logo

BLOG

Denver GauntletSo much history! Veeps is more than a bestselling book and blockbuster motion picture. There’s mirth, mystery, and the story of our nation. veeps-blog

Read along about the journey of Bill and Wayne and the rich tapestry of America’s second-highest elected office. Still and often fetid waters really do run deep. Set aside a weekend and take it all in–the sage of Bill and Wayne’s friendship and shared obsession; the bruising battle for the 47th Vice Presidency in 2008, from the frozen cornfields of Iowa to Inauguration Day 2009; to the rogues, drunks, cowards, and the downtrodden who have occupied the office for over 200 years. Over 220+ posts and counting! Grab a beverage and pull up a chair. There’s lots to learn here!

The Loon and Mike Pence

The Loon and Mike Pence

Mark Hanna may have been the first to invoke the “one heartbeat away” theory about the vice presidency when he said of the GOP’s nomination of Teddy Roosevelt for William McKinley’s vice president, “Don’t any of you realize there’s one life between that madman and the presidency?” That fear proved prescient, but personally I would rather be living in fear of new national parks and child labor regulations than LGBT re
Read More

“Veeps Who Mattered…Sort of”

In any other election, the vice presidential candidate who insisted that cigarettes don’t cause cancer–decades after the landmark first Surgeon General’s Report–would be widely considered the crazy one on the ticket, but we’re not in any other election, and the almost hourly hemorrhage of embarrassment from the GOP’s standard bearer makes Governor Mike Pence the model of clear-head
Read More

Veeps – Chapter 47 – Joseph Robinette Biden

When the Democrats reclaimed the White House in 2008, the hoopla about the tall, young African-American with the Muslim name was appropriate, but the presence of the man next to him in victory was only slightly less improbable. The would-be successors who lined up to take the Presidency from George Bush were numerous enough to successfully invade a small protectorate. Just as in any other wide-open Presidential conte
Read More
Enduring Insignificance

Enduring Insignificance

We never set out to create a franchise celebrating an occupation that no one has ever celebrated. There were many more fruitful areas we could have explored had that been the case. Drywalling, for example, or soft drink sales. Perhaps not even those. Both have their own trade publications. The same can’t be said for the American Vice Presidency. Yet, that’s the torch we chose to carry. It’s especially astonishing how
Read More

Let The Spiro Move You

When I travel these great United States for business or recreation, I make it a point to always be aware of the history of whatever sites, locales, and points of interest that I’m visiting. I’m all the more attuned, lest there be a Vice Presidency-related landmark that warrants my tribute. I won’t necessarily arrange my itinerary specifically to grace one of these noteworthy stops. Certainly, I’ll always be intereste
Read More
By Disinvitation Only

By Disinvitation Only: The Rug-Yank State Messes Yet Again with America’s Executive Branch

The stories are legion. James Joyce was rejected 22 times before his first novel, Dubliners, was published. Stephen King was rejected 30 times for Carrie. Richard Bach was officially rebuffed 18 times before Jonathan Livingston Seagull saw the light of day (though some would argue that the 1970s might have been a slightly less dreadful moment in time had Bach’s rejections run the publishing industry table). As Februa
Read More
The Brother Grim

The Brother Grim

For as rancid as our politics have seemed over the last two decades—for all of the Cantors, Cruzes, Trumps, Gingriches, and Bachmans against the Clintons, Kerrys, Gores, and Obamas—it’s all too easy to forget Washington’s distant history of mutual hatreds—storied blood feuds that eclipsed in intensity the partisan enmity that is the lingua franca of today’s American government. Following an acrimonious debate on the
Read More
About Bill and Wayne

About Bill and Wayne (Reprinted from Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette – 1/2/2008)

A Shared ‘Vice’ by Merle Stickney It’s their boyish enthusiasm that engages you first. Despite being nearly into middle age, they have a youthful zeal that’s infectious–no matter how oddly directed it turns out to be. Bill Keltner and Wayne Schellaberger are the most unlikely of the many politicos that descend upon our fair state every four years. They’re not interested in who wins
Read More

Q. “Did anybody ever refuse the nomination for vp or president at a convention?”

Q. “Did anybody ever refuse the nomination for vp or president at a convention?” –Friend Of Veeps, Cédric V., text, 8/30/12  A. Yes! In 1844, from the National Democratic Convention at the Odd Fellows’  Hall in Baltimore, New York Senator Silas Wright was selected by the delegates to run as Vice President with Democratic Presidential nominee James K. Polk. Since Wright was not in attendance at the convention, the del
Read More
The Cradle of Insignificance

The Cradle Of Insignificance

Being single much of my adult life, my vacations have always been more untraditional from that of most people. I wasn’t much for the Fort Lauderdale/Lake Havasu Spring Break set in college, opting instead to work as much as possible to support what was then a complicated and expensive affinity for canned beer. After college, long solo road trips to visit friends and family were typical. These became increasingly drea
Read More

