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.
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.
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.