Sunday, March 20, 2005

Meeting James Carville

When not polluting the blogosphere with my frustrated ranting or drinking overpriced beer at punk rock shows, I work for a living as a financial journalist. Every year the company I work for holds conferences for the buyout industry and brings in interesting speakers from well outside the world of buyouts. Two of this year’s speakers were Tucker Carlson and James Carville, the former ‘Crossfire’ rivals and political pundits.

The two spoke and debated and took questions from the audience. Carlson delivered a long but very good speech analyzing the Democrats’ loss in the most recent presidential election. While unabashedly conservative, Carlson’s analysis was dead-on, pointing out some tactical faults in the Kerry campaign and comparing them to past Republican gaffes in campaign strategy.

Carville was good also, saying the working title of his next book about the Democratic Party had the working title of ‘It’s My Party and I’ll Cry if I Want To.’ His delivery is shorter and not as focused as Carlson’s is, but the crowd liked him just as much, if not more.

After the speeches/debate/Q&A, Tucker Carlson had to leave right away but Carville hung around afterward at the cocktail reception.

I can honestly say that Carville is the same down-to-earth person you see on TV. It was definitely a high point of the week to meet and talk with him. I joined the phalanx of admirers peppering him with political questions and he answered all honestly and with humor.

His talking about his own life underscored why he’s one of my heroes. "I was 49 before I was married, I had kids for the first time when I was 52, and I’m 60 years old and still never had a real job," he laughed. " I’ve never had ‘FICA’ taken out of my paycheck." [That may not be an exact quote – but that was generally what he said].

Carville mentioned that he threw the last party for Hunter S. Thompson, which he held earlier this year in New Orleans.

I only hope he returns to American politics. We need him now more than ever.

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