Did'ja see the debates last night?
Really interesting. Kudoes to Charlie Gibson for doing a great job as moderator, and to that ferret-y New Hampshire guy.
I couldn't help but feel for Hillary Clinton. And I found myself thinking about Laura Bennet.
Laura, you might remember, was a contestant on last season's Project Runway. I loved Laura. Even though I was kinda happy when Jeffrey Sibelia won the big prize at Bryant Park, that was bittersweet because it meant that Laura lost.
Laura, you see, was the grown-up in the room.
Her prior experience had only been making clothes for herself. Everything she sent down the runway was impeccably tailored and inspired. No puckers in her seams. Heidi Klum said on several occasions, "Oh Jah! I'd vear effery dress of hers," and "I vont von off dose in effery color." Right before they passed her over to give the award to Michael ("I think women will want to wear my crotchless hot pants. I sure want women to wear my crotchless hot pants"), Uli (...and don't get me wrong! If I were a girl I'd be wearing stuff that looked a lot like Uli's), or Jeffrey (hey now, you're a rock star, get the show on, get paid).
I bet Laura Bennet and Hillary Clinton would have a lot to talk about.
Now I know something about politics. Any politician elected to higher office is completely pathological. They have things they want really really bad. Now we all have things we want really really bad, but if you aren't willing to cut out your grandmother's heart, throw it on the floor, stomp on it, and then use that nice scarf she knitted you to wipe the blood from your shoes in order to get what you want, you're not going to be very successful in politics. And then there's the press. Political reporting is like a class full of fifth graders. The teacher gets up and does her level best present a science lesson and the response is "Ah-HAH! You have a sweat ball hanging off your nose!" followed immediately by, "You still like me even though I said that, right?"
When Hillary refers to her "experience," I think she's talking about the first two years of her husband's presidency. Bill Clinton, the Arkansas Traveller, came into the White House, all about "Ah have a vision for Amurica!" He had promised a bunch of nutty AIDS activists in New York--oh wait! I was one of those nutty AIDS activists!--that first thing he did he would rescind the executive order that banned HIV positive people from immigrating to the U.S.. And he did. And in Less Than One Week a bill sailed through Congress that made it Federal Law! He told the joint chiefs of staff that the ban on gay men and lesbians serving in the military had to go. And those men, each of whom loved the Army, the Air Force, the Navy, and the Marine Corps respectively more than they loved their wives, children, god, and country basically said, "We'll see, Draft Dodger." And of course we all know how health care reform went down.
To be sure, I get excited hearing Obama's ideas. And Edwards', too. But at the back of my mind, I can't help thinking, "What the hell are those kids going to be able to accomplish?" I haven't heard any of Hillary's policies that I would oppose, and she is someone who would be able to get things done. No matter how many dead grandmothers she'd have to leave in her wake.
A woman I used to know in NYC is a major healthcare policy guru. Maybe you've heard of the Ryan White CAER Act? Well she sort of invented that. And got it passed through Congress and signed by Bush 41. She's one of the smartest people I've ever known. During the '93 healthcare debate, she was invited to go down to DC and spend some time discussing healthcare with Hillary. All of us wanted to know how it went. "She's incredible," was the report, "There was no topic I brought up that she not only had heard about, but she had thought deeply about and considered all sides of the question. We ended up talking for about three or four hours. No breaks. No intermission."
One of the best things I've heard from Hillary Clinton--and I can't remember the forum-- was when she was asked about the whole immigration issue that's roiling the Republican race. In a brief, offhand way, she answered that it was only an issue because the economy was swirling the drain. If there were plenty of good jobs to go around, there wouldn't be all this anxiety among american workers about furriners coming up here from Mexico and stealing our jobs. And omigosh, that's pretty much my recollection of the 'Nineties. The economy was booming, I had a swell job and could take nice vacations and buy two houses, so who really gave a rat's ass about politics? When some issue would make ripples on the placid shores of Peace And Prosperity, Bill Clinton would lull us back to sleep with one of those doofy little "plans" of his.
Ultimately, what I really want from the Next President Of The United States Of America is to be left alone and not have to worry about anything. And a job that pays an income plus or minus three integers from my age. And oh yeah. Don't torture anybody.
There's no doubt in my mind: Hillary Clinton would make a great President.
But still, I think of the kids at Starbucks. Those emissaries from the Land of Facebook and YouTube and Bands I've Never Heard Of. As them about Iraq and they respond, "I support the troops," and don't have much to say beyond that. But then there's their views on homosexuality that leave me astonished again and again: what's the big deal? Unless you're a dork about it.
What's the big deal? Twenty years ago, my government was content to let me and my kind die. Because they hated us.
How did that happen? Will & Grace?
Despite all those Massive Throbbing Protests and civil disobedience arrests and agitative propaganda I was involved in, I don't see much in the way of a cause and effect relationship.
Is it really a new world out there? Are my perspectives and experiences as relevant as spiking your hair with mousse and shoulder pads and spandex pants? Were Heidi Klum and Nina Garcia and Michael Korrs right in that Laura Bennet did great work, but the future belongs to Rock Star Jeffrey Sibelia?
And is Barak Obama the President of the United States of America in that new world I can't quite get used to?