…and why she should get out, and no you haven’t already read this posted or written a gajillion other times already this weekend…
First off, unless you’ve spent the last 24 hours in a cave, you’re probably aware that Senator Clinton seems to have really quite monumentally stepped in it.
I think the intent of her statement is pretty clear. The question (and this is itself important to the thesis of this post) was to question her justification for staying in the race at this point, despite the fact that the math says that she cannot win. I think it is clear that she meant to show that nomination campaigns that stretch into June are hardly unusual or ahistoric, and on that point, she’s correct; in my lifetime, the nomination race in the Democratic party went late into the season in 1972, 1980, and 1984; for the Republicans, 1976 was a cycle that went all the way to the convention. At any rate, Senator Clinton was clearly attempting to show that these things happen, and used as example the 1968 race, I suppose because something rather memorable (infamous, more accurately) happened then that will bring to mind connotations of “June” and “Democratic nomination being up in the air” for the general voting public.
Yes, I know. That’s a rather inelegant choice of items for “let me jog your memory here” material. But, she’s done it before, and didn’t bring down the firestorm she did yesterday, so she went to that well again. The big difference between what she said this time and what she said in a March 6 interview with TIME magazine is that this time she gave her rationale in a remarkably clumsy way, suggesting by her phraseology that she was basically staying in the race in case Senator Obama got himself killed (because he’s black, you know, and that could happen.)
The point here isn’t what she said, but moreover why, and why her answer still sucks even with context. As a few TV pundits have pointed out, she could’ve used 1980 (Kennedy-Carter) or 1984 (Hart-Mondale) as examples of late-running nomination fights. Instead, she picked 1968. Why that year, with all the tragedy and sadness that it brought to Democrats? Think about it. 1968, all problems aside, still resulted in a very, very close election in November. A few votes change hands in the Deep South–or George Wallace doesn’t run a third-party candidacy–and Nixon is defeated.
1968 was very close, in other words, and that’s why she invoked it, because should she bring up the 1980 and 1984 nomination campaigns, they immediately beg the further observation: given how terribly the Democrats performed in November those two occasions, why again are you still in this? That’s the point pundits have been making for over a month now–no close nomination process has resulted in a successful campaign in the general in modern memory. The best that any candidate out of such a late nomination managed was Humphrey’s 1968 defeat by Nixon, and as such that election has become Hillary’s go-to exemplar.
And now, one would hope, she’s done bringing up 1968, which means that if she’s looking for historical perspective on her late challenge, she’s looking at Democrats being crushed in a General Election and taking Democrats down-ticket with them.
That isn’t a very good reason to stay in, and she knows this.
Hopefully the uncommitted super delegates realize this as well and will now be emboldened into bringing her vanity candidacy to a close now.
Hey all, still laying low a bit. I have a bone-deep cut (thanks to a broken wine bottle at work) in my right index finger that makes typing a total chore. Once I heal up enough to get this massive bandage off, I’ll be back to tell you how kick ass the new Asteroid #4 record is.
….hey, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth or anything, just winding down the last two days of 11 days straight at work (the middle of which featured a crazy-ass Mother’s Day and resultant holocaust when the power went out and wiped a bunch of sales data at the end of the day Sunday…not good times, bad times.)
At any rate, Imma try to get Dave’s kickass Derby mix posted before Preakness (personally, I’ll have it in rotation with Whitey’s “Weakness For The Preakness” mix). I’ll also mention that the new Bellrays album is fan-damn-tastic. I’ll further add that Jason Isringhausen has caused me more anguish in the last three weeks than any human has caused me in nearly five years. Seriously.
One last observation: the race for the Democratic Nomination for president ended today. Didja notice what happened when President Bush rather inelegantly attacked Senator Obama while addressing The Knesset today? The Democrats closed ranks beautifully, with Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, and yes, Hillary Clinton leaping to Obama’s defense. If anything signaled where this nomination process was heading, that reaction said it all.
I’m rambling. Back soon.
I was going to post about what was so important/special/kick ass about Derby Mix Tapes, but couldn’t seem to wrap it all up in a reasonably coherent ramble. Instead, I’ll give you my five favorite all time Derby Mix Tape Moments:
5. “One Mint Julep”, which I think was on Bill & Lisa’s Derby AM mix back in 2003 or so. They had the good sense to pick the lesser-known version by The Clovers because it has the vocals on it (The Clovers had a hit with it, but if you hear the song now it is almost a certainty you hear Ray Charles wonderful instrumental version). That song came on just as we pulled into the place we were doing pre-Derby breakfast buffet, and it was absolutely perfect. I believe I was in the back of the rental van swigging Korbel right out of the bottle.
