Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Night YouTubery

Ya know, if John McCain were half as good a campaigner as he is a comedian, he might just have a shot at this thing. Watch him cutting up at Thursday evening's Al Smith Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria. Vid's in two parts, and you should watch both. McCain is genuinely funny, his timing and delivery both impeccable and his material far more compelling and coherent than his campaign has been. Don't take our word for it. Watch.

Part I:

And here's Part II:

In the interest of bipartisanship, here is Senator Obama's competent but not nearly as funny bit. He does manage some good self-deprecation ("If I had to name my greatest strength, I guess it would be my humility," he says during a section in which he helps voters get to know him better. "Greatest weakness? It's possible that I'm a little too awesome."), but on the whole he seems far less at ease in the role of comedian than McCain does. Even as he mocks his high and mighty public image, one senses that the Precious takes Himself just a little too seriously to be entirely comfortable in the role of clown. Or maybe jokes are always funnier when the underdog is telling them. Wev. Here's the President-in-Waiting:

Oh, and if McCain won the comedy smackdown, Obama continues to lead in the endorsement race. Wa Po weighed in today, and rumors are flying that retired Gen. Colin Powell may endorse Obama in an appearance on Meet the Press on Sunday. Meanwhile, America's favorite dog blog devoted to politics, pop culture, and basketball continues to drive the Obama campaign and many of its loyal readers crazy by refusing to endorse the senator from Illinois while praying fervently for the defeat of McCain-Palin. Perhaps in the next couple of weeks we will find time and words to explain our inexplicable stance, but, in the meantime, relax. Obama is so far ahead in Maryland that nobody's polled here in a month. The registered voters of Roxie's World will do whatever they do or don't do on Nov. 4, but they will be dancing with you in the streets on Nov. 5 to celebrate the coming end of the long, sorry reign of Shrub and Darth Cheney. That, my friends, will be a day of rejoicing, and we look forward to spending it with all of you, regardless of what you do in the privacy of the voting booth. Peace out.

Update: LA Times endorses Obama in tomorrow's paper. And we bring you the news today, because we know you count on us to be the speediest news hounds in the 'sphere. ;-)


  1. Anonymous7:10 PM EDT

    Hey Rox,
    Please forgive if I sound a bit tetchy, but: endorsement, schmendorsement; vote, schmote; shouldn't you and the Moms be heading out to Virginia to do some door-to-door or GOTV work? I know it's easy for me to say -- I liked Clinton just about as much as I like Obama, which is to say, not very much. I would have held my nose and worked for either one of them. But there's some serious shenanigans going on out there:
    And there's a helluva lot at stake, particularly for women, girls, and Queers of all flavors. If you can't do it for Obama -- and I get that you can't -- why not for Ruth Bader Ginsberg? That chick rocks. (Though she's a bit conservative on copyright -- a failing I'm willing to overlook). And I'm sure she'd really like to retire, what with her illness and all. I'll be chanting Ruth Bader Ginsberg to myself as I do GOTV work in Allentown PA. I just won't be able to stand it if I wake up on Nov. 5 , there's been another heist, and I haven't done anything. I really don't think this thing's going to be as easy as it seems. So, Rox: tell the Moms to vote and endorse (or not endorse) whomever they like. I think it's action that's called for. Even if it's in the name of someone who's not running. Plus, wouldn't you love a little romp in Virginia? Arf! Be well Roxie. Peace out to all -- Dog-eared Book

  2. Anonymous7:43 PM EDT

    Hey Rox,
    I hope that didn't sound self-righteous. I really don't mean it to be. The Dog-eared book just has a few too many brittle pages when it comes to elections. Let's hope such pessimism is unwarranted. Alas, given the sweep of recent history, I fear it's a sensible response. (Don't forget that Gore was up by double digits in October, or so I read somewhere on the 'net.) Better get off the toobz and back to the 19thC, where bank failure, corruption, and fraudulent elections can still seem interesting. Fondly and worriedly, Dog-eared Book

  3. Anonymous8:24 PM EDT

    I'll be headed down to Virginia, Dog-eared Book -- and not b/c I'm a huge Obama fan, but for exactly the reasons you state. I'm excited about it, and glad to know I won't spend election day fretting about the house and obsessively hitting "refresh" on various news feeds... to say nothing of being able to look myself in the mirror should things not go as we hope they do.

