Tag Archives: Politics
January 10, 2009

Obama visits Ben’s Chili Bowl


Oh, man, that’s cool.

Credit: Reuters

In a departure from his healthy diet, Mr. Obama ordered a classic Ben’s half-smoke — a pork and beef sausage on a steamed hot dog bun, topped with mustard, onions and chili sauce — and a sweetened iced tea. Mr. Fenty chose the turkey dog, cheese fries and bottled water. The bill came to $19.15 with taxes, according to prices from Ben’s menu.

What, no shake?

December 11, 2008

OMG I love the British

I want to move back to the UK and be an MP.

December 10, 2008

Why does Dianne Feinstein hate fun?

Citing security concerns, two senators who sit on the Congressional committee in charge of inaugural ceremonies appealed on Tuesday to the mayor and city council of Washington, D.C., to reverse a decision to keep bars in the city open until 5 a.m. during inauguration week.

Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the committee chairwoman, said she had “grave concerns about the unintended consequences” of the plan approved by the city last week to extend the hours that bars and restaurants can sell alcohol.

Seriously, I’m so glad I have cool Senators now. Jim Webb would never bitch about this because he’s too busy polishing his collection of guns and telling Bush to mind his own goddamn business. Also, he would probably be drinking whiskey with the people until 5am, unlike Princess Feinstein.

December 10, 2008

Yes, January 20th will be hellish

So get ready for this magic moment, ladies and gentlemen. With Obama’s swearing-in comes the first audacious act of his administration: Get the population equivalent of Los Angeles to stand on a geographical pinhead and then disappear into a subway tunnel.

December 10, 2008

Obama will use his middle name when he takes the oath of office

And across America, wingnut heads will explode upon hearing him utter “Hussein.” It’s gonna be beautiful.

December 8, 2008

Posing with a cardboard cutout of a future SecState could be a possible source of embarrassment to you, your family, or the President-Elect


Admittedly, I don’t see what the big deal is regarding Jon Favreau’s photos with the Hillary Clinton cardboard cutout. All these people are calling for his head, and whatever, and he apologized to Hillary for the whole thing. Perhaps it is a generational thing. This is what young people do these days. We take photos with cardboard political figures and put them on the internets instead of burning down ROTC buildings, putting flowers in our hair, and doing other assorted stupid hippie things.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will share one such photo with you. Here is my own never before seen photo in which I am feeling former President John F. Kennedy’s amazing washboard abs at a GW College Democrats and College Republicans 2002 election night party:


Mr. President, I apologize profusely for any harm this photo may have caused you or your family. Also, I HAVE NO IDEA what Liz is doing to you in that photo.

December 7, 2008

Fired up, ready to go


The night before election day, myself and several friends attended Obama’s final rally in Manassas, VA. With all the traffic on 66, it took us about 2.5 hours to get from Arlington to Manassas (around 30 miles). We ended up parking in some random neighborhood and followed the mass of people heading towards the Prince William County fairgrounds. I was amazed at how many people had shown up to hear Obama speak. Estimates of the crowd range from 80,000-90,000. We stood around for a few hours, listening to the same five songs played over and over, as well as a few local politicians trying to rile up the crowd, until we saw the blue and red flashing lights announcing the arrival of Obama’s motorcade shortly before 10:30pm. The crowd went wild. I had never seen Obama speak in person and was impressed at how he engaged the crowd, and how stoic he was, even after learning that his grandmother had just passed away. After telling a story from the early days of his campaign, he ended his speech by leading the crowd in a chant of “Fired up! Ready to go!” As the crowd exited the fairgrounds, we lined up along the side of the road and cheered as his motorcade drove by. I think that the general feeling amongst all the attendees was that Virginia would go blue, and Obama would win the Presidency, and we were excited to have been at that historic speech.

We were all the way in the back, near the “Vote for Change” sign.

We got back to Arlington around 1am or so, but still had a few hours of work ahead of us. Nick had picked up a couple hundred signs from the Obama headquarters and we were tasked with setting them up (or more like pounding them into the ground) at eight or nine polling locations around South Arlington. I finally got back to my apartment around 3:30am and slept for two hours. At 5:45am I walked to my polling location which, thankfully, was located in a building that was only a two minute walk from mine. I thought I would beat the crowd by showing up first thing in the morning, but was surprised to see that there were already 150+ people in line. I waited a little over an hour and a half to cast my vote, but it was well worth it.

