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Marlene H. Phillips Headshot

Politics to Make You Smile

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You probably guessed, since I'm a political blogger for Huffington Post, that I am a political junkie. I will proudly tell you I was raised that way; my dad wanted me to discuss politics with just as much depth and knowledge as I would baseball or The Beatles. Politics was a passion we both shared, and since I wanted to keep up with him I paid attention.

But even I am getting battered by the onslaught of bad news. I thought after eight years of the Worst President Ever that we might get a good-news reprieve here; heaven knows we earned it. Instead every day brings more gloom than a spring day in Seattle -- I lived in the lovely Seattle area for 21 years, and by spring you feel like the grayness has infiltrated every part of your psyche. That's about how I feel these days. When Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman is saying we're on the verge of the 2nd Great Depression even a political junkie like me needs a break. Don't get me wrong -- I still want the politics. I just need a little humor to go with it. I don't need a complete change of subject. Just a little diversion will do nicely.

So for all of you despairing political junkies, I offer a few political diversions, politics to make you smile:

1. The Governor of Alaska. Oh, Sarah Palin, how do I thank thee. Let me count the ways. Just when I was getting down in the dumps you gave another interview and I laughed once more. In this one you actually said that Caroline Kennedy is getting a 'free ride from the press'-unlike your poor beaten up little self- because of 'class bias.' Sarah, you maniac, you're a laugh machine. Of course there's absolutely no difference between Sarah Palin and Caroline Kennedy, so what else but class bias can explain her 'free ride in the press' (Sarah. My dear. Free ride? After reporters counted the number of times Ms. Kennedy said 'you know' and ran it as actual news? Keep reading 'all' those papers, Sarah, you'll find it). Caroline Kennedy and Sarah Palin: in one corner we've got a published author, Constitutional scholar, Radcliffe graduate and education reformer, and in the other corner we've got...Sarah Palin. Case closed! Please, Governor, keep giving interviews. Your country needs you in this time of crisis.

2. Michelle Obama's Inauguration clothes. Oh, stop groaning. My friend Monica and I admitted to each other that this is one of the few stories these days that puts a smile on our faces. Here's a sentence I've never said in my entire adult life: I can't wait to see what our fabulous new First Lady wears to the Inauguration. I'm smiling just writing it. I love her sense of style and I love the way she shops: whether she buys from a designer or from Target, Michelle Obama knows great clothes when she sees 'em. She'd be a kick to go shopping with... and I bet every politically savvy woman reading this article is nodding in agreement. And smiling.

3. Sanjay Gupta as Surgeon General. Really? Sanjay Gupta? That handsome doctor who's on television because he's a handsome doctor? I don't think he's the right choice but I've got to smile because, well, we're talking about The Surgeon General here, not Defense Secretary. Did you know Surgeon General's are supposed to wear a uniform, which makes them look like an airline pilot? Really. I always thought it was C. Everett Koop's idea but no, he just brought it back into style ('C. Everett Koop' and 'style,' now there's two thoughts that usually don't go together). Come to think of it, Sanjay Gupta might look really fine in a uniform; I'm smiling just thinking about that. While we're on the subject, Mr. President Elect, if you think a television news doctor should become the country's doctor, can you make Oprah the head of the Fed? She can do more to stimulate the economy with one trip to the Miracle Mile than Ben Bernanke's done in the last two years. And her press conferences would be fabulous ("Every reporter in this room gets a free car!").

Did I make you smile? I hope so. We're going to need those smiles, wherever we can get them.