Monday, November 20, 2006

Tomgram: Robert Lipsyte, How the Republicans Lost the Garage

The 2006 election season ended on November 7 with the crowning of a new Congressional champion, the Democratic Party. Today, less than two weeks later, the NASCAR season ends with the Ford 400 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida and the crowning of a new Nextel Cup champion. In the piece that follows, Robert Lipsyte, former New York Times sports columnist (who covered Nascar for years) and author most recently of the striking Young Adult novel, Raiders Night, explains just how curiously linked the two events are.

When I was a youth, I worked for a while in a small, tinker-toy industrial strip in Hayward, California, with skilled young printers who were also fervent racing car enthusiasts. They could offer brilliant interpretations of how our world worked without ever leaving the universe of cars. Lipsyte, one of the best sports writers we've had, has the same skill. Back in September in "Shooting Up on Jock Culture" he explored for Tomdispatch readers the deeper meaning of the steroid scandals. He is now officially this website's sports columnist. Expect a new column every second month. The Super Bowl is, to mix sports metaphors, on deck. Tom

Driving Values

By Robert Lipsyte

1. It's the Car, Stupid

"I hate that term, NASCAR Dads, it's narrow and patronizing, but it's about time Democrats showed some sensitivity to the stock car culture." -- David (Mudcat) Saunders, political consultant.

The Democrats won the Senate and the House because the Republicans lost the garage.

Four years ago, mad political scientists created Nascar Dad to combat Soccer Mom. The result was as epic as Beowulf versus Grendel's Mother. We know how both those battles came out. And now we also know that Nascar Dad, like the great Scandinavian mercenary, began to wonder if he was protecting the right mead hall.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

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