4. An perfectly buzzed Johnny Bourbon punching the (padded, thankfully) roof of a rental van after the Dylan show we went to in ’04 in perfect rhythm to the riff on Guided By Voices “Back To The Lake”. Whitey’s mixtape, I sort of think.
3. A salute and shout-out to horse-related but non Derby mixes. Belmont, 1996, and we’re driving out to see fireworks at the beach on Long Island while standing in the surf, and whoever’s mix we were listening to (Marc? Bill? Whitey?) comes up with Teenage Fanclub’s “God Knows It’s True”. A whole van full of people blasted out of their minds forgetting the disappointment of Silver Charm’s near-miss all singing at top volume “God knows it’s true but the devil knows it too” over and over. Bill was able to stay sober and sane enough to drive the van that day. Small miracle. Honorable mention here: Marc’s Saratoga drive mix in 2002 with Lucinda Williams’ “Drunken Angel” on it; driving through the mountains of upstate New York at sunset with this playing before my first trip to The Spa…utterly perfect.
2. The first CD Dan/Marc mix I can remember, possibly from 2001? Whichever, it was a tour de force with trackside calls for Jerry Bailey interspersed with Radiohead’s “National Anthem” and The Clinic’s “Second Line”.
1. Dan’s mix–on a tape–from 1998. We listened to it on the way to visit Affirmed and Holy Bull at Jonabell Farm, and the whole mix was spectacular, from Simply Saucer’s “Bulletproof Nothing” segued into Tribe Called Quest’s “Excursions” to the use of The Bangtails on side 2. Weird superstition of mine born that afternoon: Tim was driving behind us in his Honda Accord, and during the Rolling Stones “It’s Only Rock And Roll”, a huge truck sideswiped Tim while we all watched in horror. Thankfully the car was only dented up a little, but it could’ve been much worse. Since then, whenever I hear that song in the car, I have to change the channel or skip to something else.
The best part of Dan’s mix was a part that we missed that afternoon. I guess we never got to the end of the tape, and that’s always a mix tape bummer, because there’s really no time to listen to them all again during the weekend–other mixes are scheduled and suchlike. So, that weekend I’m driving home on Sunday afternoon, back to St. Louis for the last month I’d live there (I’d accepted a management job and transfer to Chicago about 4 hours before I left for the Derby that weekend), getting really wistful and nostalgic about a Derby Weekend that was officially only a handful of hours in the past. The sun was starting to go down in front of me (sunglasses and eyeshades time, driving towards a setting sun on I-64), and I lost whatever radio station I was listening to…so I grabbed the first cassette I could find…which happened to be the remainder of Dan’s mix tape. Before too long we were at the end of it, and Dan had chosen to finish with Gram Parsons’ “Wild Horses”. I’ll just leave it at saying “perfect”, and not go too much further down that path for fear of getting even more mawkish and overly-sentimental than I already have here. But…yeah. You wanna know what song I want played at my funeral? “Wild Horses” works for me–make it Gram’s version, too.
Over at his excellent blog Dubious Quality, Bill Harris is talking about bands that sort of become “brands”, so that they just sort of keep on keepin’ on, even when original members are retired or dead. Find a guy who sings like Brad Delp and you get more Boston albums; find a guy who can screech like Steve Perry (who himself made a career of doing a spectacularly bad Sam Cooke imitation) and you get Journey on the State Fair Festival circuit.
Bill notes, though, that bands who age into their fifties tend to be done making artistic statements. That’s an astute observation, because usually rockers still being relevant at fifty are solo artists, not actual bands. If you like the new REM (and I like it without loving it), they’re an example I suppose. Anyway, apparently Bill’s readers have suggested Rush and King Crimson as the two best examples of bands in their fifties who are still artistically relevant.
Yech. Rush is…well, Rush. I love “Tom Sawyer” too…but they’re Rush. Fans pack their shows to hear “Fly By Night” and “Spirit Of Radio”, not so much to hear the new stuff (yes I know, you Rush internet fanatics LOVE the new Rush material. You’re oddballs. We were trying to keep it from you.)
