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Friday, October 17, 2008

The Miracle of Flight

posted by on October 17 at 15:54 PM

No, I’m not referring to the Chicago Tribune endorsing Barack Obama, which broke while I was flying between LA and Seattle. I’m referring to my being seated next to—ZOMG!—one of those undecided voters we’ve all heard so much about. Before the plane took off I opened up Americablog, Kos, Sullivan, TPM, etc., to read while I was hurtling home at 500 miles an hour. UDV, seated to my left, asked me if I was following the presidential election.

Why, yes I am.

She told me she was undecided—and she said the word like it was magic—and I suddenly felt a migraine coming on. I don’t like to talk to people on airplanes—because I am a bad, bad man; please stop reading my blog—but I was torn: put the laptop away and talk some sense into this woman, or smile, tell her I had very important cancer research to do, pop on the headphones, pull up the hood on my sweatshirt, and answer “Savage Love” mail.

Where do you live?

Washington state—whew. Washington may still be light blue on some electoral maps, but Washington is giving its electoral college votes to Obama (and, perhaps, the governor’s mansion to Rossi, which is completely and utterly retarded). Off. The. Hook. I didn’t need to put my aversion to in-flight conversation aside and spend the entire flight bringing this woman—a self-described “undecided voter,” and, therefore, an idiot—up to speed on a national election that has been going on for nearly two years now. But I did chat with her for a few minutes, walked her through the reasons why a pro-choice, pro-health-care-for-all, working-class woman like her might want to vote for Obama/Biden and not McCain/Palin. She responded that she just didn’t like Biden—and she connected with Sarah Palin.


I told UDV that it didn’t really matter if she voted for McCain, because Washington state was going for Obama, and so her vote wouldn’t have an impact anyway, so knock yourself out, lady. Or better yet, stay home on election day. But it is wiser, as a general rule, to vote for politicians you don’t “connect with” but do agree with over politicians you do but don’t. She looked thoughtful in that way that undecided voters do on CNN, and thanked me for giving her “so much to think about”—a new hobby, perhaps?—and returned to reading her in-flight magazine.

Oh, and UDV? She’s an African American—is that material?

RSS icon Comments


Oh man. I have the best racist crack for this. Goddammit.

Posted by someone | October 17, 2008 4:03 PM

So she "connects" with someone who supposedly said "Sambo beat the bitch"? Stay classy, undecided African American female voter.

Posted by Jessica | October 17, 2008 4:04 PM

People who vote with the candidate they "connect with" shouldn't vote. Seriously, if you're voting based on feelings and not on anything else, just don't vote. Nobody wants your feelings running the country.

Posted by flamingbanjo | October 17, 2008 4:05 PM

That's funny; all of my muslim terrorist friends say they connect with Sarah Palin too. She must be very likable.

Posted by Chris in Tampa | October 17, 2008 4:07 PM


Uh, liberals are the #1 group most likely to do anything based on their "feeeeeelings." Fool.

Posted by Jonathan Bailo Thomas | October 17, 2008 4:08 PM

Dan Savage:

I don’t like to talk to people on airplanes—because I am a bad, bad man; please stop reading my blog—but I was torn: put the laptop away and talk some sense into this woman, or smile, tell her I had very important cancer research to do, pop on the headphones, pull up the hood on my sweatshirt, and answer “Savage Love” mail.

Daniel Bennett Kieneker:

"there is no shame in dressing... only shame in shameless". ( diction-o-crats-tis-le'-punditis-ideaous) go ahead and fill in the list if you must improve your lust for rules and grammatical verificatives.

I like to make it up on the spot... kind of like when " FRENCH KISSING " reminded the young lovers what 'hot' really was.... that is the beauty of word play...being bothered about "SOMETHING"!

Same person?

Posted by jrrrl | October 17, 2008 4:08 PM

What kind of skank must a woman be to "connect" with that skank biscuit Sarah Palin?

Dan, you might want to check for crabs. Skanks always have crabs, and they are terribly contagious. Or so I'm told.

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay | October 17, 2008 4:08 PM

What could an African American woman living in Washington state possibly have in common with Sarah Palin? Other than the obvious IQ thing. Really.

Posted by idaho | October 17, 2008 4:11 PM

More anecdotal evidence that undecided voters are, in fact, dumbshits.

Posted by Greg | October 17, 2008 4:11 PM


That would be "Reactionary" or "Reactionaries." Hence. The. Definition. Politics 101.

P.S. Check out "As You Like It" 5.1 lines 29-30

Posted by Laurence Ballard | October 17, 2008 4:20 PM

In the past two presidential elections we ended up with the guy people said they "connected with", who was a "regular guy," as opposed to those stiff, gawky, humorless policy wonks.

How did that work out?

Posted by rjh | October 17, 2008 4:25 PM

Pro-choice, pro-health-care-for-all, working-class African-American woman can't find enthusiasm for Obama/Biden? Because Palin has a Va-jay-jay?

Thank you for not asking her if she was a former Clinton supporter. Ugh.

Posted by Big Sven | October 17, 2008 4:27 PM

I. Call. For. A. Moratorium. On. Writing. Words. Like. This.

Posted by yuiop | October 17, 2008 4:27 PM

UDVs are like a Middle Child whose siblings died and now they are getting all the attention so they milk it.

Posted by Jeremy from Seattle | October 17, 2008 4:34 PM

Dan: I don't understand why you call this your blog. Are your posts on the Slog duplicate posts that you make on your own blog? I don't like you, so I wouldn't go to a place like and see what you're up to. I go to the Slog because some of the Stranger writers are good (Eli, um, I guess just Eli) and I'm interested in what they have to say. Sometimes even your political posts are decent. But I don't like you and I don't want to feel like I'm reading your blog - it's the Stranger I want to read. Do the Stranger staffers know it's your blog that they're writing for? How do they feel about that?

