Meeting Miss Darcy. And Digby Dances!


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So, five of us Debbie Cook Warriors squeezed into Gus Ayer’s car Wednesday evening for a big trip to West Hollywood, to REPRESENT FOR THE MAYOR at a fundraiser for the great Darcy Burner, mastermind of the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq. As much as we were thrilled to finally shake the hand of the queen of the incoming Congress (along with Debbie of course) we were also stoked to get to meet some of our favorite bloggers whom we’ve been reading for years. And it was a crowd rife with bloggerati.

For three or four years now I’ve been addicted to the incisive, machete-wielding, often hilarious, take-no-prisoners essays of the award-winning Hullaballo by Digby. Legions of lesser beings are regularly reduced to just posting the phrase “What Digby says” and linking to the latest masterpiece. Many of us are still getting over our shock that the long-anonymous and ultra-tough writer is actually a woman of a certain age and heft. We marveled at how bashful she was in the video of her coming-out appearance half a year ago. Well, she was certainly having fun with all of us Wednesday night, and when I sang and played my new song “I Got A Crush on Debbie Cook,” (which you will all be hearing and seeing in a viral YouTube by June 1), DIGBY DANCED AND SANG ALONG.
The fundraiser was held in the home of another hero of ours, Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign, a really nice guy from Tennessee (he made me play “The Tennessee Waltz”.) All Californians should be on the Courage Campaign’s mailing list; they’ve been at the forefront of many great struggles for justice this past year, and their newsletters are infrequent but invaluable.

Other famed bloggers in attendance were Dante “hekebelos” Atkins of the Daily Kos, Dave “DDay” Dayen of Calitics (an indispensible site for California political news), Dante’s brother who I guess is also famous from some other blog, and Matt Stoller of Open Left and Act Blue, who was also a driving force behind Darcy’s Responsible Plan. It pains me to admit that in person most of us bloggers look like Dr. Seuss characters, but when we’re blogging we more closely resemble Cyrano de Bergerac or John Paul Jones.

The blogger I got along with best was the Sicilian fireball John Amato, mastermind of two utterly crucial sites, Crooks and Liars and Raw Story, who was last seen on video hollering after a slinking-away Jeff Gannon, “Who were you sleeping with at the White House!?” I found out that he also plays sax, and although he didn’t have his axe with him, he and others helped sing along with my renditions of Beatles and Doors songs. Earlier in the evening, warming up for Darcy, he had cried out, “I didn’t choose blogging, blogging chose me!” And we all nodded knowingly.

It’s doubtful there’s ever been a politician at once as brilliant, unpretentious, and darling as Darcy Burner. We listened rapt as this phenomenally successful Microsoft manager and mother recounted how she was driven by Bush’s malign influence on the nation to forgo a comfortable early retirement in 2006 to instead “do what any reasonable person would do – run for Congress!” That year the power of her message, personality and grassroots work drove her from a 3% name recognition in her majority-Republican suburban Washington district, to a race so close it required a last-minute emergency cash injection from Karl Rove, and the winner still wasn’t known for a week after the voting.

This year, with her newfound fame, nationwide support, and the overall favorable climate for Democrats, Darcy is almost certain to win. So she has taken a sort of leadership position among Democratic congressional challengers. Which brings us to her celebrated Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq.
On the campaign trail this past year, she kept hearing the same thing from voters: “We know you want to end the War in Iraq, but HOW are you going to do it? We elected a Democratic majority in ’06 to end the war and nothing happened, how will you be different?” And so Darcy, assuming that somebody already in Congress must already have some kind of plan to end this war and make sure no such aggressive unnecessary war happens again, looked around for a long time, but there was no such plan. Almost every Democrat was against the war in a vague way, but there was a great shortage of specifics on how to end it properly.

So she set about making her own plan, with input from experts on military policy, constitutional law, and other fields – most notably war critic Major General Paul Eaton. We’ve covered the plan on Orange Juice extensively, you can read a summary here. At this point over 50 Democratic congressional contenders have signed on to it, including, from Orange County, Ron Shepston (who was also at the fundraiser) and Mayor Cook.

Anyway we all had a great time together after the speeches, with music, wine, and great conversations. It was almost like being at a party, except not stupid. I wish you all could have been there! Oh, and did I mention that DIGBY DANCED?


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist in Orange County. Performs regularly with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem, and at regular concerts at the Huntington Beach Central Library.