Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Democratic Roundup

I did a little roundup of possible GOP VP candidates a few weeks ago. In the spirit of bipartisanism, (and easy articles), here’s a rundown of possible Dem picks.

Senator Hillary Clinton (NY)

Pros: Ran highly competitive presidential campaign, and controls hundreds of delegates in the national convention. She’s also competitive in demographics that Obama struggles with (poor white people who might just be a teensy bit racist). Also, she’d bring Bill Clinton back into the limelight, which would guarantee that SNL will be funny again for at least 4 more years.

Cons: Kinda hard to run on change when you’re bringing the old president back…who has kind of tragically gone from “endearing Democratic party statesman”, to “whiny little baby”. Also, tens of thousands of Democrats voted against her for a reason.

Gov. Bill Richardson (NM)

Pros: Initial winner of the highly coveted Matt Brown Endorsement, Bill is a popular executive of a critical swing state. He has foreign policy experience, energy experience, legislative experience, executive experience, baseball experience, and now, beard-growing experience. He’ll also shatter the glass ceiling for “Hispanic people with very gringo names”, which has been keeping me down for years.

Cons: He’s not a great campaigner. Plus, he’s probably way overqualified for a cushy job like Vice President.

Former Senator John Edwards (North Carolina)

Pros: He’s positive, photogenic, and popular with the base. Edwards would play right into the campaign theme of “changing Washington”, because Edwards and Obama combined would have less Washington experience than one of those Midwestern tourists who stands on the wrong side of the Metro escalator.

Cons: Wasn’t exactly a helpful addition to John Kerry’s ticket. Edwards has done the whole run for president, run for vice president thing. I’m also on the record of threatening to shoot my TV if I hear John talk about his mill-working pappy one more time. We get it John. You couldn’t go to Yale like all the other senators.

Senator Evan Bayh (Indiana)

Pros: He’s a popular, young Midwestern guy that could actually put Indiana in play, which would totally stick it to the Republicans. He was also a staunch Hillary supporter, which may help heal some old wounds. Bayh was also a popular former Gov of Indiana.

Cons: Anybody remember the last time somebody picked a young, photogenic senator from Indiana to be their running mate?

Senator Joe Biden (Delaware)

Pros: Brings experience and strong foreign policy credibility to a ticket that currently lacks both. Biden would also do wonders in helping American children with their geography, by spurring them to look a map to find out just where the hell Delaware is. Biden also emits enough hot hair to completely solve our nation’s energy crisis.

Cons: Biden solving the energy crisis by blabbering does mean that we’re going to have to listen to a lot of Joe Biden. It might not be worth it.

Government Bureaucrat and Amateur Journalist Matt Brown (Ohio)

Pros: Would complete a demographic dream team. Nominating a democratic Mormon could cause tens of other Mormons to break away from decades of tradition and vote democratic as well. Matt also has the credibility to talk about issues that Ohioans really care about…football, highway construction, and more football (were you expecting foreign policy?)

Cons: Amending the constitution to make this happen may be a little more “change” than people are ready for.

Gov Kathleen Sebelius (Kansas)

Pros: Popular leader of a very red state, which shows that she’s bipartisan. She can bring a lot of the demographic positives of Hillary Clinton, without the scary baggage. Also, her dad was a Democratic Gov. of Ohio…so that’s cool.

Cons: Likely can’t deliver Kansas, and she’s old. Hillary-supports might throw an epic temper tantrum if there is a female VP not married to Bill Clinton as well. That will make bad television.

Rock Star Bruce Springsteen (New Jersey)

Pros: Completely negates the biggest fear about Obama…that he somehow isn’t “American”. It doesn’t get more American than Thunder Road and the E St Band! Springsteen’s flavor of “heartland rock” is popular with all generations, and all over the country. Do you want to attract a crowd of 40,000 to a campaign rally in Ohio? Now you can! People will actually watch C-Span and CNN! Plus, what do you think is going to go farther to repair America’s image in the world…some old dude from Virginia, or a Bruce Springsteen European tour?

