Welcome to The Indecision 11, our soft-hitting — caressing, really — politics questionnaire for smart, funny people. This week: the always incisive and relentlessly hilarious Ana Marie Cox. She was the founding editor of Wonkette, she wrote a satirical novel called Dog Days, and now she is a political columnist at The Guardian U.S. You are a nut if you don't follow her on Twitter: @anamariecox.
What's your earliest political memory?
There's a picture of this somewhere: Me, in third grade, wearing a tan corduroy suit, holding a "Carter for President" sign, which I had made myself in green marker using white paper and a cardboard towel roll. I remember it kind of flopped over because the paper wasn't stiff enough. Which is fitting. I was representing Carter in our school's mock election. My best friend, Kelly, was Reagan (I have no memory of why it was two girls who stepped into these roles).
We gave speeches in front of the class. My mom had helped me with mine, and it was actually a speech arguing for Carter and his policies! I remember it mentioned SALT II. Kelly, on the other hand, gave a speech about longer recess and more options in the lunch line. In some ways that was a perfectly representative speech as well. She won.
What do you think of people who don't vote?
I'm disappointed, but I understand the attitude: voting doesn't seem to mean much. That one vote could matter seems naive to some people, especially when political coverage tells viewers over and over again how much money matters, and gives the impression that political will is something decided by other people in other places. I'm not sure if coverage could change enough to correct that impression (which people not voting serves to validate!). I'm in favor of a system like that in Australia, where voting is mandatory.
If you could meet any political figure, living or dead, who would it be?
I'd love to make this a more original answer, but Jefferson has always been my favorite Founding Father — autodidact, inventor, author, philosopher, mad mack daddy — so off the top of my head, it's him. I also thought of Thomas Paine, though honestly, he seems like might have been kind of a dick.
You're trapped in an elevator with the president. Strangely enough, you also have a superpower: the ability to make him do one thing of your choosing. What would you have him do?
A crowd favorite might be to have him work for the decriminalization of marijuana, which is the kind of policy shift that could make a huge difference in the lives of an enormous number of people–imagine what the ripple effect could be: more people in school, more money going toward more serious crimes, etc. That also seems like it would be, you know, doable. I'd love to have nationalized health care (I am currently without insurance myself!), but that's such a complex issue I don't know if Obama could make it happen. I mean, I know he couldn't make it happen.
Sing me an Al Green song is, of course, a close second.
Have you ever supported a candidate, issue or campaign and regretted it later?
If you ran for office, what would your campaign slogan be?
"Ana is on it."
Who do you follow on Twitter for politics news?
I'm going to leave people I love out, just because it's long list and I'm going by who's on my feed right now — especially people that most readers probably haven't heard of, but:
* Olivier Knox (@oknox), the Yahoo! White House correspondent (a job title that still amuses me).
* Jake Tapper (@jaketapper), an old friend and one of the hardest working journalists in Washington.
* Mike Madden (@mmadden), who edits the Washington City Paper — a DC alternative weekly — but who used to cover national politics and whose perspective is a good reminder that Washington is made up of real people in addition to elected officials.
* Teresa Kopec (@teresakopec), I have no idea who this woman is, she was an early adopter and follower of mine and seems to divide her time between being a soccer mom and mainlining political news. She's a freelance, progressive-slanted aggregator.
* Clara Jeffery (@clarajeffery), co-editor of Mother Jones. I'll just cite one of her own Tweets: "We were [covering] the war on women before the war on women was cool."
* Jon Lovett (@jonlovett), former White House speechwriter turned Hollywood writer. Very funny and insidery.
* @pourmecoffee, the anonymous bon-motist.
* Adam Baldwin (@adamsbaldwin), JANE FROM "FIREFLY"! He's kind of a nutty libertarian but I am fascinated and impressed by his passion for political news and conservative activism. Also: JANE FROM "FIREFLY"!
* Ben Smith (@buzzfeedben), BuzzFeed's political coverage is the most pleasant surprise of this cycle.
* Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman), covers politics and military issues for Wired magazine. You can't find a more pungent and pugilistic — yet incredibly technically informed — perspective anywhere else.
* Dave Weigel (@daveweigel), columnist for Slate, recovering libertarian. Very funny and pop culture-inflected.
* Irin Carmon (@irincarmon), Salon writer with an irreverent streak in her feminism.
AND I HAVE STILL LEFT PEOPLE OUT.
Fill in the blank: Washington, D.C. is __________________.
A soul-sucking swamp.
Who's the sleaziest person in politics?
Grover Norquist, though I mention him mainly because I think he's aiming for that title.
Who's the sexiest person in politics?
Tell us a joke.
Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Previously: Jimmy Pardo
Tags: Ana Marie Cox, The Indecision 11