Hertzberg: “I have a weakness for street weirdos”

When FairVote booked New Yorker editor Hendrik Hertzberg for our fundraiser (Monday, Dec. 15th at the Hi-Hat from 6-8:30pm), we only knew he was a brilliant writer who loved election reform.

We didn’t know he could also hold his own in a streetfight

My first inkling of my week as a Bill O’Reilly guest star came on Tuesday morning, December 2nd, as I was leaving home to go to work. I hadn’t had my coffee yet. I hadn’t even checked my e-mail. I was not at my most intellectually acute.

Two youngish guys dressed in slacker clothes—one with a microphone, the other with a camera—accosted me on the sidewalk in front of my apartment building. […]

At that point, I suppose, I should have just given the guy my business card and suggested that if Mr. O’Reilly wanted to interview me, he should have someone get in touch with me at the office. But, as I say, no coffee yet. Also, I have a weakness for street weirdos.

Let’s roll the tape (skip ahead to about 60 seconds in):


Do you want to ask Hendrik Hertzberg questions without camping out in front of his house? Come to FairVote’s fundraiser this Monday. Details:

New Yorker senior editor and former Jimmy Carter speechwriter Hendrik Hertzberg is coming to Providence (and he’s in the blogosphere too).

Time and location: Monday, December 15th, at the Hi-Hat in Providence, from 6-8:30. Mr. Hertzberg will speak beginning at 7:45pm. Suggested donation for guests is $50; students and youths under 25 are asked to donate $15.

Hertzberg will be joining FairVote’s national executive director, Rob Richie, to talk about this year’s presidential election, the national popular vote movement, and election reform in general.

1 thought on “Hertzberg: “I have a weakness for street weirdos””

  1. The major shortcoming of the current system of electing the President is that presidential candidates concentrate their attention on a handful of closely divided “battleground” states. In 2004 two-thirds of the visits and money were focused in just six states; 88% on 9 states, and 99% of the money went to just 16 states. Two-thirds of the states and people were merely spectators to the presidential election. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or worry about the voter concerns in states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. The reason for this is the winner-take-all rule enacted by 48 states, under which all of a state’s electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state.

    Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide. This has occurred in one of every 14 presidential elections.

    In the past six decades, there have been six presidential elections in which a shift of a relatively small number of votes in one or two states would have elected (and, of course, in 2000, did elect) a presidential candidate who lost the popular vote nationwide.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections.

    The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    The bill is currently endorsed by 1,181 state legislators — 439 sponsors (in 47 states) and an additional 742 legislators who have cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 21 state legislative chambers, including one house in Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, and Washington, and both houses in California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These four states possess 50 electoral votes — 19% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

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