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      Back in June 2019, the New Yorker wrote an article lambasting the Espionage Act. The George W. Bush Administration pursued several government insiders for leaking classified information, but it was the Obama Administration that normalized the use of the Espionage Act against journalists’ sources. Among its targets were Jeffrey Sterling, a former C.I.A. offic […]
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Obama’s Runway: A Play in One Terrifying Act.

[photo of Barack Obama, Getty Images; Project Runway logo, website]
[THE SCENE: A theatre with a long runway extending from the stage area. Seated beside the runway in three directors’ chairs are BARACK OBAMA, MICHELLE OBAMA and DAVID AXELROD, Obama’s right-hand man. On the proscenium arch above the stage, a sign reads: “Election Runway – You’re Either In, or You’re Out!” Written below it are the words, “DEMOCRATS ENTER HERE.”YOUNG VOTER #1: OMG, I am like so excited about this election! I can’t believe we get to choose among so many great candidates. Finally, good-bye to Bush and those horrible Republicans!

MIDDLE-AGED VOTER #2: Yeah. God, the Republicans suck. Some of them actually said they didn’t believe in evolution? What century are they living in?


OLDER VOTER #3: Look at us. We represent the best of this country. We’ve got a woman, an African American AND a Hispanic! Those Republicans are so boring. Nothing but white men as far as the eye can see!

[AXELROD clears his throat.]

AXELROD: Okay, people, let’s get this show on the road!

VOTERS [muttering to themselves]: Who’s that guy? What’s going on? Where are the other candidates?

OBAMA [clapping his hands together]: People, please! Can we have a little quiet so we can start the show?

[THE VOTERS quiet down, but look confused. A woman raises her hand.]

WOMAN: Uh, Senator Obama? Where are the other candidates? I thought this was Election Runway!

[While the voters and the judges talk, HOWARD DEAN enters through the stage curtains and switches the sign from “Election Runway” to “Obama’s Runway.” He then bows and exits the same way he came.]

MICHELLE [smiling]: Tell ’em, Barack.

OBAMA: Democratic Voters, this – is Obama’s Runway! As you know, in politics, one day you’re in – and the next day, you’re out!

[THE VOTERS mutter amongst themselves.]

VOTER #1: Wait a minute. I don’t get it. I signed up for Election Runway. Is this a different show?

AXELROD [snickering]: Yeah, we just said that so you’d all show up. Fact is, this show is about US choosing YOU. [As Axelrod speaks, DONNA BRAZILE slinks in through the stage curtains. She has a big label on the lapel of her suit which reads “BOUNCER.”]

OBAMA: All right, folks, let’s get started. Let’s see. David, who are our contestants this time?

AXELROD: First up: rural voters. What have you got to say for yourselves? You voted for Hillary in the primaries. What makes you think you deserve to be part of Obama for America?

RURAL VOTER #1: Obama for America? I thought this show was for Democrats! I don’t know what Obama for America means. [The other rural voters nod and loudly agree.]

OBAMA: I’m sorry, rural voters. You don’t belong with Obama for America. You’re out. Auf wiedersehn! [BRAZILE steps forward and ushers them off the stage.]

AXELROD: Next up: the voters of Michigan and Florida. Listen, people, we’d really like to include you, but as you know, your elections were illegitimate, so –

FLORIDA VOTER [interrupting]: Now wait just a damn minute. It’s not our fault our legislature monkeyed with our primary dates. Why are you blaming us?

MICHIGAN VOTER: Yeah! And Senator Obama, why did you and John Edwards remove yourselves from the ballot in my state? You really messed things up for us out here with that “Uncommitted” nonsense.

BLOGGER: And what about the other states that moved their primaries? Why weren’t they penalized like Michigan and Florida? Could it be because you thought Obama would win them?

BRAZILE [stepping forward]: What the hell are these people talking about? Who do they think they are? We make the rules here – did you not see that my committee is called the RULES Committee? Sheesh! Just face it, you’re not getting into Obama for America. You don’t deserve it because you preferred that pandering triangulator to my guy. You’re out! Auf freaking wiedersehn! Howard, give me a hand here!

[HOWARD DEAN comes back in and he and BRAZILE usher the Michigan and Florida voters and the inconvenient blogger out. HOWARD DEAN disappears again behind the curtain.]

OBAMA: This stage is looking better and better. Now, how about African-American voters? What do they have to say for themselves! [aside] As if I didn’t know the answer to THAT one.

AA VOTER #1: We are behind you 93 percent!

