Thursday, May 1

The Friday Random Ten+5 both rejects and denounces.

It's been a frustrating eye-roller of a month for us Obama fans, who have seen issues like Iraq, gas prices, and health care get thrown under the bus in favor of stories about Obama's space-case of a preacher. Obama explicitly distanced himself from Jeremiah Wright this past week after Wright went on TV and baked up a whole new batch of crazy, but it's still been an instructive exercise about just how careful people in the public eye need to be when choosing their friends these days.

And that includes me, since I've gotten fairly heavily involved in politics here in the B-hizzy. I might like to run for some kind of public office someday -- my complete failure in my first attempt notwithstanding -- so now's probably as good a time as any to comb back through my past and pick out the folks who are gonna be the biggest and heaviest weights around my neck in terms of getting elected. Hate to do this, but this week's +5 is Five People I'll Be Distancing Myself From As I Build A Political Career Over The Next Ten Or Twenty Years.

Robert E. Lee
Yup, I'm a descendant of General Lee, and while there are any number of positives about him -- he was a brilliant military strategist, had something resembling a crisis of conscience about slavery, and initially denounced secession as a "betrayal" of the Founding Fathers -- the fact remains that he kind of, you know, fought for the wrong side. Yup, you heard me, I'm a lifelong Southerner, I've never lived anywhere north of Lynchburg, Virginia, I love SEC football, fried chicken, and the state of Alabama, but the guy fought for the wrong side. I'm guessing that's enough to merit a distance-ing.

Jesse Jackson
The very first presidential candidate I ever supported was Jesse Jackson back in 1984, and as I remember it, the only reason I had for doing so was because I thought it would be cool to have a brother in the White House. I don't know; maybe I was compensating for the Robert E. Lee thing. (At any rate, I promise my reasons for supporting Barack Obama are far deeper and more thoroughly considered.) In the quarter-century since, Jesse's turned into a bit of a caricature, so just to be on the safe side, I promise never to support Jesse Jackson for public office ever again. Granted, I was only six years old when I supported him the first time around, but the right-wingers are bagging on Obama for a school he attended in Indonesia when he was almost that young, so I'm covering all my bases just in case. Sorry, Jesse, but you've been distanced.

My best friend Robert from grade school
Robert was the first friend I made back when we moved to Tennessee when I was 7, and we stuck together pretty much all throughout our nerdtastically miserable junior-high years. During eighth grade, Robert made the ballsy decision to run for class president, but his candidacy took a major hit when he and another friend of ours, Bill, got caught splashing water on an opponent's campaign posters. Robert gamely attempted some damage control by distributing Tootsie Pops to our entire class, but the tailspin proved too much to pull out of, and he lost by a convincing margin. Robert will always be a friend, but tactics like those are not what my campaign is all about -- or will be, if I ever have one.

Tom Cruise
I know this one is a little confusing. "But Doug, you've already stated unequivocally (and multiple times) that you think Tom Cruise is nuttier than squirrel shit. What more distancing or denunciation could you possibly do?" Well, readers, the truth is that I have a lingering connection to Cruise that hasn't been disclosed, and it is this: I was one of three people in the Western Hemisphere who liked Cruise's 2001 film "Vanilla Sky." Now, that doesn't mean I went out and bought the DVD or anything, but . . . OK, I bought the VHS. No, no, I'll show myself out.

Some of y'all know this story already, but "April" -- if that was her real name, and there's a decent possibility it wasn't -- was an exotic dancer who lived in my building and who I dated a few years ago for a brief period. In fact, a very brief period, one that could be measured in weeks rather than months, before she lost interest in me and started seeing the airline pilot who lived across the hall. Nevertheless, it's probably just enough of an association that I need to reiterate that I condone neither a) the sex industry, b) treating women as objects, or c) taking one's clothes off in public. Now, as for the Hooters waitress I dated not long after that . . . well, Hooters is an American institution, so if you want an apology or a distancing from that one, well, you're just gonna have to beat it out of me.

Everyone satisfied? All right, then, onward to victory! Not to mention the Ten:

1. Röyksopp, "So Easy"
2. David Cross, "Flying on a Mexican Plane"
3. Pet Shop Boys, "A Different Point of View"
4. Pet Shop Boys, "London"
5. Gorillaz, "Kids With Guns"
6. Venus Attack Project, "Riviera Paradise"
7. The Chemical Brothers, "Orange Wedge"
8. Röyksopp, "Remind Me"
9. Patton Oswalt, "America the Retarded Trust-Fund Kid"
10. Beck, "Waitin' for a Train"

Actually, now that I think about it, David Cross might sink my political chances, too. OK, he's number six.

Your turn -- Random Tens, denunciations, distancings, and any other miscellaneous condemnations you might want to issue go in the comments.


Josh said...

