Monday, October 23, 2006

Too soon?

At the 2004 Democratic National Convention, a mere two nights before John Kerry sealed George W. Bush's reelection by strolling out onto center stage and saluting the crowd like a douche, Senate candidate Barack Obama filled me and countless other viewers with the audacity of hope, fleeting though it may have been. He had -- and has -- the honesty and frankness that I have yearned for in a political candidate. He spoke of the American dream as if it still existed. He spoke of everyday Americans as if they cared about real issues, as if they were patriots regardless of their point-of-view on the Iraq war, as if their political affiliations had no bearing on whether they genuinely wanted what's best for America. He put a brief yet somehow lasting dent in my own personal deep-seated cynicism about politics.

And now apparently he's mulling over a bid for the presidency.

So the question I'd like to pose to the gallery, many of whom I know have also had their eye on Obama, is this: is it too soon? I mean, sure, Hillary as the Democratic candidate would make my vote for a third-party candidate a near certainty, and I'll bet I'm not the only one. But would Obama be jumping the gun by pursuing the nation's highest office before finishing out a full term as a Senator?


Update: In the comments, Jeff links to a Richard Cohen article about the potential of Obama's candidacy. I wanted to post that along with another link to a Charles Krauthammer article (can you tell Jeff and I grew up in Washington?) that suggests that Obama should run in 2008, because although he would lose, it would also make him more visible and appear more viable as a future candidate. They are both interesting reads. I particularly like Cohen's line about how he's excited because he has "read [Obama's] speeches". Indeed, maybe what the country needs more than ever is simply a president who can be articulate, who can inspire, and who is comfortable in front of the camera. We haven't had one since Reagan (and look how much we love him in spite of numerous harmful policies). You could argue Clinton but, c'mon, can anyone say "used car salesman"?

Song lyric of the day:
"And you're so occupied with what other persons are occupied with
And vice versa
And you've become what you thought was dumb
A fraction of the sum"
- Built to Spill, Carry the Zero

Sunday, October 15, 2006


This weekend, Vanderbilt beat Georgia on a last-second field goal, which really does merit a...


It was our first victory against a ranked team in our last 53 tries, and renews the hope that the team can continue last year's trend of suddenly being competive in the SEC.

On the other hand, the Redskins lost to the bloody Titans, the cucking Fowboys beat the Texans, and half of my picks in the office pick 'em fell flat. So, damn.

But allow me to reiterate: someone needs to call the humane society, because the Vanderbilt football team just kicked some Bulldogs. That's right, the Vanderbilt fucking Commodores defeated the number 16 team in the nation. If you can't find hope in that, a small dose of optimism, I weep for you.

Song lyric of the day:
"Baby, even the losers get lucky sometimes
Even the losers keep a little bit of pride"
- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Even the Losers

Sunday, October 08, 2006

From the Land Down Under

Announcing a new member of the blogosphere, reporting all the way from Melbourne, Australia for the next six months: The One, The Only, The Yaz. Keep checking his blog as he regales us all with tales of wallabies, dingos, kangaroos, and all the other weird animals they've got down there.

Also, those of you who know him will find multiple levels of humor in this. Hat tip: Banecker.

Song lyric of the day:
"I come from a land down under
Where beer does flow and men chunder
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover"
- Men At Work, Down Under

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Because I'm too lazy to post things myself...

This was the absolute highlight of my morning. Jeff posts a link to a Keith Olbermann (yes, the former SportsCenter guy) speech decrying the lies and manipulations of the current White House administration. Nothing much to add here, as Jeff put it best: we're pissed. Political posturing has always been fairly obvious to anyone with half a brain, but I can't remember the last time it seemed to threaten the very core of our nation's ideals. Then again, maybe that's just because I'm too young.

On a personal note, I'm reminded of the primary complaint raised by my father over the Lewinsky scandal: the fact that Bill Clinton lied about it, repeatedly, even under oath. I can't help but wonder what he would think now, about an administration who has been caught in the lie so many times over the past year that it seems paranoia about government approaches sanity.

Shortly after viewing Olbermann's speech, I had an IM conversation with Ploeger, who commented that the Democrats were poised to possibly win 18 seats in the House. My response? "Oh, so instead of lying Republicans we'll have lying Democrats." Cynical? Perhaps, but after the government I've experienced since I was old enough to begin following government, can you honestly blame me? (Ploeger naturally replied that since his party, Libertarian, had no chance of winning it was all the same to him.)

The fact of the matter is, I plainly and simply yearn for the truth. I think most of us do. I don't believe -- I refuse to believe -- that honesty is at odds with presidency. My favorite moment in "The West Wing" came during a flashback to President Bartlet's campaign, in which he addressed a New Hampshire farmer's complaint that he had voted for a bill that cost the farmer more money. I remember exactly what he said: "Yeah, I screwed you on that one." He then proceeded to explain, clearly, why he had felt it necessary to vote for that bill. He didn't assume the man was not up to his level of intelligence. He didn't play political games. That, among many other reasons, is why a 2000 poll revealed Bartlet would win in a landslide if put up against Dubya and Gore. We, as a nation, long to see a day when the presidency is a position of nobility and integrity, rather than dishonesty.

I'm reminded suddenly of a quote that's not really a song lyric, but since it was put to music...

Song lyric of the day:
"Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders."
- Baz Luhrmann, Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)