So hello to all my lovely new readers! And judging by the tone of the comments, I have a few not-so-lovely new readers as well - hello to you too. Have a cookie. Take a deep breath. We'll be hugging and growing before you know it in the finest tradition of the situation comedy.
So I realise that you (new readers) and I (old blogger) are at a slightly awkward moment in our relationship. This is like the morning after a one night stand with: our chance to grab a cup of coffee and get to know each other a little bit after a highly charged and emotional introduction.
Let me start.
Let's answer a few questions:
- Why do you care so much about US politics if you're British? I am not British. The blog is called Obama London because I am a US citizen and activist with Democrats Abroad who works to register US voters here and London and throughout the UK so that they can exercise their right to vote from overseas. If you are a US citizen living overseas, no matter what your party affliation or voting intention, you can register and request your absentee ballot here: http://www.votefromabroad.org/
- Aren't you kind of obsessed with Sarah Palin? I am not a Sarah Palin obsessive. I am a Barack Obama obsesive. (Check the name of the blog, guys.) Very important that we get that straight, because if you are expecting this blog to feed a Palin fixation, you will be dissappointed. This blog has been in existence for nearly three years, focussing exclusively in US Politics - including detailed coverage of the 2008 campaign. In all that time, yesterday's post - which has taken off to an incredible degree online - was the first time I have written a post specifically about the Former Governor. I mentioned her in passing exactly twice. (For the record, here and here.) If you think about it, I would seem to have been working pretty hard to AVOID writing about Sarah Palin, and for good reason. Any time her name comes up, people tend to get sort of shouty. On both sides. It hurts my head. I would suggest, given the overwhelming response on the one occassion when I did write about her, that I am not the one who is obsessed with Sarah Palin but rather that the obsessed are... well, everyone else.
- So what do you write about, then? I'm glad you asked. I like writing about health care reform. About gay rights (btw, I'm a straight married female), about legislative reform. Politics, policy and lots more.
- How dare you suggest Sarah Palin is responsible for the AZ shooting!? Did I? Let's go to the tape: I said, "in the wake of the terrible events in Arizona, with many commentators pointing out the obvious fact that Gabrielle Giffords had been targetted by Palin in the November election on a map that used a chilling gun site graphic, I thought it would be worth watching her page for a little while to see if her team were indeed deleting negative comments routinely." That sentance was not followed by, "Because this is all her fault." I think Sarah Palin made some terrible judgements about how to express herself. In particular, "don't retreat, reload" makes me queasy. I think she should, I think most people would, feel terrible if someone that they had directed a comment like that towards is attacked in this manner. I think we should tone back our rhetoric and remember that we have more in common than we disagree over. And I think that people like Glen Beck shouldn't suggest that the desire to provide all Americans with affordable and comprehensive health insurance is exactly the same thing as being a Nazi. I think these things are a bad idea, and I would ask them to stop. Please and thank you.
- I can't believe you spent ALL THAT TIME obsessing over Sarah Palin's Facebook page! Don't you just have too much time on your hands? I really don't understand this criticism. I spent about two hours just observing and reporting what I saw on Palin's page on a Sunday afternoon while waiting for my husband to finish up some work. Better I should have spent that time watching Friends reruns? Because I do think I get enough of my Recommended Daily Allowance of Friends reruns. Yesterday's Palin post, which generated hundreds of thousands of readers and hundreds of comments was not a waste of time to write. Although I am starting to wonder about the many hours I have spent crafting long posts about policy and politics lo these many years for far, far fewer readers.