I own the Vanilla Sky DVD, and consider it one of my two or three favorite Cruise films. So you might want to do some a'distancin' from me.

Universal REMONSTER said...

*shakes head at 'Vanilla Sky' love*

zen bubba said...

I don't think I could respect a young man your age if he hadn't dated a Hooters waitress. I did and if I ever run for office I will probably put it in my direct mail flyer right above "Eagle Scout" and the picture of my family.

DAve said...

Just watched "Vanilla Sky" for like the 100th time the other day. So you're not alone, my good man.

However, I must warn you post-haste that some enterprising young reporter will, at some point during your campaign, denounce your hypocrisy for not condoning taking one's clothing off in public whilst also bargaining with the UGA football team by offering to run down the street wearing just a Georgia flag.

Anonymous said...

A note of encouragement: George Washington lost his first election to some minor local office as a we lad, also. But he learned from his effort and the next time bought all the voters a pint of rum, and won in a landslide. Your path is paved, my friend.

Will said...

I have both the Vanilla Sky DVD, and the Spanish original Abre Los Ojos DVD.

If it helps, you could always run as a Republican. They'd love the R.E. Lee aspect, and would be quite happy your indiscretions were with women (who weren't prostitutes paid to dress you in a diaper.)

Of course they would probably ask you to convert to Southern Baptist from Catholicism.

Anonymous said...

cant understand your Obama can accept him for distancing himself from his crazy close friend/mentor/teacher/minister. What new stuff was he inventing? Dude, we have heard this Aids stuff in his previous Youtube speeches. Apparently the numerous times Obama was in the pews he failed to hear this crackpots in April he says he cant renounce and a few weeks later he can. This aint some endorsement he can accept/reject - this is a part of him and over 70% of the people believe that he believes at least some of the same sheeeot of Rev Wright. Which makes him very scary. However, if you cant understand then I will have to explain it again to you in another life when we are both cats.

mcboyt said...

Anon 4:04:

I believe strongly that if you really, really want to, you (or anyone) will find something that turns you off, or (bum bum BUM!) CONCERNS YOU about any political candidate you want to. Not to go all Malcolm Gladwell on yo ass, but we all make "blink" decisions, and then try to justify them. Then, we usually convince ourselves that we have formed our decision based on data, not emotion. That, I believe, is rarely the case.

If you want to dislike Barack, you don't have to let it be his middle name, or the notion that he went to some A-Q training ground pre-k in Indonesia, or that he has a frikkin nutcase for a preacher. You can just admit what is probably the truth--that something about him turned you off at the very beginning, and then you went looking for reasons to justify.

It's ok. You don't have to have a reason to justify what is essentially an emotional decision. Very few of us actually has any first-hand knowledge of these people, so we distill the "truth" from video clips and sound bites. In the absence of actual empirical evidence, we use emotion more than we want to believe.

Every candidate (and, hell, every person) has at least insignificant skeletons in his closet, and frankly, if that is Barack's most substantial skeleton for us to obsess about, I think that's a right smart step up from the current administration's ossuary.

NCT said...



Anonymous said...

the main post had numerous mentions of Obamas preacher so the subject was open for business. The facts are that he has virtually no record to run on (or accomplishments) and so we start to look at who he hangs out with. I think if we are trying to pick the person for the most important job in the United States that he can handle the scrutiny. If he cant handle the heat about his minister (the person who gave him the title of his book) then I dont think he has a chance in handling our other issues. He is failing this test on what should be a minor bump in the road. He is flip flopping on whether he will renounce or reject his good buddy and even has his own wife working overtime doing damage control. Better hope his grandmother doesnt say anything else.

Yes, I dont like him and his message doesnt ring true to me. But hey, thats my decision. I have numerous reasons for not supporting Obama when I have been a lifelong Democrat. You may call them "emotional" but the main decision for me is who I think would best lead this country and I think Obama comes in a distant third.

mcboyt said...

My original point was that, yes, it is absolutely your decision. But I believe that it's disingenuous to couch it as if it were some accumulation of data which you have weighed the pros and cons of.

So, Barack has weird friends. I have a really good friend who used to dress up like a tomato at Fazoli's and hand out breadsticks. I even listened to his advice occasionally. And I'm a grown man! I'm (almost) forty!

You say "his message doesn't ring true to me"...that is a purely emotional response. Some people are turned on; some people are turned off. None of us has any real empirical evidence, so we're all going on instinct.

And about experience...the president with the most national political experience before being elected? (US House--10 yrs; Ambassador to Russia; Senate--12 yrs; Secretary of State; Ambassador to UK)

James Buchanan

And the least experience? (US House--2 yrs)

Abraham Lincoln

What difference does it make?

None whatsoever.

You (and we all) vote solely on emotion and impressions. We weigh the importance of each criterion based on whether it conforms to our original impression.