  4. Dear Anxious Dem Friends,

    Lucky for you Goose is out of pocket this evening. I imagine she'd read these comments and go all high-horsical on you about how Dems have been using and abusing the loyalty of women, queers, and working people for decades and rewarding them by conveniently forgetting them and their issues the morning after election day. She'd no doubt remind you of the debacles of MI and FL and the way the party bent rules to benefit one candidate in an extremely close primary race and then unbent those rules once the nomination battle was over. Oh, lord, she'd go on and on.

    Anyway, it's just me and Moose here in Roxie's World tonight, so we'll simply say we're glad you feel committed enough to the party to get out and work on its behalf this season. The moms have been doing GOTV stuff since they knocked on doors together for Mondale and Ferraro in Ocean County, NJ in 1984. They're taking a break from that this time and have re-directed their political energies and money to local causes or issues they care about deeply, such as the battle to save same-sex marriage in California (not so much because they are fans of marriage, but because they are fans of civil equality).

    I know it's hard to explain, which is one reason I haven't done a post on it yet. Perhaps it's just that after years and years of standing by the Democratic party, defending it to "progressive" friends who thought they were suckers or sellouts, and waiting for it to fulfill its promises to its core constituencies, they are just too tired and disillusioned to make the effort this time around. Moose has come around to feeling that McCain really must be defeated, and the Obama-Biden ticket has impressed her in certain ways in the past couple of weeks, but the impression isn't strong enough to get her on a bus for the team. And Goose? Well, she is her own quick women, as you both well know. She is also a Taurus and a little more Irish than is probably good for her. Once she makes up her mind, she is not quick to change it.

    As for SCOTUS and the marvelous Ruth Bader Ginsberg, I sincerely hope she can retire soon -- and I sincerely hope that Douglas Kmiec, the anti-choice, anti-queer fan of natural law from Pepperdine who has been out campaigning as part of Obama's faith and family tour, is not advising President Obama on Supreme Court nominees. Sorry, kids, but Kmiec is one of the many reasons we simply do not feel sanguine about the prospects for truly progressive change in the coming age of Obama, however thrilled and amazed we may be by the prospect of the nation having its first African-American president. And that does thrill us, all our reservations notwithstanding.

    Wear comfortable shoes when you're out there working the streets, you two. And take a bottle of water with you. You can't save the world without being properly hydrated.

  5. Anonymous11:17 PM EDT

    Yeah, I hear you, Rox 'n Moose. And who could forget "Don't Ask/ Don't Tell," something like three weeks after the initial euphoria of Clinton 1's inauguration. What a come-down that was. Still, I'm more nervous this time than is entirely rational. I've some bad, bad memories from 2004; terrible visions of avoidable horrors. So it may well be a personal exorcism I'm after. Either that, or the Lesser, as he's known around these parts, really does seem *worlds* better than the alternative. Even knowing it'll likely be three weeks or fewer before I'm furious as hell at him. But I'd much rather be a thorn in his side than. . . . a target? unemployed? an exile? under McCain / Palin. Or so it seems to me. Anyhoo, thanks for the explanation. And the solidarity, Candy Man!

  6. Anonymous1:38 PM EDT

    But but but, Roxie--

    ROE! ROE! ROE!

    ROE! ROE! ROE!

    If you don't climb aboard the unity train, you're just a low-information voter who needs to GET OVER IT!

  7. Hmmm, let's see. Has my dear blog pal Historiann installed an Obama widget in her sidebar? (Pause for a quick click to Noop. Looks like another cowgirl has left her unity pony back at the corral, eh? Giddyup, girlfriend, giddyup!

