Insight. Antics.

Archive for May, 2010|Monthly archive page

Sestak On The Attack.

In Politics on May 17, 2010 at 12:07 am

It’s been a long time since I’ve written about one of the most unique Congressmen in the House: former admiral Joe Sestak, the highest ranking military man to ever serve in the legislative branch. Sestak’s been running a balls-out campaign for the Democratic nomination for Senate in Pennsylvania against a White House-backed career pol in the form of Arlen Specter. Specter is a dogged campaigner. He’s also a stubborn man who plows his own course. Case-in-point: his twice changing parties, most recently last year.

Suddenly, the primary is a day away. And Sestak has finally closed the gap and taken a lead on Specter in recent polls. So, Admiral Joe’s long shot bid to move into the upper house of Congress is seeming closer and closer to a “Sure Shot.” (I knew I could get a Beastie Boys reference on this site if I worked at it hard enough.)

This isn’t Rudy running against McCain. These two guys do not like each other. After their contentious debate 15 days ago, the moderator, John Baer, heard Specter mutter something about “fisticuffs” to Sestak on his way off the stage. First of all, Arlen, we call them dukes these days (as we have for the last half-century). Second of all, you’re 80 years old. Sestak is still seven years away from even qualifying for Medicare: he’d wipe the floor with you. Did I mention he was in the Navy for 30 years? I’m sure he met a few SEALS during that time who taught him a takedown or two. Read the rest of this entry »

Roger & Me. (2 of 2)

In Politics on May 12, 2010 at 11:02 pm

Amid the relaxed post-work clientele at the Empire Room, Roger Stone and I kept on trucking. Well, I mostly just chilled out in the passenger seat while he took us down a runaway truck ramp.

In the second half of our discussion, I one-up his tattoo of Nixon with some requisite tomfoolery (that’s where the “Antics” part of “Insight. Antics.” comes in handy) and we delve through his uncommon political pedigree, not to mention a slew of observations and predictions. (Check out Part 1 if you missed it.)

His love of Richard Nixon is offputting, but understandable in context. As is his out-of-character casting of the ballot for Jimmy Carter. Some of these things just don’t happen today, like being 15 and writing a former Vice President only to have him reply personally and then find you again two years later.

There’s nothing more apolitical than his mourning the height of sophisticated men’s fashion. There’s nothing more political than regrets of his role in the 2000 Recount. There’s nothing more awesome than someone calling George H. W. Bush “everybody’s first husband.”

Alright, game on…

Brief Wit: When you were very young you supported Kennedy?


Roger Stone: My parents were Catholics. By the time I was 18, I was a Nixon Republican already.

BW: What brought you there?

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Roger & Me. (1 of 2)

In Politics on May 10, 2010 at 9:22 pm

My man date with Roger Stone was an affair to remember.

Indeed, in the wake of his response to my piece on Kristin Davis, political strategist Roger Stone and I met. You’ve seen Frost/Nixon? Well this was Wit/Stone.

He suggested the Empire Room, a new, pleasant lounge in the Empire State Building. The nominal consistency was inspiring. The blackberry soda was sublime.

I arrived before him and bided my time at the bar.  Soon, he walked in, so dapperly garbed in a dark suit with white pinstripes that the hostess complimented him before the revolving doors stopped spinning. And I must say, I’ve never seen anyone look so good in Richard Nixon cufflinks.

He’s ruffled (or plucked) a few feathers along the way and been involved in some controversial dust-ups to be sure, and perhaps I’m being overly generous, but I found Stone to be amiable, if not colorful.

Maybe that’s because we are not political adversaries. And hopefully we won’t be by the end of this piece.

I’m sure I’m not the first to call him a character. I wouldn’t say he has a chip on his shoulder, but I would say he is riled up about some things. And once you get him started, as after a good tug to a pull-cord on a leaf-blower, he keeps going.

Nonetheless, he’s not a stereotype. He’s not some Republican talking point regurgitator. Half of his preferences are anathema to conservatives and half of them are ambrosia to liberals, and vice versa. Politics aside, he also has a compelling personal story.

I wish I could say that in some of the responses below I am quoting him out of context, but it’s more that he just started speaking out of context. We definitely went off on tangents. In fact, somehow we were already on one as I clicked on my recorder…

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