July 13th, 2009

Palin To Campaign With Democrats, And VDB Can Only Hope She’ll Choose To Progress Us In This Great Country Of Ours

by Philip Baruth

Turns out that Sarah is fleeing the Governor’s office not because she can’t take the heat, or because she’s positioning for a substance-free run at the White House, or because she wants to launch a line of work-out clothes called Sarah Palin Wolfskinz. No, no, apparently she’s leaving to campaign for candidates who share her world view. And these, we learn today, may just, in point of fact, be Democrats. Who knew?

But imagine VDB’s excitement.

Because it just so happens that we’ll have a hot race up and running when Sarah eyes the Democratic fields in this great nation of ours, and there is a chance – a tiny but very real chance – that she may choose our campaign as one of those she will progress, the Good Lord willing.

Which means we’ll have to fit into her sports metaphor of choice, basketball, with which she is comfortable.

And that is to say that she’ll be the point guard, head up to watch the basket and yet eye also on the ball, so, like, one eye up and one eye down . . . and VDB will be, maybe, the person she passes to for Victory . . . and then she’ll go somewhere, and we’ll be . . . . like, the guy selling hot dogs in the stands. Or something sports-related like that.

In any event, not Politics As Usual. If she picks us, that is, and no doubt she will, because we’ve always been there for her and Todd.

So we got that going for us, which, as Bill Murray used to say, is nice. We’ll keep you posted when the Palin camp contacts us, and how the negotiations go.

Late Update, 3:02 pm:

Already excited Vermonters are writing in, hoping to be part of the exciting bipartisan campaign events, when Sarah Palin passes to VDB for Victory, and stumps for us. Longtime reader Ed, for instance, wants to be progressed by Sarah too:


It’s this kind of post-partisan, bi-coastal, BIG IDEA thinking that sets you apart from the dog pack.

Please reserve two tables for us at the lichen-burger dinner. It will be an experience to be “up close and personal” with the Palins.



July 11th, 2009

Sanctimonious Hypocrite Alert: Turns Out Santorum May Have Helped Ensign Navigate Choppy Waters of Infidelity and Cover-up

by Philip Baruth

Don’t know about you, but we’ve had some trouble getting worked up about the John Ensign sex and hush money scandal over the last few weeks. Sure, he invited needy old staffers into his home and then began an affair with the wife; sure, he hooked up employment elsewhere when the husband got wind of it; and sure, Ensign got his parents to pay the couple $96,000 in hush money. But come on: after Mark Sanford and Sarah Palin, Ensign looked like a third-rate newsmaker. Until today, when we realized that there was a Santorum connection, and there are few things VDB loves more.

santorum and brood

Turns out, according to Politico, that Ensign’s surprise pre-emptive confessional press conference may well have been triggered by a back-channel call from old Man-on-Dog himself.

In other words, when the spurned husband contacted Fox News with the scoop, Fox sat on it as long as they dared, but more than long enough to allow their stalwart correspondant Rick Santorum to tip Ensign off to the coming storm. Ever the sticklers for ethics, these folks.

But adding Santorum to the mix does bump the story onto our hypocrisy radar screen, no doubt about that. Okay, now you have VDB’s attention, Conservative Congressional sex addicts.

Pass the popcorn, please.

July 8th, 2009

Consider That Barn Raised: The State Senate Campaign Hits 100 Donors, and Smashes First Early Fundraising Goal

by Philip Baruth

On Monday, I wrote a post saying that we needed 25 more Barnraisers to put together our first 100 donors, and that instead of a July 15th deadline, we needed to hit the goal by July 12. Which left only a week, seven short days. Honestly, I thought we could hit 100, though it might be tight at the end of the seventh day. And I was prepared to work it hard right until midnight Sunday. What I wasn’t prepared for is what happened: you got the job done in 36 hours.

