Too Cool

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American History, blogging

A little group of us bloggers ate lunch with the last elected President of the United States today, in his Harlem office. I’m afraid if I try to name everybody I’ll leave someone out, so I’m not going to try, but attendees included (in no particular order) Dave Johnson of Seeing the Forest; Matt Stoller of MyDD; Duncan Black of Eschaton; Jeralyn Merritt of TalkLeft, who has photos up already; Jane Hamsher and Christy Hardin Smith from firedoglake; Bill Scher of Liberal Oasis, and, um, more people. And moi. I’ll post the full list eventually.

The purpose of the meeting (as near as I can tell) is that Mr. Clinton has been reading blogs and just wanted to do a little outreach, facilitated by Peter Daou. We had a lovely time schmoozing about, you know, political stuff.

No big bombshell revelations, but it was certainly an interesting discussion. Lots of smart folks in the room. I took a few notes, but I think I’ll wait until I get the official meeting transcript to write in detail.

But how cool was that?

Update: John at AMERICAblog has more photos. McJoan at Daily Kos has more details.

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37 Comments

33 Comments

  1. Elayne Riggs  •  Sep 12, 2006 @4:43 pm

    Very cool indeed. Thanks for reminding all of us uncool kids (aka non-A list bloggers) once again how much we don’t matter.

  2. maha  •  Sep 12, 2006 @4:54 pm

    I’m not sure what I did to get on the A list, as I don’t have nearly the readership of most of the other bloggers there. But this was kind of an ice-breaking exploratory meeting that was really about the entire leftie blogosphere, not just the people invited. Everybody matters.

  3. Tom Hilton  •  Sep 12, 2006 @5:15 pm

    I think the answer is: unbelievably cool. And when I am able to set aside my seething envy, I’m sure I’ll tell you that you fully deserved to be there.

  4. Ann  •  Sep 12, 2006 @5:23 pm

    Wow, I’m totally with Tom on that. Good for you, Maha, and Good for Bill!

  5. Vesna  •  Sep 12, 2006 @5:31 pm

    Maha, you go girl! It is great how blogs now begin to shape political discourse, and I’m glad you are one of the ‘hot shots’. Post some more details as soon as you can.

  6. moonbat  •  Sep 12, 2006 @5:33 pm

    What fun! I’ll bet the exchange of energy and ideas was great. I met Bill and Hillary and Al and Tipper when they were on one of their grinding bus tours back in ’92, when he was a fresh young face to most of the country. But lunch! – looking forward to your report.

  7. Swami  •  Sep 12, 2006 @5:35 pm

    Way cool, Maha.

  8. joanr16  •  Sep 12, 2006 @6:14 pm

    What you did to make the A list, maha, was be amazingly, constantly well-informed and thoughtful. That used to count for something with American presidents.

    And yes, younguns, presidents used to allow public transcripts of their meetings! (Oooooh!)

    Inquiring minds want to know: Is Bill still skinny? Eatin healthy? Takin care of that ticker? I sure hope so.

  9. maha  •  Sep 12, 2006 @6:24 pm

    Is Bill still skinny? Eatin healthy?

    Yeah, he looked pretty skinny to me. I didn’t think to watch if he ate his vegetables, though.

  10. Lynne  •  Sep 12, 2006 @7:17 pm

    Fantastic! Waiting for the full report!

  11. amberglow  •  Sep 12, 2006 @7:19 pm

    Isn’t Daou working for Hillary?

    Was it about her? 08? (i hope no)

  12. AnnieCat  •  Sep 12, 2006 @7:28 pm

    Maha, come on! Had you met Bill Clinton before? What did you think of him?

  13. maha  •  Sep 12, 2006 @7:41 pm

    AnnieCat: I’ve been trying to remember if I’ve ever met anyone famous or important before. I can’t think of anyone.

    He was just like he is on television; very friendly and talkative.

  14. Jude  •  Sep 12, 2006 @7:44 pm

    I found out by seeing a photo McJoan had posted at Kos and seeing you down front! What a nice opportunity you had to speak to the former President. I’m so glad he’s reaching out to bloggers like you.

  15. D.R. Marvel  •  Sep 12, 2006 @8:22 pm

    Tres Cool, Maha…

    Did they serve possum for lunch?

  16. maha  •  Sep 12, 2006 @8:34 pm

    Did they serve possum for lunch?

    Nah, we had some local Harlem cuisine (fried chicken, corn bread, sweet potato fries, salad, spinach, corn, sweet tea).

  17. mamameow  •  Sep 12, 2006 @10:30 pm

    i am ssssoooo jealous!!!!! i do not know if i could eat!!!! the closest i ever got to the big guy was working with a doctor from hope, ar who knew b.c. she reaffirmed that almost all the library check out cards in books had bill’s name as the reader, at one time or another. she said his reading was phenomenal.. did you shake his hand and how long after did you finally wash your hand, a day, week!!!! he is really great and makes bushit look “miniscule”.

  18. moonbat  •  Sep 12, 2006 @11:42 pm

    …he is really great and makes bushit look “miniscule”.

    That’s why Junior “joked” about how a submarine could take out Clinton’s library. The mediocre cannot stand to be seen as mediocre.

  19. Scott Lemieux  •  Sep 13, 2006 @12:19 am

    Hah, I thought that was you in the pictures! Must have been exciting…

  20. justme  •  Sep 13, 2006 @4:37 am

    Congrats Maha! Was he interactive?That is to say did he talk with you ..or to you?

    And one more question, which may seem silly, but I always wanted to know…….Does he have large hands and feet or does the camera just add size to them?Has anyone else but me noticed?

    Did he look you in the eye when he spoke to you, and did he say anything about the focus on the upcoming elections?Did anyone ask him about the stupid abc show?Dish more about the topics and content if you can….