    Yeah, insufficient information is definitely the problem around here. Pay no attention to the fact that my typist's right arm is close to paralyzed from an excess of pointing and clicking. We just don't know enough!

  8. Anonymous7:16 PM EDT

    I was just very discouraged when already this summer, Obama people were being sent out with a message (ROE! ROE! ROE!) that should have been a last-ditch October message. In June, we should have heard about policies and plans to fix the things that matter to Democrats (things like the U.S. Constitution, or our screwed-up health care system.) But it was all Roe, all the time, at least if the target was a woman.

    Maybe they don't think our low-information brains can handle their awesomely complex policy positions and action plans? Wev. I'm leaving the country for Canada on Wednesday, November 5, no matter what happens. (Just for a conference--not to move there--but I still will enjoy the symbolism.)

  9. Anonymous10:07 PM EDT

    There's an interesting observation in the comments on this event, and specifically about Obama's not taking on as easily as McCain "the role of comedian" that you observed, over at Unqualified Offerings. I won't try to summarize it: it's comment #2--go there and read it.

  10. That is a really great point, Dudley, and I have to confess it hadn't occurred to me. (For those too lazy to click over, the comment notes that Obama won't play the minstrel or "Tom" role -- i.e., won't ingratiate himself to whites as a way entertaining or gaining approval. That makes a great deal of sense.

  11. Anonymous10:32 PM EDT

    Historiann and Roxie, I love you both, but at this point the pragmatic side of me just wins out against all the distaste I have for how the Obama campaign has been run (Roe! Roe! Roe!), and my idealism about how presidential elections might, were this a better world, transpire. I'm no fan of the unity bandwagon, but on election day I'll be voting for Obama/Biden -- because there are no viable alternatives, and because I'm enough of an optimist to think that the dems might prove us wrong this time around and bring something new and genuinely exciting to Washington. (I won't hold my breath, but I *will* keep my fingers crossed; and I'll know, too, even if things don't change all that much, that McCain/Palin would have been far, far worse.)

  12. That's cool, Candy Man, and we love you, too. To be clear, though, Roxie's World has NOT said we won't vote for Obama-Biden, though individual voting decisions will vary and may change between now and Nov. 4. We've just said we won't WORK FOR them. Oh, and we're glad to hear you don't plan to hold your breath waiting for something "new and genuinely exciting" to hit Washington. You'd be far less pretty if you were blue in the face.

  13. Wouldn't it be awesome if we could vote for Anni-Frid and Agnetha? The ABBA platform? Okay, maybe not so awesome, but HELLA gay!

    This sad election has reduced me to lame fantasies like this.

  14. Goose here, writing from Austin. Yes, Dog-Eared book, there are some serious shenanigans going on, but from all (or both) sides in this general election. And there’s likely to be some kind of heist on Nov. 4th, but what chills is that it could come from either side or, as I think more likely, both. Whose heist will prevail remains to be seen. I share with Dog-Eared book those brittle pages when it comes to elections, and I’m sorry to say that ‘twas the “Democratic” primaries that mightily contributed to what is now a lack of trust that I fancied as recently as a few months ago I would never have, a lack that I’ve seen in many a friend and ally over the years who scoffed or smiled knowingly at my “silly” GOTV efforts from McGovern/Shriver and Carter/Mondale (before I met Moose) to Kerry/Edwards. Many Rolling Rocks were consumed arguing about Barry Commoner in 1980, and in the face of much leftist head-shaking, I nonetheless beat the NJ suburbs for Carter and grinned at the not-always-good-natured ribbing I took in the Homestead, the meeting place for grad students and professors in my finishing (of the PhD) years (ok, maybe I didn’t always grin and was sometimes a bad sport; but I held my ground and voted for The Lesser that year anyway; he lost, and grave insult was added to that injury on Dec 8th with the loss of John Lennon). “Nobody told me there’d be days like these / strange days indeed.”

