Saturday, August 23, 2008

The real Bush has a shorter tail

Just a couple of pics from my walk by the White House today. It was bizarre. This is a protester in front of the White House. The strange part was this mother and her kids. They were visiting the U.S. and the woman was thrilled to have her kids pose with this Bush/devil person. With a thick accent, she asked her kids, "Do you like George Bush?" (Pronounced "Jorj Boooosh") They jumped around giggling and yelled, "YEAH!" and she ushered them over to have their pictures taken. It was the same reaction a family has when they run into Mickey Mouse at Disney World. She thanked him repeatedly and walked away with a big smile. It was strange. Was she excited to run into a protester? Was it cool to see someone in a Bush mask to put in her vacation album? Was she just glad to photograph someone who hates Bush? Maybe she's just really into torture. I can't imagine what she was thinking, but the photos are too weird not to share.

What's with the Clinton supporters anyway?

Biden has only had the V.P. nomination for a few hours and the angry, raving Clinton supporters are everywhere. I understand why they are so bitter, but they are so wrong. The argument seems to be that Biden only had a few thousand votes in the primaries but Clinton had millions. Here's my argument:

The number of votes is incalculable. The way the Iowa caucus is set up is like instant run-off voting. Your first vote doesn't count if the candidate doesn't reach a certain level, that is within each individual precinct. When Biden wasn't a viable candidate, most of his supporters cast their vote for someone else; some of them for Clinton. You're welcome!!

Not only is it a faulty logic mathematically, but it's also backward. Most successful politicians have achieved their position through ruthless manipulation and cut-throat behind-the-scenes deals. Sound like anyone you know? Maybe one or two people with the last name Clinton? She was the first lady and then she clawed her way into the Senate and nearly continued on to receive the nomination by lobbying super-delegates. It's a comfort to me that someone like Biden will be in the White House instead of Clinton. Being an effective leader has nothing to do with campaigning and winning votes.

I just heard an analyst on TV talking about what a huge mistake Obama made by choosing a man. This particular dullard thought that Obama should've picked Clinton or Kathleen Sebilius - just to win the female votes. Here's my argument on that:

Ladies, if you really think Clinton was a better choice for women's issues than Biden you need to do your homework. Biden wrote the Violence Against Women Act and has a great record on women's issues. It's appalling to assume someone a better advocate for women just because they have a vagina. Sure, the women's groups supported Hillary - she's a symbol. But I guarantee they will have no problem endorsing Biden. He may not have ovaries, but he's a champion when it comes to women's issues.

Can we stop with the sex issues and the race issues and choose a candidate based on where they stand on the political issues???

Biden-Obama would be better, but I'll settle for Obama-Biden

I fell asleep with the TV on. Early Saturday morning (around 4am) I awoke from a dream that Joe Biden was Barack Obama's running mate. A very confusing 30 seconds followed where I rubbed my eyes and cursed the television news for drawing out Obama's V.P. pick. If I could transcribe my 4am thoughts, it would read like this.
-He picked Biden!?!
-Wait, it's 3:45 am - he hasn't picked anyone yet.
-It must've been a dream, no one announces in the middle of the night.
-Dammit, I wish the media would just stop talking about this; it's seeping into my dreams.

[then, I looked at the TV and saw the headline, "Obama picks Biden"]

-Wait... but the clock says 3:45. Is it 3:45 pm? Did I sleep all day? Why is it still dark outside?

It was incredibly confusing to my sleepy and excited brain. I grabbed my cell phone to check the a.m. or p.m. and I had two text messages. I'm not an Obama supporter, so I didn't get his text message; but two friends had already texted me about it. Wow. It's really true! (and it's really 4am!)

If you know me, you know that I'm a huge supporter of Joe Biden. Today, dozens of people will hear the news and say, "I bet Kathleen's happy." Or perhaps they will say, "I bet that girl from the [Coralville precinct 4] caucus is happy." (Yes she is!) I should tell the story of my caucus experience, but it's a long one. I'll save it for another blog entry. The short version may be confusing, but it goes like this: I was a Democrat for a day. I registered at the caucus site. I was a precinct captain for Joe Biden. Biden and Richardson were not viable candidates. The Obama precinct captains were much smarter than Hillary Clinton's precinct captains. Most of the Biden and Richardson supporters moved over to caucus for Obama, winning him another delegate.

