Hanna Rosin offers this Washington Post profile
of the players in the upcoming Supreme Court nomination battle (link requires registration):
"It's like the Howard Dean days," says a lady who is standing over by the pool, eating a piece of sushi. And in form, at least, it is: groups of strangers meeting in suburban back yards or tiny downtown apartments on a Saturday night, telling stories of "how I got involved," resuscitating that common enemy from the heady pre-election days, known in these circles as "the fascist government" or "the people destroying this country" or sometimes simply "Them."
Notice the lack of a positive agenda. Politics for these people is reduced to stopping "Them." That and eating Sushi by the pool.
Fazio's story is much like those of the 30 or so guests who have shown up after signing up for the party on MoveOn's Web site. Last time he felt this jazzed up was at the "Vote for Change" concert organized by MoveOn at MCI Center just before the election. There was "Bruce" ("We're huge Springsteen fans") singing his heart out for John Kerry, thousands of like-minded groovesters waving their arms and singing along, still giddy in that last window of giddiness, when there was still a chance.
Ah, there's the policy agenda: "Change." No reason to clutter up a perfectly good Springsteen concert with pesky specifics.
Then came that black post-election phase when people at the party recall feeling "pretty depressed" or "burned out" or "drained" or "exhausted." "Let's just say I suffered quietly" are Fazio's words. He moped along, feeling helpless and frustrated, watching a lot of Fox News and throwing boxes of Cheerios at "Hannity & Colmes."
Oh, good lord, would you please
get over yourselves already? Apparently, the resignation of Sandra Day O'Conner pushed Fazio out of his funk, and he sprang right into action. He threw a party.
And the future suddenly took shape. No more aimless Cheerios-throwing. Genny would come home from work every day and say to herself: "Chuck is energized."
"I said, 'You got to do something,' " she recalls. "This is very scary. They've pushed us over the edge." Last Tuesday he called her at the office, excited. He'd gotten the e-mail from MoveOn about the house parties, and now he had a plan.
"Gen, I know what we have to do. We're having a party. We're doing it."
And these people expect anyone to take them seriously? There political instincts are to party?
So what is the conversation like at this poolside sushi-fest? Predictably bitter and nasty.
"Enough is enough These people are scary and they're trying to take over. They've got to be stopped. I mean, the jig is up, man. These people cannot continue to lie because we know the whole story now."
Typically, the whole story they now know is never articulated, at least beyond "taking over."
Meanwhile, 20-year-old Vijaya Thakur is partying at her apartment, too. The digs are not quite as stylish, though.
The apartment is dorm-ish and looks like it could be packed up in an hour -- a mattress on the floor and a few mismatched chairs, two old desks covered with bags of Utz pretzels and potato chips, an old TV with a turn dial, nothing on the walls.
Sounds like not much has changed since I was college. Although Vijaya isn't thinking about her studies today.
Thakur has the energy of an undaunted activist, something more solid and serious than peppy. She says the group at the party already addressed the notion that they are powerless to affect Bush's decision, and pulls out a chart the group has written up explaining their demands.
Ya gotta love the hubris of youth. Only someone under age 25 or so could seriously refer to their political desires as "demands."
Here, too, the guests go around and explain what brought them here. They pass around a lime, and only the person holding it gets to talk. One woman is from a family of activists and complains about the "fascist administration." A man from Iceland says he feels "sorry for you Americans." A teacher says she is "more and more scared about what's happening to our country."
I'm just laughing, now. The visual of a group of 20-something "progressives" passing around a talking-lime is too much. You can't make this stuff up. Time to wrap up the article, the party, and the blog entry, in Vijaya's words:
"Yea, us," she says, and invites everyone to stay and watch a movie.