Priyanka Aribindi’s “Crooked Conversations” interview with her boss, Tommy Vietor, was fun to listen to. The ep’s titled, “What’s it like to work on a campaign?” Ms. Aribindi does well in getting Vietor to talk about his early political career. He talks about working on campaigns going back to 2004. That’s going back to ancient times. 2004 was the year I joined DailyKos.
First, Vietor spent a lot of time during the 2008 campaign in Iowa. He was part of the in-state team in 2007. The Iowa caucuses are, for better or worse, Yuge/Bigly. Losing Iowa may not do a candidate in, but winning the caucuses can really boost your campaign. Obama’s Iowa win in 2008 put him on top, going into New Hampshire. The narrative at the time was more, can Hillary catch Obama, rather than focusing on how strong a candidate she was.
Vietor’s public displays of affection for Iowa are consistent. It doesn’t sound like he’s saying these things just to be polite.
There’s a scene from The West Wing, from “In the Shadow of Two Gumnen, Part 2,” where Donna’s thinking back to the early days of the Bartlet campaign. The staff’s getting ready to leave New Hampshire (nothing to see there, Bartlet was governor and a CongressCritter from NH). As they’re packing up to go south to South Carolina, Josh tells Donna he can’t carry her in SC. She says, she’ll work as a volunteer, sleep on someone’s floor, etc. Eventually she knew he’d put her on paid staff, if the campaign continued. And so the relationship began.
Vietor’s thoughts echo what Donna did. Tommy tells listeners, get involved in a campaign for a candidate you believe in. Volunteer. Work unpaid. Work hard, be good at it. He reminds everyone that all the success stories you hear of from the Obama administration (Crooked Media, Plouffe, Axelrod, Alyssa) originated with volunteering and working for Obama’s Senate campaign.
Priyanka edits the “What a Day” newsletter for Crooked. Tommy joked that she can’t leave to work on a campaign.
It was 1976. I was a freshman at the University of New Orleans, and an Associate Member of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. As a group, we sat around a table in the University Center’s snack bar. Even though I was an Education major (the college was on the other side of campus), I gravitated to the UC.
One day that fall, I walked up to the UC’s main entrance around lunchtime. A crowd had gathered there. That’s when I saw my first “stomp.” Men, pledges from Alpha Phi Alpha and Omega Psi Phi (didn’t know they were called “Q’s” at that time) did their dance routines, which I learned were called “stomps.”
Then came the ladies of Delta Sigma Theta, Incorporated, followed by the pledge class of the UNO chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Incorporated. That’s when I first heard the “Skee Wee.” So, when Senator Kamala Harris mentioned her sorority, AKA, at book promotion event at DC’s Politics and Prose on Wednesday, her Sorors did a “skee wee.”
It’s a Sorority thing. Honestly, it’s not even a Black thing as much as it’s a Sorority thing. What made it a black thing was a white woman. Ms. Chelsea Janes, recently assigned to political coverage after being on the Washington Nationals beat for years, covered the talk for the Washington Post.
And now she’s infamous. Ms. Janes forgot to check her privilege before entering an event with a mostly-black audience. When the Sorors of AKA did the Skee Wee, this is what she tweeted:
As I often do, I’d like to paraphrase Professor Tolkien by saying, I “cordially dislike” the term, “unpacking,” in the context of a photo, written work, etc. That said, there’s much to unpack here.
Just Fucking Racism
“Screech?” Like a sound a monkey makes? We’re off to a good start here, Chelsea.
I don’t know anything about Janes’ background (other than she’s a member of the Baseball Writers Association). I’ve heard the tone she uses from GDI (God Damn Independent) women from back in my UNO days. Sorority women? Nothing to see here, move along.
But Mz. Chelsea couldn’t help herself. As much as the screech/monkey thing sticks in my thoughts, It’s likely that remark wasn’t made to mock black women. It’s more likely she tweeted that because she just doesn’t like sorority women. Some of the cheers/calls/chants white sorority girls do are pretty screech-y as well. If you didn’t get the right recs, or if you got cut from Sorority Row at your school, this stays with you for life.
Again, I don’t know for sure, but there are many in the Sanders Cult who loathe Kamala Harris. They see her as a much greater threat to the election of their Dear Leader. Maybe Mz. Chelsea is a Berner?
