Dana Milbank Live

Nov 18, 2011

Dana Milbank Live is your weekly opportunity for a give and take with Dana centering on the latest political news in Washington and his recent columns.

Good afternoon!

I'm in high spirits right now because I've just spoken with the inimitable Haley Crum, producer of this and other washingtonpost.com chats, about our plans to perform karaoke this evening with other Posties.   She sounded somewhat enthusiastic about this, probably because she has never heard me sing.  Now accepting song suggestions.

We should also talk about the just-posted column on Charlie Rangel, Newt Gingrich's presidential prospects, Herman Cain's attempts to speak Cuban and not to speak about Libya, and anything else that delights or troubles you.

Have at it.

My recommendation for the next stage of the OWS protests. Just follow Newt to every campaign stop he makes. He should be the poster boy of the OWS movement.

How many protesters do you think it would take to actually occupy Newt?  I'm thinking three or four, depending on whether you base it on weight or volume.

I agree with you that Newt won't last, but not because he's too moderate. He won't last because he has no real belief for people to grab on to. Is he a moderate or an anti-Obama conservative? Is he against Cap and Trade, because I remember a commercial with Nancy Pelosi when he was for it. Is he going to change Medicare and turn it into a voucher program or not? Nobody can pin down Newt and therefore no one really can support him.

There are many, many reasons why Newt won't last.  I chose only one  element -- his cozying up with Sharpton, Kerry, Pelosi, Hillary et al -- that should be particularly difficult for the Iowa Republican caucus goers to swallow.   I was on Laura Ingraham's radio show yesterday and was impressed by the extent to which she and the WSJ's Dorothy Rabinowitz were enthusiastic about Newt.   Truthfully I hope they're correct, because if I can't have the Hermanator as the nominee the comedy gods should at least be good enough to give me Newt.

Rick Perry seems to epitomize the saying, "better to keep your mouth shut and have people suspect that you're stupid, rather than opening it and confirming." He could've stayed as an influential Republican governor, a force to be reckoned with in the GOP circles, but instead, he chose to run and 1) demolished whatever legacy he may have had; 2) just about killed any future political aspirations, 3) uhh.. uhhh... I don't remember the third. (Not very original, I know)

Yeah, seems like one big oopsie now.   This raises an interesting question, though.  Is it better to be:

1) unknown and obscure?


2) famous but a laughingstock?

The all-press-is-good-press theory argues for the latter but I'd think he'd have to wish he remained a big and not obviously dumb fish in a smaller pond.

Do you shove an apple in its mouth or just pack its rear with a bunch of cabbage stuffing? I"m still undecided. We might go vegetarian this year. Ta.. Mama Stamberg w. cranberry relish

I am fearful that this question has some double entendres that I'm missing.

As discussed last week, Newt has been very helpful to my dieting  (picture him, and hunger abates).   At any rate, I'm heading to Puerto Rico with my family for Thanksgiving, so I, too, will be dining on non-traditional holiday fare.

I'm having a hard time lately recognizing the difference lately between satire and reality. The funniest part of the SNL opening skit last week on the GOP debate is when they quoted Perry verbatim on his "oops" moment. The multiple Cain moments have also wandered into self-parody. Is this making your job easier or harder?

Very shrewd question.  Was discussing this the other day with Alexandra Petri, who writes a humor blog for the Post.  I think the answer is clear:  the absurdity of this campaign makes our jobs harder, not easier.   You can't satirize a satire. 

someone has to sing "Honesty" by Billy Joel. It's only right.


I Gotta Be Me

Taken under advisement.

How 'bout that old DK chestnut, "Let's Lynch the Landlord?"

Now we're getting somewhere.

I wonder if they'll have "They Ain't Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore" by Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys.  That would make the choice simple.

The Hermanator's campaign says he needs "protection form the media" in the form of the Secret Service. So, I am paying to protect him from pesky questioners?

 If Herman Cain is to survive politically, it is very important that nobody hears a word he says from now on, or sees him in that hat.   If the Secret Service can make sure nobody can see or hear Herman Cain, I think they will have done all taxpayers a valuable service.


Is rum better before or after turkey dinner in Puerto Rico? What is your favorite rum concoction?

Rum is better before karaoke. Though I have to think a rum marinade for the bird would be excellent.  

I read in my guidebook that they invented the Pina Colada in Puerto Rico.  So, as they say, "When in rum. . . "

Why don't you do one of Mitt's favorites, "Who Let the Dogs Out?".......

Huge potential here.

"Legs" by ZZ Top.

Trying to see how many weeks I can keep going the discussion about my legs.

"Where is the Love," with Petri singing the Roberta Flack part.

I will make sure she is aware of this request.

Are you and Ms. chat producer Haley going to sing together? Like a duet? Or is she going to produce your performance too? Can she autotune?

It's a bit of a mystery to me.  Apparently there is a group of young, digitally oriented Posties who have a secret listserve.  But unlike, say, that "journo-list" list, this is about things such as karaoke.   I have requested emeritus status in this young persons' organization but I have as yet not been accepted. Evidently they do not consider 43 to be as young as I do.

His acceptance to this listserve may depend on his karaoke performance tonight.

I'm a conservative woman and there is no one, other than Jon Huntsman, that I'm even mildly interested in and from what I can tell, there's not a snowball's chance of him being the nominee. I'm thinking it will be the first time in my voting life that I won't vote. I find it absolutely depressing and I know I'm not alone.

