So it's come to this. The political science major and former small-town political activist stood in an elementary school in Richfield with a bewildered look on his face.
"What do you mean, a utility bill?"
Since I had not updated my driver's license and did not have a utility bill showing my name and my new address, I couldn't vote last night. Well, I guess I could have gone home and got a bill. But... naah. It took over an hour for my wife to get through the ballot line, the line for the voting booth, and the line to submit the ballot. It wasn't worth my effort. Besides, everyone I was going to vote for ended up losing anyway.
Apathy? You betcha. Electoral politics made me ill this fall. I was already leaning that way before Paul Wellstone died. It got worse after that. From the memorial-turned-Democratic-rally, every candidate's use of Wellstone's name after his death, one politician I thought I could trust (Bill Luther) getting caught trying to fix the election... Yuck.
Anyway, we're on day one of the new Republican Revolution. (Yawn.) Throw all the bums out and start over again. Re-elect Gore in 2004.
What's the frequency, Dan?
Election night used to be one of my favorite TV nights of the year. I'd love plopping down in front of the tube with snacks and beverages and watch the returns come in. It was great fun in 2000 watching Dan Rather nearly lose his marbles. Examples:
"A Senate race there ugly enough, nasty enough to gag a buzzard."
"This much tension you can't cut with a saw. It requires a blow torch."
"If... if a frog had sidepockets he'd carry a handgun."
Since this wasn't a Presidential election, though, the local network affiliates did the election coverage. Sara and I tuned into KSTP, because, well, she thinks Randy Meier is, uh, "cute." I guess I can't argue. Anyway, here are some observations from the election coverage.
Sha la la la la la la la la ti da
- There's Independence Party candidate Tim Penny playing a guitar and singing "Brown Eyed Girl" up on stage. I guess you can afford to be relaxed when you know you're going to lose. I would have voted for Penny, in the "lesser-of-three-evils" sense. I always found it odd, though, that the man who wore a Mickey Mouse tie on his last day in the U.S. House of Representatives in '94 would want to get back into the political scene. Power must be intoxicating.
- A quote from Mr. Meier: "Here we go to our live camera at the DFL headquarters where we see a shot of... the back of... I think that's the back of Walter Mondale's head." Riveting.
- Ahh, our governor. Here's a quote from him appearing on Hardball with Chris Matthews: "Chris, it only goes to show that the voters of Minnesota are just a bunch of lemmings." That's just great. Maybe his memory doesn't go back to, say, 1998, when A PLURALITY OF MINNESOTANS VOTED FOR THE INDEPENDENCE PARTY AND ELECTED HIM. Could this man be more of an idiot? Would he consider that his actions/inactions may have led to a backlash against the Independence Party this year? The Star Tribune put it pretty nicely here. Good luck, Jesse. It's been nice having you.
- It's really interesting to watch Randy and Harris Faulkner try to analyze voting results when 1% of precincts are reporting. "Mike Hatch is now leading Tom Kelly in the Attorney General race 35-18!!!"
- It's been said before, I'll say it again. Does anyone else, while listening to Roger Moe, expect him to bust out into a version of "It's Not Easy Being Green"? He HAD to have been the voice for Kermit the Frog. I kept trying to pick out Miss Piggy in the crowd.
- A live shot of the Radisson South where Norm Coleman supporters have gathered. The TV folks are guessing that he's up in his suite on the 20th floor. Why do they do these things in hotels? I wondered what Norm was doing at a time like this? Watching the free HBO? Sifting through the Bible for $20 bills that people hid and forgot? Getting ready to go down to the pool?
- The Associated Press just announced Elizabeth Dole has been elected to the U.S. Senate. Great. I suppose she wanted to get out of the house, I'd imagine Bob is pestering her for sex a lot lately with the whole Viagra thing. Just what we needed, another politician wife in Congress. What's Barbara Bush up to these days? You think Quaker Oatmeal would let her out of her contract as model long enough for her to become a Senator?
Barbara Bush? You decide.
After KSTP started to go through results of the Soil & Water Conservation Board races, I decide to switch over to CNN. The boys from Crossfire are on. I've only watched the show a couple of times, but it's been rather entertaining. Tonight Tucker Carlson looks like he's got twice as much hair as usual, and that's saying something. He looks like Mark Cuban with... well... a lot of hair. And on the other side of the table (and the follicle spectrum) is former Democratic guru James Carville. As usual, he's saying something in his Louisiana drawl that I can't understand. I don't think anyone on the show understands him either. Here's a sample interaction:
Tucker:What I can't understand is why Democrats are so surprised about the backlash to the Bush tax cut plan.
Carville:Welllike mymomma (indecipherable) two pigs ina field (indecipherable) smell like mud.
It's like they all really like James, and are assuming he's funny-- but aren't really sure what he said and don't want to look dumb and ask him to repeat himself. Tonight he looks like he won the eBay auction that sold Tom Petty's glasses from the "Don't Come Around Here No More" video.
"And now we take you to Larry King." Larry King? They're having Larry King do political analysis? Oh, he's just interviewing the head of the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee. Whew. Speaking of, I saw these two yahoos interviewed on TV four times last night, on NPR once, and saw them on CNN as I was walking out the door this morning. I left before I heard the answer to the question "In your opinion, what went right for the Republicans and what went wrong for the Democrats last night." Genius.
The election has come and gone. New politicians are in high places, saying all the right things. I hope that I get back to caring in a couple of years. Until then, I'm just happy I don't have to see any political ads on TV.
Just more Randy Meier.