The Other McCain

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

My Day (and Night) in D.C.

Posted on | December 7, 2011 | 34 Comments

ROSSLYN, Virginia
Greetings from the ninth-floor office overlooking the Potomac River that is headquarters of The American Spectator. I’m working on a borrowed computer that doesn’t have a slot for the digital memory chip that contains photos and video I shot today at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s Presidential Candidate Forum. So I’ll upload that tomorrow. Meantime, word pictures will have to do.

My reasons for coming down to D.C. today were fourfold:

  1. A 1 p.m. interview with Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nevada);
  2. The RJC forum;
  3. Trying to talk my bosses at the Spectator into giving me some travel expense money; and
  4. A party tonight on Capitol Hill.

So I began by renting a car. The deer-damaged KIA finally has been repaired, but I’ve still got to pay some fees to the DMV to get the tags and stuff, and I have a visceral aversion to dealing with bureaucracy. Anyway . . .

Raining cats, dogs and other small mammals in the D.C. area today. This means traffic was even worse of a mess than usual. Washington is full of people who can’t drive worth crap on a clear sunny day, and a rainstorm is an almost insuperable challenge for these incompetent vehicular menaces. The District of Columbia is the only place in America where they offer the driver’s exam in braille, and the laws against “discrimination” are so stringent in Washington that it’s considered a human-rights violation to deny a license to the mentally handicapped. 

D.C. gives licenses to people who are too stupid to figure out how to buy a bus pass, and the taxis are all driven by guys from Ethiopia and Eritrea, where the nuances of such words as “merge” and “yield” seem to have been lost in translation. At least 15% of the drivers in our nation’s capital are recently released inmates of St. Elizabeth’s. I’m pretty sure the guy who cut me off on Constitution Avenue today was John Hinckley.

Did I ever mention I hate driving in D.C.? And it’s a deeply personal hatred. Everybody here complains about “traffic,” as if it were some amorphous inevitable thing. But bad traffic is caused by bad drivers, so every trip into town is for me a non-stop cussfest against the idiots responsible for this godawful mess. Anyway . . .

So I was a half-hour late getting to the Russell Senate Office Building for my interview with Dean Heller, but they understood that this was not my fault, and the interview was wonderful. Heller is a great conservative facing a 2012 challenge from Shelley Berkeley, a corrupt liberal pawn of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid axis. Go give Senator Heller $25 or $50 for his re-election campaign now.

Once we’d finished the interview, I hailed a cab and went to the Ronald Reagan Center for the RJC shindig. No sooner had I signed in at the media credentials table than I encountered Texas Gov. Rick Perry and his entourage entering the auditorium. Got some pictures then went inside where Newt Gingrich was talking. And talking and talking.

Let’s face it: If you want a president who can spontaneously deliver a five-minute policy seminar on any topic under the sun, Newt’s you’re guy. Dude opens his mouth and entire paragraphs come tumbling out, each paragraph including at least one “frankly” and one “fundamentally.”

The RJC audience seemed to dig Newt’s act, but frankly, I’m fundamentally opposed to his candidacy.

Didn’t stick around to hear Perry’s speech, although I’m told his three-point plan for Middle East peace was excellent, if only he could have remembered the third point.

Of course, I missed Rick Santorum’s RJC speech this morning. Fortunately, Michael Memoli of the Los Angeles Times was there:

Former Sen. Rick Santorum said there’s good reason why he’s talking a lot more about foreign policy than other Republican candidates.
“Because I believe that there’s a very good chance that by next election day, the national security issues in this country will be of higher priority in the eyes of the American people than the economy,” he said Wednesday morning in Washington. . . .
Invoking the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the former Pennsylvania senator slammed President Obama for a policy of “appeasement” with regard to Iran that has allowed that nation to become a much bigger threat.
“I know people in this country are tired of war. But our Pearl Harbor already happened,” he said.
Iran has grown stronger because of Obama’s indifference, he argued. The so-called Arab spring should have begun in Iran in 2009, but Obama failed to support democratic uprisings there. And yet he threw an ally of the United States and Israel — Egypt — “under the bus” in the face of demonstrations that included the Muslim Brotherhood.
“The president, for every thug and hooligan, for every radical Islamist, has had nothing but appeasement,” he said. “Ladies and gentlemen, learn from history.”

My sarcastic friend Dave Weigel mocks the “Santorum surge,” but Dave will be laughing out the other side of his face when Santorum claims victory Jan. 3 in Des Moines. Go give Rick Santorum $25, $50 or $100 just to spite Weigel. Anyway . . .

So I was standing out in the lobby after the Gingrich speech with several other reporters (including S.A. Miller of the New York Post, whom I used to work with at The Washington Times) who were on Newt stakeout duty, and guess who walked by? Scooter Libby, who is now a foreign-policy expert at the Hudson Institute.  That was cool.

The reporters and I were standing around talking Iowa caucus travel plans when — whoosh! — a couple of camera guys took off running: Newt had been spotted, and I raced to catch up with the scrum, getting pictures and videos.

