POLITICAL NOTES FROM A ROAD TRIP, by dog’s eye view

Had the pleasure of driving from northern Virginia to Rhode Island in late July.  Observed scads of Obama bumperstickers; maybe 2-3 for McCain over the entire week (and this included treks on the Merritt Parkway through affluent Stamford and Greenwich, as well as the Palisades Parkway).

***  Purpose of trip was visiting family friends, fellow USMC brats who are about 10-12 years older and who lived abroad when their dad served in China in the late 1950s. (Youngest daughter learned to speak Chinese before English.)  Their dad was a genuine war hero, with service at Tarawa, a particularly gruesome WWII Pacific battle that he was lucky to survive.  Ken Burns included footage of soldiers from the battle; daughters have copy of the footage and Burns cut away seconds before their dad appeared.  During the war, their mother saw the full newsreel with footage of her husband while out at the movies one night; it was the only way she knew he was recently alive.  The family has kept the colonel’s letters from the Pacific campaign; several were redacted by wartime censors.

The daughters are staunch military supporters and participate frequently in USMC reunions and other functions on behalf of their late father.

Parked my car with its Obama stickers under their tree and decided not to bring up politics, since took my hosts for McCain’s natural base.  (I thought they would probably view my travels and volunteering for Obama with amusement or polite concern.)

McCain supporters?  Not a one.  One daughter’s husband — recently retired from 30 years as professor at a military academy  — said he was a longtime Republican and hoped the GOP lost big so they could lose “the crazies” who have taken over his party.  His wife had brought  a supply of cute cups I’d not seen yet — frosted plastic “Obama 2008” with a little donkey on them.  (Think she obtained them online for a party (!) she’d thrown at her house.)

Day it was launched, I played the McCain “celebrity” ad for my hostess from the laptop; she said that she mostly heard “Obama Obama Obama” from the ad, nothing about McCain and she didn’t think it was very effective.

My host was the only one possibly supporting McCain — he’d voted for Bush in 2000, is concerned about taxes and welfare issues.  I would put him at even odds for not voting at all.  He is not enthusiastic about either candidate.  He is troubled by his choice.

The daughters’ adult children are predominantly Obama supporters, with one reporting that her husband was trying to convince her that McCain is not actually a Republican.

***  Dinner on the way home:  for last leg, beginning in Maryland, took a scenic route down the Eastern Shore through colonial era towns set among abundant fields of corn and other crops while listening to Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture CD.  Sun was setting when I pulled off the road to dine at a waterside restaurant known for its seafood.  Was photographing sunset across the water and enjoying my one glass of pinot grigio when woman dining alone at next table started talking to me.

“Allison” was charming; 48 but I’d guessed she was in her 30s.  (Slender, long blonde hair, Philip Johnson/Leon Trotsky eye glasses that looked really stylish on her; I’d assumed she was a writer or artist or something by her dress and demeanor.)  She is married to a Naval Academy graduate who’s now a business executive; she teaches high school.   To “what do you do?”  I responded that I was volunteering for Obama; she found that interesting.  She’s a self-described conservative married to an even more conservative man; neither is enthused about McCain.  They didn’t like anyone who ran this year; she wouldn’t say who she would prefer to support and I did not follow up on who her political heroes are.

She’s not inclined to vote for Obama at this time — she said she’d be more enthusiastic about voting for him 4 or 8 years from now (where have we heard THAT before?), but it appeared she’d been observing him closely even while absorbing GOP talking points.  She had more reservations about Michelle — asked me flat out what I thought of Michelle.  (I murmured that she appears to be a great mother and wouldn’t it be awful for any of us to be in the spotlight 24/7?)

FWIW, she also does not like Hillary Clinton, and sees Bill as a problem.  (I don’t, but that seems to put me in minority.)  She volunteered that she was horrified by Clinton’s impeachment; that he was “an idiot” with a 21 year old woman (recall, she teaches girls slightly younger) but that the GOP went way too far.

“Allison” said she has called herself an Independent ever since the impeachment.  That was too much for her.

“Allison” is deeply concerned about McCain’s fitness for office.  She feels he is a “hothead” who is going to make our problems worse in overreacting (believe she meant overseas).  She thinks he would have been a better president in 2000, but his time has passed.  (This is my view as well.)

