Iowa: One And A Half Victory Parties
There was a part of me that was relaxed: Barack will win Iowa. He will win all four. There was a part of me that was still anxious. Got to watch and make sure though.
First I had thought of going to the party in Harlem. Then I decided to go to the DL21C one near Times Square instead. Elizabeth Caputo's last question to me at the December Baby? party had been "Will you join DL21C?" I said, "I have no interest in DL21C." But later I kind of thought about it and produced this: I Want To Join The DL21C Steering Committee, 2.0 Screen Time, 5.0 Face Time, Of Racialism, Progressive Group Dynamics. I was not going to say no to joining, but I would only join if the organization agreed to go 2.0. I had said, it is that or death to the organization. That was a look at the trends. That was not a "threat." I am in the business of killing rival tech companies, political organizations are not my domain. What I had meant was minus 2.0 DL21C will shrink in size and importance. Just look at BarackObama.com. You think Barack will fold up the tent in January 2009? No way. That is when BarackObama.com will kind of launch. That will be his vehicle for eight years in the White House, that will be the primary attraction of his presidential library. And it is a stripped down version of both Facebook and MeetUp.
I got out of the train and walked over to the venue. Outside there were a few Hillary and a few Obama supporters holding placards for the benefit of TV cameras. I recognized Arthur. One woman gave me a placard to hold and tried to get me on TV. I hope it worked.
There was playful banter among the two crowds. One guy gave me a glove. That was handy in the cold.
Then we all walked in. I was pleasantly surprised to see there were booths for the top three candidates. I mean, DL21C is a neutral organization, officially. Members might have their choices, but the organization is neutral. Like their trip to New Hampshire, it is for supporters of any candidate. But this still surprised me because Danny Hamburger had created a ruckus over email with me about why you are posting links to your blog at the DL21C Facebook group wall? That was the beginning of the end of any semblance of civility between us.
Next time he met me, he growled at me, "I am serious!" And walked away.
I walk inside and see Hakeem Jeffries. I walk over to him. He looked like he just got there. We make small talk. Then he said he was thinking of going to the main Obama 2008 victory party that was somewhere downtown. He asked me if I wanted to go.
I got to know Hakeem before he became an elected official. I like him. NYC political organizations are full of people who are never going to run for anything. But he ran, and I saw it. When you meet him, you meet a pro.
I was not too excited about the prospect of walking outside right after I had just walked in from the cold.
So when I moved on, he was still standing there with a few people. I was a little torn though. But I walked upstairs. I went to the Obama table. Made some small talk. Then situated myself in front of the nearest TV from that table.
Soon enough I find myself flanked. Danny Babyface IamnobabyfacebecauseIgrewabeardsinceyoulastsawme Hamburger to my left. Mike Luchipuchinachi Thereisdumbwrittenallovermeandthereisawhitetrashtatooonmyforehead in the front kind of in the way of the TV. In Berkshire, England, these two would have been skinheads engaged in hate crimes, but here they don't even get to engage in hate speech, so they settle for rude speech. In the solar system they got asteroids. At DL21C they got Danny Babyface IamnobabyfacebecauseIgrewabeardsinceyoulastsawme Hamburger and Mike Luchipuchinachi Thereisdumbwrittenallovermeandthereisawhitetrashtatooonmyforehead. These two are total float objects. They don't have the slightest clue what they are doing on this planet. They don't know where they came from. They have no idea where they are going. They live from one meaningless conversation to the next, one beer to the next. Especially this Mikie guy, there is dumb written on the sole of his feet, I will bet you. His only political relevance is Dave Pollak probably says hello to him once every three months. Otherwise this guy could not speak two sentences of politics. He could not knock on doors to hand out flyers.
I talked about the last hurrah of the white male here a few days back: John Hot Air Edwards. What I meant was Barack's victory and Edwards' loss should not be seen as the last hurrah of the white male. Bill Clinton won for being the best candidate in 1992. In 2008 that best candidate happens to be Barack. This is not about color, this is about merits.
But Danny Babyface IamnobabyfacebecauseIgrewabeardsinceyoulastsawme Hamburger and Mike Luchipuchinachi Thereisdumbwrittenallovermeandthereisawhitetrashtatooonmyforehead are the theme song for the last hurrah of the white male. I have not read any of the Harry Potter books, but I am sure there are characters like these two thrown somewhere in there.
