Of Caucuses, Cardboard Barack, and Arthur Schlesinger

February 07, 2008 by susan
Parody Grant Wood, H and Obama

Yes, I was at my caucus, yes, it was classic DFL (Democratic Farm Labor, the title we Dems in MN go by) mayhem, yes, people voted on the backs of napkins and post-it notes, yes, for all I know there were members of the local madrasa slipping in and voting because controls were, ah, porous. This was, after all, a party-run caucus, not a state-run election. So the big grump who stomped in and informed me that I had to remove my balloons and Obama signs and -- the piece de resistance, my full-sized cardboard cut-out of Obama -- from the premises was wrong. Think mini-convention, think funny hats, think neighborhood gathering of dutiful citizens and a smattering of blowhards. (Don't ask.)
More blow below.

Unfortunately, or not, our turnout was so huge that we had to move our caucus from the basement of Unitarian society to the sanctuary, and even though Unitarians are -- loose in this regard (complete with designated scent-free pews, I noticed) -- there was still something not quite right about plastering the place with false images. So cardboard Barack remained in the hallway.

But I can't tell you all that now. Or about doing "visibility" earlier down on the major nexus of Hennepin and Lyndale at rush hour with big VOTE TODAY -- OBAMA signs, and how many people responded with a celebratory horn honk -- city bus drivers, pick-up truck drivers, SUV drivers, Fed Ex drivers. I only got one thumbs down and no other digits thrust my way. Cardboard Barack was there too, and when traffic stopped for the light, people would hop out of their cars to high-five him or give him a smooch and snap his photo. And it was blustery, so this isn't like hopping out in LA. I haven't felt this sort of -- surge of energy and enthusiasm in decades. (Don't you hate how they've ruined that word forever?)
Nope, I'm too far behind in other projects to go into the details of caucus night, but we went 5-1 for Obama over Clinton, and Al Franken for senate was the big winner in the delegate count to the district convention.
Part 2. A forwarded email today included this closing thought.

Meanwhile I suggest that we stop volunteering to be foot-soldiers for Karl Rove, and remember that the goal is for gender and race to be non-issues,not divisive issues.

And I wrote back the following, fueled by a syrupy cup of morning joe:

Amen to that. And to unite, sooner rather than later, to defeat John 100-years-of-war McCain.

I'm reading Arthur Schlesinger's Journals and he tells an anecdote about John McCain appearing on a TV show with George McGovern during McCain's earlier run for the presidency. McCain touts his war hero status and implies that McGovern bordered on being a traitor for his 1972 anti-war presidential race. McCain adds that if McGovern had been president, "I'd still be a prisoner in Vietnam." McGovern is about to respond that if he had been president, McCain never would have gone to Vietnam. And he plans to mention his own courageous WW2 record as a much decorated bomber pilot as well. But he's cut off in mid-sentence, no more time, adios traitor.

We're going to see/hear a lot of this in the months ahead. The lily-livered liberals vs. the war hero who can keep us safe, with little media support for our side. The sooner we come together on this as people who would NOT have sent the troops there in the first place, the better.

Also, for an interesting perspective on Hillary Clinton, skip (in the Schlesinger book) to the Clinton years to catch why they generate so much heat, good and bad. Schlesinger is charmed one moment by their wit, energy, "joie de vivre" and intelligence -- particularly Hillary's, (nb.) -- and turned off the next by their "tasteless" fundraising, etc. I think some of his distaste comes from his own issues of class, and the Arkansas hicks invading his Camelot, but even so, it's a telling insider's view.

And I don't recall him writing one negative thing about Hillary. He's always surprised by her sense of humor and smarts, the depth of her knowledge and intellectual curiosity. I'm a fervent Obama supporter, (could you tell?) but I don't think Hillary deserves the abuses being dumped on her. It really feels like we've all been drinking Rovian KoolAid the way the left demonizes her. Yeah, I know, no need to remind me of her war votes etc.

Like I said, I'm for the other guy. But remember what we're up against come fall. And sorry Ralph, there is a difference. Forget the tweedle-dee/tweedle-dum talk this time around.

Posted in


lilalia (not verified) | February 7, 2008 - 3:47pm

It was fun reading your post. If you are looking for more inspiration to sustain through the next months, try watching this film by other Obama fan:


I'm not even American, but I do wish I could vote for that man.


susan | February 7, 2008 - 6:21pm

Thanks lilalia. I wish you could too. And thanks for directing me to lessig.org.


Anonymous (not verified) | February 7, 2008 - 6:48pm

Hang in there. There is a pretty good chance that they will find a way for you to vote.


Peter (not verified) | February 8, 2008 - 12:14pm

Sitting here on the Straits of Mackinac (that's northern Michigan, folks) thinking about voting in a second primary in the same political season (is that a record of some sort?) reminds me of how goofy this political season is. The Demorcats and Republicans here moved Michigan's first primary way up to January and got slapped for it. Now, when every primary vote really counts, we Democrats might get to do it all over again to make our votes "official." What a way to run a party!

With only Clinton and "uncommitted" on the ballot, I voted for Hillary, happy to have voted for a woman (with an honest chance to win) for the first time. I never thought I'd be able to do that in my life. If we have a second go-round, I'll vote for Obama. Unless I change my mind (again) before I cast the vote. What a wonderful dilemma! I'm serious. This is a dilemma worth savoring.