In response to various questions, I told “Allison” that, in my personal experience, lots of moderate GOP are working on behalf of Obama and that I personally feel he’s going to be a centrist; that anyone who expects him to be a liberal is going to be disappointed; that he’s going to be constrained by a terrible set of circumstances on what he can do, but that he is serious “as a heart attack” about bringing a polarized country together.

“Allison” does not like GW Bush either; told me she and her husband disbelieved their friends in 2000 who swore GW Bush was the next great thing.  Not sure she voted for Bush in 2004.

She has no guess on who Obama’s VP will be, and no dog in the fight there.  She thinks Obama will pick a woman.

She thanked me for “giving me something to think about” (her words); I’d guess she might still vote for McCain but not without reservations.  Really nice woman who enjoys sunsets as much as I do.  Enjoyed talking to her.  Wish I got to her neck of the woods more often.

The seafood dinner was splendid.

And ready to go on another roadtrip the moment a purpose materializes!  Live for roadtrips.

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51 Comments

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51 responses to “POLITICAL NOTES FROM A ROAD TRIP, by dog’s eye view

  1. Nice trip, nice pics. Peeps if you want to see the full size version of the pics, and you should, they are lovely images just click on the thumbnail.

  2. Hey we crossed the 20,000 hits mark!

  3. dnd

    dog,
    Great piece. Interesting that the military folks don’t care for McCain. That jives with the fund raising numbers from the military.

    And great pics. I particularly like the composition on the last one.

  4. dnd

    Um, that should be “jibes”, not “jives.” 😳

  5. horsedooty

    nice story Dog good reporting….I liked the part about the military not caring for mcSame.

  6. harbor

    Love your writing style…always very conversational and illuminating…and the pictures are fabulous! I hope your observations reflect a true indication of how the country will vote in November. Another term under the banner of the party most owned by big business is unthinkable!

  7. dog's eye view

    Thanks guys. I was surprised about the politics, pleasantly so, of course. Did not see that coming.

    On developing a market for the Corsi book: LATimes column by Tim Rutten

    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-rutten16-2008aug16,0,846392.column

    The extreme-right way to make a buck

    Jerome Corsi, author of a pitiful new slam on Obama, is the product of a publishing industry that feeds off extremism.

  8. dnd

    From the Rutten article: “Corsi’s book is published by Threshold Editions, a division of Simon & Schuster, which hired right-wing political operative Mary Matalin to edit the imprint.”

    Isn’t it lovely that Mary Matalin feels it’s ok to lie and slander to further her cause? Or maybe she’s just doing it for the money. Either way…

  9. dog's eye view

    Very disappointed in Matalin. She had very little credibility to spare, and has damaged herself.

    It’s one thing to advocate for someone; another to tear someone down with lies and misrepresentations.

    I hope we don’t see much of her pundit work in future, and that TV stops giving Corsi airtime.

  10. That’s pretty disgusting for someone of her stature to be involved in such a piece of filth. Really disappointing.

  11. horsedooty

    I am not disappointed in Matalin or surprised at this. She is a snake and anyone that loves the current VP is just living up to her assholeness, if that is a word. This is exactly what I expected from the likes of her.

  12. dog's eye view

    Headline of the day, from NY Times:

    At Least the Airsickness Bags Are Free.

    (or: why dog prefers the open road)

    Turbulence in the airline industry.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/17/business/17fees.html?hp=&pagewanted=all

  13. colleen

    Gee, dog, you are so nice. I can hardly talk to the Republicans I do know, and you were talking even to Republican strangers! The trip sounded restful, informative, and lovely, and the pictures are beautiful. I’m thinking about your prediction that Obama will likely be moderate, and although I agree, I, of course, would much prefer a wild, left-wing radical who shares my socialist views. Oh well, I’ll take what I can get, I suppose.

    By the way, I was reading somewhere earlier that the votr counting in Ohio could be a problem again this year and there’s some huge number of potential voters who may be disenfranchised again. If I can find it I’ll try to link it although I’ve been spammed a lot lately and I’m getting a little gun shy.

  14. Karolenna

    Colleen,

    Just quickly checking in before watching the Rick Warren “event” on television. Jennifer Brunner is the Secretary of State and is trying to “fix” everything that went wrong with Blackwell. Blackwell was definitely out to get Bush re-elected. He put voting machines in known Republicans precincts and the blue color workers who could not afford to wait for hours just simply gave up and went to work, while saying “we put out many extra machines”.

    There are some precincts where Brunner wants to use strictly paper ballots, which would be fine with me. I personally vote via mail, but sometimes you wonder what could happen there.