Final Curtains

Everyone knows how the First Act went: With the bloodiest war in the country’s history winding up in his win column, the President, his wife, Major Henry Rathbone, and his fiancé, Clara Harris, took their box seats at Ford’s Theater for a performance of what passed for a blockbuster in 1865, the cornpone hit, My American Cousin. With Lincoln’s bodyguard late arriving back from a trip to a neighborhood pub with member
Read More
Hello Nasty

Hello Nasty

By the mid-fall of 1969, Spiro Agnew’s improbable Vice Presidency was—compared with the duties assigned his predecessors—turning to be very probable after all.  After a campaign relegated to handle the talking points that the ticket needed to woo the lunch pail crowd—law and order; applying a giant, heavy boot to the peaceniks, be it a kick to the collective solar plexus or a slow, quiet crush beneath the heel; the p
Read More
Hear Me Roar

Hear Me Roar

I suppose looks are deceiving. My grandmother seemed harmless, but she used to lock my sisters in the basement if they screwed up their Acts of Contrition. And that was when she was in her bridge club and support hose years. Lord only knows what she was capable of  in her Joan Crawford/Aileen Wuornos prime. It’s a wonder my happy-go-lucky grandfather lived long enough to bury her. I had to remember that last week whe
Read More
“Old Gay Mayor He Ain’t What He Used To Be”

“Old Gay Mayor He Ain’t What He Used To Be”*

When I was a child, I was cute and precocious and smart. I scored very high on all my early tests, and my parents and teachers loved me. When I was eight years old, I was cited by the police twice in two nights, first for shoplifting at the local Safeway and the next night for throwing a brick through the window of the Lutheran Church–while my parents were back in Iowa burying my grandmother (and this was just three
Read More

Vitter Harvest

The harder they come, the harder they fall. November 4th finished a profound housekeeping that was set in motion in March 2005 when former physician turned Senator Bill Frist diagnosed Terri Schiavo from the Senate floor (at the same time prescribing what he thought was an invigorating elixir to his nascent Presidential campaign that would leave it dead on the examining room floor). When the mid-term elections rolled
Read More

“BARRY, CLEAN UP ON AISLE ’09!”

I didn’t drink that much on Election Night, but I think I got a contact high from the hoopla. I’ve had a lot of shit cleanup jobs in my life, but I’ve never had a mess that kept me busy for more than a few weeks. Even if he didn’t have the job yet, I figured he’d have all the Glad bags filled and be hosing off the mop by now, and that he’d get to the basement later. But I guess, li
Read More

Vest Intentions

On October 28, 1893, shortly after giving the closing address at Chicago’s wildly successful Columbian Exposition, popular five-term Mayor Carter Harrison was shot to death in his home by erstwhile campaign supporter and self-styled single tax and rail safety advocate, Patrick Eugene Prendergast. Prendergast visited Harrison’s home that evening and was allowed in by a maid who went to awaken the slumbering Mayor. May
Read More
It Was the Best of the Worst of Times

It Was The Best Of The Worst Of Times

We were so young and the world was a much more hopeful place. This was a drawing from a simpler, more innocent time. Wayne and I met in November 1987 and our first real collaboration landed about a month later, when I asked him to draw an idea I had for a Christmas card which I couldn’t do myself because I couldn’t even draw badly and was hard-pressed to try my hand at Photoshopping my idea, if for no other reason th
Read More

Rod Man Out

“This is a sad day for Illinois government. Governor Blagejovich has taken us to a truly new low.” That was U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald (of Scooter Libby fame) decrying the corruption that’s rendered the unpronounceable governor’s office a political SuperFund site that may just have to be fenced off behind a thicket of barbed wire and yellow tape instead of cleaned up. Oh, I don’t know that seems something of a
Read More

Carnage

I drive a lot. More than the average person. I bought my latest car in July 2007. I had a relatively short commute for a short time, and with an ice-storm freeway accident that left my rig in the body shop for a month, I’ve still put 22,000 miles on my car in just under seventeen months. Due to an ill-considered lifestyle choice following my divorce and God evening things out after my cushy five years working out of
Read More
Pragmire

Pragmire

It was November 5, just fourteen hours after America had elected its first African-American President. There were a few morons cutting eyeholes in their pillow cases and lamenting the certain befouling of what was left of the last few megaliters of pure white blood left in this great country after the man in the Black House ordered the conscription of their Prussian Blue daughters to make babies for the HNIC. But by
Read More
Fired Sale

Fired Sale

When people were getting a bit ahead of themselves and becoming understandably exercised about this annoying collapse-of-the-world-economy thing, President-elect Obama felt it necessary to remind the American people that “we only have one President at a time.” I suppose you could argue that he was correct on the technical merits. But every other analysis would suggest that we’ve run into one of those vagaries they di
Read More

Democan’ts?

sThe quadrennial Novembers haven’t been a happy time for Democrats over the last few decades. In 1968, with the stink of Vietnam, his humiliated retirement, and the failure of his #2 to succeed him, Lyndon B. Johnson slinked back to Texas for a short rest of his life consumed with nicotine, alcohol, and regret, while Hubert Humphrey swallowed his own bitter brew with his one golden chance at the White House in even w
Read More

Concession

“Hello Governor Palin, this is Kent at U-Haul on Glacier Hwy. I’m calling to confirm your reservation of a 26′ Super Mover. Can you please call me back at this number if you’re still going to be needing that? Thank you, ma’am.”
Read More

Let’s Get Ready To Grummm-ble!