Nov. 4, 2008 | MANASSAS, Va. –

Monday night, Barack Obama came full circle.

On a perfect autumn evening in this growing suburb of Washington, on the eve of an election he is favored to win, the Illinois senator and Democratic presidential candidate brought a crowd of 80,000 to cheers with a story of a long-ago rally attended by 20 hardy souls.

In his last campaign stop, Obama concluded his remarks with a story that was a staple of his amazing run-up to his pivotal Iowa victory the first week of January. It was the story prompted by a promise to a female state legislator from Greenwood, S.C., who said she’d consider an endorsement if he would make a trip to her small city. Though Obama and his staff drove out of their way on a rainy morning in late 2007 to attend a small gathering in the remote town, the trip turned out to be a useful diversion.

Obama’s efforts to work the small room that day, he says, were no match for a small, boisterous old woman who “stole his thunder” by leading five minutes’ chanting of “Fired up!” and “Ready to go!” Obama returned to this story to remind people how “one voice can change a room” and how that change can cascade to change a city, then a state, then a country and, eventually, the world. He closed his final speech by leading the massive crowd of supporters, many of whom had battled hours of traffic to stand outside for five hours to see him, in those same trademark chants.

Yet the overall mood in Manassas was strangely subdued. It’s not that the crowd at the Prince William County Fairgrounds was reluctant or bored. You don’t battle rush-hour traffic on I-66 to then stand shoulder to shoulder for hours — and, for most, so far away that you can’t see Obama without binoculars — unless you are committed. It was, rather, the weight of the moment that hung heavy over the proceedings, the culmination of the longest presidential campaign in history.


To be sure, there will be parties Tuesday night and, presuming the polls are correct, again during inauguration week. But tonight brought a journey to an end — for Obama loyalists, for the media members who have seen him up close and the millions around America who watched him from afar. And so it was for the candidate himself, who regularly speaks of how the campaign has both humbled and inspired him.

“In this campaign, I’ve had the privilege to witness what is best in America — in the stories, in the faces of men and women that I’ve met in countless rallies, town hall meetings, VFW halls, living rooms, diners,” Obama said toward the end of his remarks Monday night, setting up the transition to his story about the fateful trek to Greenwood. “All across America, men and women shared with me their stories, spoke of their struggles. But they also spoke of their hopes and their dreams, their love for their children, their sense of obligations and debts to be paid to earlier generations.” He spoke just hours after learning that his own grandmother had died.

The Greenwood episode brought Obama’s message to a logical Election Eve conclusion, something Axelrod mentioned when I approached him just moments after Obama had delivered the last speech of his candidacy. “I think our closing message was very much our opening message,” said Axelrod. “That’s one of the strengths of this candidacy. We’ve been consistent, so I think people know [Obama] says what he means and means what he says. That’s something people want in their president.”

Asked if he could point to any one thing that worries him most on the eve of the election, Axelrod cited complacency. “I think people are being told we have a lead, but that doesn’t mean anything if people don’t vote.” But you must feel pretty good, right? “I do feel good,” he said. “How can you not feel good in a crowd like this?”

Afterward, the attendees marched back to their cars. Police on motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles worked diligently to keep State Road 234 clear so the campaign caravan of cars, security vans and media buses could make its way toward Dulles airport and the flight waiting to take Obama and his entourage to Chicago. People walked in two orderly streams on opposite sides of the road.

Because the remote section of 234 near the fairgrounds has no street lamps, the red and blue flashing police lights combined with a soft evening fog to blanket the road in an eerie, Technicolor mist. As Obama’s noisy caravan approached from behind, people stopped, turned and broke into applause. It was a presidential moment worthy of a Lawrence O’Donnell script.

December 7, 2008

The Obama campaign’s shock and awe style GOTV in Northern Virginia


I realize the election was over a month ago, but I had to do a quick post on my experience with the Obama campaign in Northern Virginia.