I say most because there were three or four stubborn Biden supporters (myself included) who made the choice to step aside. We knew our votes wouldn't count, but we couldn't bring ourselves to support a candidate who just wasn't good enough. Obama needs experience, and he's young. He would make a great V.P., but I still think it's ridiculous that Obama Fever carried him all the way to the nomination. Biden dropped his presidential bid the night of the Iowa caucus. The next day I mailed my voter registration to re-register as an independent.

That was back in January and we haven't heard much about Biden until the V.P. buzz. The thought of Biden as Obama's running mate was very exciting at first, and I was anxiously hoping he would get it. Lately I've had second thoughts. I thought Biden's Foot-in-mouth disease would keep him off the ticket. I came to terms with that and I was okay with it for two reasons. The first reason is that he was the most likely choice for Secretary of State, so he would still be in the Obama White House. The second reason is purely selfish: I didn't want to spend the next ten weeks defending Biden's honor when his name gets dragged through the dirt.

In the months before the Iowa caucus, I came to know all of the candidates from both parties. Biden's events drew small crowds, but anyone who listened to what he had to say knew he was the best candidate. Unfortunately, anyone who saw his campaign funds knew how unlikely that was. I attended several of his speeches, I met him numerous times, and I once had lunch with his wife. I'm very familiar with his history, his positions, and his character. So I do tend to get annoyed when I hear people judge him on his verbal gaffes or his idiotic mistakes from 20 years ago. It could get ugly in the next few months. The Hillary Clinton people are already trying my patience.

When I went to sleep last night I was convinced that Biden was not going to get the V.P. nod. Waking up in the wee hours of the morning and learning about the nomination was like waking up on Christmas and finding a shiny bike under the tree. He was such a great candidate and he just couldn't break through the hype of Clinton and Obama. Biden had great things to say, but no one was listening - including the media. In my heart, I knew he'd have so much support if he just had the exposure. Now, almost a year later, he has more paparazzi than Brittney Spears and he's the top story in the news. We'll soon find out if I was right. I can't wait for the Vice Presidential debates!

Right now C-Span is playing a clip from Biden's 1988 campaign. It's a terrible clip and he sounds like an arrogant punk. The weeks to come will be a constant reminder of the 1988 election and that he conceded in disgrace after admitting to plagiarism. On one hand -yes, it makes him look terrible. But on the other hand, it may just make him the perfect mentor. If Obama learns from Biden's mistakes, they'll do just fine together.

It is officially Obama-Biden for the 2008 Democratic ticket. While I would have preferred it the other way around, I think it's a winning ticket. After the emotional frustration of the Iowa caucus, this is a great feeling. Way to go Joe!

Monday, August 11, 2008

What I Do

I just have a few minutes and I have to go meet Superman. All summer long I've been wanting to go to Screen on the Green on the National Mall. It sounds so incredible to sit outside and watch a movie with the U.S. Capitol building in the background. Sometimes it's easy to get wrapped up in the little stuff and forget about the wondrous city in which I live.

So, every Monday when Screen on the Green comes around, I can never decide if I should go or not. It's a great way to get to love my new city, but on the other hand - if I go by myself, it may just be a depressing reminder of how small my social circle is right now.

Last week I decided to remedy that and became the sociable Kathleen that you all know and tolerate. I got a group of people together after work on Thursday for Happy Hour. There were about five of us, we had a good time (and $1.75 Miller Lite draws) and the next day everyone told me what a great time they had and said we should do it again. So, today I sent out an invite to the new "Happy Hour" email distro and we're getting together for Screen on the Green. It's a wonderful thing about life; when you finally open the door and try new things, everyone benefits.

It's looking rather dusk-y outside, I better not keep Christopher Reeve waiting!