I didn’t imagine it possible, but I think he was considerably more statesmanlike when he was telling Senator Leahy to go fuck himself. For a man who spent the previous eight years lurking in the shadows, the former Vice President has spent the last nine-plus months desperate for attention. He could have had all his current face-time and more when he was running the country in absentia. Now he’s treating the bully pul
Read More
Buffoon for Thought

Buffoon For Thought

Well, nothing like having your life’s thesis eroded in a matter of months. I’ve devoted years of my life and owe the lion’s share of my four-figure fortune to one truism that I had studied to believe was unimpeachable: Our Vice Presidents don’t have a useful thing to say. I have to admit that I was wary of Joe Biden’s selection as Barack Obama’s running mate. The man had been in Washington for nearly 36 years. He kne
Read More
Dumb and Plumber

Dumb and Plumber

I don’t imagine there was any possibility that we could have escaped this election cycle without one of these. There’s always a one-dimensional totem, a stupid prop suitably dumbed-down for the sweatpants and threadbare Bon Jovi tee-shirt crowd in the cheap seats watching six minutes of news spread out over every two days. We expect as much from the McCain-Palin campaign, which has proven itself shameless in jettison
Read More

Acorn Squawk

Jesus, not again. As if we didn’t learn in 2000 and 2004 to do something about this once and for all. The latest Republican clarion call should make us afraid for the continued functioning of our fragile democracy: The Democrats are trying to steal another election. Wait. What? Or so the latest cries of Democratic Party-perpetrated “voter fraud” by its shadowy agents in that mysterious cabal they call “ACORN” would h
Read More
Stale Marys

Stale Marys

In football, everyone loves a great Hail Mary pass. The drama, the audacity, a will to win so strong that a team is going to grab every last chance it has to walk away victorious without leaving a thing on the field. If they pull it off, it’s not only a tribute to their fortitude, but it’s the stuff of highlight reels for years to come. That’s when it works, of course. When it doesn’t–as is usually the case–it doesn’
Read More
Oblunder

Oblunder

Coming from Chicago, Barack Obama should know better: If you try to bring nuance to a knife fight, you’re going to bleed to death. Time and again during their first debate, Senator Obama was served one Quayle-Bentsen moment after another, and couldn’t bring himself to tee off on his opponent. If McCain wanted to make the point that Obama would coddle our enemies, he was wrong on fact, which Obama did a fair job of re
Read More

Artful Codger

Sensationalist photographer Jill Greenberg got herself in a whole mess of controversy last week and lost her paycheck besides when she forced The Atlantic to issue an apology, after Greenberg posted photos from her shoot with Senator John McCain and later boasted that she deliberately directed him into appearing in positions and lighting which she could use to make him appear as old and creepy. It was unfair, it was
Read More

Swerved Fresh Daily

Remember just a handful or two of months ago where Barack Obama was inspiring US Festival-sized crowds and ruling every magazine cover? Well, those halcyon days are gone. At least they were before I went out for my last cigarette. Check the Friday night lineup at any Indian casino or county fair, and most of your headliners there used to fill stadiums, too. Politics is a milieu even more fickle than entertainment, an
Read More

Smear Factor

Last night when I was watching footage of the 9/11 attacks, I already knew what Rachel Maddow admitted this afternoon that she knew last night during her new MSNBC program but was prohibited by her bosses from disclosing: That after this one-day truce to honor the victims of that heinous day seven years ago, the Obama Campaign planned an onslaught of ads aimed at countering the uninterrupted water cannon of slime bla
Read More
Is There A Doctrine In The House?

Is There A Doctrine In The House?

Fortunately, the country hasn’t promised her a Rose Garden yet. Team McCain, Sarah Palin’s advisers, and even many of her Democratic detractors have been deliberately setting the bar low for her these past few weeks, lest she happens to somehow sail over with ease and look like Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Apparently they didn’t set it low enough. No one expected anything of tonight’s Charlie Gibson interview of Governor Pa
Read More
Obamnesia

Obamnesia

Props to John McCain. In a mystifying twist since he picked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate, he made everyone forget about the skinny upstart from Chicago who used to fill the stadiums and owned the weekly newsmagazine covers. This speaks volumes for the Republican imagemaking and message control, but very poorly for the American people who are devouring this tainted stew. In no universe–parallel,
Read More
Can't Stop The Music

Can’t Stop The Music

The best telegenic moments don’t get much better than when they have a great theme song, and political imagemakers are slavish in their pursuit of the ultimate auditory accompaniment to their elegantly crafted closeups for their candidates. No one hit that out of the park quite like Bill Clinton and Al Gore when in 1992 they eschewed Marvin Hamlisch and Jimmy Webb, capping Governor Clinton’s nominating speech with th
Read More

McShamed

ST. PAUL – The good news for George Bush is that he has most of his autumn freed up. When Bush decided that his administration was getting too much heat from having Karl Rove around, he decided to hand his longtime friend and political svengali his layoff in the most public place he could think of where the notoriously temper-prone Rove couldn’t lose his cool and upbraid the President for his disloyalty and usi
Read More
Sarah Sneers

