Saturday, February 23, 2008


I realized today that what I really need to know about the two Democratic candidates is who they are going to choose as a running mate. That choice will tell me worlds, and will shove me solidly in one direction or the other. Theoretically, Hillary knows how to pick top-level staff for governing as opposed to campaigning -- Gore went on to win the election after Bill. One of the concerns I have about Barack is we don't know who he "runs" with, who will do the actual policy-making in his West Wing. Bill's Boys are who told him to go along with DOMA, dropped the ball with health care, and helped draft NAFTA. Who are Barack's troops? Is he insecure enough, like George Herbert, that he's going to pick a potatoe-brain for Veep so he looks even more Presidential in comparison? When will we find out?

My father was an intermittent Republican. He went from Goldwater in '60 and '64 to Nixon in '68 and '72 (splitting from my mother that year, who was ever after a Democrat), to venting his disillusionment over Watergate by voting for Carter instead of Ford. He was not a Reagan supporter, either, although it would have been hard for him to admit liking Reagan with me writing blazing broadsides from California and my mother's hatred of the man she referred to as "that B-movie actor". When Reagan won in 1980, I sent Mama an 8x12 black and white movie still from Bedtime for Bonzo. She had it framed and it sat on the endtable beside her throne, the easy chair, next to her Salem's and stash of Diet Dr. Peppers. Any new visitor to the house was directed to look at the picture of "that grinning subhuman -- and the chimp in his lap."

Daddy was seduced back to the GOP by the campaign of Bush the Elder. But he then voted for Clinton -- he liked Clinton, even though his favorite joke was "What do you get when you cross a draft-dodger with a lesbian? Chelsea" -- a little veiled woman-hating aimed my way. He had no use for Perot. He longed for a Dole presidency, either Bob or Liddy.

When Dubya ran for governor, Daddy was ambivalent about him. Daddy had worked in the oil industry all his life and was very familiar with company "directors" (especially West Texans) who lived off the profits others earned for them, self-serving creampuffs who were, as he put it, two Buds short of a six-pack. He remained ambivalent when Dubya started his Presidential campaign. (I can only imagine what Mama would have had to say about him -- like Molly Ivins, only much more profane.)

(And Mama would have loved Letterman's comment this week, regarding the resignation of Fidel Castro from office: "Experts predict that Fidel Castro will be succeeded either by his brother Raul or his idiot son Fidel W. Castro.")

Daddy's attitude toward Dubya changed dramatically, however, when Cheney was named as Vice President. Daddy had worked around Halliburton all his life. He knew them as crooks and manipulators, and anybody who'd been at their helm had no business in public office, he said. His disgust for Cheney turned to hatred when Cheney shot a fellow hunter in the face. Daddy was a gun collector and NRA member. He was outraged by the carelessness, the presence of alcohol, and the cover-up. He expected the NRA to issue a very public condemnation of the incident, and when they did not, he was extremely bitter.

I'm not bitter. I'd still rather have Bill in office, or Al, or Hillary, than anything which has ever leaned Republican. NONE of them are radical enough for me, bottom line. But having been asked to "trust me" once too often in the past, I'm more comfortable with the slicks I know than the slicks I don't. Tell me who your Veep is, and you get my vote.

(HTML stencil from Via

Kirk Watson was Mayor of Austin, Texas from 1997 to 2001. Currently he's a Texas State Senator for District 14, my district. He's a glib, pretty white boy trying hard to do the right thing. And he let himself get set up on MSNBC by not being able to say one damned thing about Barack's accomplishments, even as he declared himself an Obama supporter.

This is the problem, folks. This is the starry-eyed "hope" meme that makes so many of us nervous. But, I'm glad to say, it doesn't have to be that way.

Kirk himself has posted a "What I Should Have Said" apology at his website. Even better, Jack Turner at Jack and Jill Politics, a blog "that offers a Black Bourgeois perspective on American politics", has published a primer on Obama's accomplishments (and, very fairly, Hillary's) for those who can't reel them off yet, located at Obama's Experience: A Message for Supporters and Doubters. They provide excellent links, and compare not only Obama and Clinton against each other, but also against McCain. Study up, kids. As Jack says, "Know you ish."

(Vision Portal-Crocus by Lowry Bell)


Sal Costello said...

Sen. Kirk Watson is a snake. And, Karma is a bitch. It's just too bad that it has to make a presidential candidate look bad.

In October, Sen. Kirk Watson voted to ignore the public and divert nearly a Billion tax dollars to convert portions of Austin existing freeways (183, 290W, 290E, 71E, and 71W) into tollways. This is a Gov. Perry scheme to shift freeways to tollways.

Why is Watson selling out citizens for special interests?

This double tax, of tolling drivers to use public expressways to drive to work, school and shop, benefits Watson contributors, developers he was hired to lobby for and the City of Austin, who pays Watson $450 an hour to do land deals.

kat said...

So, my maternal grandfather is actually a step-grandfather. He and my grandma got married the year before I was born, and that transformed my grandmother's retirement. She went from a position of "probably being able to get by" to "making it and then some and getting to experience world travel and other luxuries." He was, at the time, high up in an international engineering organization. Yiayia got to go all over the world and meet lots of influential people.

On the day that Iran Contra hit the news, they were having lunch in DC with the engineering high-ups and Mr. and Mrs. Reagan. Yiayia thought of him much as your mother did, minus the profanity, but her quote was great:
"I never thought much of him as a president, but that day, my faith in his acting was certainly restored!"

I agree with you. I'd love to see what the running mate choices are...I also wish that Edwards had thrown his support behind one of them...oh well, nuthin' I can do now...