Posted at 11:04 AM on May 23, 2006
by Bob Collins
Today is the day that America has the longest-living ex-president/vice president in its history. Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale have survived John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, I hear.
I was but a wee lad working at a national radio network in New York when Mondale delivered the most memorable line (for me) in politics the day after his failed presidential bid.
"I wanted to run for president in the worst way," he said, "and that's just what I did."
For the record, the second most memorable line in politics -- for me -- is actually from a movie. "In the absence of true leadership, Americans will listen to the first person at the microphone."
It wasn't my most memorable political quote, but it was one a lot of people stole over the years. "I've met
John F. Jack Kennedy, Jack Kennedy was my friend, and, senator, you're no John F. Jack Kennedy," former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen said to VP Dan Quayle in a well-timed, old-school political smackdown. Bentsen, who appeared only casually interested in Mike Dukakis being elected, died this morning at 85.
Posted at 3:49 PM on May 23, 2006
by Bob Collins
I don't consider myself a snob, although I'm sure I sound like one whenever I say "I don't watch American Idol" on TV. Fact is, it's probably because I'm watching something like The Unit or CSI NY or Deal or No Deal. I like my crappy TV as much as the next guy. It's just that I like different crappy TV than most Americans, I guess. (All of this assumes the Cleveland Indians aren't on TV, which is a whole 'nother definition of TV).
So you can take it with a grain of salt, if you want, when I shake my head at this revelation today from the National Journal blog:
As every actor/actress in Apocalypse 10.5 was forced to utter at one point in Sunday's night's fine fare, "oh my God."
Caution, rambling ahead.
This year I find myself not reading the sports pages anymore. I think part of it has to do with the fact I don't have a fantasy baseball team anymore and part of it has to do with the fact I've finally given up on the idea that reporters and columnists who line up at the buffet table at the ballpark, are going to ask a tough question.
If there's a world where MSM has seen its future -- I hope -- it's in the large number of big sports fans -- the kind that like to talk about strategy and stuff -- that don't bother with the dead-trees anymore, because there are blogs and Internet mailing lists to accomplish the same thing (go ahead, try to get the information in the local papers' sports sections that you can get at The Hardball Times).
I'm sure the editors figure the dyed-in-the-wool folks just aren't worth catering too and that there really is a casually interested sports fan that's more important.
Sometimes I think the same fate awaits political coverage. You know what I wish the local papers would do when they print a story about a bill? Print the number of the bill! Don't get me wrong, I think they do a great job of the he said-she said portion of debate at the Capitol. But I'm not sure the "inside" stuff makes the paper (or the radio for that matter), for the same reason I can't find an article about the stupidity of bunting in the first inning. Somebody thinks nobody cares.
Wow, that's a lot of copy to get to this point. Read the feature article in last Friday's Session Weekly, put out by the Minnesota House of Representatives (link is pdf). It's called "Down In flames," and I think it provides a good glimpse of how legislation got derailed at the Capitol this year. In short, Republicans in the House thought they -- as the majority party -- should control what's in legislation more and Democrats thought that since the majority was by a single seat, legislation needs to have more of their imprint on it.
That's the nice version, anyway. The other version is a bit more vicious. It was a nice piece of work and if the local papers dumped the sports section tomorrow and put a politics section with this stuff in it instead, I'd read it. If not, I can always find it online.
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Incidentally, in that same issue, there's a sample of Rep. Phyllis Kahn's quiz for determining suitability to be elected to the Minnesota House. She spotted me, "does money grow on trees?" but I admit "how much does it cost to rais a child through 12th grade?" got me. I think it's because the mind blocks out trauma.