The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Urgent Deadline for the Final Wisdom; Memo From the National Affairs Desk

Posted on | November 4, 2010 | 9 Comments

When I left the cheap motel in Port St. Lucie this morning, my plan had been to swing by and visit relatives near Orlando before heading north toward Atlanta on my way back home. As I drove up I-95, I put in a call to my editor at The American Spectator, to whom I had last spoken at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday when I finally filed my report of Allen West’s victory in Florida’s 22nd District.

“OK, so when’s the deadline for the print edition?” I asked. It’s a monthly magazine and usually the copy deadline for the December-January edition would have been in late October, but I knew they were extending it to include reactions to the Nov. 2 election.

“Well, we’re really kind of full,” said the editor — but I recognized this as the first position in a necessary negotiation. Surely, the election coverage wouldn’t be complete without my contribution from the road.

“All I’m asking for is two pages,” I said. “I’ve got photos and everything. Total coverage, final wisdom. When’s the deadline? How about noon tomorrow.”

“OK. But I can’t promise anything. Like I said, we’re tight.”

That was about 1 p.m., and I’d just had a late breakfast in a Waffle House beside the Interstate near Melbourne. I finished my coffee and kept driving north, thinking through what I had and what it all meant — these notes scrawled on the back of scraps of paper, these stacks of campaign pamphlets and local newspapers, the photos, the audio, the video.

More than a year and thousands of miles had gone past since that day in October 2009 when I hit the road to NY-23 to cover the Doug Hoffman campaign. Since then, I’d been to California, Nevada, Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Alaska, Massachusetts, New York and Florida.

Now, in less than 12 hours, I’d have to boil it all down into one last pile of words in the hope that maybe — maybe — I could make it good enough to deserve inclusion in the December-January print edition.

Up ahead on the highway, I noticed brake lights. Other cars were slowing down as they rounded a curve, which could only mean one thing. I’d been running upwards of 90 mph in the rented Chrysler Sebring, but quickly braked it down to 70. When I got around the curve, just as a suspected, I saw the state patrol — and not just one car, but three.

Clearly, this was a sign.

Further delay might be fatal. My stop in Orlando would have to wait until Friday. If I was going to make that deadline, I’d need to stop soon and get to work. But where?

Honest, folks, I’m working hard here. This extra stop is absolutely necessary, and the off-season rate is $67 a night. Hit the tip jar.

UPDATE: Of course, while I’m trying to figure out what it all means, the news keeps breaking. The co-chairman of the Blue Dog coalition calls on Nancy Pelosi to step down from party leadership. Republicans have “mopped the floor” with Democrats in state legislative races. North Carolina Democrat Rep. Bob Etheridge — who lost by 1,500 votes to Renee Ellmers — is demanding a recount. Ann Marie Buerkle’s race in NY-25 may be decided by absentee ballots.

And “Partridge Family” star David Cassidy has been busted for DUI.

So many important stories to tell . . .

UPDATE II: Frankie Schaeffer has produced the worst post-election analysis ever.

UPDATE III: Man, I suddenly have a strange craving for a Slurpee.

UPDATE IV: Thanks to Nathan in Missouri for hitting the tip jar to cover the cost of a Slurpee or two. Thanks also to Robert in Colorado Springs and to Edmund in San Jose for helping with the gas money.


9 Responses to “Urgent Deadline for the Final Wisdom; Memo From the National Affairs Desk”

  1. Mike
    November 4th, 2010 @ 7:25 pm

    What is it about your visiting Florida? Every damn time you come down here it gets cold. Stay away! I don’t suggest you go jumpin’ into the pool, or even the Atlantic unless you want to activate your cremaster reflex…I made that mistake 30 mins ago! Yowza! You do realize of course that you could have saved the $67 +12.5% “resort taxes” by driving 35 minutes down 192 don’t you? It might not be as peaceful as the sound of lapping ocean breezes, and I’m certain I could have figured out a way to tranquilize the terrier 😉

    In any case, the room and a pack of smokes is on me. Renewed my Spectator subscription today also…wrote on the note they sent me to return it was because you work for them. Keep ’em coming Stacy…just go a little bit easier on my Gators, would ya!

  2. Nathan Cossey
    November 4th, 2010 @ 7:53 pm

    Hey Dan that was the NRCC not the RNC. RNC gave 10k.