Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Sirius Conversation

Boy, that is the pun that just keeps on giving.

So today was my satellite radio debut, as a guest on the political talkshow The Blog Bunker on Sirius Channel 110, "IndieTalk." It was fun!

The producer emailed to ask me what I would like to talk about, and I rather bravely gambled that I could handle a discussion of which Democratic candidate had the better gay rights record. I was all set to nail Hillary on DOMA, but we never quite got around to that. I did say, diplomatically, that whether our next president was Hillary or Barack, either way the LGBT community is going to be in better stead than we have been for the past seven and a half years, but that all the same I thought Obama was our better hope. I didn't really get a follow up on that. Dang. I was all set to get wonky on the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution. Oh well.

We talked a little bit about the political landscape in Oregon, but thankfully did not dwell much on local politics, because I have no idea what's going on here. (Umm, because the local media sucks big huge hairy orangutan balls, and not in a good way. I gave up and went back to The New York Times.) The host, Joe, added that Congressman David Wu of Portland was the most recent superdelegate to endorse Obama (which I confess I hadn't known) and asked me if I knew anything about him. "Um, if memory serves," I said tentatively, praying I wasn't wrong, and hoping I wasn't called upon to know anything else about this guy, "he's the one who gave a speech on the floor of the House last year or the year before warning us about Klingons in the White House." Fortunately, I was right on that piece of trivia. Unfortunately Joe thought Klingons were from StarWars.

He asked me about Clinton's claim yesterday that she is ahead in the popular vote, and I deftly knocked that one out of the ballpark. Thank you, Keith Olbermann.

Then...I had to take a caller. Okay, hold on. I didn't know I'd be fielding questions from random people. I didn't really hear the question because I was too busy panicking, but I think the gist of it was, "Hey, several states haven't voted yet, it's not fair to call the race before it's over and if Barack can't win the Pennsylvania primary, he can't win the general." I said simply that well, no, primaries don't really work like that. First off, almost all of the Republican candidates dropped out well before McCain was the certain nominee, because they looked at the math and knew they couldn't get there. Or, they were broke. Both of which statements currently apply to Clinton. And as far as Pennsylvania, I noted that there is no correlation that a candidate has to win the primary in order to carry the state in the fall. That just doesn't even make any sense on its face. I also pointed out that Hillary was always going to win Pennsylvania, that the state's demographics are her core constituents, and that despite all that, even post Reverend Wright and Bitter-Gate and all that other crap, her lead over Obama fell from 20 to 9 points. He didn't win Pennsylvania, true; but the numbers are clear. Hillary Clinton is bleeding support. She won't win North Carolina, she won't win Oregon and even if she wins Indiana, it won't be by much. She'll have a big win in Kentucky, but it won't matter. She is set to be creamed in North Carolina and Oregon. So, yeah, I think it's over. Except, unfortunately, it's not. Alas.

We had a brief, fruitless discussion over whether religion had any merit and then pretty much we were done.

As soon as it was over, I raced to my Sitemeter to check out my traffic. During the hour before the segment, I had seven visits. But during the show, my hits skyrockted to ten. The following hour they fell back to four. Hardly the Colbert Bump. I guess I needn't have been so nervous.

I want to give a big shout-out to my boss, who insisted that I use his office for the interview. I was all set to hang out in my car in the parking lot, but when I told him why I needed to disappear for an hour in the middle of the afternoon and not be interrupted (he often calls me on my cell when I'm at lunch...or, anywhere else, for that matter) he was so excited that he wouldn't let me go to my car. He sat at my desk while I paced around his office pointing out things like: the Republicans also had a primary in Pennsylvania this week; 26% of the people who showed up to vote voted against John McCain, even though he's the nominee already. 15% voted for Ron Paul, and 11% voted for Huckabee. I gotta tell 'ya, if 15% of Pennsylvania Republicans are casting their lot in with a guy who argues we should never have gone to Iraq in the first place, I don't see how McCain has a shot. But, stranger things have happened, like me getting invited to talk on a radio show.


DC Harrison said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Silus Grok said...


Congrats, Andy.


You know, some day I'd love to tug on your ear about gay marriage... I think I'm one of the last gay men not rallying to the standard on this 'un.

Andy said...

Well...that's the best offer I've had in months. Email me. I'll sell 'ya on it. : )

Anonymous said...

I was going to write a long post, highlights included, "how is disenfranchising the voters in the remaining primaries good for any democratic party, note the little 'd'." But I won't.

While Andy I would love for you to sell Mr. Grok on gay marriage, why don't you sell Mr. Obama on it instead?

Also, answer one question, the guy in the red pickup truck you mentioned in the post prior, do you think there is even the possibility that dude might wind up voting for Mr. McCain over Mr. Obama if faced with that choice in the fall?

Jeff said...

Congrats on your radio debut. That's awesome! I've always wanted to do something like that. Sounds like you acquitted yourself well.

Silus Grok said...

@Andy: You've been e-mailed.


@Anonymous: while not going "through" all the primaries does, in the weakest sense of the term, disenfranchise the voters in those states, the blame for such enfranchisement falls squarely on the shoulders of the states who refuse to move their primaries up. Furthermore, the question of disenfranchisement is a red herring, as this is the first primary season in recent history that has lasted so long.

Silus Grok said...

( Though I would argue that a slightly prolonged season is good for the process… a season whose delegate counts are spread like a bell curve from late winter to late spring would be a boon to all involved: a soft start-up in smaller states (delegate-wise) gives candidates a chance to get up to speed before the large super tuesday run-up… and then a soft landing would allow for additional contests if a front-runner isn't evident after super tuesday.

But I digress…

Andy said...

It's not disenfranchising. Look, the nominating system has its serious defects, clearly. But in any election -- even the general -- they declare the winner when the margin between the two candidates is greater than the number of votes left to be counted. That's where we are. The odds against Hillary Clinton actually overturning Obama's delegate lead are infinitesimally small. She would have to win as much as 70% or more of the vote in both North Carolina and Oregon, where she is projected to lose by double-digit margins. Possible? Eh. Not really.

Obama's not perfect. Call me cynical, but I believe his positions on civil unions and his healthcare plan come from the same place: the actual solutions (marriage equality and eliminating private insurance in favor of genuine universal healthcare) are politically untenable right now. Politics is this weird marriage of ideology and pragmatism, and if the one isn't tempered by the get George Bush and the Iraq war. Bill Clinton was famous for speaking of politics as The Art of the Possible. I think there's a lot to that.

But specifically as to gay marriage, there really isn't anything a president can do about it, one way or another. What Obama has said is that he supports the full repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (WHICH HILLARY DOES NOT!). If that falls, then we have a Constitutional question over whether other states are legally bound to honor same-sex marriages from Massachusetts, Canada and, imminently, California. Without DOMA, states may have a very difficult time finding a rational basis (i.e., one the courts will uphold) for ignoring lawfully executed civil marriages. Again, Obama wants that law struck down. Hillary does not. Who's our ally? (Also, Bill signed DOMA. Hold them accountable!!!!)

Gino said...

let me see if i get this right.
andy's favorite GOP candidate is Ron Paul.
gino's favorite GOP candidate is Ron Paul.

ergo,gino and andy have common ground.

who'da thunk it?

Andy said...

No, my favorite Republican candidate is still Huckabee, I'm afraid. Huckabee is wrong about many things, but Ron Paul is insane. Nonetheless, I think we have common ground, Gino. : )

Gino said...

ok, then we can both agree that huckabee is wrong on many things.