When I moved across the river to Arlington, I finally decided to stop absentee voting in California and register to vote in Virginia, which was up for grabs in the 2008 election. Unlike California, when you register to vote in Virginia you don’t declare a party. As a newly registered voter with an unknown party affiliation and no past voting history in this state, I was one of those people targeted by the Obama campaign. (I received nothing from the McCain campaign. Did they have any campaign presence in NoVA whatsoever, or were all his supporters just sitting at home bitching on their blogs about how Obama the Muslim socialist terrorist is going to turn the United States into a Soviet Socialist Republic?) This was quite a change from California, where no one really gives a damn about your vote. Over the month of October, I was called three times, my door was knocked on three times, and I received a mountain of literature that was either sent by mail or pushed under my door.

This is just the lit I received the week before the election. Yes, there was more.

I actually received one of the phone calls from an Obama volunteer while I myself was doing some canvassing.

“Hi, is Lindsay Fincher there?”
“This is Lindsay.”
“Oh, hi, Lindsay. This is so and so from the Obama/Warner campaign in Virginia. Do you mind me asking if you’ve decided who you will be voting for in the upcoming election?”
“Dude, I’m actually canvassing for Obama in Annandale right now. You can go ahead and mark me down as a ’1′ all the way.”
(When canvassing or phone banking you are given several sheets with voter information, i.e. name, address, phone number, and next to this is a row of number 1-5, with a “1″ representing a definite Obama vote.)

Admittedly, I was a bit of a latecomer to Obama. I am no fan of Hillary, but I didn’t see why everyone was making such a big deal about Obama. I’ve had a serious case of political malaise for the past four years and didn’t really pay much attention to the campaign until the end of this summer, when McCain picked Palin as his running mate. That was really a “WTF? Is this dude serious?” moment for me. I felt like I had to do something productive, instead of just ranting on this blog, or to my parents and friends. A lot of them were volunteering for Obama in Virginia, so I decided to join them. I volunteered for a few days in the two weeks leading up to the election and was amazed at how smoothly the campaign operated. Simply put, I’d never seen anything like it. We met at the headquarters in Falls Church where we were given directions to a supporter’s house. Rather than run everything out of the Falls Church office, the campaign had setup satellite locations at various houses throughout the area. There, you would pick up several packets, canvass those, then return to the house for more. It was really quite efficient. The house I worked out of in Annandale had over 75 volunteers that day, and actually ran out of packets by early afternoon (we later learned that the campaign had so many volunteers that this was happening all over NoVA).

As for the canvassing itself, it was the complete opposite of 2000, when I canvassed many of the same areas for Gore and kept encountering Bush voter after Bush voter. This time, though, out of all the people I talked to, only THREE were voting for McCain (and two of them were some incredibly argumentative Catholic priests who thought Biden should be excommunicated from the Church. Ah, so glad I no longer go to church). The rest were for firmly for Obama, and they would invite you into their homes so you could tell their entire family how to vote early, or just talk about Obama. So, while I was the one who was supposed to be convincing them to get out and vote, in the end, it was really their enthusiasm that was affecting me.

December 6, 2008

“Shoot, they didn’t even have to go to Washington. A.I.G. got billions of dollars, and they took the money and went on a golf outing.”

Read this NYTimes article about the Ziomek family in Detroit.

“I wouldn’t want to be them sitting at the table trying to explain all this,” she said, gesturing at the lineup of the three auto executives and the union president.

Added her husband: “All of a sudden these guys” — meaning members of Congress — “are experts on the auto industry.”

He turned to his wife, asking, “Did you know you can be a congressman for two years and have a full pension and health care?”

“And you worked 30 years for yours,” she replied.

December 6, 2008

The view from Moscow

Keith Gessen:

Watching Putin these past few weeks has been unpleasant but riveting…‘There is no question that the age of American power is finished,’ he said. ‘The time when they were a model of democracy, and a leader of the world, is over.’ And you began to think that if the Russian stock market had to all but disappear; if Putin’s friends the oligarchs had to lose 230 billion dollars; if eventually this meant that certain supply chains were going to be disrupted and people might have trouble finding food a few months down the line – well that would be a pretty small price to pay if only we could stop listening to those self-righteous fucking Americans.