Saturday, March 29, 2008

Just Us Guys

(Photo Credit: Damon Winter, New York Times)

Don't you just love this touching photo of brand new BFFs Bob and Barack, just a couple o' workin' stiffs stoppin' off for a tall cold one at Sharky's Cafe of Latrobe, PA, where you can join the Mug Club and get your own custom-made 20 oz. mug and be eligible for all kinds of price breaks and special parties? Bob (that's PA Dem Sen Bob Casey) and Barack (that's IL Dem Sen and presidential candidate Barack Obama) stopped in Friday to celebrate their just announced marriage of political convenience. Bob realized over Easter that he was tired of sitting on the sidelines in the presidential race and so discovered his and America's true savior. He said of Obama, according to NYT, “I believe in this guy like I’ve never believed in a candidate in my life.” Jeez, Bob, then what took you so long? Meanwhile, Obama gets a helpful lift in PA, where Hillary Clinton has a sizable lead and endorsements from Gov. Ed Rendell and the influential Rep. John Murtha.

Too bad the guys stopped by Sharky's on a Friday. On Friday the drink special is Bud Light drafts for $1.75, the very thought of which makes Moose want to renounce alcohol and the country of her birth. If they'd stopped off on a Monday, they coulda slapped each other's backs over a Rolling Rock draft, which, until it was snatched up by evil Anheuser-Busch in 2006, was a decent beer actually brewed in the glass-lined tanks of Latrobe, PA. Bob and Barack coulda sat down at the bar and perhaps engaged that baffled, humble woman looking over her shoulder at them in a spirited conversation about the mysterious "33" printed on every bottle of Rolling Rock. When Moose and Goose were poor grad students back in New Jersey, they spent many a Friday night knocking back bottles of Rolling Rock and having precisely that conversation. They learned a lot on those beer-filled evenings about friendship, cheap food, and the value of nattering endlessly about not terribly significant things, such as whether "33" was an allusion to Prohibition (which was repealed in 1933) or to Freemasonry. (They never settled the matter. Then, somewhere in the mid-90s, they switched to wine and dropped the subject. And then they got a dog.) Wonder what Bob and Barack learned over their brewskis. Perhaps that you look like a big dork if you show up at a sports bar in Latrobe, PA in dress shirts so crisp they look as if they might break when you bend your arm to clink your best bud's glass?

So, kids, how are you surviving the lull, this dreadful period between the last set of primaries and the next one, when a bored, Barack-besotted national press and a panic-stricken, mostly Barack-besotted national party have joined in a deafening chorus of "Hillary must go, Hillary must stop, Hillary must quit, Hillary is ruining everything, Hillary is hurting our beautiful, our perfect yet apparently quite fragile Barack and so must be driven from the field, must stop stealing the votes that He deserves. She must go, or she must die. Yes, that's it. The bitch must die so that He may live and save us all."

Or words to that effect. Here in Roxie's World, we've taken refuge in basketball, as you might have noticed, though Goose is spending a fair amount of time writing out large checks, tearing them up, and enclosing them in indignant letters to Democratic leaders. The money quote from her latest to the Democratic National Committee: "The Party is so weak that it can’t abide a serious contest for its nomination for President . . . . I will not support a party that does not go out of its way to enfranchise fully all voters who wish to participate or who have participated and find their votes voided by a shortsighted rules enforcement." Tell 'em, Goose. Nobody does high dudgeon like our Goose, 'specially when a bunch o' guys are ganging up to sucker-punch a girl.

(Note to the Editorial Division: What's up with all the dropped word endings and beginnings in this post? I'm blaming my typist, who turned another year older this week and may be trying to sound like all the 23-year olds out there blogging in their underwear. Next thing you know, she'll be declaring that somebody's got some "splainin'" to do. Which a lot o' somebodies do, by the way.)

We're awfully impressed with Clinton's ability to withstand the pressure on her to step aside. We're not sure we could do it ourselves. We're also pleased to see some Dems standing up for Hillary and for the process. Props to Rendell, who sensibly asks citizens to imagine if the tables were turned:
“Just flip it for a second,” Mr. Rendell said. “Let’s say Senator Clinton was ahead by about 110 delegates and ahead by less than 1 percent of the vote cast, and she and her supporters started to call on Senator Obama to get out. Just picture what the media would be saying. They’d be saying you’re being racist, you’re being everything in the world. It’s nuts! It’s nuts!”
Then there's the ragin' Cajun James Carville, who continues to defend comparing Gov. Bill Richardson, who owes his political life to the Clintons, to Judas Iscariot for endorsing Obama last week. He has an op-ed in Wa Po today defending the insult and telling Democrats that if they can't handle his kind of straight talk they'll have helluva time handling McCain come fall.

Take a look at this New York mag piece by John Hellemann on the tense state of the race and its likely future course. It's got some interesting insights into why John Edwards hasn't gotten around to endorsing Obama. (Obama came across as glib and aloof in conversations with Edwards and his wife upon Edwards' withdrawal from the race and didn't seem serious about Edwards' pleas to make poverty a central part of his agenda. Clinton, on the other hand, did well with both Edwardses in their discussions.)