I heard a few repetitions of do you understand, and then leave. Leave? I am thinking Hakeem. Is that guy still downstairs? The idea of his offer sounded tempting. I also thought of this elderly white lady in this story: Holiday Party 4: Is This Where The Bingo Game Is At?. How about giving these two guys the same treatment? Will that make their day? I rushed down to see if Hakeem was still there, but he was gone. I did not know the location for the downtown party. So I turned around to go back up to go get the location from the Obama table. And these two dimwits, I noticed, had followed me out to the gate and had been looking at me walk away. They had expected some kind of a shouting match when they said "Leave!" Nothing dramatic like that happened. Or maybe a fire alarm. I am sure they were gunning for that.
At the gate Mike Luchipuchinachi Thereisdumbwrittenallovermeandthereisawhitetrashtatooonmyforehead says, "Can I help you with something?"
I guess I could have said, go get the flyer on the Obama table that has the directions to the big Obama party downtown, but that would have been a master-servant kind of thing, and I am an egalitarian kind of guy, so I went and got it myself. Arthur at the table is like, "Don't go, don't go!"
The Maoists of Nepal are the biggest, most ultra-left group this world saw after the end of the Cold War. I have played a role in mainstreaming them. That is tough. Two dumb white guy assholes talking rude, that is not tough.
When I got to the location downtown, Jackie had just stepped out to smoke. She gave an excited hello. Inside the place was packed. You could barely walk from one end of the room to the next. I did not see Hakeem but I saw a bunch of others. I was so glad. So many familiar faces. This was not a neutral crowd. Jordan was there. And so many others. People were just happy.
After greeting a few people, I found a place to stand and was glued to the screen. Not long after I felt this gentle nudge to my right. "What are you thinking?"
There was this serene, beautiful, slim woman looking at me. If I look like I am thinking when I am watching TV, I am impressed with myself.
She said she lives in Brooklyn.
"I live south of the park. Near the movie theater?"
She said she was like Barack, both black and white. I find that so very attractive.
"Everybody's mixed, they just don't say it," she said.
She later asked for my card. My business card is highly misleading. My name on it is correct, everything else is slightly misleading. There is a random number on it that is not a phone number, there is a phone number that does not belong to anybody. There is a website address: the site does not exist. There is an email address that works but that I seldom check. The point being, google my name to get my contact info.
I said to email to my gmail address. She also gave me her email address.
I decided I was going to email her tomorrow. Let's hang out. I like it she lives walking distance. Prospect Park is the most parkey park in the city. She sounded up for it.
For a little while I was a little anxious about the results. Barack was neck and neck with the other two. And I was a little tense. But then soon enough he took the lead and the lead just got wider and wider and wider.
"There is no competition!" I high-fived a few people.
Barack's victory speech said it all. There was no competition. His speech stood out.
DFNYC, Drinking Liberally, Manhattan Young Dems, DL21C. There was this phase when I went to many of their events, and to numerous Nepali events in Queens. Then I veered to Obama 2008 while still going to a few events from the old organizations. I have been one of the early Obama volunteers. But I resisted getting into structured organization from the very beginning. (NYC, Obama, Structure, Me) I am not a blogger, I am a digital democrat. BarackObama.com works great for me, or at least did during summer. You find events to go to, and you go to them. I went to events in all four boroughs. It was so much fun to go to some of these far flung events. So different from the bar routine of the Manhattan events. Like there is this huge garden in Astoria. That was great.
I am so into Obama 2008, but I have stayed away from structural organization. Does not work for me. The group dynamics of a slow moving organization just does not float my boat. And so my style has been to keep the intensity by just showing up to experience events.
But I have met Barack. He is like Muhammad Ali or something. There's no more famous politician to meet after him.
Most important, I have my startup to look into. I am so excited. Finally I might be able to strike the kind of 2.0 and 5.0 balance that I have wanted. Not even corporations have the 2.0, 5.0 thing going on. Political organizations kind of thrive on inefficiency, slow movements, checks and balances, stuff like that.
Barack's Iowa victory has been so clear, it made me want to think in terms of a potential running mate, even though I have said I will not really do so before February 5. Hillary? Edwards? Spitzer? That Virginia guy? Somebody else? Who?
Obama proved something amazing in Iowa, that he could get young people to show up and caucus. This guy is now Mr. Organization Master in my book.