Tuesday, July 27th, 2004

So, I watched Clinton’s speech last night.

I’d vote for him again so fast

It was possibly the most stirring convention speech I remember hearing
(I don’t really remember Cuomo’s in ’84, though the clips I’ve heard of
it are top-notch).  It was possibly the most stirring speech by
Clinton that I’ve ever heard.  Regardless of where it ranks in
superlatives and greats and bests, however, it was damn good and I’d vote for him in a second.

Mr. Saturday has said in
conversation that he believes in 20 years Clinton will be remembered as
the Democrats’ Reagan:  flawed but deeply cherished, held high for
the emotions he stirred and the economic growth of his term more than
for any specific policy.  I believe that.  The big hurdle,
though, is how everyone keeps having to apologize for his personal
screw-ups.  What irks me most about this is not that people are
cognizant of Clinton’s deep, if entirely personal, flaws.  What
irks me is that Reagan’s flaws were both personal and political –
secret wars, secret arms sales, senility, a tremendous lack of book
smarts, an utter disinterest in accomplishing his campaign promises,
record deficits unbroken until the current administration – but
everyone just ignores them.  Republicans who have deified Reagan
have managed to bulldoze anyone who raised serious criticism in a forum
of any size so that we just don’t even remember the criticisms
anymore.  They managed to equate questioning Reagan with being

What’s stopping us from doing this with Clinton?

The answer, I think, is that liberals are more interested in
nuance.  There are conservatives who are interested in nuance, I
know – but the bottom line here is that the arch-conservative elements
who consider Reagan to be their sacred idol are uninterested in
anything more complex than “He restored our {faith in America,
patriotism, economy, idealism} and beat the Soviets,” none of which are
actually true.

Liberals such as myself, on the other hand, who are filled with this
swell of affection when we see Clinton on TV, find our expression of it
tempered by a desire to be honest with ourselves, to work out the
cognitive dissonances of “I love him, but he was kind of a bastard and
definitely a dumbass about some stuff, but I love him anyway!” 
which Reaganites have, so conveniently, simply ignored. 

What I would recommend, then, is that we express it not in the, “Well, I liked Clinton, but I didn’t like
like him…” sort of way it seems we’ve come to adopt, but to go
full-bore in our endorsement, or as close to full-bore as we can get
without abandoning our love for resolving conflicts:

“Oh, I loved Clinton.  Please press or say ‘2’ for a more detailed answer.” 

Then give a thumbs up and a grin and a wave of the flag. (more…)

Early this morning, before the Diet Pepsi had kicked in:

Co-Worker:  “Hey, did you hear about Customer X?  We sent
them some equipment via a package service that isn’t unionized, so they
refused the package.”
Me:  “Well, Customer X is a union.”
Co-Worker:  “…”
Me:  “I mean, what did you expect?”
Co-Worker:  “…”
Me:  “My personal politics are pro-union anyway, so I guess maybe
I’m not the guy you should expect to get too upset.  We should
have thought of that before sending the package.  We should send
the package via someone who is unionized.  It’s pretty simple.”
Co-Worker:  “You’re pro-union?!”
Me:  “Yep.”
Co-Worker:  “So you really think there are workplaces these days where a union is necessary?”
Me:  “…Yes.”
Co-Worker:  “But…”
Me:  “Are there bad examples of union behavior?  Sure. 
There’s bad examples of everything.  There are bad unions, I’m
sure.  But there are also bad companies.  That’s why we have
Co-Worker:  “Well…unions were certainly started for good reasons, no doubt about that.”
Me:  “Yep.”
Co-Worker:  “You know, a friend of mine worked in a union shop,
but he hadn’t paid his dues yet, and they took care of him like he was
one of their own.  They really stood up for him.”
Me:  “…”  (Thinking:  Forty-five seconds ago you wanted to shoot me down for being pro-union, right?)
Other Co-Worker:  “You should call up Customer X and point out we’re a union shop and see if they feel bad for turning down that package.”
Me:  “But we’re not a union shop.


Later, standing outside on break, listening to The Most Foul-Mouthed
Construction Workers Ever, who are in my building to put up walls.

Construction Worker 1:  “Your girlfriend’s got you whipped, calling you up all damn day.”
Construction Worker 2:  “Well, if you were throwing it to your old
lady like I throw it to my girlfriend, she’d probably be ringing your
phone off the hook, too.  Go ahead.  Give it to her
good.  Bury it right to the hilt and see if she don’t start
calling you every now and again.”