Sunday, November 02, 2008

Harry And My Dad

The One Man Show
This upcoming Tuesday has me thinking about my favorite president, Harry S Truman. Now it's true until Ole W, he had the highest and lowest poll numbers of any president but history has shown us while he was no perfect president and certainly an imperfect man, he's now considered one of our greatest presidents usually hovering between the #9 and #5 spots depending on the survey.

I first learned about Harry while watching "Give 'Em Hell, Harry" which is a film of a one man show with James Whitmore. It was filmed on stage in Seattle in 1975 and I remember it was one of the very few times we didn't eat dinner at the table, but instead ate our dinner in front of the television.

I recall being enthralled and then enamored of Harry because he reminded me so much of my Dad. He's down to earth and straight talking like my Dad, cussed up a blue streak like my Dad used to, wore glasses like my Dad, and seemed to possess an unusual sense of fairness, open-mindedness, and humbled public service like my Dad.

When I took U.S. History in high school, my teacher confessed that Harry was his favorite president as well. When I told him I liked Harry because he reminds me of my Dad he said I was very lucky. I guess that's about 1,000,000 times better than saying Nixon or even W reminds you of your Dad.

I'm not going to give you a litany of Harry's history or accomplishments. You can check the Wikipedia article up there at the beginning of this post, but I will give you three quotes each from each man:

Harry -
"All the president is, is a glorified public relations man who spends his time flattering, kissing, and kicking people to get them to do what they are supposed to do anyway"

"It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it's a depression when you lose yours."

"I remember when I first came to Washington. For the first six months you wonder how the hell you ever got here. For the next six months you wonder how the hell the rest of them ever got here."

My Dad -
After Barbara Boxer made a speech at my Dad's retirement dinner. It was the first year she was running for Senate. Me: "She's really nice." My Dad: "Of course she's nice. She's a politician."

"Just because I tell you I understand doesn't mean I agree with you. You need to get it into your head what the difference is."

"We hired this openly gay man in the early 1980s to do AIDS education. He did a great job for years until he came to me to tell me he was leaving. I asked him why and he said 'Because all my friends are either dying or dead. I just can't do it anymore.' I don't know what happened to him. For all I know he could be dead himself, but he did a hell of a job. A hell of a job."

You're No Harry Truman
Sarah Palin, and certainly not George W. Bush could ever be compared to Harry Truman even though they've both tried. W is hoping that history will judge him well even with his abysmal poll numbers. Sarah hopes that people will connect her folksy manner with Harry's. Maybe if she uses the word "hell" more in her speeches and actually gets a brain she might make some headway, but it's unlikely.

My Dad might come close and that's because he's no politician.

Here We Are On The Edge Of Our Seats

I've had several conversations with people I know about the historical implications for Tuesday's election. My mother (who can't stand McCain) says she can barely wait until Tuesday to find out who, after almost two years of campaigning, will be the next President.

I'm sure there are plenty of people who are sick and tired of this mess and can't wait for it to be over. I haven't met anybody who falls into that category, but I'm sure those people are out there. Mostly, I talk to people who are anxious about the future if the "wrong" candidate becomes president. One of my friends said she was going to "die" because she couldn't stand the thought of Obama not being elected. I explained to her she can defer "dying" until Tuesday so she doesn't ruin her Halloween weekend.

As you know I saw David Sedaris last weekend and he said he was listening to some conservative radio show while he was on the road where a call-in listener said if Obama's elected he would leave the country. David's reaction to this was "And go WHERE?" My sentiments exactly. Where the fuck are you going to go in the world that would embrace the kind ideology a hardcore conservative holds dear and has enough money for a decent standard of living? I just don't know. If anybody knows the answer to that question I'm all ears.

Here we are, and we're all in the same boat no matter who wins on Tuesday. We are all straddling the dangerous rushing river that is the state of our country and on one side is the hope for our future and the other the fear that the river will cease to rush by us in torrents and instead swallow us whole.

Vote on Tuesday and God Help Us All no matter how it turns out. We're going to need it.

The SNL 2008 Presidential Debates

I just finished watching all of these videos on I read some of the comments which say SNL is making more fun of McCain/Palin than Obama/Biden. This is probably true, but who can blame them? McCain and Palin are so ripe for parody that nobody can resist. They mocked Biden a little during the Vice Presidential debate and I thought that was a good thing.

I have to say the last two parodies of the presidential debates had me laughing my ass off. Sure you can whine that SNL is doing a disservice to whichever candidate you're supporting but for the town hall meeting debate they were clearly mocking Tom Brokaw the most because his obsession with time was so distracting. He kept talking about the damn stoplights on the bottom of the bleachers. He kept saying that the two campaigns had agreed on the rules, not him. He kept whining about how he's just there to "do a job." The guy deserved whatever kicks they gave him.

My other favorite thing about this parody was how the two guys kept moving around in front of the camera. Hilarious!

I also enjoyed the last parody of the presidential debate. That whole Joe the Plumber thing had me laughing so hard that I couldn't breathe. You wanna drag some ordinary citizen into your presidential campaign who hasn't paid his taxes in years I say you get what you deserve there.

I think the bewildered expressions on the "moderator's" face said it all.

What's so great about these parodies is that they're based on what really happened. That's why this is so damn funny.

Kudos to SNL for helping make this unprecedented election all the more interesting. Let's face it, you can bitch all you want about how SNL is unfairly attacking McCain and not attacking Obama or whatever but the most important thing is that we are all paying attention and we all care and we all have an opinion. I love it.