Sarah Sneers

ST. PAUL – No one really expected she’d be a shrinking violet. Sarah Palin proved to be every bit the fighter that early news reports and anecdotal accounts have indicated she’d be. Politics may be a bloodsport, but Campaign 2008 is going to be Rwanda. Governor Palin threw down tonight and the red-meat Red Staters loved every fang-dripping word of it. Which is not to say that Joe Biden won’t still hand her her
Read More
Pod Squad

Pod Squad

ST. PAUL – God bless the good people of the Twin Cities, but this isn’t the kind of party that’s worth a plane ticket and a motel room. The first full night of the GOP Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul was A Modern History Of White People In America. Say what you will about the occasional loons that gravitate to the Democratic functions, but every four years, every Republican convention shows up like the most
Read More
Inclement Bellwether

Inclement Bellwether

The last thing John McCain wanted to kick off his convention was a maelstrom of catastrophic dimension that would cast a pall of ruin over his anointment and make his campaign look disconnected and out-of-touch, no matter how delicately he tried to handle it. But that’s what he got–and to top it all off, he got Hurricane Gustav, too. John McCain postponed much of the start of the Republican National Convention in Min
Read More

Alaska You Again…

…Why should this woman be one heartbeat away from the Presidency? It’s a valid question, and one that many in Alaska are already asking. Including her mother-in-law. Faye Palin has confessed that she hasn’t decided how she’ll vote this November. “I’m not sure what she brings to the ticket other than she’s a woman and a conservative.” Clearly, this makes the get-out-the-vote effort for the McCain Campaign a litt
Read More

A Whiter Shade of Palin

I guess you should always go with your gut. I knew when I made the Romney pick this morning that the early reports were probably true–that John McCain was going to choose Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. I didn’t see this coming until this morning. During an early Veepstake Monday: The Inside Line, in March, I gave her a 12-1. and then in May I had her at a distant 20-1, until I found out that she’d j
Read More
Denver Gauntlet

Denver Gauntlet

DENVER – If the riot police didn’t finish the week swinging, at least Barack Obama did. There were questions all week, all month, all summer about whether Senator Obama had lost his edge or his oomph after his long and bruising primary fight with Hillary Clinton. All such questions were dispelled tonight during a barnburner of an evening at Invesco Field in Denver, where 84,000 Americans were hanging from the r
Read More
There's A Riot Goin' Yawn

There’s A Riot Goin’ Yawn

DENVER – I don’t know if the revolution was televised or not. I wasn’t near a television set all day. But they did set up a lovely parade. After the visible but relatively subdued police presence yesterday, we didn’t expect a lot of barbed wire, water cannons, and circulating, truck-mounted tear gas dispensers. (As we’d later discover, most of the clashes were over at NBC’s temporary studio outside Union Station betw
Read More
Rocky Mountain Heil!

Rocky Mountain Heil!

DENVER – There are a number of irreplaceable lifetime memories that I regret having missed in my now rapidly-advancing years. I haven’t kissed a lover on a gondola beneath the Bridge of Sighs in Venice. I haven’t witnessed the birth of a child. I haven’t seen my written works translated into six different romance languages and Urdu. And I haven’t been clubbed senseless by riot police while I try and claw my own eyes
Read More
OBIDEN!

OBIDEN!

And then there was one. I crawled out on a very wispy limb yesterday to the ears of 150,000 drivetime listeners when I went on Portland’s Air America affiliate, KPOJ 620 AM, and declared that I was going back on my 10:00 PM lock from Thursday night that Joe Biden was going to be Obama’s pick for Vice President. Then I woke up to…nothing. I had a vision in the shower that Saturday in Springfield was a smokescreen, and
Read More

Upon further reflection…

Well, I gave it a solid eight hours and a good night’s sleep, and I really have to reconsider my dead-on, rock-solid, take-it-to-the-bank-and-lock-it-up-in-a-96-month CD prediction–you know, when I said that Joe Biden would be Barack Obama’s VP choice, and I said it with such certainty that I just as well be identifying the location of my genitals on a photo of myself. Yeah, that one. Never mind. Okay, it’s not never
Read More

Veepstakes: The Money Shot

Oh, so much to catch up and so little time. But first, The Hour is upon us. Senator Obama is going to make his choice tomorrow and by this time tomorrow evening the losers will be having a tall libation with their wives, thinking about what could have been and weighing the possible consolation of a role in an Obama Administration and assessing what their brief moment in the Veepstakes spotlight has done to bolster th
Read More

Veepin’ The Faith

There are good days, and there are bad days, and there are horrible days, and there are great days. I was on my way into work this week and went to get gas, and was pleased to find that the price had dropped fourteen cents in the last week to $3.99 a gallon, and then I found a Jackson in my pants pocket that I didn’t know was there, and then about noon that day, Ted Stevens was walloped with seven indictments. That w
Read More

Stealth ‘Bamas

He hasn’t hopped on a sailboard or poked his tiny head out of a tank yet, but there are murmurs within the Democratic Party that Senator Obama is taking his campaign down the same six miles of bad road that John Kerry and Michael Dukakis traveled that brought them McGovernesque ignominy and sullied their dreams of a someday Presidential library and an international airport in their name. (Granted, the bowling inciden
Read More
“Ich bin ein Mann, der leckere Würstchen genießt.”