    And Candy Man, whatever happens on Nov 4, I’ll be able to face myself in the mirror. I have thought about this particular election and the choices made and unmade for a very long time, and I am more than comfortable with my position, which is increasingly Swiss (and yes, surprises me, but I cannot be principled with any other stand and do not say that the principles by which I live here should be anyone else’s).

    And Rox, while I won’t go on and on (ok, I suppose I’ve already done so), you capture well what I am thinking, feeling. I’m amazed at how Hope drives, even thrives, in the cul-de-sac of Cape Fear, and I cannot waste any more time: I must turn my energies and my money to the causes the Dems have long let languish (women’s pay is still where it was 30 years ago; gains for queers have been marginal; the peacemakers are now warmongers—Afghanistan, seriously, NOW?; the classism in “nonracist” stances staggers). For me, Rox, this is not hard to explain, and that is not because the Taurus, the Irish, and the Texan in me are a little too strong. ‘tis because there is hardheaded work to be done: the man of too many “top priorities” is likely to win, and we have to make certain he chooses ones that will not leave us as disillusioned as Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell (but the deafening silence regarding the fight in California from the campaign with more money than any other in history speaks volumes, all of them heartbreaking). His healthcare plan enriches insurance and pharmaceutical companies. . .just ask the recent Nobel prize winner from the NYT. Fauxgressive, indeed.

    As Historiann and Candy man are obviously all too aware—Roe! Roe! Roe!—is a sad cover for Nothing Really New and a pledge of allegiance to Wall Street from the Obama campaign: as their man said this last Wednesday, a woman’s “right to choose” must hinge on consultation with ministers and other patriarchal advisers. She could not possibly make the decision in a room of her own.

    Dudley, you are one of the most astute political thinkers, but I find unsituated and uncontextualized comment #2 oversimplifying at best: if a black politician confident enough to make jokes about himself is seen as “tomming,” then the rule is the artifice, not the foundation, of strength. “Role of comedian” only = Tom in a world underinformed about the history of minstelsy, etc.

    And Candy Man, the pragmatic side is winning out for me as well, and we are coming out in different places. And that, after all, is democracy, rich in all its variation. I must pragmatically stand on principle, a principle of one person, one vote, a principle that honors all constituencies and their participations and refuses to denounce dissent with a loud cry of “Get Over It.” The “win” we are seeing has adopted the Republican strategies of 2000 and 2004, and, as I said earlier in this comment, drives Hope in the cul-de-sac of Cape Fear. In that zone of fret (and not-so-veiled threat, Roe! Roe! Roe!), I was told in the strongest possible terms that I am not needed for this “win,” and I now believe that deafening roar (so reminiscent of “counting” Florida in 2000). Thus I am turning my energies to trying to drive a wedge between the “new Dems” and their sad devotion to Wall Streeters who worship money, albeit in a “kinder, gentler” fashion (Buffett et al), and to trying to get them to drive off Cape Fear and onto a plain of real Hope, one that embraces the dirty, the greasy, the messy, the inarticulate constituent of difference as well as the one who can easily migrate to the clean, well-lit place of the “liberal” Country Clubs.

    “Nobody told me there’d be days like these / strange days indeed.”

  15. Um, do I take a right or a left out of the cul-de-sac of Cape Fear to get to the plain of real Hope? and will I have to cross the mighty river of Denial to get there? ;-) Love you Goose, you righteous late-night rabble-rouser, you.

  16. No. It seems the only way out of the cul-de-sac of Cape Fear is by crossing the intersection of Fucked and Screwed. Politically, anyway, I've lived on the corner of this nasty intersection for more than ten years now (with the signing of DADT and DOMA).

  17. You take a left turn, a REAL left turn, of course. And the mighty river of Denial is the one called Hope that surrounds Cape Fear. . . .and don't think we're getting past that nasty intersection, not unless there's a sudden push on the Dems with $$$ to DO something about California.