“No more questions,” Newt was saying, as he posed for pictures with some of the event attendees. But reporters kept sticking microphones in his face and asking questions he’d just said he wouldn’t answer. The TV camera guys were really just shooting B-roll, and I was mainly trying not to get trampled by the scrum. There is nothing quite like a mob of media surrounding a Republican presidential front-runner.

Oh, and Trampled By The Scrum would be a great album title for an alternative-rock band.

Then I hopped a Metro train across the river here to The American Spectator office where I wasn’t really surprised to learn that they didn’t have any travel expense money for me today.

Maybe next week. Gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today. Hit the freaking tip jar.

Now I’m due for a party tonight hosted by the Prosper Group, an “online strategy” operation smart enough to invite me to their party. Expect incriminating pictures tomorrow of Republican operatives having decadent fun, some of whom will be buttonholing me in the near future to write nice things about their clients.

This is why you pay me the medium bucks, eh?


34 Responses to “My Day (and Night) in D.C.”

  1. Adjoran
    December 7th, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

    If we paid Presidents by the word, we couldn’t afford Newt.

    Good line about Perry – “…if only he could have remembered the third point” – especially from a guy whose first-choice candidate couldn’t remember his first point in a sit-down interview.

    But Weigel is not your friend.  He may be cordial enough, even put the occasional lunch tab on his expense account, but when it comes down to it he is a leftist propagandist who wants conservatives to fail. 

    You think Newt or John McCain stab you in the back?  Those guys at least use paring knives; you can recover.  When Weigel senses the time is right, he will gut you with a Kyocera ceramic chef’s knife.  You’ll be fileted, flambeed, and displayed before you can say, “Have you met my friend Dave Weig-AAAAARGH.”

  2. Joanie Scott
    December 7th, 2011 @ 6:50 pm

    This article is exactly why I read your blog every day. Love your snark.

  3. richard mcenroe
    December 7th, 2011 @ 8:12 pm

    Newt Gingrich co-sponsored 418 bills with Nancy Pelosi.  WTH kind of conservative does that?

    What the hell kind of conservative thinks we NEED 418 new laws?

  4. Steve in TN
    December 7th, 2011 @ 8:16 pm

    Scooter Libby deserved better.

  5. Anonymous
    December 7th, 2011 @ 8:56 pm

    Thanks for passing on Memoli’s careful documentation of Santorum’s severe dissociative disorder.

    The only way for Republicans to get around Obama’s foreign policy flank from the “hawk” direction is to clone and nominate Genghis Khan. Obama makes Bush look like David Dellinger. He’s killed more Pakistanis this year than cancer has.

  6. Anonymous
    December 7th, 2011 @ 8:58 pm

    The best on the net!

  7. Anonymous
    December 7th, 2011 @ 8:59 pm

    Just like the Contract with America….Gingrich believes that he sticks his name to enough new laws….eventually one will turn out decent and then he can claim all the credit for it.

  8. Anonymous
    December 7th, 2011 @ 9:05 pm

    Wow … the Libby mention brought forth flashbacks about that Hiss-y fit. And based on what I wrote back when, now I’m wondering why Republicans aren’t agitating for a pardon for Scooter Li … er, Bradley Manning.

  9. Garym
    December 7th, 2011 @ 10:35 pm

    Funny, You wrote “scrum”, but for some reason I kept reading it as “scum”. Hmmmm.

  10. Dianna Deeley
    December 7th, 2011 @ 11:02 pm

    “Bad traffic is caused by bad drivers.”

    As a Bay Area resident, I couldn’t agree with you more. There is a reason I try not to get behind the wheel, particularly if there’s any reason to hurry. I’m (at best) an OK driver. If I’m tired, irate, or impatient (default conditions, these days), I’m a disaster waiting to happen, and it’s only by the grace of God that I don’t cause accidents.

    At least I admit it.

    Too many of my fellow Bay Area drivers will not acknowledge their short-comings, and allow those extra 15 to 30 minutes that will not imperil their fellows.

  11. Dianna Deeley
    December 7th, 2011 @ 11:06 pm

    I’m a fan – personally speaking – of the well-placed knife, that takes a moment to declare itself.

  12. K-Bob
    December 7th, 2011 @ 11:51 pm

    We have to be careful with a “Newt” drinking game.  One too many franklys…

  13. SignPainterGuy
    December 7th, 2011 @ 11:58 pm

    Saw the intro at the A-C page, thought I`d let you in on a secret. There are mini-card readers that fit the usb ports that are the size of flash drives; I have one for my compact digital camera, but have a larger reader for the larger memory cards in my dslr camera. Both are fairly inexpensive !

  14. Dave
    December 8th, 2011 @ 12:43 am

    Before Route 66 was poured into Northern Virginia the drivers were much better.  It was quite easy to drive from the District to Arlington or elsewhere and when you put your turn signal on other drivers gave just a bit to allow you to manuver.

    Of course that was before everyone became more important than the other commuters running to work.