Know what, kids? It's late, and the most important thing on dog's green earth at this moment is that our beloved Lady Terps just prevailed over Vanderbilt in the Round of Sixteen! That's right, sports fans:

Maryland 80
Vanderbilt 66

Kristi Toliver only had one turnover. Crystal Langhorne scored 28 points. And the Terps go on to the Elite Eight with an inspired performance likely to quell the talk that they didn't quite deserve that No. 1 seed. All is right in Roxie's World. Peace out, beloveds.

Postscript from the Department of Separated at Birth, which is up late still watching basketball):

(Pitt women's basketball coach Agnus Berenato)

(Robin Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire)

Remarkable, don't you think?


  1. Anonymous8:14 AM EDT

    Go Terps! Kristi Toliver and the gang are playing excellent basketball. What fun, eh, to turn on the tv and to have a good chance of catching team sports played by women? This time of year, and occasionally during the Olympics, it's as if we've been translated into some bizarro world in which the invisibility cloak surrounding women's sports has suddenly been lifted. Soon enough, alas, we'll be back to the Ordinary World in which sports reporters are far more likely to cover Senior Men's NASCAR than the hundreds of women's soccer, field hockey, ice hockey, softball, or volleyball games, played at both professional and collegiate levels. But hey, I'll enjoy the Madness while it's here. Go Scarlet Knights!

  2. Couldn't have said it better myself, Dog-Eared Book.

    Now. . .Great post, Rox. You really do have a way of cutting through the B.S., and with aplomb and great wit – yeah, why DID take you so long, Bob, if Obama really is someone you believe in as you’ve never believed in anyone else. How stupid do you think the electorate is anyway? Which leads me to another question, Rox: So do you think either of those two guys, the new BFFs, have any idea how many words appear on the side of EVERY Rolling Rock bottle (from longnecks to little ponies; and would they even know to look for those words by gazing through the bottles and reading what’s printed on the backs of the labels) and cans? No matter how the description of Rolling Rock you’ll find there is worded, there is ALWAYS the same number of words. I bet even Casey can’t tell us how many. But I bet you that everyone who’s really a regular in Sharky’s can. Yeah, those two are definitely just regular guys, stopping by the corner bar for a quick one after a long day in the factory – HA!

    So yes, great post, but I do have one not-so-little quibble. When you say that the Democratic Party is “mostly Barack-besotted” I find myself wondering what the meaning of “mostly” is. About half of the party, yeah. And they are rather noisy so it seems like more than half. But Moose and I and our something-of-a-baroness friend went to see HRC herself Wednesday evening and her campaign had no problem packing Constitution Hall, and with voters of all stripes. Especially wonderful was the Dunbar High School band, from a primarily African American public school in Shaw in DC. We were sitting right behind them, and those young people were not forced to be there: they were wild with enthusiasm for the junior Senator from NY and for her presidential candidacy. Perhaps their parents are like the woman who was sitting beside me, an African American special education teacher who first met HRC when as First Lady she came to visit Jennifer’s school, and spent the better part of the afternoon talking to the children and to the teachers, learning their needs. Jennifer volunteered for Clinton early on and told me that at first she was given a hard time for having a Hillary sign up in her condo window but that now more and more of her African American friends are coming out for Hillary. Interesting, huh?

    And the funny thing is, Moose and I have noticed that when you come out as an HRC supporter in the land of academe you find that a good number of your colleagues agree with you. They may whisper in the halls about it, but I’m finding that more and more and more of our colleagues are quietly identifying themselves as supporters for her candidacy. When we had a party on Friday evening for a distinguished visiting speaker, several attendees leapt for joy when they saw the Hillary sign in our front yard. They praised us for being so public about our support, and one or two commented on not liking to be talked down to by other colleagues – you know, the kind of bullying tactics that have become all too common in this primary race. One of my graduate students was called racist for supporting Hillary. Now how does that work? Are Democrats and progressives really so weak-minded that we cannot hold principled differences of opinion on the matter? What’s with the bullying anyway? My family in Texas reports that in yesterday’s county conventions there was “chaos and the hostility from all the delegates” and that the “Obama people in Dallas were trying to railroad the delegates to the state convention.” Why are so many who support Obama relying on bullying? Are they that insecure about their candidate? It does seem that they realize that going through the primaries all the way to Puerto Rico, Clinton is likely to end up ahead in the popular vote (and that doesn’t even include Michigan and Florida – see this story in US News & World Report: Obama’s afraid to let Florida and Michigan vote again. Why? I thought he wanted every voice, no matter how small, to be heard. Mmm. . .looking at that picture you put up, and contemplating his refusal to let those millions of voters in two states be heard and the efforts to try to bully her out of the race, maybe I should examine that rhetoric of his more carefully. Does he really want every voter, no matter how small, to be heard?

    As I’ve been saying for months, Senators Clinton and Obama should get in a room by themselves without any of their advisers present and see if they can come to an agreement about what will be best for this country. And then they should tell us what they’ve decided and what we’re going to do. I could get on board with whatever decision they make. No one would have to be bullied, and every vote in this primary season could be counted. (Mario Cuomo agrees with me, by the way; check this out: Amazing that in the United States of America that seems to be an impossible dream: that every vote in the Democratic primaries will be counted. And I ask Democrats to ask themselves, why would a candidate be afraid of that and what does it mean that he is afraid of that?

    And on that other all important subject, BASKETBALL. . .Hooray Mighty Terp Women! And may Rutgers triumph this afternoon!

    In Peace and for the dwindling Possibility of democracy in the Democratic primaries,


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