Friday, August 8, 2008

John Edwards must go away

I'm watching Edwards' big confession tonight on Nightline and once again I find myself shouting at the television. I don't think I've done that since... well, when did Edwards drop out of the presidential election?

Living in Iowa in 2007, I had a heaping helping of the former senator from North Carolina. He made me crazy as a V.P. candidate in 2004, he made me crazy as a 2008 presidential candidate, and now he makes me crazy as a confessed adulterer. He couldn't even admit to his extramarital affair without squinting into the cameraand expaining that he's the humble son of a millworker. WE KNOW!!

He. Makes. Me. Crazy.

So, if you're not following this story, I envy you but I will fill you in. The National Enquirer has been reporting since late last year that Edwards had an affair with a woman named Rielle Hunter. He's been dismissing it as tabloid trash all along, but he finally came clean in an interview with Bob Woodward tonight on Nightline. Interesting timing. Why would he decide to confess on this night of all nights? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the entire world is focused on Beijing right now? He's a smarmy dude, but I give him extra smarminess points for coming clean the night of the opening ceremony for the 2008 Olympic Games. In a slow news period, this thing would be the lead story everywhere, but for the next few weeks it will briefly follow news of gold medals and China.

Of course this is how it should be; Edwards isn't a politician anymore, he's just a loser from NC who tells lies and runs for office every four years. (I'm not judging him, by the way. He did not win those elections, he is by definition a loser; and he admits to being a liar.) So, I'm happy that I won't have to hear every excruciating detail of his affair for the next few weeks. I think his wife Elizabeth is a phenomenal woman. I've always liked her, even before it was announced that she was dying of Cancer. I don't "sympathy-like" her, I "like her-like her." I've just never been able to understand why she's with him. Even more so now.

Edwards was so ridiculous in the interview tonight. In true Edwards fashion, he explained his humble upbringing and apologized for making a mistake. He's confessed to Elizabeth, he's confessed to God, and he takes full responsibility. Finally. On the same night as the Olympics. What a good man. Right? (wrong!)

It's none of my concern if John Edwards is an even bigger jerk than I thought. If he wants to cheat on his wife as she dies from Cancer, that's between him, her, and God. It's no shock that another politician has been caught in a lie; but if the man is going to come clean on national television, it would be nice if he could do so without surrounding his confession in more lies.

As he explains it, he had an affair with this woman in 2006, his family knows about it, and her infant son is not his and he'd be thrilled to take a paternity test to prove it. (that's 1, if not 2 lies right there.) But, he explains that he had the affair in 2006, confessed to Elizabeth, she forgave him, and that's it.

Perhaps that's the truth, but it's a little confusing as to why his former lover was working on his campaign in 2007. I mean, she's that talented at producing YouTube videos that Elizabeth had no problem with him hiring jezebel for $100,000? That's... weird. That's also... bullshit. Almost as much bullshit as, "I don't know if that Enquirer picture is me or not... it looks like me, but it could be someone else holding some other baby."

One more point I find interesting, though it's not an original thought. One of the popular liberal bloggers was speculating on what would have happened if Edwards had received the nomination. She has a good point. If he had received the nomination and this came out, it would've derailed his campaign and give McCain a huge advantage. (side note, in the interview, Edwards managed to casually mention that McCain also admitted to an affair. Cheap shot. It was after he returned from Vietnam. I think most of us are less likely to begrudge a returning P.O.W. a few indiscretions.) If I was a Democrat, I'd be really pissed.

I've wasted enough time on Edwards. His faux sincerity never fails to annoy the living hell out of me, and once again he's driven me to yell at my TV and rant about him in print. I'm sorry that I've let him ruffle my feathers, and I'm sorry that his amazing wife married such a collossal dickhead. Really... I apologize. It's my fault that you had to read this, I take responsibility for posting it to my blog. (I'm looking at my computer screen with a squint that's supposed to convey sincerity. And my hair is flawless.)

Truly, America - I am sorry.

(p.s. I also did not inhale; and I did not have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.)