  15. Joe
    December 8th, 2011 @ 1:12 am

    Enjoy a nice big meal of compromise! Mmmmmm, tastes like Scozzafava!

  16. Adjoran
    December 8th, 2011 @ 1:21 am

    And when he says, “Lean Six Sigma,” everybody drinks a double!

  17. Adjoran
    December 8th, 2011 @ 1:25 am

    DC traffic isn’t all because of bad drivers, although they certainly have no shortage of those, either, and they do their part.

    The highway construction is about a quarter century behind:  the place developed so much they can’t afford to buy the property to put new highways and lanes.  It’s become one of those problems which can only be addressed by a mass exodus of people, jobs, and money from the area, which would be a good thing all around.

  18. K-Bob
    December 8th, 2011 @ 1:44 am

    The one thing about D.C. drivers that drives me the maddest is the “DC Stop Sign Lag”.

    They drive up to the stop sign.
    They stop.
    They wait.
    They look around for a nice, long while.
    Then they go.

    That’s when there’s no traffic on the cross road. Add traffic on that crossing road, and multiply by 2 million (remember, most drivers in DC are not licensed in DC).

  19. K-Bob
    December 8th, 2011 @ 1:47 am

    Of course, they wait a nice, long time because they work for the Government.

    And here’s a nice fact about the Post Office.  Two days ago the K-Missus called the USPS number for ordering stamps for Christmas cards.  She was told it would take a week to ten days before they would arrive.

    She said, “never mind.”

  20. K-Bob
    December 8th, 2011 @ 2:02 am

    Stacy, would you please weigh in on this topic from Drudge today:

    Federal judge: Montana blogger is not journalist
    “”‘If anyone can self-proclaim themselves to
    be media, the concept of media is rendered worthless,’ Padrick said. ‘When everyone is media, the concept of media is gone.'”

  21. Joe
    December 8th, 2011 @ 2:11 am

    Smells like GOP establishment. 

  22. Adjoran
    December 8th, 2011 @ 2:24 am

    Turns out we haven’t heard ALL the sex scandal stuff in Gingrich’s closet yet.  No word on the mother, so his supporters can’t call her a money-grubbin’, lyin’ ‘ho’ with financial problems and a history of workplace complaints yet, but he will have a hard time denying paternity of this kid:

  23. Adjoran
    December 8th, 2011 @ 2:26 am

    The judge clearly misread the state shield law, but that’s just par for the course when you go pro se on complicated litigation.  It’s one thing to argue your traffic ticket or small claim, quite another a case with serious liability.

  24. K-Bob
    December 8th, 2011 @ 5:01 am

    I’ve always been curious about why officers of the court have determined that “reporters” are somehow due special privileges under the first amendment.

    I never found a persuasive argument for giving officers of the court (LEO’s, Lawyers, clerks, etc.) special privilege when it comes to filing motions, appeals, or any other interaction necessary to represent a citizen (as opposed to that citizen doing those things directly). For example, Why should an “attorney” be able to talk with a judge about a case, but not the citizen involved?

    So similarly, in my view of the Constitution (which is the only view that matters, as we all know), I see no actual need for a special class of people who are eligible to “report.” I say let the market decide.

    But then, I never worked in that business.

  25. Adjoran
    December 8th, 2011 @ 7:18 am

    Well, somehow, in spite of your objections, the state passed the shield law, which specifically included “electronic transmissions” and “internet” in its scope, which the judge chose to ignore.

  26. Bob Belvedere
    December 8th, 2011 @ 7:45 am

    Now that’s the kind of thinking we need in our government officials!

  27. Bob Belvedere
    December 8th, 2011 @ 7:47 am

    That now happens every-Goddamn-where.

    It seems many drivers have never heard of ‘The Rolling Stop’.

  28. Bob Belvedere
    December 8th, 2011 @ 7:49 am

    If you want to understand how the legal profession functions in this country, study the history of the guilds.

  29. Bob Belvedere
    December 8th, 2011 @ 7:50 am

    I’m convinced!

  30. » District of Clumsier
    December 8th, 2011 @ 9:20 am

    […] Robert Stacy McCain had to stay over the night before last in Washington, and getting there was decidedly less than half the fun: Raining cats, dogs and other small mammals in the D.C. area today. This means traffic was even worse of a mess than usual. Washington is full of people who can’t drive worth crap on a clear sunny day, and a rainstorm is an almost insuperable challenge for these incompetent vehicular menaces. The District of Columbia is the only place in America where they offer the driver’s exam in braille, and the laws against “discrimination” are so stringent in Washington that it’s considered a human-rights violation to deny a license to the mentally handicapped. […]

  31. Tennwriter
    December 8th, 2011 @ 9:29 am

    Adjoran for Department of Transportation!

  32. Bob Belvedere
    December 8th, 2011 @ 10:44 am

    I second the motion!

  33. K-Bob
    December 8th, 2011 @ 1:04 pm

    Things will be different when I’m in charge.

  34. K-Bob
    December 8th, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

    The spice must flow!