Raising Political Spirits

By Monica Hesse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 5, 2008

These past six months, Stacie Walters's social life has been fairly typical:

There were the presidential debate parties, of course, held in bars or in people's crowded apartments, with fistfuls of SmartPop to be thrown at the TV.

There was a glorious State of the Union party, with hot wings and salad, with prizes for the children attending who could identify the most politicians.

There were the post-primary and post-SOTU phone conversations, in which Walters, a lobbyist for the Livingston Group, conference-called her closest friends inside the Beltway. They spent hours dissecting what was said and what was worn: "It's about what kind of jewelry Nancy Pelosi had on, what colors Condoleezza was wearing," Walters says.

Naturally, there will be a Super Tuesday bash tonight -- something good enough to tide everyone over until the Democratic National Convention in August. Something elaborate involving betting pools, something like the festivities most people put together for the Super Bowl, which in these circles seems like a funny prelude to the main event.

"But seriously," says Walters, 35. "Doesn't everyone do this?"

Wonk out: 1) to salivate and obsess over the arcane details and minutiae of politics; 2) to have a social life -- a uniquely bizarre, confusing-to-newcomers, nostalgic-to-the-recently-departed, social life -- in Washington.

* * *

Sixteen grad-student, nonprofit and temp types are crammed into the Shaw group house living room of Allyson Rudolph, an editorial assistant at Congressional Quarterly Press.

A few weeks ago she'd sent out an Evite:

"He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union. -- U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section III.

"And we shall watch, and drink. -- Allyson."

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