Last night, I went to my favorite watering hole. It’s part of my job. That’s what I tell myself, anyway.
At various times, I was chatting with Capitol Hill’s second-most disgruntled Democratic staffer, the ethnic oil lobbyist, the Catholic priest (he was just passing by), the beautiful flak, the ugly flak, the charming but troubled daughter of a congressman, and a few of the conservative weekday regulars. We talked earmarks, AMT, the energy bill, Crisis Magazine, NR’s presidential endorsement, Notre Dame football, the theology of the body, Fred Thompson, and last night’s special elections in Ohio and Virginia, both of which concluded in the Republicans’ favor.
Out front of the bar, while smoking a cigarette and drinking my pint of Capitol Amber, I was approached by a young lady with a clipboard, who was gathering signatures to put Mike Huckabee on the D.C. ballot. She said she is looking for 300 signatures from D.C. Republicans — a harder task than you might think. If you happen to be a Republican working in D.C., chances are you live in Virginia, because it’s much safer and taxes are lower (unless you own a car — but no one realizes that).
(One particularly obnoxious passer-by harangued the signature-gatherer over Huck’s 1992 position on quarantining AIDS patients. Totally unfair — I was 14 years old in 1992, but I remember the constant clamor, everything they did in school and on television to scare us to death about AIDS. I remember thinking the spread could never be stopped. If you actually cared about people at risk for the disease and not just political correctness, you had to consider a quarantine at some point.)
Anyway, I told the Huckabee lady that I could not sign her petition, because I did not think I was registered as a Republican (for years I have refused to do so, on principle). Then I thought about it a minute, and I found her again. I told her that if she could get me registered to vote in the Republican primary, I would sign her petition to put Huckabee on the ballot. She had all the forms, and so it was a deal.
Now (I think) I can vote in what will be my first presidential primary election ever. I will not be voting for Huckabee, but for Ron Paul — but I still like to think I’ve helped the cause of Freedom and Democracy by helping Huck get on the ballot.
CLARIFICATION: I’m not saying a government quarantine was a good idea (no one has suggested that I did — yet). For context, I even oppose mandatory vaccinations. I was merely pointing out that it’s not as crazy as some people are making out. Readers point out that as a high-schooler in 1992, I didn’t have the same responsibility Huckabee had as a political candidate to study the cost-benefit analysis of a quarantine. Fair enough. But if you realized how routinely ignorant politicians are about basic scientific issues, it might change your view of the whole thing.