    There’s usually something in the paper at least once a week about Brunner and what she’s trying to do. Next time I see something I’ll post it. BTW, were are you located?

  15. I’m going to have to catch the evangelical fest in repeat, I am not going to miss Michael taking this 8th gold of the games.

  16. Chef Sheila

    Great Commentary Dog,

    You should do this more often and when can we expect a book?!

    I get to watch 54 minutes of it. That will give me some depth for it.

    I’m glad Obama is first!

  17. Chef Sheila

    ” Pastor rick Warren, “Have to learn to disagree without demonizing each other.” Nice quote that was met with cheers.

  18. Chef Sheila

    He’s nailing the abortion issue soundly and made a great middle of the road argument.

  19. dnd

    I’m Tivoing the Warren thing. Can’t miss the Rox v. Nats.
    Any commentary from those watching would be appreciated.

  20. peeking in and watching at the same time…. Hi everyone!

  21. Chef Sheila

    Hi Burrito

    Hey this is awesome. No arguments. Clapping when agreement which is a lot! A whole for OBama.

    Can’t wait to see McCain. If I miss some, let me know.

  22. Chef Sheila

    Ok Taxes, Define rich……

    Obama, “If you’ve got book sales of 25 million…..” Roar of laghter !

    “if you are making 150,000 a year you are middle class”. If you are making more than 250,000 the top 3 or 4 % of the country, you are well off.

  23. Our crack religious reporter on the job!

  24. Chef Sheila

    Obama is doing a great job. There are a lot of clapping in agreement. Now I know there are going to be a lot of clapping for McCain too.

    But what I do know, is that there is some evangelical that will be comfortable in voting for him now. Minds will be changed tonight.

  25. Chef Sheila

    What is worth dying for.

    Obama, “American Freedom”.

    What would be the criteria to bring in troups on Genicide.

    “I think its a judgement call.” “We have it with in our power.” Work with the international community” Claps.

  26. colleen

    Hi, everyone

    Karolenna, I’m near Pittsburgh

    For Barack supposedly not having a very large percentage of the evangelicals, he sure is getting a warm welcome and lots of applause

    BBL

  27. Chef Sheila

    I have to go. I’m sure you guys will give me the infor later.

    Special dinner tonight!

  28. I thought Obama did a great job. To bad McCain was in the green room taking notes, and rehearsing his talking points…..lol……I am biased, I can’t stand McSame.

  29. oh wow, he was in a cone of silence…..

  30. Tonyb39

    dog
    I really enjoyed your piece! I also find with my Republican clients a total lack of any like for McCain,most will vote for him though.I also agree with you that Sen. Obama will be more of a centrist than a liberal and I’m really glad for that.I think in order to be a successful president he will have to be.I hope he is in the Bill Clinton mode as far as the budget goes and not like Reagan.I like you dog your always thoughtful and try to seek common ground…Thankyou and I like your blog here!

  31. McCain is basically repeating his Town Hall talking points…. I know because I went to one of his town halls. I have heard this all before.

  32. “oh wow, he was in a cone of silence…..”

    That’s a nice way of saying he has his head up George Bush’s ass.

  33. 5 million is rich…lol….McCain what an @ss.

  34. colleen

    dress code for the night, dark suit, no tie. Barack wears a flag pin, John, no. John need a makeover, I hate his hair. Cindy’s, too.

  35. Cindy dressed like an escapee from a Jaquline Suzanne novel.

  36. Phelps race for his 8th gold will be at 10:55 Eastern

  37. Really don’t you think she dresses like a hollywood madam? And wha’ts with the mullet hair-don’t?

  38. colleen

    she does, Brian, and her hair color is what I call “dance hall gold”

  39. Well in the words of her very own husband:

    “At least I don’t plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt.”

  40. colleen

    he has such a way with words…

  41. colleen

    I’m falling asleep. Tomorrow…

  42. How can you not stay up to see Michael take Spitz’s record?

  43. Karolenna

    McCain made a “show” out of it and seemed to “get by” with a lot of applause. He is so pathetic but unfortunately so many seem to like the empty suit (as they like to call Obama). I still like the Vietnam POWs Against McCain. Makes a lot of sense to me considering who his father was. Besides, I’d do “almost” anything to get a D in the WH based on what we have had these past eight years. McCain is nothing more than a Rove talking point man.

  44. America wins the 400m medley relay, Michael Phelps takes his 8th gold medal of the 2008 Summer Games!

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