I was in downtown DC yesterday. For the rest of my life, I'll be able to say "I was there". Never have I been more grateful to be a Washingtonian, let me tell you. I didn't get close to President Obama. He didn't get out the limo and come over to me and shake my hand. I couldn't make out subtle facial features that you can so clearly see up close and in person.
But I did see this: everyone else. Smiling. Giving things to other people who needed something they had forgotten - a hand warmer - a water - one lady bought a pair of gloves for a young man who had lost his on the Metro (she beat me to it, frankly). I saw two girls, sisters, one 16 and one 13, who had scored the vaunted purple parade route tickets because they had worked so hard for Tom Periello (who defeated asshat Virgil Goode), admonish their mother that they were busy on Saturday upcoming fulfilling an ongoing commitment to community service ("Mom - he can't do this all by himself", one said).
I saw the people around me - I was at a highly coveted invitation-only event at the Willard hotel - weep during the Rev. Dr. Lowery's benediction. I saw a room full of professionals race to the windows of the Willard when the press announced that Obama was on the move on the way to St. John's, which we could almost see from where we were. I saw us all crowd around to watch the motorcade pass to head to the swearing in ceremony. I saw people I knew to be Republicans and some who held fast for John McCain - stand and discuss what Barack Obama meant for America. Not a negative word was uttered. Miraculously, I watched a powerful beltway bandit type who loudly and financially supported McCain stand up in front of a room and people and say the following (paraphrased):
"Most of you know I supported Senator McCain and that I'm a proud Republican. But something is happening here. I've traveled abroad since the election, and I've talked to a lot of people. What they tell me is that, until today, America has always been that country that tries to tell other people what to do without doing it themselves. They've always felt sad that American fell just short of fulfilling its promise and, by extraction, theirs. But not any longer. Now America has shown that it truly IS the sum of its ideals.You'd have to know the person and the history, but let me tell you - this was a simply astounding statement on his part.
We have a chance here to do something great, and I'll be doing my part."
So I would like to officially announce my intent to mail a shovel to the following people:
Sen. John Cornyn
Sen. Arlen Specter
Sen. John Cornyn
He gets one for this (transcribed live from CNN's Newsroom):
CORNYN: My concern is not whether our colleague Senator Clinton is qualified to be Secretary of State or not. She is. And I intend to vote for her confirmation. But I also believe it's very important to flesh out some of the concerns that have been raised legitimately by Senator Kerry and Senator Lugar and others, that I think bear some public discussion and some debate here in the Senate. I argued to Senator Clinton yesterday - or I didn't argue to her but I explained to her - my position that I thought greater transparency would make it better for her as she enters this job as Secretary of State. Because any cloud or question that remains because of the lack of transparency or lack of disclosure really I think hurts her and hurts the Obama Administration at a time that we want to see it succeed.Aw John... I didn't know you cared so much! What follows that clip is a fascinating tidbit from Rich Sanchez and Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News:
SANCHEZ: Transparency. What he's talking about is whether there's a potential conflict of interest in her husband's dealing in his Foundation. But you know - you can't help but wonder - did he raise the same points when it came to Dick Cheney's association to Halliburton and then executing the war, and then getting no-bid contracts for Halliburton? I mean, if he did, then he has a right to ask. If not, you gotta wonder, don't you?My emphasis added. And my A-F**KING-MEN added as well. John Cornyn clearly didn't see the faces downtown yesterday. He must have missed the 80% approval rating that now President Obama enjoyed as recently as 1/16/2009. People are TIRED of these tactics - and not just people who are Democrats. Just people. Tired. So have a shovel, and I invite you to keep right on digging.
SLATER: Absolutely. So I actually went back on Lexis/Nexis and did a search. And during that entire debate over potential conflict of interest involving Dick Cheney and Halliburton, John Cornyn's name appears nowhere. He was not a major figure anywhere. And so this really raises the question - although he's raising a significant issue - something that's serious - the context of it is purely partisan. Cornyn is the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He is part of this Republican party who wants to push the idea - the subset of the base, the hard base, who says "we've gotta fight these guys."
Sen. Arlen Specter
Via The New York Times:
The Senate Judiciary Committee, which heard testimony from the nominee last Thursday, met on Wednesday afternoon with the panel’s chairman, Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, pushing for a vote. But the panel’s ranking Republican, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, said Republican members were unanimous in wanting more time.No one disputes that he's qualified. It's also interesting to note that Sen. Specter didn't seem equally as cantankerous with either Ashcroft or Gonzales, but I digress. People are TIRED of this. They want President Obama to have what he needs to try to do something positive. So have a shovel, and I invite you to keep right on digging.
“I am extremely disappointed,” Mr. Leahy said, even as he conceded the Republicans’ right to ask for a postponement of what he called “this historic nomination.”
So much material, so little time to type it. First, he gets a shovel for what he said yesterday (transcribed from CNN's Newsroom):
"...what is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails? Liberalism is our problem. Liberalism is what's gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here. I would be honored if the Drive-By Media headlined me all day long: "Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails." Somebody's gotta say it."My emphasis added. He said this YESTERDAY - the day of the inauguration. And then there's this - a screenshot of his horrible website, also from 1/20/2009.
My mother tells me that he's all on about how, because the Oath itself was delivered incorrectly, Barack Obama is not actually the President. I can't find that myself, so take it for what it's worth. The rest of the stuff I can verify is quite enough for me to send Rush a shovel. I invite him to keep right on digging, and I'll sigh as your ratings go down to the smallest percentage of the wingest nuts. Then you can go have lunch with Sarah Palin.
I mean really - I can feel in my gut that this is a BIG mistake on the part of Republicans and Republican mouthpieces. So I'm happy to let them dig. Because I was there yesterday. You were where you were, and I bet you saw the same types of things - a deep, abiding desire to simply stop doing things in a way that make all of us feel so bad and so afraid and so hopeless. An unfailing optimism that even if things don't get better quickly, they already ARE better in a way that is inarticulable.
One last sidenote. I told another Republican friend yesterday that I sincerely hoped they run Sarah Palin in 2012 - beating her twice would be simply delicious. :)
Update [2009-1-21 16:51:37 by RenaRF]: Senate just passed Hillary Clinton's nomination. Only two Repubs voted nay - DeMint, and Vitter. Cornyn now as achieved ass-squared status.
Update [2009-1-21 16:51:37 by RenaRF]: Meant to add - who would YOU send a shovel to? Eric Cantor's been nominated in the thread so far.
Update [2009-1-21 16:58:59 by RenaRF]: Thanks so much for the reclist!! :) I have to run to my LAST meeting of the day. Which will be conducted with bourbon (thank God). Back later to check all the fun comments!