1:58 - For those of you in Boston, you'll be amazed to know that there are actually McCain supporters under the age of 76. I don't know why they're at this Democratic event, but they seem to be normal, healthy folks who believe that 6 years in a VC prison camp had no real impact on Johnny's psyche, or his feelings about Asians. It certainly hasn't reduced his support for torturing other people.
Lots of Obama pins with his name in Hebrew. Is this the only language for which the campaign does this? Or do they have his name on t-shirts phonetically spelled out in Arabic as well? How about Farsi?
2:04 - Rep. Mike Doyle, local congressman and uncommitted superdelegate, introduces both campaign reps, Eliot Engel (D-NY) for Clinton, and Robert Wexler (D-FL) for Obama. Doyle rocks the yinzer accent, to show off his blue-collar roots, but mentions Wexler's hooker talk on Colbert, so you know he's also down with the college kids. He'll be in Congress forever.
2:07 - Engel in the red tie, Wexler in blue. How is this decided? Should I know the reasoning behind the colors? Is my ignorance the typical blundering of a political neophyte? Should I know about Hillary's notorious devotion to red, Barack's essential "blueness?"
Wexler speaks first, making a funny about the crowd all eventually becoming his constituents in Boca Raton. "Someday you'll all be mine! Mwhahahahahaha!" Goes on about Obama as a "transformational figure," because he's not only black AND white, but he can also turn into a dump truck with, like, lasers.
2:10 - Both candidates have their AIPAC gold card. Are they really going to disagree here, in a JCC?
2:14 - Wexler cites Marty Peretz, of the New Republic, as an admirer of Obama's stand on Israel. So for the record, Obama has supporters on the left, the right, and the whacko.
2:22 - Iran. We've talked with them about Iraq, we've talked with them about Afghanistan. So why not negotiate with them on terrorism? On Israel? On their favorite Persian desserts? As president, Barack Obama will not let ideological divisions get in the way of America obtaining the best chummus recipe, even if it leads him all the way to Tehran, and the kitchens of the Ayatollahs themselves. Such is his commitment to freedom.
2:27 - A quote from conservative magazine the New York Sun: Obama loves Israel. He's a madrassah-educated Muslim, hates Whitey, and will lead a crackrock parade of Crips and Bloods through your nice suburban elementary school, but he does love Israel.
(Sidenote: Rep. Doyle is sitting directly in front of me. He has very small hands, of the carny persuasion, and very long fingernails, impeccably groomed. And...are they polished? Is that Summer Sunset?)
2:30 - Engel, for his part, has a magnificent mustache. With his Bronx accent, he's like Woody Allen's more responsible older brother, Morty Allen, CPA.
2:31 - "Hillary's incredibly smart, and always returns my phone calls (an actual, honest-to-goodness real quote). And she has a great personality. I know, that's code for less-than-beautiful, but she's also, she's really...dignified...looking."
Engel one-ups Wexler by showing off his AIPAC tattoo, inside an outline of Israel that includes the territories, even the Sinai peninsula. "Did you know that Chelsea's real middle name is 'Yerushalayim shel Zahav?'"
Engel's really just reading Clinton's resume, where Wexler used a more narrative style. Telling, I think. It's also a subtle way of saying that Engel is boring, which I just ruined by explaining it outright. Oh well. Subtlety is for stupid idiots.
2:34 - Hillary won't meet with Iran, not in a boat, not in a train, not in a car, not in the rain...
2:45 - "Once you get to know Senator Clinton, she's really awesome. And you know where she stands, and there's nothing that hasn't been revealed. But if it's something she'd rather not answer, then you'll get a firm slap in the face, no more than you deserve."
2:50 - The reps are asked what their dream ticket would be.
Engel: Clinton/Obama, of course.
Wexler: Obama/Doyle. Hahahahahaha. But seriously, anyone but Clinton. Mr. Moderator? What are you doing come January? Want to be Vice President?
After the opening statements, the reps take questions from the crowd.
Q: What does Hillary think of Obama on campaign finance, and vice versa? Fight, monkeys! I want to see blood!
A, from both: We all agree, we love money, just as much, but not more so, than the other guy/gal/misc.
Q: Reverend Wright, he said bad things. True or false?
Engel: defends Obama. Meh.
Q: Energy policy, specifically with regard to nuclear.
A: In a huge improvement over the last guy, both reps properly pronounce nuclear.
(Sidenote #2: Wexler's quite the talker, with quite the ego. "I - and this is me talking here, just me, not the guy I'm allegedly speaking on behalf of, but me - blah blah blah.")
Q: Iraq War: voting for it, what's that about? (Factual insert: Both Engel and Wexler voted to authorize force in Iraq. Doyle, however, did not. So, kudos, guy.)
Engel: Wellllllll...now she's against it. That's something, right?
Wexler: Me me me me me me. Oh, and my guy didn't vote for it, so there.
Q: About the disabled: what's in it for us?
Wexler: Ummmm, ok
Engel: Health care is important and so, yeah. That's it.
Q: But really, Jeremiah Wright is a total too, am I right?
Asked and answered. Move along, voters.
Q: So this Rezko guy, he gave Senator Obama all this money, and more land for his house, and we don't know the whole story, and this, and that, and the other (this questioner, a nice little old lady, went on for a while. I kinda nodded off)?
Wexler: What about Whitewater?
Engel: Really? Whitewater? Hillary is WYSIWYG. Vetted, boiled, peeled, sauteed, filleted and billeted. Nothing is secret any more, there are no surprises.
Wexler: Bosnia, hello! And tax returns, what up?
Engel: Really, who hasn't, once in their past, confused a little girl reading poetry for sniper fire? Don't we all really want to avoid both, in the worst way?
Q: Somehow, beginning with the Holocaust (and Godwin's Law lives on) Q'er gets back to Rev. Wright who is still, by all accounts, a real piece of work. But then her real Q is on outsourcing. Thoughts?
Engel: Actually, we all hate foreigners, so outsourcing bad.
Wexler: Look, fine. I'll take the bait. Reverend Wright is a racist, bigoted, anti-semitic blowhard who does more damage to his community than guns and mandatory minimums put together. And Obama made not just one awful judgment in joining his church, but 20 years' worth, including having his marriage and kids' baptisms overseen by this whackjob. And am I embarrassed for my candidate? You betcha. Does it do much to undermine Barack's principal campaign platform, which is that sound judgment beats experience every time, by weakening Barack's once-strong hold on the sound judgment position? Quite a bit. But despite all that, he's still my guy. So there. (Note: Rep. Wexler may or may not have said all or none of that. I was sick of listening at that point, and dying for some cookies and lemonade).
Final Q: Healthcare and PeruFTA, somehow related, I guess.
Wexler: We both somehow want universal health care without alienating the HMO's. Engel: Yeah. Either way, it will stall in committee and get earmarked to hell, and any improvement in the next eight years will be incremental at best. But at least our president will get to call it "universal," right? Hillary rules!
Wexler: No way, Obama kicks A!
And then the whole thing devolved into a slapping fight.