    Love y'all, too!

    PS - Dog Eared Book: I do think we're doing to see a win for the Dems on Nov 4. But we have to move them left: Left, Left, Left beyond the Lesser's Dreams.

  18. Anonymous10:18 PM EDT

    Yer not kidding we need to move them Left! They're not even starting on the left, after all. I hope you're right Goose; I'm just not so damned sure. The Voter Suppression stuff heated up considerably today; emptywheel's got some interesting links on the Ohio Sec. of State's website being hacked.
    I'm no Cassandra, but there could easily be violence on Nov. 4 and after -- I just can't see this lot going down easily. Very hard to know what to do, where to stand. I'm grateful for the way in which this thread represents many of the voices in my own head, which has been a crazy place to live of late. Peace out, brothers and sisters -- let's hope we can hold on for another two weeks and beyond, when, as Goose suggests, much of the real work begins.

  19. Excuse me, but would you people please stop talking about the damned election and weigh in on the vital question of how we are going to queer the golden years? You are now two posts behind me, doggone it!

    (Kidding of course. Carry on if you must, but I am curious to hear what you're all thinking on the age stuff.) (Or perhaps you're not: See my previous point about the Mighty River of DENIAL.)

  20. Anonymous2:24 PM EDT

    Just one more thought... I can't help myself. In response to Goose's re-direction of energy to other causes: I whole-heartedly support that idea. BUT I don't see why such efforts are in any way opposed to voting for the democratic ticket.

    Giving money is one thing -- and it makes sense to me that, at this point, giving to the causes you name is a good thing (I haven't given money to the Obama campaign either). Doing canvassing work is yet another thing, and I understand why -- after the painful and damaging primary race -- many do not want to support the democratic ticket in such a demonstrative, personal way.

    But simply pulling the lever in the voting booth is another matter entirely... and I'm not sure I see how the progressive causes you name benefit from your choice not to vote for Obama/Biden.

  21. Goose here. I feel very comfortable with my choice and am absolutely confident I am doing the right thing. . .for me, at this time and in this place (I mean seriously: the Dems will win Maryland by at least 15-20 pts, if not more).

    What's important is to push Dems out of fauxprogressivism and into making some clear decisions for real change (my suggestion of disentangling social security from conventional heteronormative family arrangements being one of them--ha! I have a hard time imagining even Chris Van Hollen arguing for that one).

    What we have seen in this election is the price being paid for structuring rivalry of allies in terms of war. This spring the Dems had two candidates who brought out more voters than ever before. The "loser" (who in the end actually received more individual votes than the "winner") has been working hard for the winner, but how different this whole summer and the whole election cycle would have been had he clearly reached out to her on June 8 (and I'm not even arguing that he would have had to choose her as his VP, though that would have been smart). But he couldn't do that because the primary had been structured in terms of war, with his rival turned into some of a monster, one so horrible that Keith Olbermann fantasized her being offed.

    Now, sure that's all water under the bridge, but there are lessons to be learned, and the Dems must never be that stupid again. . .must never walk away from the opportunity to unify 36 million voters who had voted for different candidates in the primary through strategies other than barking orders. So, I'm in a situation where I can register a protest vote with clear conscience, and it's plain that doing so gets some attention. I want to use that attention to remind the "winners" that there is work to be done, that unity and community are forged, not commanded.

    Ole ED wrote "Not to admit weakness is but the artifice of strength," and the bluster that characterized much of the Democratic primary must be put aside for more hardheaded, detailed rhetoric followed by action. I do think we're seeing bits of that hardheaded detail *beginning* to peek through in some ads, but not nearly enough. My protest vote may not do much, but if it does a little, and nudges the winners to be bold and seize the day for real, practical, visionary change, then I'm proud to be part of that nudge.

    The real work begins on Nov. 5, and that's where I'm focused.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.