Cons: There are absolutely no cons with this idea. This is the best idea I’ve ever had.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Homesick on the 4th of July

According to Mapquest, I’m about 2002.4 miles to the Granville Street Fair. Unless Doc Brown shows up with his DeLorean, it looks like its going to be impossible for me to go this year, and I have to admit, it really bums me out.

The 4th of July is, no joke, my favorite holiday. It doesn’t have any of the stress associated with Christmas or Valentines Day, its right in the middle of the summer, so we’re most likely to have nice weather. Most importantly though, we take a day off to celebrate America by having barbecues with friends, listening to live music, and blowing stuff up. What could be better than that?

And growing up, nobody did the 4th of July better than little ol’ Granville. For one week, the major question of the Granvillian teenager, what are we going to do to tonight?, was solved. We are going to go downtown, we are going to hang out with our friends, and we are going to eat fried things. The fair didn’t lose much importance after I moved out of Granville to go to school either, as it allowed me to reconnect with all the people I missed over the school year. Plus, seeing Broadway lit up with the lights of the carnival rides and games looked like a scene straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting…you don’t get any more small-town Americana than that.

There are two events in our celebration that I’m going to miss the most. One is the Firecracker Five. I ran my first race the summer after my senior year in high school. I thought I was in pretty good shape for that first race, but I remember eating quite a bit of humble pie, as I was passed by 11 year olds and 60 year olds alike. Despite my poor showing, I enjoyed the experience, and vowed to run again the next year to do better. No matter how poorly you do, there is still quite a sense of accomplishment after you complete the morning ordeal. I thoroughly enjoyed having the following convocation with my peers that entire day:

Me “So, what did you do this morning?”

Friend “uh, I slept in.”

Me “Oh, that’s nice. I ran a 5 mile race.” (flexes a little)

As long as my friend hadn’t actually competed in a triathlon or cured cancer or something, I could feel smug for day.

In November of 2006, I had a fairly traumatic knee injury. Damage was done to soft tissue in both of my knees, and I walked with a limp for a few months. As I underwent painful physical therapy that winter, I was encouraged to set some kind of performance related goal (I want to not walk like Dr.House by April, for example). My goal was to run in the Firecracker 5 that July, which turned out to be pretty ambitious. It wasn’t easy, but that July, there I was, getting my butt kicked on Pearl St, with two athletic knee braces on. My time wasn’t anything to write home about that year, but I never felt prouder crossing that finish line. Not only is a the race a fun competitive exercise, but to me, its also a symbol of conquering adversity.

The other thing I’m really going to miss (even more than deep fried Oreos), is the live music, both as a performer, and as a fan. One of my first formative memories as a musician came at my first street fair as a Granvillian, when I was in 8th grade. I came to see some of my classmates, who had formed the band “Sons of Liberty”, play one of the early timeslots. Sure, the crowd consisted mostly of middle schoolers and immediate family of the performers, but my classmates were up on a real stage, with real lights, playing (mostly) real rock music! The idea that such an event could be accessible to my peers meant that it could be an attainable goal for me as well.

And it was, and for many of my other fellow young musicians. You’d hope to get your start playing one of the early afternoon slots, and if you were good, or brought in lots of people, you might make the big time, and headline one of the nights. I played in a ton of smaller bands in high school, but making that stage was always the top goal. Licking County kind of has a dearth of legit performing opportunities for young people (actually, make that everybody), which only enhanced the glow of those summer lights.

Last year, I finally got that opportunity with Aces High, and I have to admit, it was everything I had hoped it would be. The lights were bright, and there were people filling every bleacher seat, and then some. Some were folks I had never met before, but many more were old familiar faces, which is a great comfort when you’ve been bounced around as much as I have. We’ve had the opportunity to perform at perhaps some more prestigious events, but personally, I’ve never enjoyed playing anywhere more than in front of my hometown friends at the Granville Street Fair. Plus, last year, Granville music legend John Krumm played with us. How cool is that? I humbly submit it is very cool.

Aces High should be starting their set this year in a few hours, and I find myself roughly 2000 miles away here in Tempe Arizona, where I’ll be attending a different street fair. I’m sure there will be fireworks, and live music, and fried things. Some of those fried things may even taste better than what we have back home….but it won’t be the same.

Enjoy the festival this year everybody, and have a safe and happy 4th of July.