“Ich bin ein Mann der leckere Würstchen genießt.”

It wasn’t the Brandenburg Gate, but in all fairness, someone else put in their deposit before him. While Barack Obama was floating his Presidential fitness trial balloon this week, peddling his oratory in front of a rabid Berlin audience, Senator McCain was selling his message in a similarly Teutonic, if somewhat more watered-down vein, at Schmidt’s Sausage Haus und Restaurant in Columbus, Ohio’s German Village neigh
Read More
Greetings From Crackbury Park: July 2008

Greetings From Crackbury Park: July 2008

I just read the other day that, in this age of prohibitively-expensive fuel prices, the buzzword “staycation” has entered our lexicon, like a masticated wad of Almond Roca suddenly stuck in our collective fillings. In case you missed it on Oxygen or in Parade magazine, the stay-at-home vacation, or…well, you get it. Anyway, it’s all the rage among erstwhile summer vacationers in our cash-strapped economy. You can tak
Read More

Cancelled Czechs

It’s not as if he was out in the parking lot getting high in someone’s Trans Am that day in high school when Mr. Farquar told the rest of the 6th Period Social Studies class what happened to Europe after the Cold War. He’s been a member of the Senate Armed Service Committee since he was sworn in to his Arizona U.S. Senate seat in 1987. I don’t know about the Senate Armed Service Committee curriculum, but I’m pretty s
Read More
Veepstake Monday

Veepstake Monday: The Inside Line – 07.14.2008

We’re getting down to the wire, and the GOP Veepstakes is as clear as John McCain’s latest economic policy, which he posited today at 3:00 PM EST, unless I missed a 6:00 PM news release defining a new fiscal direction that forged a new course from the reconsidered policies of his earlier economic policy statement. It’s possible. There are only so many hours in the day and I have other things to do. If I had a staff,
Read More

Do Not Pass Joe

He’s the kind of guest who’s shown up at all of our parties. We used to like him, but something’s changed: He complains about the spinach-artichoke dip, disses the Dan Brown books you have on the coffee table, and commandeers the stereo so he can put on his awful Limp Bizkit/Five For Fighting mash-up CD. It’s awkward and gives everyone pause, but no one confronts him because he’s always been a really nice guy. It’s j
Read More
Grammatical Error

Grammatical Error

When you’re sitting in a manse high on the hill, it’s understandable that you don’t know what the rising water feels like when it comes up around your ankles. That doesn’t mean you have to sympathize with the quivering hands sticking desperately out of the water, witnessed from on-high through your binoculars. For a few hours today (before the few clearer heads in the presumptive GOP nominee’s campaign apparently int
Read More

Messy Jackson

Recent political history is dirty with politicians who have learned the hard way that in this age of all media, always on, all the time, there’s no such thing as a “private moment” when you’re sitting in front of a mic, mere moments away from speaking to the entire country, or at least a good portion of it. Ronald Reagan joked in a sound check before a 1984 radio address that, “I’ve just signed legislation outlawing
Read More
Veepstake Monday

Veepstake Monday: The Inside Line – 07.07.2008

The Dems’ are a mere seven weeks before they drop that gavel on their so-far very poorly organized convention in Denver, and their best hope is that they have enough of their crew dispatched to the Mile High City to get things under control so that the party’s nominee doesn’t have to spend time ordering the Democratic Convention planning committee’s financial house–valuable time that he needs to spend preparing for a
Read More

Bone of Convention

It’s their party and they can cry if they want to. They might have to scuttle the giant inflatable Bill Clinton they were going to launch over the Pepsi Center. The New York Times wiped away the makeup and revealed an unfortunate black eye on the planning for the 2008 Democratic Convention in Denver next month. The new boss is in town and he isn’t happy. Senator Obama took over most DNC operations last month, moving
Read More

Imprompter

My 62-year-old boss gets very angry when stories emerge that John McCain doesn’t know how to use a computer. “He was a goddamned fighter pilot,” says my boss, who served eighteen months in the Marines in Vietnam. “My father was a pilot in World War II and he knew how to use an onboard computer.” He’s an engineer, the man who sits at the desk two feet away from mine and directs my day-to-day tasks, and he doesn’t have
Read More
Our Inalienable Right to Blow Shit Up

Our Inalienable Right To Blow Shit Up

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Short one tonight. I have to mind the ramparts and keep my place from going up in flames, because of my moron neighbors setting of fireworks. The Declaration of Independence was a brave and noble thing.
Read More
Veep Your Friends Close

Veep Your Friends Close

Regardless of our quadrennial fascination with the Vice Presidential dog and pony show, it’s still a statistical truism that America doesn’t vote for its Vice Presidents. But screw it up, and you could queer your patch but good, and wind up going from the top of every newshour on MSNBC to virtually ignored in the Piggly Wiggly by Thanksgiving. As Jason Linkins noted in The Huffington Post today, no one’s learned that
Read More
Rhymes With Bitch

