June 29th, 2007

Yes, It’s Time For The Second Annual Political BBQ and Hamburger Summit: Frequently Ass-Backward Questions

by Philip Baruth

Good afternoon. As many of you know, only a little more than two weeks remain until the Second Annual Political BBQ and Hamburger Summit will become reality.

The date and time again: July 15, 1-5 pm. The place: North Beach in Burlington.

makin' patties

Now, you and I both know that if you’re serious about attending, and you have a family of any sort, especially if some members of that family are less than three feet tall, you need to start moving a bill through committee now.

And to help you out in that process of clarifying and committing, we’ve assembled these Frequently Ass-Backward Questions and responses:

Q: Isn’t this BBQ really just for politicians and political bloggers?

A: No. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, a good cross-section of the crowd will be made up of office-holders and office seekers. And yes, political bloggers will be out in force, as will their readers, especially hard-core readers of Vermont Daily Briefing, Green Mountain Daily, What’s The Point?, and Rip and Read.

But the greater point of the gathering is to bring together any and all politically minded individuals. People from all parties, and all demographics. And friends of those people, and the children of the friends of those people.

In short, no one in America is excluded from the guest list. It’s a wicked big tent.

Q: I’m a current office-holder, and worried about attending a gathering featuring beer and loose political chatter. Can you give me some assurance that my casual remarks won’t be edited out of context, uploaded to YouTube, diffused across 10 or 15 mega-blogs, and then viewed by 60,000 or 100,000 people as far away as Japan and American Samoa?

A: No.

The Sign

Q: Let’s say that I find myself standing next to someone whose conversation with regard to the upcoming primaries is so scintillating, so entrancing, that I forget to chew the bolus of burger that I have in my mouth. Can my saliva, unaided by any ripping or tearing from my incisors, eventually dissolve the ground beef and fragment of Hannaford’s bun resting on my tongue?

A: That would depend on the duration of the conversation. But for the sake of discussion, let’s assume that you get locked in a serious conversation about the relative merits of Barack Obama with Neil Jensen, head of Vermonters for Obama. And let’s further stipulate a running time of eight or nine weeks for said conversation. It’s theoretically possible that the enzymes in the mouth, such as amylase, which renders starches into maltrose and dextrin, could clear your palette and allow you to answer Neil sometime in early October.

Q: Is it true that candidates sometimes demonstrate leadership skills by quarterbacking a touch-football squad down on the beach?

A: Good question, and yes: several of our pick-up captains went on to bigger and better things. Case in point: T.J. Donovan, whose performance at last year’s BBQ connected with voters, driving him to an impressive electoral take.

TJ looks down field

(Donovan has already RSVP’d to say that he wouldn’t miss this year’s event. Which is the sort of attention to detail you want in a State’s Attorney.)

Q: What should I bring?

A: We’ll take care of meat, chips and drinks. So if you’re hassled that day and simply want to drop in commando-style (bare-handed) feel free. As much as anything, this gathering is to thank readers for reading, politicos for politicking, and everyone else for making Vermont the least-Bush-friendly state in the Union.

But if you have the time and the inclination, and you feel like going hog wild, you might bring a salad or a dessert.

Q: Can I bring my kids?

A: We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Odum fights off dog

Q: I’m a, well, a Republican. It isn’t like a lifestyle choice or anything of that sort; I feel as though I was born Republican, but didn’t really discover it about myself until recently. Will there be a brat with my name on it at the BBQ?

A: Damn straight. We here at VDB have always believed that what consenting adults do in the voting booth is their own affair. In fact, we encourage what we call an “Ask, Tell” policy at the Hamburger Summit.

Enough said.