Photo by Rebecca SchoenkopfIt wasn't even 7 p.m. Tuesday when my best friend called. “Now what?” he asked leadenly.
“What the fuck are you talking about?” I politely asked him back.
He was being coy. Didn't want to answer until I'd seen it on the teevee for myself. Finally, after I called him the usual horrible names, he spilled it. “Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio are all landsliding for Bush,” he whined.
Was that all he got?
Didn't he know a full quarter of the battle states had voted early, and those weren't being counted until last, and Kerry held a nine-point lead? What the fuck was he, a man or a mouse?
I was on my way to pick up my little brother to escort me to the Los Angeles Dems' election-night party at the Manhattan Beach Marriott. I always go spend election night with the pigs at GOP headquarters in Newport Beach, and I usually gladhand and enjoy it, but tonight was too personal. I couldn't handle fat Young Americans for Freedom with their hilarious nigger-'n'-feminazi jokes tonight. I needed to be with my people. And the OC Dems are too dull.
My little brother (we call him Cakeboy) was thrilled and handsome. It's his first presidential election—in 2000, he was too young to vote by three whole weeks—and he'd spent the day checking in with me every 20 to 30 minutes to report the latest rumors and innuendo and fantabulous exit pollage. My first election, I elected Clinton after a 12-year drought. I figured Cakeboy would be John Kerry's good-luck charm.
A couple of friends were in the house. There was local boy Mike Kaspar, looking sharp while worrying about the numbers for Proposition 66 (Three Strikes revision), on which he's been working since roughly '98, and Mandy, who used to work at the Bowers Museum. There were better-looking Young Democrats than I've ever seen (everyone was noticing), but their party . . . ?
Up in the Young Democrats suite, by 10 p.m., people were ready to slit their own throats. They sat, masturbating with defeat, as even Jim Carville, the Ragin' Cajun, told CNN's viewers, while looking down at his lap, Kerry had lost and it was time for the party to reassess itself.
Beg pardon? By which I mean, “What the fuck is wrong with you, Jim Carville?”
Surely he knows they haven't counted the early votes yet?
Does he not remember, oh, say, 43 minutes ago, when people were waiting in line hours past the close of the polls to vote by the thousand?
Does he not remember Bush v. Gore? Doesn't he remember how pissed off we were that we were the ones who had to graciously back down because we're not a junta? Doesn't he recall us swearing we won't lie down, Tom Daschle-like, again? And does he not know I've called the Electoral College at 346 for John Kerry (purely out of irrational exuberance and especially to spite those in North Carolina, Virginia and Arkansas—look, Ma! I'm Karl Rove visiting California!), and that's without expecting a damn thing from Florida, which God knows they'll never give us no matter how many votes we earn? Does he not know we'll overcome?
Dick. I explain this loudly to all those gathered round, but they have no idea who I am so they don't know to trust me, which is actually a good thing because if they did know me, I wouldn't just look like some crazy screaming chick—they'd know my actual prognosticatin' record, which is considerably worse than you can possibly imagine. I never believed those “98 precincts reporting” when they said Dukakis lost. “You guys are acting like a bunch of fucking Democrats!” I yell, and then I stop. “Oooh,” I say. “I should write that down.” And I do. Right about now, looking at all the self-pity in the room, I really wish I was with the Orange County GOP at Sutton Place. At least they'd have a band. At 10:45 p.m., I'm even pisseder; I haven't seen a party this bad since Republican Election Night 1998 (Sutton Place, natch), and that one featured one full round of the Dornan kids in fistfights. By 11:30, the Young Dems have a little more moxie. They're considerably less puss-like than an hour ago. There are more of them, for one thing, sitting on the floor in front of the telly, and they hoot for Hawaii, yell for Minnesota, and growl and mock when Andrea Mitchell (or is it Judy Woodruff? Which one, again, is the one without a soul?) looks like she'll cry when reporting the Iowa secretary of state is too “fatigued” to count the ballots tonight. They look better, but it's too late for me. I'm angry, and after 24 solid hours of rallying the dispirited troops, I'm resentful as hell. Also? I kind of hate them. John Edwards, desperately in need of a shave, comes onscreen to tell us tersely they ain't giving up till the votes are counted, while reporters report that some insider Dems are counseling against a long battle to see out Ohio. Closure, you know. Or gentlemanliness. Or the profound enjoyment, like being a gay Republican, of punching ourselves in the face. Or something. If our local Dems are any indication, we can punch ourselves in the face just fine.