Rhymes With Bitch

I don’t want to cast any aspersions on Cindy McCain’s character. She’s talked a little smack about Michelle Obama, but by all accounts she’s a very nice lady (though, with those creepy eyes she looks, as a caller a few months ago to The Stephanie Miller Show, like an extra from the 1980s miniseries, V, who left her eyes on the mothership). However, then-Vice President George Bush’s wife, Barbara Bush, had the temerit
Read More
Miffed Boaters

Miffed Boaters

Paging Senator Webb, please pick up your belongings and move up the short list. It’s been almost 60 hours and Randi Rhoads has spent two consecutive shows being practically apoplectic about the fine Wes a respected General and Democratic Vice Presidential front-runner has made. Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, 34-year veteran of the United States Army and the Department o
Read More
Veepstake Monday

Veepstake Monday – The Inside Line: 06-30-2008

Jesus, July already? With just eight weeks before the first gavel falls in Denver, and both candidates hinting that they’ll be making their choices sometime in the dead of summer, this could be the beginning of the end of Veepstake Monday. Toss your sawbucks down now tell them you heard it here first. Remember, we’re quite literally writing the book on the Vice Presidency and we’re going to famous for it by the time
Read More
The Comeback Coot?

The Comeback Coot?

I suppose it’s as sensible as any strategy he’s deployed up to this point. Senator John McCain told reporters in Ohio this week that “I’m the underdog. I’m behind. I’ve got to catch up and get ahead. And I expect to do that about 48 hours before the general election.” The only wrinkle might be that, as he confidently predicted to an audience in Nashville on June 2, “I guarant
Read More
Poll Smoking

Poll Smoking

I should have learned a long time ago not to trust polls. I remember back in 1988 when, as a young, amorphous, but still enthusiastic liberal youth, I signed on for Michael Dukakis. He came out of the Democratic Convention with a 17% lead over Vice President George H.W. Bush. I called that one, marked it off, and went on to see how the Blazers were going to develop with Mark Bryant and Rolando Ferreira. I saw Rolando
Read More
Russ to Judgment

Russ to Judgment

Barack Obama is busy with his campaign, and a good candidate knows when to delegate, so our Democratic nominee is handing off his principled indignation to a Democratic surrogate, fellow Senator Russell Feingold of Wisconsin. It was almost a week ago that America learned that its Democratic House had rolled over to a Bush Administration that was already counting on a late-term defeat and voted for immunity for teleco
Read More
Terror Firma

Terror Firma

The old saw in 2000 and 2004 between George Bush and first Al Gore and then John Kerry was, “Who would you want to have a beer with?” In 2008, it’s become, “Who would you want to have a fear with?” John McCain’s chief advisor, Charlie Black, let slip what McCain’s campaign and whomever claims to have been his supporters have been thinking: If there were another terrorist attack on U.S. soil, it could only help John M
Read More
Veepstake Monday

Veepstake Monday – The Inside Line: 06.23.2008

It’s been a bumpy few weeks for the Golden Child since he sealed the nomination. Is he exposing himself as a true politician and an Agent of Same, or is he just taking advantage of the ideological LSD trip that is his opponent, and counting on the fact that a flip here and a flop there won’t attract a whit of media attention when the rest of country is witnessing John McCain wandering away from the nursing home and t
Read More

UnaBobber

The way he’s been conducting his campaign to date, it doesn’t appear that John McCain is going to need any help fatally sabotaging his campaign this fall. Bob Barr is generously offering his services nonetheless. This was a possibility for months as much of the right-wing treated the prospect of a McCain candidacy as much as Bud Selig and FOX would welcome a Milwaukee-Minnesota World Series. What a simpler and more a
Read More

Tower of Cowards

I don’t remember a political moment that made me happier than in the wee hours of November 7, 2006, after Jon Tester went over the top against Conrad Burns and Jim Webb nudged George Allen, and Claire McCaskill came from behind to beat Jim Talent, and the implausible was suddenly a reality, and the Democrats had regained control of the Senate, and the House Dems had picked up 31 seats. There was joy in Mudville. We h
Read More
Oil The Wrong Moves

Oil The Wrong Moves

Yes, the President made an appearance at the White House Wednesday morning to acknowledge that gas prices suck and we should probably do something. No, the President isn’t going to do anything meaningful and our gas prices will still suck. First, let’s dispose of this canard: There is no ban on offshore oil drilling, at least not one that the federal government has any control over. There was a year-to-year moratoriu
Read More
Al Advised

Al Advised

I don’t think there were a lot of crestfallen souls in the McCain Campaign HQ at Monday night’s news. Let’s face it: They were lucky to land the endorsement of half the Dems’ 2000 ticket. In Flint, Michigan, Monday, Al Gore finally stepped up to the podium and endorsed the man who vanquished his ex-boss’ wife. “After eight years of incompetence, neglect and failure, we need change,” Gore told the crowd. “After eight
Read More
Veepstake Monday

Veepstake Monday – The Inside Line: 06.16.2008

So, who’s on John McCain’s short list this week? It doesn’t really matter, because he’ll be assailing their patriotism and their position on taxes next week, unless Joe Lieberman is there to hand him the crib notes. Nonetheless, the music is going to stop one of these weeks soon, and he’s going to have to make a choice. There’s no figuring what’s going to happen next with this man who used to be a legitimate maverick
Read More
Where You bin Laden?

