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Driving Down the 101: Somehow Ending Up in Austin

Hunky Ben McKenzie spoke to a throng of screaming babes at the UT Obama office.

By Kate X Messer, 6:40PM, Fri. Feb. 29, 2008

OPEN IMAGE GALLERY

Hunky Ben McKenzie Schenkkan stumps for his man, Obama at the candidate's Dobie HQ near UT
Hunky Ben McKenzie Schenkkan stumps for his man, Obama at the candidate's Dobie HQ near UT Hunky Ben McKenzie Schenkkan stumps for his man, Obama at the candidate's Dobie HQ near UT
Hunky Ben McKenzie Schenkkan stumps for his man, Obama at the candidate's Dobie HQ near UT
photo by KXM

I was all jazzed yesterday to rediscover the Cafe Press vendor who designed the cool "OC" Obama/Clinton logos after the last (2004) presidential election tragedy. (More about all that in this other post.) So, it was a bizarre coincidence that colleague Marge Baumgarten forwarded me a really funny email from the Obama campaign announcing that 'Ryan' From The Hit Drama, The OC, and 'Della' From The Movie, Ray, Are Visiting The Student-Run Obama Office at UT.

I was utterly charmed at the breathlessness of the missive as well as the total omission of the actors names throughout. (By the way, gang, it's Benjamin McKenzie Schenkkan and Kerry Washington.)

So, I printed out my little OC logo with the delusion that I would run down there and have the hunky ex-Ryan Atwood sign it and possibly even pose for a one-armed internet photo, with him forming an "O" (he supports Obama) and me forming a "C" (I heart Hill) all gang-signy and democratically solidarity-like.

When I got to the Dobie, my starry eyes had to recalibrate: the student-run office was packed with bright-eyed and bushy-tailed collegians, and at once I felt awash in both happy and sad. Happy to see this injection of spirit and new blood in the Democrat-machine and sad, actually more wistful, that we sure could have used this type of energy in 2004.

McKenzie and Washington arrived to a rockstar ovation. The shrieks of college coeds could surely be heard atop the 27-floor dorm. Ben was charming and earnest and almost made me feel young and idealistic again. Kerry's stumping was equally impassioned and very entertaining, but she threw me when she said the reason she jumped the Clinton ship for that of the young senator was that she did not want to merely give her vote to someone who thought they worked long enough and earned the office. I think I understood the sentiment, but felt it reeked of the platitudenal feel-righteousisms of most of Obama's campaign. Not that I don't think we need some of that right about now, and not that I don't respect what the senator has already accomplished and stands for, it just left me scratching my head.

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