Honestly, it was an amazing experience, watching the Act Blue numbers click forward. And in addition to meeting our 100 donor goal, you took us well past our original early dollar goal. Can’t tell you how grateful I am.

I know it’s a tough economy; I know you have a thousand priorities for your household income. So I know how much it means that you chose to back this campaign. All I can say is that I’m working as hard as humanly possible, even now, to make the candidacy worthy of your faith.

Consider the barn raised. And is it less of a barn somehow because it’s virtual? Are your collective and individual achievements dimmed somehow because you did your work with a mouse, rather than a miter saw? Far from it.

You raised a barn built entirely of belief.

That’s astounding. And it will have folks in these parts talking for quite a while. Thanks again.

July 6th, 2009

DEFCON FIVE ALERT: 25 More Barnraisers Sorely Needed, In Just The Next 7 Days (Holy Netroots: Now Just 1 More Needed, And Yes, Friends, You Read That Right)

by Philip Baruth

Back in high school, we used to do this thing to one another: step on the back of a guy’s sneaker, just as he was in the act of picking up his foot, which would slip the shoe off and make the guy shuffle and break stride. This was known as giving someone a flat tire. Childish, yes. But also a fine metaphor for life in general, and politics specifically.

A few weeks back, this State Senate campaign put out a call for early donors, and we tried deliberately to throw out the old system, in which only large donors get cool knicknames. We created a system in which all of our earliest donors, regardless of donation size, get early but lasting recognition: they’re now known as the Barnraisers.

Barnraisers are the first 100 people to help, pure and simple. And no matter what, those 100 will always be able to say that they were there first, when the task was toughest.

The goal was to reach that 100 donor mark by July 15th, the first reporting deadline. But then, out of nowhere, came the flat tire: I realized that while the report needs to be filed by the 15th, it covers donations only through the 12th.


We’re now at 75 donors, which is fantastic over a seven-week period. But that leaves just 7 days to reach 100, which, even for English majors, is . . . uh . . . okay, it’s somewhere between 3 and 4 donors a day, although I can’t figure out exactly where in between.

Today, for instance, 3 (or maybe 4) of you would have to donate, or contact friends and ask them to donate. Or pulse your Facebook and Twitter systems and ask all of those digital acquaintances to donate. Can that happen? Yes. But not without action. Not without actual physical clicking of mouses. Mice, rather.

Here’s the link. Yes, that’s right. Here it is.

If I were Glenn Beck, I would simply cry now. Oh yes.

But I’m not Glenn Beck, and the fact that I’m not is, in my opinion, only one of my qualifications for office. So I’ll just ask again for your help getting this campaign up and running, so that we maximize the chances the organization is strong enough to compete when things heat up.

Which is to say this: the earlier you support the candidates you prefer, the greater the chances you’ll find your choices preferable come Election Day. We’ll update you as the count climbs, and the barn gets built.

And we can’t promise we won’t begin liveblogging if the count gets stuck at 93 or 94. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Late Update, 3:50 pm:

Never let it be said that the Vermont netroots are dormant. In the last 5 hours, we’ve found 8 new donors. That’s just about one-third of the 25 new donors we needed. At that pace, we could have our 100 Barnraisers by tomorrow lunch time, which would make for a fairly awesome lunch hour.

Deep thanks to all of those who went from passive to active today. Just 17 more new donors to go, and we’ll have this barn raised. Raised right up high, where folks can see it.

Later Update, 4:54 pm:

Okay, make that 15 to go. Apparently people ate their Wheaties today.

Must Go To Bed Update, 10:14 pm:

Just 13 left, as an old, old friend from high school just reappeared on the scene via Facebook, and made the last contribution of the day. An amazing day. Thank you all for making it amazingly good, rather than amazingly bad.

Only 13 more Barnraisers needed, in 6 days. As George Bush used to like to say, before he tried to take over the world, “I like my odds.”

