John Schmitz – George Moscone Dining and Drinking Society

I’ve been watching the rise of partisan blog social events (“Drinking Liberally,” comes to mind) with some amusement. The amusement is based in part on the notion that the blogs have gotten big enough that we can parse who we want to associate with, and partly on my wry acknowledgement that American politics today consists of two camps, armed with sharp tongues and quick thumbs – the better to text disparaging messages about each other.

Now I like a disparaging message as much as the next guy, but I also have fond memories of the lesson taught me by an ultra-right-wing politician early in my career.

John Schmitz was (literally) a member of the John Birch Society. he was a California State Senator when I met him in my capacity as a junior lobbyist for Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration, and he told me something I’ve remembered for a long time:

When Moscone ran the Senate, he and I used to fight hammer and tongs all day, then go out and have drinks over dinner and laugh about it. We differed on where we wanted the boat to go, but we recognized that we were in the same boat. These new guys would gladly sink the boat rather then compromise.

So in honor of the late Sen. Schmitz’s sentiment – if not his child-rearing ability or political views – I’m going to see if we can kick off a series of blogger meals – first here in Southern California, and then maybe elsewhere, if folks can be found to make them happen.

The John Schmitz – George Moscone Dining and Drinking Society. Motto: “It’s just one boat; we’re all on it; let’s make sure the food is good and there’s lots of booze.”

We’ll have our first dinner Saturday, November 12, someplace near the 405 and 110 in the Los Angeles area (I’ll pick a venue when I have some idea of how many people may come). We’ll meet for drinks at 6:00.

10 thoughts on “John Schmitz – George Moscone Dining and Drinking Society”

  1. Too bad I’ve moved away from SoCal as of about 6 months ago… I won’t be back there until Christmas to see the in-laws…

    But if anyone wants to set something up in Atlanta, I’m down for that…

  2. put me down for 2-3 able bodied shipmates. we hold court at a local coffee house with Winds of Change at the ready – some fresh voices would be appreciated. we will keep watch for details

  3. Our group began kind of like that: liberal to conservative but agree on hawkish foreign policy. But unfortunately the strident anti-liberals tend to drown out everyone else.

    But our group spawned a similar one in Portland, ORE.

  4. Now I wonder, what with the Hammer, the K Street project, Anne “You can’t talk with a liberal” Coulter… when the GOP comes crashing down in defeat and jail terms do you think we’ll see a return to civility? Or will the Democrats have learned their lessons too well?

  5. It’s about time somebody thought about civility. I wish I could come out — it definitely sounds like a good cause.

    The more we disagree civilly we better we can make compromises and solve problems. In the last 15 years or so we’ve begun to confuse entertainment with politics, and that’s not good for anybody.

  6. oz #5

    In my experience it is not the conservative that is shouting to drown all rational discourse, but the liberal who has no new ideas, just old, worn out ones.

    I have given up on them, they have no notion of civility.

    The Hobo

  7. Schmitz was my Poly Sci professor at Santa Ana College back in the 60’s. He was a cool dude back then except for that God awful mustache. Would like to attend if timing works

  8. I’d like to make a suggestion, based on having been at a few blogger gatherings. A noisy bar is a very frustrating venue, because it’s impossible to have a general conversation. You end up shouting into the ear of whoever is next to you, and have no idea of what the people down the table are laughing so hard about…

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