AA VOTER #2: We love you, Barack!

AXELROD [satisfied]: Well, I think they’re in, don’t you, Michelle?

MICHELLE: Oh, absoLUTEly. You all are privileged to join Obama for America! Don’t mind Barack’s lectures on how you need to take more personal responsibility and all that crap. You know liberal white folks eat that shit up. Am I right? Anyway, you’re in. You can go stand over there.

[BRAZILE, smiling, ushers them over to a spot on the other side of the runway. A sign hangs over it reading “Obama for America. Yes, We Can!”]

OBAMA [rubbing his hands]: Okay, we’re really making progress now. Hey, what about this group – the, um, blogosphere?

AXELROD: Oh, they’re definitely in – all except those bitter, delusional, racist, menopausal PUMAs. Go take your places, folks, you earned it!

[Two BLOGGERS go over to the Obama for America sign and stand next to the AA voters].

[A female Clinton voter steps forward.]

CLINTON VOTER: Excuse me, but this is crazy. Are you saying that you don’t want us Democrats in the Democratic coalition? You don’t want us to vote for you? You don’t care if we stay home or vote for McCain in protest?

OBAMA [smiling]: You got it, sweetie! You’re out. Auf wiedersehn!

[BRAZILE tries to usher the CLINTON VOTER out.]

CLINTON VOTER: Don’t worry, Donna, I’ll see MYSELF out – and I’ll take my friends with me. [she stalks off the stage, taking all but two voters with her.]

AXELROD AND MICHELLE: Finally! [The bloggers in the Obama for America area cheer exuberantly.]

OBAMA [looking quizzically at the two voters left]: So, uh – who are you two?

NEW VOTER: I’m a new voter! A lot of my friends said they were coming, but they decided to buy the new iPhone instead. Oh well!

WEALTHY LIBERAL: I’m a, well, how do I put this without offending you poor people?

AXELROD: Hahahahaha! We know who you are. Okay, you and New Voter there, you are in. Welcome to Obama for America! [BRAZILE ushers them over to the Obama for America space. There are only six people there – NEW VOTER, TWO AA VOTERS, TWO BLOGGERS and ONE WEALTHY LIBERAL.]

[Awkward silence, as the successful contestants and the judges evaluate each other.]

MICHELLE [a little uncomfortable, aside]: Um, Barack, I thought you said there’d be a lot more of them.

OBAMA: [aside] Don’t worry, Michelle. The rest of them will come around before Election Day. After all, who’s gonna vote for that assclown McCain? Those polls are a bunch of bull. [Aloud] Congratulations, everyone! You are now part of the New Democratic Coalition. You are the ones you’ve been waiting for!

NEW VOTER: Omigod, I’ve never won anything before! I’m so excited! I’ll bet we win a full withdrawal from Iraq!

AA VOTER: You think so? That would be fantastic! I hope it’s universal health care. I’m a working mother and I sure could use it.

WEALTHY LIBERAL: Oooh, is it a serious commitment to countering the effects of climate change? I am really looking forward to that!

BLOGGER: I can’t WAIT to get our Constitution back. I’ll bet we’re going to get a filibuster of that stupid FISA bill! No more spying on Americans!

[They all start talking at once. Unnoticed, OBAMA, MICHELLE, AXELROD and BRAZILE shrug, and start walking out a side door.]

BRAZILE: Jeez. What a bunch of whiners. If they wanted all that stuff, they should have voted for Kucinich, Edwards, or God forbid, Hillary.

AXELROD: Really. I mean, Barack might have promised some of those things, but those people should have known they were just best-case scenarios. Who keeps campaign promises anyway? Why don’t they just ask for a pony or something?

OBAMA: I sure hope they don’t think it’s my job to do what THEY want. I don’t even let the Party Leaders tell me what to do!

MICHELLE: Hey Barack? What exactly ARE you planning to do once you get into the Oval Office?

[All judges stop their exits. Brief pause while all look at Obama. He is stumped for a second, then grins.]

OBAMA: No one knows! That’s the beauty of how David has run my campaign. All things to all people!

AXELROD: You got it, Barack. Let’s hope those contestants over there don’t figure it out before the election, though.

BRAZILE: You said it. Let’s get out of here, people! [EXEUNT ALL JUDGES.]


DEMOCRATIC VOTERS enter through the stage curtains and wander onto the runway, a veritable Rainbow Coalition of races, ages, etc. Whenever a single voter is intended to represent a group of people, that voter will have a sign or a label indicating as much. All are chattering excitedly.]

