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Ana Marie Cox Waxes Wonky

Washington Journalist Serves Up Politics with Liberal Seasoning


She’s informed. She’s omnipresent. And she once called Ann Coulter a “horse-faced tranny” on MSNBC.

Now I kind of wish I’d said something worse,” jokes Ana Marie Cox, the Washington journalist who serves up politics with liberal seasoning and a side of snark.

Starshine Roshell

The founding editor of political satire blog Wonkette, Cox now waxes wonky as a correspondent for GQ, a frequent guest on The Rachel Maddow Show, and a hardcore tweeter. A self-described nerd, Cox entertains her million-plus Twitter followers with confessions of bad ’80s hair, shout-outs to beloved indie rock bands, and links to cool politi-stuff—like her recent interview with Gov. Schwarzenegger (Ahnuld Sez Gerrymandering Is for Girly Men).

On October 15, Cox comes to town to speak at Politics, Sex & Cocktails, a benefit for the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo Counties (tickets and information).

But first, she spoke to slightly starstruck me:

Why do politics fire you up? What do you love about that world? I sometimes refer to Washington, D.C., as a “life-sized ant farm,” because what I love about D.C. is how weird it is and how much fun I have just observing it. It’s also the only world capital run almost entirely by nerds. The people who got picked last for kickball? They’re deciding how much you should pay in taxes. And if we should go to war. I got picked last for kickball a lot myself, yes.

How do you feel about the word “pundit”? You’re not one of those, are you? “Pundit” is a funny word, both because it sounds vaguely dirty—like a euphemism for genitals—and because it means pretty much nothing. It means, “someone who has an opinion about politics” and has a platform to share that opinion. In the current media environment, that means everyone. So, yeah, I’m a pundit. But so are you!

Meg Whitman’s record-shattering personal campaign spending raises concerns about “buying” public office. Where’s this phenomenon headed? We already see that those elected to office are, on average, much more wealthy than those they represent. If we get to a place where the connection between wealth and public office isn’t just a matter of “who has the time and background necessary to be in public office” but rather, “who can literally afford to be in public office,” maybe people will notice. As with most of the ills that plague American democracy, I think this is a problem that substantial voter participation would fix.

Is the rest of the country watching California’s Prop. 19 battle with interest? Or are they convinced we’re just a bunch of stoners? We think you’re stoners. Weirdly homophobic stoners. (Though the passage of the marijuana measure would sort of explain how people wound up voting for Prop. 8—confusion, paranoia, etc.)

You’re everywhere! TV, magazines, blogosphere. What’s the “get” you still haven’t got? I would love to go on The Daily Show. Sniff. And I have not yet actually been allowed to ask a question at a presidential press conference. I think the odds are probably better for that than The Daily Show, though.

Looking at the state of politics, it’s easy to get sucked into despair. Give it to us straight, Ana: Is it all going to hell? No. I mean, it’s bad. I won’t sugarcoat it. After the Supreme Court decision allowing for anonymous political donations, we’re likely to see the ugliest election cycles in modern history (yes, worse than 2008), but every time someone votes, it’s a chance for things to get better. So don’t give up.

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