    I guess a invite to dinner if your ever in these parts sounds pretty boring now…Your famous!!!!!Don’t forget us little people…I knew you were too good to keep a secret for long!!!!:)

  21. maha  •  Sep 13, 2006 @8:44 am

    mamameow — Hey, you got to meet Hopalong Cassidy! I’m still jealous about that! :-)

  22. maha  •  Sep 13, 2006 @8:50 am

    justme — I didn’t notice his feet, but his hands seemed proportional to the rest of him. He did look us in the eye (he has BRIGHT blue eyes, almost an azure blue), and we did talk a little about the stupid abc show and the upcoming elections in general.

  23. B. Enlightened  •  Sep 13, 2006 @10:17 am

    Kudos, Maha for being amongst the recognized best and the brightest. That he wanted to do some outreach shows just what type of broad-thinker he is.

    I have to share that I was at a fundraiser in 1996 where the Big Dog was the featured guest. I did get to shake his hand and I thought it was a very good size (long fingers, very soft too), and yes, when he looked into your eyes, even briefly, it was a genuine connection and THRILL.

  24. mamameow  •  Sep 13, 2006 @10:29 am

    you know maha if billy would dress in a black “hoppy” costume, he would look like hoppy. oh, wow we have hopalong clinton! you know who else has beautiful clear blue eyes,(no green in the blue), howard dean. when you are talking with him it is hard to concentrate because of those eyes. he also looks you straight in the eye and talks with you not at you. i wonder if the big dog ever met hoppy???

  25. Taylor Marsh  •  Sep 13, 2006 @10:36 am

    I laughed out loud with glee when I saw you in the group photo. How very cool.

  26. justme  •  Sep 13, 2006 @1:58 pm

    p.s I forgot to mention That I am very proud of you.When you get the attention of a president you should know your doing something right!!!Bravo Maha, you earned that lunch!

  27. maha  •  Sep 13, 2006 @1:59 pm

    you know maha if billy would dress in a black “hoppy” costume, he would look like hoppy.

    Oh my, you are right! I should Photoshop that someday!

  28. maha  •  Sep 13, 2006 @1:59 pm

    Isn’t Daou working for Hillary?

    Was it about her? 08? (i hope no)

    Yes and no. I don’t remember that we discussed the Senator at all.

  29. Patrick  •  Sep 14, 2006 @1:04 am

    As a follow-up to #31, and I’m a fan of both Hillary and Bill, I believe this was all about Hillary. Daou works for Hill, he had to be asked: How do I reduce the animosity towards me from the bloggers? Daou responds: Talk to them. Reach out and respect them.

    Then, she, or her brain trust, decides to send out Bill first. Warm and charismatic; he’s the perfect bridge, the perfect emissary. No one is more respectful. He’s famous for making you feel as if you were the only one in the room. And, man, is he smart. No leader from any country has ever been embraced by the world’s leaders and their citizens the way Bill was.

    Naturally, everyone walks away from the blogger lunch, rightfully, respecting him. Nice warm and fuzzy. Strategy, well-executed.

    Everything is political with the Clintons, which isn’t to say they aren’t good at, or into, policy, as well. Everything they engage in is done in anticipation of her presidential run.

    Have you heard they’re celebrating Bill Clinton’s 60th Bday – a few months late – just before the November election, in NCY? The Rolling Stones will play at the party. They’ll collect big money that won’t be needed or used for the senate race and attempt to generate a big buzz in hopes of a huge electoral advantage that she can shop around the country, proving she’s elect-able, even among NY republicans.

    This is not intended to be a critical post. They are good at what they do. I respect winning strategies. They’ve won every race they’ve run, but one, Bill’s second run for Gov of Arkansas. I think they are 8-1 (soon to be 9-1).

    Helluva record.

    The freight train, sheeza comin’. Get ready for a wild ride.

  30. maha  •  Sep 14, 2006 @7:00 am

    As a follow-up to #31, and I’m a fan of both Hillary and Bill, I believe this was all about Hillary.

    And you would be wrong. I’m still waiting for the transcript, but I don’t remember that the name “Hillary” was even mentioned, by anybody.

    A chunk of the discussion was off the record, and that chunk included a bit of strategizing — more I will not say — but getting the blogosphere behind Hillary was not part the program.

    Naturally, everyone walks away from the blogger lunch, rightfully, respecting him. Nice warm and fuzzy. Strategy, well-executed.

    You have a low opinion of the bloggers. Do you think we’re such rubes that we’d sell out for fried chicken?

    Look, son, you weren’t there. I was. You are wrong.

    Everything is political with the Clintons, which isn’t to say they aren’t good at, or into, policy, as well. Everything they engage in is done in anticipation of her presidential run.

    Nothing in the two-hour discussion had anything to do with Hillary’s presidential run. On the other hand, I recall Bill talking about how the values and philosophy of the Enlightenment are reflected in the Constitution.

    This is not intended to be a critical post.

    The hell it wasn’t. You’re banned, btw.

  31. It’s interesting that no African Americans or Latinos were in the meeting. With black folks voting in big numbers as democrats I don’t get it.Did no one look around while in “Harlem” and say why are there no black and latinos in this meeting? A big thanks to Peter Daou for that?

  32. maha  •  Sep 20, 2006 @12:29 pm

    Dear Africa America Political Pundit: I addressed this issue in a later post.

    http://www.mahablog.com/2006/09/17/my-cause-is-my-country/

    The circular firing squads have already formed, btw, and if you enjoy staying marginalized and allowing the Right to continue to run America, feel free to join them. Just be advised this blog is not participating.

  33. nancy padgett  •  Nov 29, 2007 @12:36 pm

    Every single morning I read the NY Times opinions followed by your blog. Doesn’t everybody?

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