You think it's vitally important to making your decision that Barack has a freak for a preacher and a short national resume. Others pick different criteria to concentrate on. Just come to terms with the notion that you decided what you wanted, then cherry-picked the data to confirm your original impressions.

mcboyt said...

Sorry...I realized I misstated my point above. For political experience, I intended to include experience as a governor or general as well. Either of those would count in my working definition of significant governmental experience.

Now, back to the pictures of Doug's dog.

Anonymous said...

BHO preached that he is a man of great wisdom. Remember the wisdom of not supporting the war he waxed eloquent about in the early days? Was he wise to embrace Rev. Wright for all these years? (don't tell us he didn't know what Wright was preaching, please) Was he wise to associate with William Ayers? Or with someone who believes that they are only now proud of America because a black may win the nomination?

So, if he is going to lead with his wisdom, he's fair game for being scrutinized for his "wisdom" or lack thereof. Frankly, he's just a political hack, albeit an eloquent one.

Charisma doesn't mean he is qualified or that he will do the right thing for the right reasons. JFK was eloquent but he gave us the Vietnam War and the Bay of least he cut taxes and stood up to Nikita...but he did cost us 58,000 lives lost in Vietnam (don't try and sell Vietnam has Ike's war, please). Was he qualified? Did he do the right thing?

What you're going to get with Obama in the White House, fo sho, is years of blacks whining that any criticism of Obama is racist. Personally, I don't think blacks are ready for the big show.

Anonymous said...

I like the experience doesn't matter bullshit. You think W can't run a war? It took ole' Abe about 4 extra years and 500,000 dead to put down the Southern uprising.

Anonymous said...

Dude, you dont know me or anything about me. You can accuse me of cherry picking my data all you want. I can tell by your attitude that you think I am some racist or some right wing talk show listener who has it in Obama and doesnt want to hear his message of "change". Please, I am older than you and grew up in Massachusetts (oh, and my parents marched with MLK) - there was only one JFK (or MLK for that matter) and there wont be I am not easily duped by the cult of personality.

I dont care if you hung out with people who sold breadsticks or crack cause I doubt that you were up for the highest office in the land....and when you run for the President all the past is on the table - especially when you have no congressional record to speak of.

The other anonymous said...

Oh man, would y'all get your own blog? I suspect Doug is too Democratic to stifle your free speech, but do us a favor, and stifle it yourself. Take one for the team, if you will.

Anonymous said...

Why stifle our free speech? Typical Obaman...can't handle the truth...doesn't want to be confused by the facts.

Doug said...

Anonymous, you're absolutely right that Barack Obama is fair game for being scrutinized for his prior relationships and statements -- but that being the case, you're also fair game for being scrutinized for statements like "I don't think blacks are ready for the big show." Race card or no race card, that is pretty racist, and you're cordially invited to stop bringing that shit around here.

Anonymous said...

I'm black, moron, and I don't think we're ready for the "big show." You don't have to be a white racist to make an objective comment.

Anonymous said...

Interesting question:

Are whites more ready for a black president than whites? Are blacks thick-skinned enough to handle the heat? Just think if W were black. How would the black community have handled all the criticism.

Also, Obama was clearly against the Iraq War but what circumstances would take him to the point of military action?

Anonymous said...

oops that should read:

Are whites more ready for a black president than blacks?

Josh said...

I'm ready for a black president, but only if it's Ving Rhames.

Anonymous said...

Ving in character as POTUS:
"You see, this profession is filled to the brim with unrealistic motherfuckers. Motherfuckers who thought their ass would age like wine. If you mean it turns to vinegar, it does. If you mean it gets better with age, it don't."

My favorite:
"I'ma get medieval on your ass."

Can't you just hear him laying that on Ahmadejinidad?

Good choice but I'm a Flavor Flav fan.

Anonymous said...

Uma as First Lady

Doug said...

I wouldn't mind seeing a candidates' debate between Ving Rhames and, say, Samuel L. Jackson. It'd have to be better than the 30,000 Democratic debates we were subjected to this year.

"Mr. Jackson, you've been very critical of the Bush administration's treatment of suspected enemy combatants. Why do you feel so strongly about the torture issue?"

"Look, just 'cause I wouldn't take up arms against America don't make it right for Bush to throw someone into a glass motherfucking house fucking up the way the nigga talks. That shit ain't right. Motherfucker do that shit to me, he better paralyze my ass because I'd kill the motherfucker, know what I'm saying?"

"Interesting. Mr. Rhames, your response? Do you think Mr. Jackson is adequately addressing the threat presented by these combatants?"

"I'm prepared to scour the Earth for those motherfuckers. If bin Laden goes to Indochina, I want a nigga hiding in a bowl of rice waiting to pop a cap in his ass."