Tuesday Morning Update, 8:18 am:

Whatever got going yesterday is still going today: we’re down to just 10 Barnraiser slots left. Almost single digits. Which means we could realistically hit the 100 mark over the course of the work day today.

Wow. What a series of tubes.

And people behind them.


Later Tuesday Morning, 9:49 am:

Eight left. 8. By definition: “the cardinal number between seven and nine; 8; VIII.” And that’s not a lot, folks.

Yet Later, 10:15 am:

Seven left. 7.

Don’t Stop the Barnraising Rock Update, 10:26:

Six. 6.

Tuesday, 2:34 pm:

Five. 5. Just went to do Fran Stoddard’s Writers on the Future panel downtown, part of the Quad Centennial, and came back to find that we’d hit 20 donors since yesterday. Brilliant.

And that, of course, means that there are only as many Barnraisers left as the fingers on your hand. Counting the thumb, of course.

Don’t stop now.

Tuesday Late Afternoon Update, 4:17 pm:

Okay, not quite sure how to say this, but for some reason that I really don’t quite understand someone very famous whom I’ve never met just made one huge donation, right in the nick of time.

Which is strange and odd and wonderful. And which leaves 3 slots left.

And three, of course, is a magic number.

Penultimate Update, 4:44 pm:

2 more. Have to go teach a night class. What a day.

But one last question: who, exactly, will be the 100th Barnraiser?

Ultimate Update, 7:58 pm:

The final liveblogged moment is here. We need only one more Barnraiser. We only need the Act Blue counter to budge once more. So let us give the moment the dignity it’s due. In fact, let us read aloud, together, from the book of Bono:

One love
One blood
One life
You got to do what you should
One life
With each other
One life
But we’re not the same
We get to
Carry each other
Carry each other


July 4th, 2009

PALIN TO ANNOUNCE RESIGNATION SOON; A Nation Reels, As Oil And Wolfshooting Helicopter Stocks End Day In Tailspin; Analysts Trace Palin “Funk” to Stray VDB Comment; Publisher Weeps

by Philip Baruth

Right, just VDB’s luck: we drive to Upstate New York for the Fourth, necessitating that we forego access to the Internet for about 4 hours, and Sarah Palin announces her resignation, for no freaking apparant reason, and we’re left to pick up the scoop a full forty minutes after the fact. Damn our luck. Damn our luck to Heck and Back.

sarah, failin

But we can’t help but ask the obvious. Is this a reaction to our saying casually, in passing in a post last week, that Mark Sanford was capable of absurdist political theater “at the Palin comedic level. Mark VDB’s words”??

If so, then, basically, we’re sorry, Sarah.

We didn’t know the words would hurt, and drive you away. VDB apologizes. We’re abjectly sorry. So please forgive us, and stay, and make our lives mirthful again. There is no other, at this point, but Mitt. And that’s a sterile, hair-gelled mirth that curdles too quickly.

Come back, Sarah, and mum’s the word. Never crack a joke at your expense again. VDB swears it. Please, Sarah. Please. Seriously, please.

In fact, pleasey-pleasey lemon-squeezy.

If that carries any additional weight. And it should.

July 1st, 2009

Funnyman Al Franken Ruled Senate Victor in Unanimous Vote; Will Now Begin Enacting Secret VDB Agenda and Stuff

by Philip Baruth

The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled unanimously in favor of Al Franken, and called for him to be certified for entry into the Senate, leaving Pawlenty no room to wiggle, and Coleman no option other than a brief, graceless concession speech in a small room at the local Holiday Inn.

The Court’s ruling was brief though perspicacious: “Al Franken received the highest number of votes legally cast and is entitled under Minn. Stat. § 204C.40 (2008) to receive the certificate of election as United States Senator from the State of Minnesota. Mr. Franken is good enough, he is smart enough, and gosh darn it, a preponderance of the evidence has demonstrated that people like him.”

Kidding about that last sentence.

But, you know, it was still a killer ruling and everything.

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