Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Initial Thoughts

What a night. First of all, I'd like to crib a line from Charlie and remind everyone that Sarah Palin just got community organized. Secondly, well...I don't have any grand theme going here so let's just roll with some bullet points:
  • No one wanted to talk to Joe the Plumber. People saw through that hard-right dog whistle like a newly washed window. Perhaps he will enjoy his Obama tax cut.
  • Barack Obama won this election because he ran one hell of a campaign. Period.
  • When pundits talk about Obama riding a tsunami to victory, or when they talk about how John McCain did the best he could in such a "hostile" political environment, remember that Republicans did this to themselves. There were no headwinds; only self-inflicted wounds. Also remember that Barack Obama ran one hell of a campaign.
  • I voted for Norm Coleman. If Rush Limbaugh decides to run for office some day, perhaps he can use Franken's campaign as a model. The nomination of Al Franken was every bit as ridiculous as Sarah Palin's selection as VP. I get that he ostensibly plays for my preferred team, but I refuse to vote for a talk radio entertainer. He's a nominal ally and my vote for him would be simply for the letter in front of his name, not the guy who spent the better part of the last decade "balancing" out the Sean Hannitys and Mike Gallaghers of the world. Sometimes I think super-partisans and/or super-ideologues lose sight of the fact that some of their choices make it very hard for independents and swing votes to see any substantial difference in policy when the style looks similar to everything they hate in politics. More and more Americans believe that the two parties look very much alike. Candidates like Franken do no favors for progressive policy.
  • That being said, the Strib's handling of the Senate race was pathetic. I wish I could cancel my subscription twice. I'm not saying that they affected the race one way or another--how would I know such a thing? Rather, that they seem to not know how to actually report on politics.
  • Norm got my vote because I don't believe in leaving major races blank on my ballot and because I believe that third parties are for perpetual attention seekers and people who should be legally bound to a conservator for all their worldly affairs, as they are too stupid to be allowed to operate on their own. Third parties do not offer alternatives. Let me make a silly analogy to explain what I mean. Instead of choosing Coke over Pepsi, 3rd parties simply propose mixing the two together. You see, they aren't offering anything different; they just don't have the resources, the will, the motivation, or skills to get hired by PepsiCo or Coca-Cola and they want you to believe that their hackish concoction of nonsense is something other than what you can readily find in the 2 major brands on your own and without their help. Dean Barkley is a clown. His big claim to fame in this election was sitting in between the guy on the left and the guy on the right and then tossing off a few Rodney King "can't we all just get alongs" when it was time for him to speak. The reason why he could say these things is because he had nothing at stake. He was never in danger of winning this thing so he sat in "the middle" and dutifully played his part like a good little purple monkey stuck between the red Coleman and the blue Franken. I can tell you exactly what Dean Barkley would do if he were an incumbent with a 40% share of the vote. He'd fight like hell for his seat. It's not just Barkley. "Independence" Party candidates littered the stage last night with their sanctimonious calls for decency, kumbaya, and other assorted bullshit that occupies the time of people who don't have a prayer of winning. Listen, we all know that bi-partisanship is what people call for when they can't get what they want. Doesn't tri-partisanship, by definition, have to be even more absurd? Our ridiculous media doesn't help either. It's bad enough that our political coverage is run according to manufactured ideas of balance; it's even worse when our lazy reporters let the candidates do most of the balance-manufacturing for themselves. Also, please don't mistake my distaste for 3rd parties as sour grapes. I voted for Norm. I did so because of the reasons listed above (Franken = Rush Limbaugh) but also because I believe that he is such a turncoat that he will be acceptable on issues that are important to me. If he survives this legal scare, Norm will have seen the light. Norm is a front runner and a coward. It is in his nature to latch on to his new Democratic overlords as quickly as possible. He should vote in my interests on torture, the war in Iraq, the environment, and energy. I bet he'll even vote for some Democratic-appointed judges.
  • Funniest moment of the night: Watching ABC call Ohio for Obama and then cut to their reporter on the scene at McCain Ohio HQ to hear him offer up something to the effect of "I'm not sure people here know that Ohio has gone for Obama. They have a different station on here at GOP HQ and they haven't called it yet." Of course, we all know what channel they had on at GOP HQ. We also know that Fox News was WAY out in front on many of the races last night...except one...the one that pretty much made it an Obama win. I just thought it was a touching little moment of a reporter having to deal with a crowd that was purposefully detached from any non-GOP reality. If ever you needed a funnier symbol of how purposefully uninformed Fox viewers are...well, this is pretty hard to beat.
  • I won't pretend to know what went on in the 3rd CD, but I do know this: Ashwin Madia always struck me as Andrew Borene pt.ii. I think you're going to see an increase of Republican vets running as Democrats because they think it will be an easier path to office than going through the GOP. Madia would have been a good IP candidate. Maybe he can cut the false pretenses and go that route the next time around.
  • I'd really like to know how every Republican in the country got the "this country is center-right" talking point all at the same time.
  • This country is not center-right.
  • John McCain never was, is, or will be a straight-talking Maverick. He wasn't wronged by George Bush in South Carolina in 2000; he was up to just as much funny business as Mr. Bush and he lost. This time around, he was the same guy. In a month or two when he makes the rounds on teevee to tell the world that his campaign did all sorts of things that he really didn't want to do, our media baboons will go on and on about how honorable of a man the "real" John McCain is and how he was forced into doing some terrible things because of this little game we like to call politics. Nonsense. McCain has always been a media creation; even more so than what some on the hard right think about Obama. Mark my words: Some media Neanderthal will literally say that he ran a terrible campaign and flip-flopped on so many issues because he's honorable. I don't know how they'll do it, but it is bound to happen.
  • That being said, McCain would have fared much, much, much better had he chosen Tim Pawlenty as his running mate. I think he could have pulled it off with T-Paw on the ticket. Palin was that bad of a choice.
  • I believe that Palin will fade away from the national political scene. There is no way a major party can survive with a person like that near the top. I know she sets off all sorts of conservative dog whistles, but to the rest of us, she's about as appealing as an honest-to-god pit bull with lipstick.
  • Despite his dishonorable campaign and his massively hypocritical concession speech ("My friends, it's time to embrace the scary black Muslim socialist as an example of all that is great with America"), and despite his flip-flop on the issue in question, Barack Obama should immediately enlist McCain to help him close Gitmo and end torture. He should also appoint McCain to head up a Senate task force to eliminate waste in DoD spending.
Well, that's about enough for now. It will be interesting to see how the Senate race plays out as well as how smoothly the transition goes. I need to let the Obama victory sink in a bit more before I write about that. It still hasn't really hit yet. I was more ready to write about the stuff I hear on GOP talk radio than I was about President-elect Barack Hussein Obama.

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