85 Responses

  1. So what do you think, guys; am I a racist?

  2. Yep, and bitter too!

  3. yeah racist and bitter AND clinging to your religion!

  4. oh I’m in moderation?!

  5. myiq – LOL!

    Well, I guess all of those adjectives apply to me – except for menopausal. I’ve got a few years left before that happens…;-)

  6. luckyann – you’re out!

    Oh, not in the Runway sense, of course. 😉

  7. You *&)%$*)((*V &(** bigot!

    PUMA$ “you wanna dance, or DO YOU WANNA DANCE?”

    Donate now, or perish!

  8. Carol – LOL!

    I wanna DANCE!!! But I have no job, so HRC will have to wait a little while for more $$$ LURV from me…

  9. What is really messed up is that the candidates campaigned for nearly a year, raised and spent over $200 million, and after Iowa and New Hamster were were effectively down to 3 choices, and only two choices before the Super Duper Tuesday votes.

    We need 4-5 regional primaries, spaced a month apart, with public or party financing of the campaigns. If we started with 6 candidates and eliminated the one with the fewest votes each round, that would ensure everybody got to participate, and that there were meaningful choices too.

    The nominee should be whoever gets the most popular votes – no caucuses, no super delegates.

    And no open primaries either – Democrats should select the Democratic nominee

  10. Spammy the Moderate ain’t too bright, but he works hard. You can avoid his attention by not using certain words, or by modifying them. Like:



  11. Oops. Spammy isn’t a “moderate,” he’s the “Moderator”

    He’s a DFH

  12. I say a few debates, 1 primary date for everyone, and 1 ge.

    Everything else is fraud.

  13. myiq – I am in favor of a National Primary Weekend. Two days for the whole country to vote in the Dem and Repub Primaries, and those days should be holidays to encourage participation. IRV would decide the winning candidates.

    But then, I am a radical left-winger and probably a commie pinko too.

  14. madamab, on July 16th, 2008 at 3:23 pm Said:
    luckyann – you’re out!

    Oh, not in the Runway sense, of course.

    Thanks 😀

  15. Riverdaughter,

    What do you think of

    I frankly don’t believe he is considering her for VP.

  16. Great play, madamab. Coincidentally, there’s a Project Runway on Bravo right now. I love that show, especially the magnificent Tim Gunn.

  17. I would like to see several regional primaries because that would allow for a full month of campaigning between votes, so voters have time to consider the previous results and have issues important to their region discussed.

    I picture weekly party-funded debates and forums, hosted by the LWV or some similar group. Use some fair criteria to select 6-8 candidates, and narrow it down after each series of primaries. No private fundraising.

    That would prevent someone from running away with the election before they are “vetted”

    It’s our party, and we can make whatever rules we want to select the nominee. If someone doesn’t like it, they can start their own party and raise all the money they like.

    But we really have to stop letting Iowa and NH pick our nominees.

  18. I won’t sign that pledge. Hillary will win and will speak in primetime for the next 8+ years.

    No to VP
    No to anything less than the nomination for President

    PUMA$ “you wanna dance, or DO YOU WANNA DANCE?”

  19. If Obama had to get up on stage and compete with Hillary, Edwards, Dodd, Biden and the others on an equal footing, no money or organizational advantage to anyone, he would have been one of the first to be elimininated.

  20. I just watched the video at JSND and it is really great. Did we get permission to take so much of the Lord of the Rings or do we pay for it. Anyway, I highly recommend it if you folks haven’t seen it.

    I did my Puma Pac task today of calling President Clinton’s office to ask him not to campaign for Obama. I was polite as was the guy who answered the phone, but I don’t think he appreciated it.

  21. regency – Not a coincidence at all! The play was based on Project Runway. I love that show too. 🙂

  22. These “creative” posts are boring and pointless — and not all that creative. I hate to sound like a troll, but, please stick to what you’re good at!

  23. I still say no. Media will chose again.

    Debate and Campaign for a couple of months. Then, bam – 1 primary, 1 GE.

  24. Rich:

    What, if anything, are YOU good at?

  25. Exterminator Please! I just found a roach!

  26. I would say lying and pissing people off just like his mentor.

  27. Carol – I agree. They can still campaign for a set amount of time, then have the election.

  28. Wouldn’t you say BO has “Baracklash” by now?

  29. MadamaB, BRAVO!

    This was the thing that smacked me in the face:

    [While the voters and the judges talk, HOWARD DEAN enters through the stage curtains and switches the sign from “Election Runway” to “Obama’s Runway.” He then bows and exits the same way he came.]