Posted by Jeff Stryker | October 17, 2008 4:35 PM

mebbe A-A UDV doesn't like Biden because she remembers the Anita Hill debacle. Joe fucked that one up. big time.

Posted by max solomon | October 17, 2008 4:39 PM

Well, as long as it isn't ECB's blog, we're fine.

Posted by JONATHAN BAILO THOMAS | October 17, 2008 4:43 PM

How about just not voting based on the veeps?

Posted by daniel | October 17, 2008 4:47 PM


Dan Savage has ego.
The writers he oversees are too scared to stand up to him or question him because alt weekly writers have so many career options afterwards (Annie is going to law school...why not getting her masters in journalism?)

Posted by Bellevue Ave | October 17, 2008 4:51 PM

We need her ilk to build supermajority for real change.

Does bemoaning her "ignorance" help us in any way at all?

(hey a short post!)

Unity y'all--

Posted by PC | October 17, 2008 5:01 PM

Dan, I'm an African American woman and I am related to two African American women who are voting McCain/Palin this year. There are dumb cunts who are white and there are dumb cunts who are black. There is nothing you can do about it. I apologize for using the C word but sometimes you gotta call it like it T-I-Is

Posted by Fly-Over Illinois | October 17, 2008 5:15 PM

Guess the Washington Post and all the other real papers have seen that endorsing McSame means four more years of utter failure and a race to the bottom for America.

About time they clued in.

Interesting story in today's Wall Street Journal about McSame's black relatives, by the way.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 17, 2008 5:33 PM

The ONLY person I know voting McCain is African-American. This person falls into the category of "I plan to be rich someday (more specifically, in the extremely near future I will be a famous rapper) and I want a Republican in office to protect my fictitious wealth of tomorrow." Sigh.

Posted by threnody | October 17, 2008 5:37 PM

@ 20 - seriously.

Posted by UnoriginalAndrew | October 17, 2008 6:00 PM

i knew a gay black man that voted for reagan a few years back.. which reminded me of the time i saw sammy davis jr get seriously booed at an appearance at operation push in chicago decades ago shortly after the picture of him hugging nixon surfaced.. and then there was godfather of soul james brown endorsing daddy bush ( against reverend jesse )..
but all these crazy negroes could at least decide..

Posted by reverend dr dj riz | October 17, 2008 6:25 PM


Nobody in their right minds wants to be part of a supermajority that includes the likes of you, Susan. What would such a coalition stand for but lies, trash, and ineptitude?

Posted by elenchos | October 17, 2008 7:52 PM


(imagining Howard Cosell's voice) ...and Bellevue lands a punch like the one that took Liston down! Oh, that's gotta hurt!

Speaking of pain, NOW had a self-professed "Christian" lady on who was perhaps the most frighteningly bigoted and pig ignorant person I've ever seen on TV, well, ever.

Sadly, about 42% of America is evidently with her.

Posted by Mr. X | October 17, 2008 10:15 PM

Yo, guys,
I totally agree with the prevailing sentiment that "voters shouldn't vote based on feelings but on who they feel will best represent them" or whatever the line is. I mean, this is a fairly obvious point.
But don't Democratic politicians also have a responsibility to consciously frame--both in terms of language and in terms of concept--the issues in ways that will appeal to your average undereducated blue-collar American? I think that even Obama, as amazing as he is, sometimes gets bogged down in wonk speak. I mean, Republicans just spent eight years thoroughly fucking up our country. John McCain is a Republican. Why is this so hard?

Posted by Lorenzo | October 17, 2008 10:21 PM


Why is this so hard?

Because it is actually easier to market an appealing message that has no substance than one that is substantive. Looking for real solutions to real problems is often complicated, and so the explanations require more than five seconds to get across. Whereas every Republican since Reagan has stood in awe of the "Great Communicator's" stunning gift for appealing rhetoric wrapped around thoroughly boneheaded policy. They have embraced his brand of pandering bullshit and never looked back.

The public insist on having the truth doled out to them in small, measured doses. But they will gobble down great big heaping piles of pleasing lies and come back for more. Thus, the reformer's dilemma.

Posted by flamingbanjo | October 17, 2008 10:56 PM


But this is basically my point. As much as it pains me to propose this, I think Democrats need to get better at bullshitting. I'm not saying lie, I'm not saying pander or distort like the Republicans, but I am saying boil down these contrasting policy positions into easily consumable soundbites. "In 2000, we were doing pretty well in this country. Eight years of Republican rule later, we're embroiled in two wars and an economy where everyone is hurting but the really, really rich. Time to bring in the Democrat." Shouldn't this be Obama's narrative? Who isn't able to understand that logic? And just because it's simple, clear, and straightforward doesn't mean it isn't true.

Posted by Lorenzo | October 17, 2008 11:17 PM

If a gay person were to run for President and was nominated by a major party, I would generally want to support that person. But if that gay person ran as a self loathing gay Republican, you'd have to hold a shotgun to my head to get me to vote for them. Republican minorities always work against the rights of said minority. That's the only way they could get elected/appointed. That's why you see so few minorities at Republican conventions. But in the coming decades white people will be in the minority and Republican's will have to make some tough choices. Hopefully, it won't take them fifty years to see the error of their ways, as is usually the case.

Posted by Vince | October 18, 2008 6:11 AM

I knew a gay African-American male who supported JESSE HELMS!!!

Posted by ThomasG | October 20, 2008 7:04 PM

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