and they have mysterious ways of sending us signals.

Clearest Proof Yet that Maureen Dowd Has Simply Lost Her Mind with Hillary Hatred (Or, Proof that, If Elected, Hillary Will Be America's Second Black President:
her pitch is the color of pitch: Because she has absorbed all the hate and body blows from nasty Republicans over the years, she is the best person to absorb more hate and body blows from nasty Republicans.

Darkness seeking darkness. It’s an exhausting specter, and the reason that Tom Daschle, Ted Kennedy, Claire McCaskill and so many other Democrats are dashing for daylight and trying to break away from the pathological Clinton path.

Another Reason to be Grateful that Bloggers Are Keeping a Close Eye on MoDo (from Bob Somerby at The Daily Howler by way of Digby, Ace Detective of Media Sexism):
Maureen Dowd is morally sick—she’s just unwell—about those vexing gender issues. Her sickness has been apparent for years. In that respect, she’s much like the Times’ own Britney Spears; she’s someone who needs intervention. But even worse than her moral sickness is her constant, world-class dumbness. If humans civilization continues to develop, future generations will look back on such work with unease, as we look back on medieval medicine. What might it say about us, they will ask, that our ancestors “reasoned” that way?
Compelling Evidence that There May Be More Than One "Bitch" Involved in This Race:

Moose is bitter about not having come up with that brilliant line about Hillary having Vince Foster killed. Again. But there is joy in Roxie's World over the Super Tuesday results, beloveds. The pundits are eating crow again. The Democrats are pretty, however deadlocked, and the Republicans are savagely going at one another. Dems are voting in droves all over this gloriously messed up land, and finally, next Tuesday, the Moms will get to vote in what Mark Shields just dubbed the Crabcake Primary (MD, VA, DC). Hold on to your hats, America -- The Girls are voting for the Girl!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Sit Tight

(Photo Credit: Shana Wittenwyler, New York Times)

Sorry to be so late with our Super Tuesday post, kids. I know you've been on pins and needles waiting for me to weigh in. "How is Roxie feeling?" you were wondering between games of solitaire in your lonely cubicle. "Does she really think Hispanics will stick with Hillary in California?" "Is Huckabee's win in West Virginia making her feel confident about her VP prediction on the Republican side?" "And is Moose thinking that her pick for Oscar-winning best song, 'Falling Slowly' from Once, offers a great refrain to hum on this extraordinary day in American political history?" You remember the chorus, not to mention that melody line that got lodged in your brain for three days after you saw the flick. Go on -- Hum along:
Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice
You've made it now
The truth is, kids, we're tired and cranky and have no idea what's going to happen tonight. We give you permission to watch TV or click over to the big-dog blogs that are liveblogging the results that will be trickling in all night long. Tweety is already warming his big seat on MSNBC, so if you tune in there make sure your cattle gun is close at hand. We like what we're hearing so far about national exit polls of Hispanic voters (breaking 61% to 38% for Clinton over Obama), but we've been freaking out over what has felt like a shift in momentum toward Obama in the last several days.

So, settle in on the couch. Pour a drink. Or three. Take a breath. Or two. Because we love you, here are some links we would have sent you over the past couple of days if my typist hadn't been preoccupied by her day job. (You do realize that the spring semester has started, right? And you do remember that she did what she has taken to calling her "blog talk" again today at Maryland, right?) Put these links in your Backlash Against the Backlash Against Hillary Clinton File:
  • Stanley Fish in NYT arguing that much of the Hillary hatred is so deeply irrational it merits comparison to anti-Semitism, because "both feed on air and flourish independently of anything external to their obsessions."
  • Robin Morgan offering an update of her 1970 essay "Goodbye to All That," an on-the-ramparts analysis of sexist double standards at play in the election. Some of it is a little over-the-top, but, hey, sister's got a point to make and she's makin' it.
  • Susan Faludi reviewing the new book, Thirty Ways of Looking at Hillary: Reflections by Women Writers, edited by Susan Morrison. The gist?
    The ratio of trenchant political commentary to personal pot-shotting on the subject of Hillary Clinton in the larger media realm is precisely echoed in the pages of this book, which seems intended to reprise the op-ed fixations, not to bury them. The result is a good deal of convenient psychologizing, self-absorbed meanderings and unearned snipes—and a handful of efforts to take a respectable step back from how-do-I-personally-feel-about-Hillary thumb-suckery.

    MANY OF THE writers in Thirty Ways are busy reviewing their own lives and taking their own temperatures, some with notable self-regard. Others are preoccupied with such pressing questions as, is Hillary a dog or cat person? Does she like olive burgers or Boca burgers? If she did have a hobby, what would it be?

Okay, keep that one out of my holiday stocking. One more link, this one not quite for the Backlash file, but Paul Krugman had another smart, measured comparison of Clinton and Obama on health care again yesterday. Read it and tell me again why this fella has progressives swooning.

