Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/washington/news.aspx?id=76061
Story Retrieval Date: 5/24/2013 12:05:44 PM CST
ARLINGTON, Va. -- There was no heckling of President George W. Bush’s smiling mug displayed on the big-screen televisions. No chorus of curses or jeers filled the cavernous bar.
No one stood up, yelled “Busho!” and crashed head-first through the table.
In truth, the Arlington Young Democrats’ State of the Union party Monday night would not remind anyone of the carousing in “Animal House.”
“I expect there to be heckling and people throwing things,” said Lisa Tawil, of Fairfax, while taking a pull off her glass of water just before Bush started speaking, “but soft things, like napkins.”
Boy, was she in for a disappointing night – not even a napkin was to be heaved at Bush’s televised dome piece.
Tawil came with two friends, sizing up their first Arlington Young Democrats event. They were three of the hundred or so people that filled the Burgundy Room at Bailey’s Pub and Grille, in suburban Arlington.
Maybe 20 folks played a mellow game of “Busho,” a drinking bingo contest tailored to Bush’s oft-used expressions. Words like “democracy” and “terrorism” are placed on the Busho. When your Busho board is complete, you shout “Busho!” and earn a free drink.
But for the most part, the crowd, mostly in their 20s and 30s, just took ‘er easy. They sipped their adult beverages, and watched the address with one eye toward the future.
“I think the people here are way more excited about the upcoming election than this address,” explained Bree Raum, 29, president of the Arlington Young Democrats. “That, and it’s a Monday.”
The private party, sponsored by the AYD, was intended as a celebration of the “last” State of the Union address by Bush, Raum said, but it was also a chance for the organization to recruit new members and circulate information. The young Democrats focus was to educate Arlington voters about absentee ballot qualifications.
“Our goal is for Virginia to be a blue state,” Raum said.
Of those in attendance, about two-thirds were new members, attending their first event, said John Latini, membership director of the organization.
Veteran group members Brian Dautch and Adam Stanton showed political conviction. Though they were not partaking in the Busho game, or otherwise acting the fool, they were wielding pints of ale and strong opinions.
“As long as we have had to suffer through this administration, we should at least be surrounded by good friends and good beers,” said Dautch, 33, who manages a political action committee.
“It’s just going to be more of the same,” said Stanton, 31, who works for the Department of Defense. “He’s going to try to harp on the things that he considers to be his legacy.”
Next came the fat one over the plate: What exactly is Bush’s legacy?
“A terrible start to the 21st century,” grumbled Dautch, as he took a slurp of beer.
Chris King, the 34-year-old liaison between the Arlington group and the Democratic Party, was lacking in beverage but not eloquence, or bone-crushing handshake.
“The election is more important than this,” King said. “Bush’s legacy is seeing the world in black and white, and I think history will prove that the world is more nuanced than that.”
C’mon, Chris, surely you’re going to miss some of Bush’s more endearing traits, such as his mangling of the English language?
“It’s not funny anymore,” said King, without smile, sober as a judge. “It would be funny if the problems that we were inheriting weren’t so serious.”
Sheesh, these young Democrats are all business.