Where You bin Laden?

I’ve lived in a handful of apartments, and the one thing I always let go is the oven. Out of sight, out of mind. It’s always dark in there, so you can never see how much crap has built up from month after month of french fries and chicken and pork chops, and the occasional pizza that escaped your attention when you had too many beers one Friday night and fell asleep waiting for it to be done. Then as moving day appro
Read More
Off To The Racists

Off To The Racists

Well, better we stop him now before he actually wins the White House, unless we want a Popeye’s on every corner and a hooptie in every garage. The good folks at Sock Obama LLC have tried their best to prevent a Secretary of Defense Sharpton and a domestic initiative to infuse baseball’s pennant races with a resurrected Negro League. Lest anyone miss the simian connection between Senator Obama and the figure second fr
Read More

Russ Never Sleeps

Jesus, my heart just fucking broke. I’ve been writing this blog since January 3rd, the night of the Iowa Caucuses. I was just going to do it a few nights a week to stir some anticipation for our book while we got it finished up and ready for market. I had no idea what I’d write about after February 5th, Super Tuesday, when both nominations would be all but sewn up, the pundits would leave on vacation, and we’d all be
Read More

It’s The Ecainomy: Stupid

Jesus, that’s going to hurt. I’m paying about $4,000 in federal taxes every year. According to the McCain campaign Senior Policy Advisor Doug Holtz-Eakin, “Barack Obama would raise taxes for families making under $250,000 per year about 10 million times over – according to the very same report he cited.” Goddamn. That’s…okay, let’s see, $37.59 per paycheck and then the 1099 income I have each year, and factor in my d
Read More

F-U Troop

Well, if they stop fighting them there, then they’ll have to fight them here, and no one wants that. John McCain won’t win himself many overseas absentee votes with any more declarations like he made today. Speaking with Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today, Senator McCain was asked by Lauer “If (the war) is working, Senator, do you now have a better estimate of when American forces can come home from Iraq?” “No, but that’s not
Read More

Cape Smear

If you thought the scrap with Hillary was dirty, you haven’t seen anything yet. From now until November, there will be no gloves, and no love. They’re putting the napkins in their shirts right now and they’re ready to have Obama for lunch. The general election is starting in earnest and after seventeen months slugging it out in the farm leagues, Barack Obama has to show he’s ready for The Show. He’s already shot hims
Read More
Veepstake Monday

Veepstake Monday: The Inside Line – 06.09.2008

It’s over and then there were two. This week we’re prognosticating on the Democrat’s VP picks, but we’ll get there in a moment after… TRUE CONCESSIONS:Between a combination of campaign fatigue, a full social calendar, and the free pass that Hillary Clinton afforded all of us by bowing out of the race and giving Barack Obama his due, I took four days off after the last primaries, and this is my first day back on this
Read More
I Concede Clearly Now

I Concede Clearly Now

FYI: The poo-flinging is over for the moment and they’re all taking vacations they planned back in February. I don’t get vacations, but I’m taking one from the blog. I’ll be back on Monday to discuss Hillary’s supposed concession on Saturday. Also, VeepsBlog puts Big Brown at 3-1 at Belmont Saturday afternoon. They couldn’t stop the war or impeach the President, but the singular accomplishment of the 110th Congress m
Read More
Denver Boot

Denver Boot

No true concessions tonight. Of course it wasn’t going to happen. We’re not even out of the gate, and the results are in jeopardy of being nullified because of a classic but unfortunate UTI–a Unity Track Infection. The AP declared this morning that Hillary was going to concede tonight. Free at last? Our long national nightmare is over? Not so much. Terry McAuliffe fired back promptly that this story was a canard. No
Read More
Veepstake Monday

Veepstake Monday – The Inside Line: 06.02.2008

The shadow-boxing is almost over and John McCain is about to have his chance to face a real and anointed enemy, other than himself. Who’s going to ride shotgun with him as he makes his race for the White House in the culmination of several decades of public service? The courtship began at his Memorial Day barbecue in Arizona. McCain’s preliminary event in the beauty pageant was just the bikini competition, and even t
Read More
Détaunt

Détaunt

If you were up in the wee hours today with the television news on you wouldn’t have been far off the mark thinking that the towering columns of smoke and flame you were seeing were coming from DNC headquarters rather than Universal Studios. There’s a grudging acceptance of yesterday’s developments and the seeming inevitability of the end of Hillary’s campaign, but the principals aren’t going down without pulling the
Read More

Viva La Resolution?