    That rat bastid planned it all along.

  30. SM – Seems pretty obvious to me that this whole thing was planned since 2004. There are a lot of indicators to that effect.

    Glad you liked it. 🙂

  31. I hate to sound like a troll, but —

    — I wanna anyway.

  32. myiq2xu, on July 16th, 2008 at 3:26 pm Said:

    And no open primaries either – Democrats should select the Democratic nominee

    YES! I completely agree. If you don’t have the cojones or ovaries to affiliate yourself to a party, then you shouldn’t have to choose that party’s nominee.

    WHY IS IT that this happens? To cheat & game the system, of course.

  33. I don’t think the party should tell the states when they should hold their primaries. We will be back in the same mess again, because it is the state legislatures that decide the dates. There will always be conflict between the elected body and the parties.

    I never thought MI and FL should have been “punished”. There are trade offs between going first and going last. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Let the states decide when to hold the primary and just tally the votes. No delegates. Delegate weighting in my opinion is Anti-Democratic.

    If you want a contest that will produce a better general election candidate. Make the contest the same as the general winner take-all with each state delegate count the same as it would be for November. The problem of gerrymandering the delegate weighting is gone, because it is winner take-all.

  34. Janis – LOL!

    Everyone’s a d&mn critic. 🙂

  35. Even without regional primaries, we should have public/party financing of campaigns. Television uses “public airwaves” and should be required to set aside time for each party to use (a couple hours a week during campaign seasons)

    Our nominee should not be determined by who can raise the most money.

    We’ll always have the media as a concern, but breaking up the current oligarchy would help a lot.



  37. Mawm: Everything you said! Primaries should be based on the electoral college vote – winner take all.

  38. Public financing is an absolute must if we want to return power to the people. I have always supported this, as well as “free and equal” teevee time for all candidates from a legitimate political party.

    I posted my ideas at my place a while ago. I think MYIQ and I are on the same page.

  39. Please Please Please stop the obsession with IOWA,NH,SC

    My apologies to people in those states, but I am sick to death of being forced into having them go first. They were so interested in them going first they disenfranchised millions of people. Does that make sense? “To protect Iowa’s first in the nation status”, if I heard that once I heard that a thousand times on TV. What does that mean? Why does Iowa get that status. I think it is a horrible tradition, and I’m glad FL and MI took a stab at that whole nonsense.

    Is Iowa supposed to be the “heartland” of the US? I just don’t get it.

  40. madamab, thanks for ruining project runway for me.

    “I’m just messing with you”

  41. It is just too sad.

  42. Mawm – HAHAHAHAHA

    Well-played, sir.

    NOTHING could ruin that show for me. I love it so…

  43. madamab, you need to compile all of your plays together and decide which order they should be done in.

  44. I think the Dem. leadership and the DNC were always in ABC mode (Anybody But Clinton) but their support of Obama came later.

    There were originally two anti-Clinton factions, one backing Edwards, and the Kennedy/Kerry/Daley group backing Obama.

    Remember when Edwards suddenly got blacklisted by the media? At the time I thought it was because the corporatists feared him the most (I was originally an Edwards supporter) but now I think that was when the decision was made to go with Obama.

    I think they did that out of fear that if they didn’t unite against her, they would split their votes and she would win.

    Until then (late summer 2007) it was Edwards and Hillary neck and neck, with Obama running third. Suddenly Edwards didn’t exist and it was all Obama.

  45. test

  46. can someone tell me how I can make a quote?

  47. How did I end up in moderation? I’m a radical!

    Madamab! Spammy’s got me!

  48. Mawm – that’s a good idea! They are definitely not in chronological order at the moment. 😉

    Luckyann – start your quote with the code:

    and then end it with the code:

    When you do this, remove the quotation marks.

  49. Oh nooooeeeees! My example did not work.


    MYIQ – will release you immediately!

  50. luckyann:

    “your quote”

  51. Sheeeit!

    I tried to space out the code and it disappeared completely.

  52. This is how I do it (h/t) Katiebord:

    To start the quote :

    To close the quote:

  53. UGH: here goes, ELIMINATE THE SPACES :


  54. Jeez! IT WON’T WORK…OK: Katiebird’s blog “Eat 4 Today” has a list on what HTML codes – under Blogroll on the right column.

