COLUMBIA, S.C.—Yes, can you hear me? Hello?! It’s just BEDLAM here at John Edwards VICTORY PARTY HEADQUARTERS 2008, as a number of people casually dine on what look like chicken wings and cigarettes in Jillian’s, down on Gervais Street. We are in this large watering hole very close to downtown—and from the parking lot you can hear Barack Obama’s fans yelling, awaiting his concession speech. (Is that right? I can’t quite see the numbers under Wolf Blitzer on the T.V., because there are all these lights set up for the making of yet more T.V. and it is very blinding! The T.V. is both coming in to here and going out at the same time!) Oddly enough—Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up” is playing here inside Jillian’s. That is the song that Barack Obama often plays after he has concluded a speech.
There are just a phenomenal number of reporters here—they’ve just gotta be excited at pulling Edwards detail on this triumphant night for the man that Hillary Clinton has called “a son of the south” at every opportunity this week.
Oh wow, now they are playing the Arcade Fire, a band popular with the urban young! Very preliminary results are coming in, over the T.V. waves, but not very much at all is going on here besides—wait, there is a man in a big spiky rooster hat and a patterned silk coat. I cannot identify a single reporter here! One woman is saying that service is “super-super-slow here”! That is okay because there are only dozens and dozens of people trying to dine, while the majority of people (the press) are eating from the free buffet, which I am about to plow into like a mack truck. More information to come on the status of the buffet and my eating of it as those events warrant.
Wait, I’ve just met two young white girls, one 18 and one 17, who are here in the front of the restaurant for a birthday party! The 18-year-old declined to vote in her very first primary. “I didn’t know the hooplah about all this stuff,” she said. But it was such a crazy election, how could she pass, I asked. “I was watching the thing on TV, who was it Edwards, Obama and Clinton, it was just between Clinton and Obama, they were just dissing each other, they weren’t telling each other about anything,” she said.