A final note for all you girl-watchers: Rachel Maddow, official Butch Goddess of Roxie's World is on MSNBC tonight. Maybe she packs a cattle gun and can take care of Tweety if he gets out of control. After all, she's the one credited with unleashing the blog swarm that resulted in Tweety's red-faced apology for the way he talked about Senator Clinton after New Hampshire. Whatev. We just think she's. . .an incredibly articulate political analyst.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Lucky Dogs

(Photo Credit: Garrett Davis, New York Times; McKenzie Garcia and Squeaker at Best Friends Animal Society sanctuary, Kanab, UT)

Your favorite dog blogger is a lucky dog because the moms finally had a runner installed on the stairs leading up to our bedroom. This means I no longer have to be carried up and down the stairs all the time. Sometimes I still insist on being carried down the stairs because, well, I had gotten awfully skittish about going down the bare wood stairs with my creaky arthritic legs and I am still not convinced it is 100% safe. I have tried it on my own a couple of times since the carpet was put down and haven't taken any tumbles, so we'll see how it goes. I much prefer the dignity of independent travel, of course, but old dogs really don't like to learn new tricks. Still, I am awfully pleased that the moms were willing to make this accommodation to all the aging bodies in our house. (Moose didn't think it was especially safe for the humans to be carrying a dog down the stairs for potty trips in the middle of the night either.)

Forty seven of the pit bulls seized from the home of former NFL star Michael Vick are even luckier dogs, it seems, for they have been rescued from the brutal conditions in which they were kept and "dispersed to eight rescue organizations for adoption, rehabilitation or lifetime care in sanctuaries," according to a detailed and moving account by Juliet Macur in today's New York Times. Even if you're not a dog person (but if you're not, why are you here?), I defy you not to get a tear in your eye as you read this incredible story of humans working to restore the trust of dogs who have been tortured, trained to fight, and forced to breed. (Make sure you look at the wonderful audio slide show, too.) At the Best Friends Animal Society sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, one dog, Georgia, has had all 42 of her teeth pulled out (by her previous owners, to prevent injuries during forced mating) and barks incessantly at her doghouse. Her caregivers aren't sure why she barks.

“I’m worried most about Georgia,” said the Best Friends veterinarian Dr. Frank McMillan, an expert on the emotional health of animals, who edited the textbook “Mental Health and Well-Being in Animals.” “You don’t have the luxury of asking her, or any of these animals: ‘What happened to you in your past life? How can we stop you from hurting?’

“So here we are left with figuring out how to bring joy to her life,” he said of Georgia, known to lick the face of anyone who comes near. “We want to offset the unpleasant memories that dwell in her brain.”

John Garcia, the assistant dog care manager at Best Friends, marvels at the dogs' ability to recover from their traumas (doubtless thanks in no small part to his patient, compassionate work with them):
“These dogs have been beaten and starved and tortured, and they have every reason not to trust us,” Mr. Garcia said as Georgia crawled onto his lap, melted into him for an afternoon nap and began to snore. “But deep down, they love us and still want to be with us. It is amazing how resilient they are.”
Go on. Get a little verklempt. Go rub the belly of your own untortured companion animal and pause for a moment to reflect on the traumas of your life from which you somehow managed to recover -- with the compassionate support of those you love. Cool, huh?

Then, consider the millions of lucky dog American voters who get to go to the polls on Tuesday to weigh in on the presidential nominating process. Twenty-four states, hundreds of delegates at stake, and polls shifting so fast you could get whiplash trying to read them. In such a fluid state, it's probably best not to make predictions, but the prognosticators here in Roxie's World are feeling feisty and bold, so we're willing to share some of what we've detected from the observation deck looking out over our ridiculously large back yard:
  • Clinton and Obama will each win their home states of, respectively, New York and Illinois. (I know -- We're way out on a limb on that one, aren't we?)
  • Clinton takes California by at least 8 points; Obama won't make significant in-roads with Hispanic voters there, despite Ted Kennedy's new fluency in Spanish.
  • Obama will take Georgia and Alabama, which is why he will be Clinton's choice for VP.
  • Republicans will wake up Wednesday morning saying they have always, really, truly loved John McCain. Mitt Romney will quit the race, declaring that evangelicals have always, really, truly hated Mormons. Huck will be McCain's VP choice, thus securing the flat-earth vote.
  • "Falling Slowly" from Once wins Oscar for Best Song. Oops! Sorry -- Moose pulled the crystal ball away from me in the middle of my prognosticating!
We'll conclude not with a prediction but with an order: Boycott the Super Bowl. Watch Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl IV, starting at 3 p.m. (Eastern) on Sunday instead:
a three-hour extravaganza in which a cast of 46 dogs frolics, chases, pants, sniffs, rolls, tail wags and occasionally picks up a ball (or, more likely, a chew toy) on a set resembling a football field.
Talk about lucky dogs, huh, kids? Tune in. Peace out.