King Crimson is laughable, since I think the roster of “people who played in King Crimson” is now approaching 200. Crimson was Robert Fripp in 1968, and remains Robert Fripp now. They’re as much a “band” as “Bob Dylan” is.
Obviously there are some bands out there still getting it done at 50. Mission Of Burma sounds as fresh as ever….but then you remember they were on hiatus for 20 years. If Ira and Georgia would spill it on their ages, Yo La Tengo would certainly count, too.
But for my money, the band out there that remains the most relevant and impressive into 50 is Sonic Youth (Lee Ranaldo is 52, Kim Gordon is 55, and Thurston hits the big 5-0 in July of this year). The Sonic Youth career arc is a wonder to behold: arty experimentalists at the beginning, noise pop auteurs in the middle, math-rock noodlers through the ’90′s….and now for their last three or four albums, they’ve been cranking out some of the best rock and roll on the planet.
Don’t take my word for it though. Here’s the evidence from 2006′s brilliant Rather Ripped album:
Thing is, none of those amazing songs are old standards; those are all new songs from a band that continues to be an artistic powerhouse.
There’s my answer for you Bill!
I’ve been terribly tardy at getting the remaining two Derby mixes posted; Saturday/Sunday were a whirlwind of work, dinner with some visiting friends, Cardinals over Cubs, etc. etc.
I still have a post about the importance and significance of the Derby mixes I owe y’all. For now though, on with the music: This is the Chris White (a/k/a CW, a/k/a Whitey) Derby AM mix. Taking the Saturday morning mix is dicey: people are tired, hungover, and bleary-eyed from Derby Eve/Oaks Day celebrations. Everyone is dressed to the nines, piled into a rental car/van and headed towards Churchill Downs for the race. Depending on traffic, that trip can be 20 minutes or, if you get in the wrong line, an hour.
The logistics are clear then, right? To make the Saturday Morning Derby mix, you’ve got the possibility that anything past the 20-minute mark will never be heard (or at least not heard until days later), the threat of violence (or worse, someone hitting the skip button) if you program a song that doesn’t work to a car or cars full of cranky, nap-needing friends.
The opportunity of the Derby Morning Mix is better than any other time slot in the entire race weekend, however. On Saturday morning every horse has a chance to win, no one’s picks are absurd (ok, make that “too absurd”–I’ll cop to Vicar; how did I not see that disaster coming? I think he’s still out there on the backstretch somewhere…), and we all have a chance to see history made and to crush an exacta or two. Everyone in the cars going to the Derby is amped up, the audience almost too captive…including Marc who responds to his excited anticipation by endearingly calling out things like “I like the paired entry in the La Troienne today” and “That omelet this morning was pretty amazing, right?” from the front seat. Don’t know how he always gets shotgun, but he does.
And so after about a half-dozen listens, allow me to state for the record that the 2008 Derby AM Mix is one for the ages, a brilliant bit of mashing and sampling and silly insanity from Whitey (the shout-outs actually get funnier and funnier on repeated listens.) Inspired, this is:
“MUSIC FOR THE MORNING OF THE 134TH KENTUCKY DERBY”
(click that title for music, Stephen Foster.)
1. “Good Morning Starshine”
3. “The Drinking Song”
4. “Crazy Train”
5. “Good Clothes”
6. “Wild In The Streets”
7. “Ride Your Pony”
8. (They Still Play That Song)
9. “The Gold It’s In The…”
10. “Get Ur Freak On”
11. “Those Were The Days”
12. “Fresh Air”
13. “Thundering Hearts”
14. “D. A. N. C. E”
(Thanks to Tim for getting that file all stitched together, working his computer magic and all.)
Enjoy! One more mix coming your way very soon: Renard’s staggeringly good all-purpose Derby throwdown mix.
….and hopefully not the last….(but Whitey and Dave, I’m getting file structure problems with the tracks I have from you fellows, I can listen to the tunes just fine and can host the .zip files of them, but can’t convert them beyond that.)
At any rate, first up is Dan & Marc’s mix, which is sort of appropriate since I think it was Marc or Dan’s idea to start doing these in the first place back in the days before digital and we were actually doing these on actual cassettes.
First some music:
Dan, Marc, & Barack present:
The 134th Post-Derby Mix, “The Audacity Of Audio”.mp3
Use that mix properly–don’t listen to it until after the Derby today, preferably after about the sixth mint julep. Trust us on this.
More on the tradition of the Derby mixes later when I put Dave’s up.