What's wrong with Santorum?

Last week, you attributed Grover Norquist's influence to being five feet tall and having a beard. How does he stack up against similar hirsute and tiny Robert Reich and Paul Krugman?

The world would be a much better place if run by the short and the furry.

The Post had a headline this week "Cain dream team: Kissinger, Bolton and Ryan". I understand why he'd want the former Secretary of State but what do Michael Bolton and Meg Ryan have to offer a federal campaign?

They are not Muslim?

Dana, I would like to hear your sing Whitney Houston's song from the Bodyguard. Can you do that for me? "Anddddddd IIIIIIIIIIIIII-e-IIIIIIIIIIIIIIII willlllll always love youuuuuuuuuuwoah!"

If you notice that my answers slow down in this chat it is because I am performing this very number right now.

in the young karaoke Posties' eyes you are more a father figure than a pal at 43

You flatter me.  I think "dirty old man" is more like it.  But my wife is coming too!  Together we are 86. 

I've been puzzling this one, but even AC/DC and Whitesnake can't quite match the Hermantor's style. Blowfly, perhaps?

Perhaps I'm asking the wrong question here.   Maybe we should be asking ourselves which Karaoke tune each of the candidates would choose, other than Mitt's obvious choice of the aforementioned Who Let the Dogs Out.

How do we know that wasn't a liberal in drag?

Both are welcome in this chat.

Now that Haley is tying my singing performance to my potential to post on the Young Persons' Listserve, I'm thinking I may need to pack the audience tonight.  Is anybody out there available for this purpose?

What do you think about a 1% minimum Net Worth tax. I want to get the occupy movement to focus on fair taxes. I do not care what or how you pay or don't pay taxes but if you are not paying 1% of your net worth you are not paying your share. I say the movement should be focusing on 1% for the 1%.

I am all for a 1 percent Newt worth tax.  And 10 percent on his Tiffany purchases.

Never overlook Tom Leher classics such as "It Makes a Fellow Proud to Be a Soldier" or "We Will All Go Together When We Go", or perhaps "I Got It from Agnes". Weren't the 1950's fun?

For Tom Lehrer I don't even need the lyrics.   I favor Fight Fiercely Harvard or the Vatican Rag.

Those of us of a certain age will follow Meg Ryan into the abyss. Just sayin'...

You're not getting on that Youngster Listserve, buddy.

check out gary johnson. seriously.

Yes, he will have his week as frontrunner right after Newt and Santorum finish.

..for Mrs. Cain: STAND BY YOUR MAN. guitar riff now

Send in the Clowns.

You and Gene Weingarten could team up on "The Masochism Tango"

I ache for the touch of your lips, dear,

But much more for the touch of your whips, dear.

You can raise welts Like nobody else,

As we dance to the masochism tango.

When I was in the Navy (70s), a group of mine wandered all over San Juan one night trying to find the place w. the best Pina Coladas (Navy grogs are good, too). I don't remember what conclusions we formed or how I got back to the ship. Just so you know, we were all in engineering: nuclear power. Thought I'd share that with you. Sleep easy knowing who's protecting you. Thanks much. HLB (Mt. Lebanon, PA)

I intend to follow in your footsteps  (the pina colada quest, not the nuclear engineering).

Dana, you made the Daily Show last night for your Michelle Bachmann grave dancing. Start at the 1:30 mark.

Not sure if this is a good thing or not.

You know if you keep saying "youngster" you will guarantee your continued banishment?

Darn kids.

"I Enjoy Being a Girl"!

Well, that one is hard to assign to any particular candidate, but the whole GOP field could rotate through from the backup to the lead.

I've been thinking of you as a father figure until this chat. I didn't realize I'm older than you.

I am not comfortable in the father figure role, but I would like to be thought of as avuncular.

How about Dirty Love by Frank Zappa?

Could all sing Fleetwood Mac's Landslide: "I climbed a mountain and I turned around..."

Natalie Wood was 43 when she died. Your age. So.. any goosebumps about now?

Obviously, the comparison has been made frequently because of our singing.  It is indeed odd that they would reopen the investigation into her drowning on the very day I go to my karaoke performance.

Do what Elmo does on Sesame Street, just sing one word to Jingle Bells.

Is kiddies better than youngsters?  Hipsters? Youth?

Bad Religion's "American Jesus," except that she sings it without a hint of irony.

"Me and Mrs. Jones"?

Can his campaign possibly be about anything beyond jacking up his "historian" fees?

"My head hurts, my feet stink, and I don't love Jesus". Classic.

Well, I think that should be the last word.

Thank you for all of the suggestions, particularly those unfit to publish. 

Assuming I survive my karaoke debut tonight and my quest for the perfect pina colada next week, I'll be back with you in a fortnight.

Thanks for chatting.

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Dana Milbank
Dana Milbank reviews the political theater of the nation's capital in his editorial-page column. His most recent book is "Tears of a Clown: Glenn Beck and the Tea Bagging of America;" his other books are "Homo Politicus" (Doubleday, 2008) and "Smashmouth" (Basic Books, 2001). Milbank joined The Post as a political reporter in 2000 and wrote the "Washington Sketch" column for nearly six years. He lives in Washington with his wife and daughter. • Dana Milbank Bio & Archive
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