I’ll be honest, I made myself go to the Blogger on the Hill Day. It didn’t seem right to me to implore others to elevate the level of discourse and “reach out” to those with an opposing viewpoint, if I didn’t first practice the same. Overall, it was a pretty bland experience, everyone was on their best behavior, and Kara and Rep Mumpower did everything they could to make us feel welcome. I know I am forgetting many of the names, but here a few of the Reps that took the time to talk with us and share a little about themselves:
Rep Susan Lynn
Rep Mike Bell
Rep Harry Brooks
Rep Debra Maggart
(Like I said, there were others, but they didn’t offer a card, and I really couldn’t take notes and be polite at the same time, so apologies to those I omitted.)
As for the bloggers on the other side of the aisle, I met Mike Faulk, who seemed very quiet and kept his distance, but didn’t give off any kind of bad vibe.
Adam Groves. Scary as all get out. He reminds me of a kid I met when he applied for a sales job, I hired him because despite his youthful appearance, and he seemed incredibly smart and driven. Same with Adam. This kid should have been recruited by the Dems, somehow our scouts missed this one. Intelligent, friendly, easy to be around, (if you could overlook his rumpled suit and un-shined shoes). He knew his way around the legislature, and helped me and Aunt B understand the rules and procedures of the floor. He has a bright future, though I may have to call his Mom about those shoes. Truly, when did serious guys start allowing their shoes to look like that? When I was coming up, it was unheard of to do business, or hell, go outside with un-shined shoes. No one would take you seriously.
David Oatney. Dedicated. It was easy to tell he was enjoying being there. Reminded me of the time I got to hang out with some San Francisco Giants at their Spring Training camp when I was a kid. He wanted very much to be acknowledged by the big boys. Thats kinda cool in a way. He too, is smart, and knowledgeable, and he stayed later than everyone else, clearly intent on learning as much as possible. I started to get irritated a little, as he seemed to want to weigh in on everything, and his manner of speaking suggests the sound he loves most is his own voice. This will probably serve him should he ever run for office, which he stated he may do in the near future.
Kleinheider. Well. Damn. Adam would make an excellent poker player. His facial expression rarely changes. If I didn’t relunctantly read his blog, I would never know how smart he is. That’s because he is a lurker. He simply doesn’t engage. A case in point:
I thought David Oatney took a back handed swing at Adam, and the exchange went something like this: (paraphrasing)
Oatney- “So, Adam, writing for the mainstream media must be tough in some ways.”
Oatney-” I mean, they kinda have you by the shorthairs, don’t they?”
Oatney-(coming in for the kill) “Don’t get me wrong, I think you do a great job, even as you whore yourself out to your corporate masters.”
(At this point, I’m gripping the edge of the table so hard the veins in my neck were popping out, yet Kleinheider sat there, mute. Finally, when I could take it no more, I bitch slapped Oatney for his suggestion that Kleinheider was “limited” on what he could say on Volunteer Voters. Sweet Jesus, sometimes I wish he was reined in a little, mostly because his posts are insightful and pithy (apologies to The Scene) but overwhelmingly partisan. Anyway, perhaps he felt the assertion was so stupid that acknowledging it was counter-productive.)
I can’t be too hard on Adam, though, by the end of Day Two, he actually emitted what I and Aunt B later determined was a laugh over something I said, and he went outside with me to share a smoke*. I had planned to do this whole post on his wardrobe, but I’ve decided to instead take him shopping with me, thereby taking a pro-active approach, rather than embarassing him in public.
All in all, a pleasant experience for me. I had breakfast on Vanderbilt, which I managed to keep down even when the Lt. Governor stopped by to tell folksy stories to us. (I should note that it was quite nice of him to take the time to do so, but for heaven’s sake these State politicians love their homespun story-telling, ya know?)
I got to see old friends that were wandering the halls for various reasons. Not bad. Not bad at all.
* It just occured to me that what happened to me and Kleinrocket is an almost perfect metaphor for the immigration debate. See, we stepped out a side door to smoke, and a woman barged through the door and it closed behind us, locking us out of the building. After a minute, another guy opened it, and Kleinrocket asked him to leave it propped open for us. The guy actually refused, saying he just couldn’t break the rules. We would have to walk all the way around the building, and go back through security once again, even if there was this incredibly long line. (rule of law, buddy) Kleinrocket was clearly not interested in this. Finally, another guy opened the door, and we sneaked in and became illegal aliens in the process. The irony is just too delicious. Si, Se Puede! My brother….