  55. < blockquote >
    What is happening?
    < /blockquote >

  56. HTML parser will eat all of your < s

  57. Do &lt; if you ever want the < sign. and &gt; for >

  58. Thanks Mawm – I forgot about the space thing. My blood sugar was low. LOL

    Looks like Mother RD has a new/old post up about the eeeevil Orange Satan. 🙂

  59. Thanks Mawm, I tried that and it made go into the orange block. Thank you Mr. Rebel Commander & Software Design Meister.

  60. OMG! over at Corrente gqm made the following comment about the New Yorker kerfluffle:

    “But hysteria is all the rage these days, I guess.”


  61. madamab: Again, great work! I love your plays since the irony is spot on. These need to be bound and published.

    Incidentally, could that have been Frank”the Bastard” Rich on an above post? What an idiot.

  62. Thanks everyone!! I’ll try it 🙂


  63. yippie!! lol

  64. PJ – You made me laugh! Frank Rich is truly a Clinton Hater of the first water. He makes MoDo look almost sane. 🙂

    Thanks for the compliments. I am definitely going to do something with them, but I’m not sure what yet. 🙂

  65. Fantastic, as usual!
    The whole concept of running an election like a fraternity…
    I mean, we do have a frat boy in the White House – but he didn’t even run like this. Besides he lost. Twice. So, Jr.Jr – wrong model.

  66. … a Clinton Hater of the first water.

    Hee-hee. You make him sound like pee. *snicker*

    *is twelve*

  67. madamab I don’t know if anybody mentioned this earlier because I got behind on the comments, but could you throw in some Christian Soriano lines? like Howard says to Donna ” hey tranny, that’s a hot mess, Nancy you’re FIERCE” he he…just kidding 🙂

  68. EOF – Thank you very much!

    I wanted to show that Obama and the DNC have it absolutely @ss-backwards. He doesn’t get to pick us, we get to pick him. And if we don’t want him, it’s no one’s fault but his own.

    Most Obamans – and he himself – don’t seem to understand this too well….

  69. Gary – LOL!

    Hmm, maybe this entire piece needs a redo – MAKE IT WORK, people! 🙂

  70. The writers and diarists on this blog are utterly amazing! These “playlets” could not be done better if they were on SNL.

  71. Madamab, kudos again! I still think that caricature animations would be great for your work. Think 1/2-hour sit com. Does anyone have any connections? We working class girls need to get a break sometime, so we can land in OZ.

  72. Karolina: Just so you know, I have been promised the part of Nancy Pelosi in any future productions of madamab’s work. In fact, I have just found my pashima which I shoved in a closet sometime back that will be perfect. Nancy always slings it over her shoulder with such “fierceness”.

  73. I’m still laughing over BOUNCER BRAZILE and the Clinton Voter. I keep seeing her in a rolled up t-shirt – muscles bulging.

  74. If Nancy P gets another facelift she’ll have nipples on her cheeks.

  75. Or a beard.

  76. Myiq2xu & Janis: So wrong.

    Gary: Ferosh!

    Carry on.

  77. Janis wins!

  78. I’ve watched waaaaaay too much AbFab.

  79. I hate to be the one to tell you because you are obviously unaware, but some of you are losing it.

    Here is an example:

    myiq2xu, on July 16th, 2008 at 3:47 pm Said:

    What, if anything, are YOU good at?

    Carol, on July 16th, 2008 at 3:48 pm Said:
    Exterminator Please! I just found a roach!

    Carol, on July 16th, 2008 at 3:49 pm Said:
    I would say lying and pissing people off just like his mentor.

    I don’t like these particular posts myself, and I am not a troll.

  80. NH:

    First of all, I am not losing it, because I never had it to begin with.

    Secondly, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck . . .

  81. Janis, there is no such thing as too much AbFab. Put yourself in the corner for saying such a thing.

    Myiq2xu: That NH does not seem to be the poster I knew.

    Mods, check for an imposter.

  82. Pubic hair and urine jokes: A-ok.

    Dissing AbFab: Nope!

    I love this place. Hee!

  83. This was another home run, madamab! I love these.

  84. “For those who wish to stay together in a long term commitment to the ideals and principles that Hillary Clinton has spent a lifetime promoting, http://Together4Us.com offers access for activists, funders, students, policy-makers and ordinary people to come together in support of each other and their goals for America. Please come to our website and join, use the code below to put our linked logo on your website and distribute our message and this code to all your network. Spread the word. We will be happy to put up a reciprocal link, your own co-branded web page on our site, or your own blog. Thanks so much, Gretchen Glasscock, Together4Us”

  85. Hey that was a great piece,I wish you could get it out to those that aren’t here…..Soo funny but scary because it is so real! thank you

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