Not bloody likely. No one’s going to be happy with today’s resolution of the Michigan and Florida issue by the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee, and certainly not Hillary Clinton, who’s holding the gun to the head of one very beleagured-looking hostage right now. Whether she finally pulls the trigger and puts a bullet in the skull of the Democratic Party even before the fall elections start, or whether she has the ne
Read More
Dread Scott

Dread Scott

If nothing else, Bob Dole sold a whole lot more Viagra today. As Scott McClellan took his love to the other side of town, the party scorned continued its withering dismissal as Bob Dole unleashed the email equivalent of a four-hour erection. “There are miserable creatures like you in every administration who don’t have the guts to speak up or quit if there are disagreements with the boss or colleagues,” Dole said to
Read More

Johnny Come Lamely

Next week, the Senate will vote on a bill co-sponsored by Senators Joe Lieberman and John Warner imposing mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions. Speaking to a group of employees at wind turbine company Vestas in Portland, Oregon, less than three weeks ago, McCain said of the bill, “I hope it will pass, and I hope the entire Congress will join in supporting it and the President of the United States would sign i
Read More
All The President's Meh

All The President’s Meh

There may or may not have been another terrorist attack on downtown Manhattan today but you wouldn’t have known it if you tried to get any news that today that didn’t have to do with Scott McClellan and his prematurely-released suitcase bomb on his former employer and benefactor, President George W. Bush, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception. No matter how many much you rea
Read More

Scott With Their Pants Down

If the Bush Administration were a real family, I always thought Scott McClellan would be Fredo–a go-along nebbish with the tiniest flashes of independence ending up in publicly-unseen woodsheddings and him dutifully toeing the family line the next day, and always, always in way over his head. He’d make the occasional overture at reaching out and trying to find an identity beyond his much-smarter older brothers, but y
Read More
Veepstake Monday - 05-26-2008

Veepstake Monday – The Inside Line: 05.26.08

Okay, three months until post time, and the pundits are talking about it, so it must be getting serious. John McCain is having barbecues at his crib this week talking to the front-runners (who have already long since been named here, thank you very much), and Barack Obama is treating his pageant with the ix-nay on the earch-say of the Manhattan Project, possibly out of deference to his opponent from Chappequa, who ca
Read More
Lobby Horse, Part 2

Lobby Horse, Part 2

John McCain has made his ethical piety the centerpiece of his 2008 Presidential campaign. After getting caught with feathers in his whiskers in the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association/Keating Five scandal, and making no friends in the press in the process, John McCain sought to reinvent himself in the 1990s. He’s run his 2008 campaign officially decrying “special interests lobbyists with the fattest wallets,” and ha
Read More

Lobby Horse, Part 1

He may be “Senator McClean” and the buddy of the press corps now, whom he invites to his barbecues and is always a back-slap away on the campaign bus for both Straight Talk and straight talk, and the occasional bawdy story or joke, but there was a time when John McCain was known as an angry and compromised Senator. He was chastened by his involvement in the Keating Five scandal, where McCain and four Democratic Senat
Read More

She-a Culpa

She’s lost her mind. This has been a grueling and desperate and frantic and furious pinball round of a campaign and Hillary has officially hit TILT. Every minute, every hour, every day as the remaining superdelegates trickle over to the Obama column, Hillary has reached deeper into her quiver for the remnants of the last few broken arrows that she can shoot or even just throw at the Obama campaign. She’s lain down wi
Read More

Das Coot

So this is how we’re going to play it, huh? I guess it’s all out on the table now. With an aging street fighter’s resilient faith in the same fighting mojo he had in his salad days, and like Robert Wagner putting the battery on his shoulder and daring someone to knock it off, John McCain has proved in the last week, and no more so than today, that he’s perfectly willing to make the heretofore dicey issue of age an is
Read More
A Byrd In The Hand

A Byrd in the Hand

Used to be when you were on the winning end of a landslide that it was your opponent who had to struggle to climb out of the avalanche. and a 40-point stomping of your opponent would have bought you a week or more of bragging rights and swinging your johnson around. But 2008 isn’t that time, and for the fourth time in seven days since her triumphal West Virginia pummeling of Barack Obama, it’s been Hillary Clinton wh
Read More

Gordonian Knot

Though I’m not technically residing in Oregon at the moment, I still consider myself an Oregon resident. I lived there for the better part of 37 years, I work there, I pay taxes there, I buy my liquor and gasoline and food there, and I’m actively seeking to undo the mistake that was my temporary residence in Washington. So even though I can’t vote, I do feel I have a vested interest in Oregon’s U.S. Senatorial race,
Read More
Veepstake Monday - 05-19-2008

Veepstake Monday – The Inside Line: 05-19-2008

The Dems’ had their moment in the sun last week, and this week we check in with the GOP to read the tea leaves and see who’s going to carry John McCain’s water and his Meuslix this fall. Does he need a handler or a glad-hander? A huckster or a Huckabee? A man with a plan or a man with a tan? Call it ageism, but between his advanced years (he would be the oldest man ever elected to a first-term as President), his pron
Read More

Barack Star

Good Lord, no wonder the streets were so empty today. Okay, I really have no idea. It was Sunday, and it’s my only day resembling a day off, so I never leave my apartment. Still, I bet they were very empty. Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland is an area that I and most sensible Portlanders have learned to avoid for much of the summer months. In early June, you have what used to be called the Rose Festival Fun Cent
Read More