Well, we finally had round two of my going away party. It was pretty well attended and it was a lot of fun. I'm just going to upload a few snapshots, letting a picture be worth a thousand words.
To the left, I'm cutting my going away cake. I'm wearing the grass skirt my aunt got me as a joke present and my waterproof Steve Irwin hat. Last night, we had a rainstorm in Oklahoma and I went outside and sat in it with my Steve Irwin hat and my waterproof, convertible-to-shorts pants, to test them out. They worked very well.
The day after my going away party, a good friend of mine named Kalyn Free got married. I originally met Kalyn back in 2004 when I was an intern on her congressional campaign. Since the conclusion of that spirited but ultimately unsuccessful attempt, she has gone on to greener pastures: founding her own political action committee for Native American candidates, becoming an At-large member of the Democratic National Committee and suing Continental Carbon for the awful mess they created near their big sludge plant in Poteau or Pawnee or some other such place. Anyway, when most people get married they throw a wedding. When Kalyn gets married she throws a three ring circus, complete with dazzling special effects and a guest list that's a who's who of Oklahoma politics, including the Lt. Governor Jari Askins and one of the vice-chairs of the Party (I don't know how I got included in this august assemblage).
The groom was Steve Bruner, a former Oklahoma Highway Patrol officer and a tribal councilman. He arrived at the wedding in a helicopter...yes, a helicopter. To the sound of the "Mission Impossible" theme. I didn't think to take a picture of it, unfortunately. But just when the impression I had somehow stumbled into a "Magnum, P.I." rerun was becoming quite distinct, Kalyn arrived in the conestoga wagon pictured above ("The Bruner Schooner") to make an equally big splash. The vows were mercifully short and followed by a large fireworks display.
The reception following it was pretty fancy. Good food, good folks and (most importantly) free beer and wine.
So, a word about the president's health care reform plan. Barack is giving a big speech tonight to Congress hoping to win over enough votes to get something passed. The issue of health care reform is one that I take very personally and was one of the reasons I went to work for him during the general election. I've been pretty disappointed with his performance on this issue (and others) thus far and I'd like to believe he'll give a great, public-option saving speech tonight, but I'm expecting to be underwhelmed. On a brighter note, at the wedding on Saturday I talked to our old campaign manager from Kalyn's campaign in 2004 because he knows a lot more about such things than I do about health care. I asked him what he thought the chances of the public option's survival and eventual implementation. He surprised me by giving it 55/45 in favor.
Of course, I'm a lefty liberal so I think the public option is absolutely essential for creating real reform. Actual, I'm in favor of the single-payer system, like they have in Britain or Denmark or Spain or Italy. But, maybe real reform will have to be a much more gradual change than I'd like. Maybe he'll get some of what he wants now and come back and get the rest later, perhaps in the second term. Whatever happens, it'll surely be a lot harder without Teddy. And, if anybody can give the great, sea-changing speech we need to salvage this effort, it's Barack.