Many thanks to everyone for the myriad cold-killing recipes that have been sent to me. I’ve tried quite a few and am happy to report that something, not sure what, is beginning to work. I think it was the mint tea and bourbon.
I am sitting in the same spot in the Starbucks at Connecticut and R in Washington where Josh Marshall launched his blog four years ago. Dave of Fugop apparently blogs at this Starbucks too. But it really is a fascinating place — kind of like the Georgetown Safeway. Everyone eventually walks through here, well not everyone — but lots of politicos and pundits.
I just bumped into and talked with a Dem Senator from a Red State, Max Baucus of Montana, who just got back from Australia last night. He and his wife get their coffee here most mornings, led along by a cute little white poodle. Max and I chatted about organizing a large conference on America’s global economic agenda in late January/early February 2005 that would be designed to embarrass the Bush administration’s “absence of strategy” in economic policy.
Max Baucus is an interesting guy and good example of the type of person who sells well in red states. I have been in his Senate office many times and really like this one wall of photos he has.
It is what he calls his “Day-In-The-Life” wall.
Here is what his promo bio says about this:
Throughout his career, Max has never forgotten where he came from or who he represents. For a full day each month, Max experiences a “Day-In-The-Life” of citizens all over Montana. He has conducted workdays at farms, ranches, schools, highway construction projects, local ice cream parlors, and hospitals.
Recent workday activities include building houses with Great Falls High School Students, joining workers at a high-tech aerospace firm in Helena, and pitching in to build a grandstand at the Glendive fairgrounds. And in 1995 and 1996, Max walked the entire 820-mile length of Montana.

Some people may see such a thing as corny because Max is reportedly quite a wealthy guy and comes from one of the most powerful ranching families in Montana. But I like it.
Max’s photo wall shows him flipping burgers (and looking like he really was getting into it), laying pipeline in a lot of muddy ground, pouring asphalt, working fields, and so on. He isn’t running for president — but if he were going to — this wall would be an enormous asset.
A “Day-In-The-Life” wall was something John Kerry didn’t have in his tool box.
George Bush communicated his contrived “I’m an average guy too” persona by clearing brush off of his ranch in the hot summer sun of August — lots of sweat, lots of drama. As one close friend of mine and another Texas rancher told me, “no real Texas rancher clears his brush in August. Ranchers clear in November when it’s cool.”
Kerry’s goose-hunting foray just highlighted in neon flashing lights with sirens his distance from average folks.
Before it looks like cheap positioning and tokenism before the next presidential race, those who aspire to live at 1600 Pennsylvania — Mark Warner, Bill Richardson, Wes Clark, John Kerry (again), Chris Dodd, John Edwards, and Hillary — ought to consider walking the length of their respective states or doing some kind of Baucus-inspired “day-in-the-life” work once a month between now and November 4, 2008.
— Steve Clemons