Thursday, November 06, 2008

General Thoughts

So I may be taking a short break from blogging now that the election is behind us. My interest in politics hasn't changed one bit, just need a breather. I think we all earned it. But first, here's my thoughts on where things stand.

I wrote a post on Tuesday afternoon entitled 'Barack Obama, Ignore The Pundits!'. It was about the meme that the the powers-that-be and the 'liberal' media are pushing that Obama's huge mandate after running a very openly progressive campaign means that Americans want him to... govern as a wishy-washy center-right President. In Washington DC, this logic apparently makes perfect sense.

As I wrote then, "the most popular U.S. presidents weren't the losers who played it safe... People want things shaken up (and are also a lot more progressive than it is often noted). That is the overarching message of this election." I hope that the President-elect is smart enough to understand this, and I will have faith that he is, until I see otherwise. He achieved his electoral victory by constantly ignoring the shitty advice of pundits, and I hope he will continue doing so now.

Nobel laureate Paul Krugman-- who, on matters like the housing bubble and the Iraq war, was proven right by reality-- as usual says it better than I can-
[T]he campaign, in its final stages, was really about different philosophies of governing. This wasn’t like the 2004 campaign, which was essentially fought over fake issues — Bush running on national security and social issues, then claiming that he had a mandate to privatize Social Security. In this election, Obama proudly stood up for progressive values and the superiority of progressive policies; John McCain, in return, denounced him as a socialist, a redistributor. And the American people rendered their verdict.

Now the work begins.

(I also recommend passing around this graph he posts showing the nation's Democratic swing)

Yes, the work begins, and post-victory glee will soon be replaced by a realization of just what an impossible task lies ahead. The damage of the Bush years-- both at home and abroad-- has been well-documented, and I don't need to waste space here recapping all the things that need fixing. For what its worth, Obama seems to understand that he doesn't get a post-election vacation. He was elected because Americans deemed him the candidate better suited to roll up his sleeves and start digging us out of this hole. What we can do to help is not to stop caring just because the fun election season is over. George W. Bush's failures were aided, in part, by the complacency of the American people. Obama's successes must be guided by the opposite. We'll find out soon what that entails.

We won. Barack Obama was elected. Now let's all hope he remembers why and by whom.


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