A Cautionary Tale
There are two main takeaways for White People from this event:
Don’t tweet analysis and reactions from an event with a mostly-minority audience. Say where you are. Say you’re enjoying the speaker. Save everything else for when you write up the event. THINK before Tweeting.
If you forget the above, Black Twitter is going to eviscerate you. And you’ll likely deserve it.
I can’t speak personally about what it’s like to get shot. I have friends who are shooting victims. I know a few people who lost their lives in shooting incidents. I sincerely hope that me and mine avoid this experience.
One does not have to be a gunshot victim to realize it’s a horrible thing to happen. It sounds trite to say, I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. While that’s the extreme side of the equation, I certainly wouldn’t wish that anyone in Metro New Orleans shot.
Congressman Steve Scalise
Steve Scalise is the Representative from Louisiana Congressional District 1. That makes him my CongressCracka. He’s an awful human being. The aura of his horrible beliefs is almost visible. I don’t know if he really is a racist, or he just plays one in politics. It doesn’t matter. He appeals and nurtures the worst in the white people of his district.
On June 14, 2017, a gunman shot four people, including #KlanSteve Scalise. While most of the news coverage focused on Scalise, it’s important to remember that he wasn’t the only victim that day. Analysis of the incident suggests that Scalise was a target of opportunity. Standing on second base on a baseball field offered the shooter a clear shot.
The shooter’s bullet found Scalise’s hip. It traveled through his body, doing extensive damage. While the shooting was not a classic “gut shot,” the shot damaged organs and bone alike.
Getting gut shot is like when an automobile gets “t-boned.” There’s that saying that a car is never the same after a collision, and one car hitting another broadside severely damages the target. Insurance companies total out t-boned cars. They’re just not worth the money to repair.
We can’t total out someone who gets gut shot. If the victim survives, we take extraordinary measures to repair their damage. (Assuming the victim is insured, but that’s a different subject.) Physical and mental rehab, post-shooting, presents major challenges for the victim.
Even Steve Scalise.
I have empathy for Steve Scalise, as well as the three others shot on 14-June-2017. As well as other gunshot victims. They don’t deserve to suffer through the recovery process. Many choose not to suffer. They take their own lives. Others are like those t-boned cars. No matter what you do in the way of repairs, they’re not the same.
Steve Scalise is an angry, bitter man. His position in the House of Representatives put him at the top. Had his party maintained control of the body, he would’ve had a legitimate claim at Speaker.
Still, I have empathy. He didn’t deserve to get shot. Putting a bullet in this man did not change the political landscape of Jefferson Parish. Had he retired, or worse, had he died from his injuries, the horrible majority of LA-01 would have replaced him with someone equally awful. The Red/Blue calculus would be unchanged.
We can do a lot of things to stand in opposition to horrible people. We don’t have to wish them the suffering of getting gut shot.
This project has two objectives: Recruiting and Running.
Recruiting – You’re in the car line at, say, St. Louis King of France. You regularly run into a progressive mom while you’re waiting for the kids. Encouraging her is easy for you, but encouraging her for what? Here’s the information.
Running – Candidates need data. They familiarize themselves with the neighborhoods outside of their subdivision and church parish. We give them that data in these profiles, they take it from there.
House districts present interesting opportunities for aspiring politicians. They contain neighborhood clusters. The district boundaries aren’t overly gerrymandered.
Data for each district includes:
Catholic church parishes
Shopping malls/strip malls
Popular restaurants (pizza places, donut shops, etc)
Suggestions for more? Ping me at @yatpundit on Da Twittah, or in Metairie Indivisible on FB. Lists grow into spreadsheets. Spreadsheets grow into databases. Data is evergreen. We improve upon it for the next cycle and the next.
Senate and School Board
After profiling the House districts comes the School Board. Running for School Board requires less political experience than the legislature, but there’s a catch. While in the past, school board elections were “entry level” contests, voters demand more now. Candidates must have a more-direct connection to the school system than just, well, I live in the district.
Beyond House, School Board, Senate
Many more politicians stand for election in Jefferson Parish this November. From the Parish Council to the 24th Judicial District, to the District Attorney, there are many races for us to examine. We should determine which races make sense to run in.
Jefferson Parish Democratic Party
In addition to government positions, we choose the members of the Executive Committee of the party this November. We’ll examine these positions in detail as well.
I’d like to do this with other offices up in this cycle (November, 2019). That means I could use some help! If you’d like
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