Friday, November 07, 2008

The First Press Conference

President-elect Obama held his first press conference this afternoon. Video here. Thoughts?

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.

Post-Election Odds and Ends

Awakening from my victory coma, let's try and roundup all the news that I missed...

President-elect Obama's transition efforts ( begin immediately. Rahm Emmanuel will be White House chief of staff, and the less-than-exciting Larry Summers is apparently a top choice for Treasury Secretary (here's a way to fight the latter, though). Robert Kennedy Jr. is apparently a top contender for head of the EPA. There are also rumors that he is "seriously considering the creation of an Energy Security Council within the White House". Elsewhere, Robert Gibbs-- a long-time Obama aide-- will apparently be the Press Secretary.

In evolving election result news, North Carolina has now been officially called for Obama, bringing his electoral college count to 364 versus McCain's 162. Democrats have also now won the Senate seat in Oregon. The Georgia Senate race appears headed to a recount, while the Minnesota one may go to a recount.

Speaking of the Senate, Harry Reid and Joe Lieberman spoke today. Here's what I expect... Lieberman will be stripped of his Homeland Security committee chairmanship (and should be, not only for campaigning with McCain, but for his shitty record as chairman), but will be allowed to retain his seniority in the caucus if he so chooses. We'll know more soon.

Another reason to be happy for an Obama victory? Two words... Supreme Court.

Other election fallouts... Americans apparently want change, but not for gay people (screw you, Mormons!). They are, however, surprisingly progressive on drug policy.

Over in Republican-land, it's... circular firing squad time! In particular, the efforts to scapegoat/tear down Sarah Palin continue in joyful earnest. Wait, I thought she was the new conservative poster girl?

So who was the bigger McCain campaign joke? Palin... or Joe/Sam the Plumber?

And to those still defending Ralph Nader, I have two words for you: Uncle Tom.

Besides the domestic/economic issues facing Obama, lots of foreign policy challenges await him immediately... an unfinished Mideast peace deal (though the Arab world is hopeful), the U.S./Iraq troop pact, Afghan President Karzai's calls to Obama to end civilian deaths there, and whatever the hell Vladimir Putin is up to.

Finally, some post-election LOLs, courtesy of The Onion and South Park.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

"In this election... change has come to America."

Video of President-elect Obama's victory speech here-

Sen. McCain's gracious concession speech can be viewed here.

I may have more thoughts later. But I'm very happy and tired now. So I'm just soaking it in.

[UPDATE: President Bush spoke this morning on the election results. Is he gone yet?]

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

President-Elect Barack Obama.

It's over. I'm gonna cry tears of joy and dance around now. Yes we absolutely fucking can.

[UPDATE: Wow... look at this map. This, folks, is a landslide. After eight dark years, we really earned this moment. Celebrate tonight and tomorrow. There's a tough road ahead.

UPDATE #2: Not all good news. Prop 8 in CA passes. Franken is losing in MN. Oh well.]

And Here We Go...

The results are starting to come in. I'm following via MSNBC and Yahoo.

Final thoughts before the verdict comes in?

[UPDATE: Looking good so far... Obama seems to have won PA and we're still waiting to see how the western states come in. Also some key Senate wins, including Jeanne Shaheen in NH, Kay Hagan beating Dole in NC, and Mark Warner in VA. Some House pickups too.

UPDATE #2: Now they have called Ohio and New Mexico for Obama. Florida looks encouraging, but still close. This is pretty much done after the west coast votes come in.]

Barack Obama, Ignore The Pundits!

So I was watching MSNBC this morning (Morning Joe) and wanted to pull my hair out. All the panel participants-- Democrat, Republican, whatever the fuck Harold Ford is at this point-- were pushing the same meme that the pundits have been creating for days now... that if Barack Obama wins and actually governs as the liberal Democrat that he campaigned as, America will be super mad and hate him forever.

It's that liberal media bias we hear so much about. If George W. Bush wins by the slimmest of margins, he has a 'mandate' for conservative governing. If Barack Obama manages to win tonight by the sizeable margin indicated by the more recent polls, he has a mandate for... conservative governing? Apparently, according to this fucking braintrust, what America wants by electing Obama and giving Democrats an even larger congressional majority is bland, unambitious, center-right government.

Now, I know what you are thinking... if that were actually true, then a) McCain would be winning, b) Hillary would've won the primary, c) all the scare tactics used against Obama would've been more effective, and/or d) Democratic victory would be limited, not all-around like we are seeing. But you are a foolish moonbat who lacks the insight into the American psyche possessed by such everymen like Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan. If Obama really wants to sink his (now still hypothethical) presidency ASAP, the best thing he could do is take their advice and govern like the Democrat-lites he defeated in the primary.

As Glenn Greenwald writes on Salon, "It's true, as Obama has been saying the last several days, that power doesn't concede easily, and it's going to be just as true -- at least -- as the Beltway elements in the Democratic Party move aggressively to protect their prerogatives and ensure that there's very little 'change'."

Furthermore, the last time I checked, the most popular U.S. presidents weren't the losers who played it safe and tried not to offend the delicate sensibilities of pundits by shaking things up. FDR on the left, Reagan on the right... our most memorable Presidents made making radical changes a key part of their time in office. 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.

The pressure will be on Obama from tomorrow onward from the powers that be to promise to water down everything he stands for and fought for during this long campaign. I have to hope he is smart enough to ignore them and do his own thing, as he has been this whole time. But it will also be up to us to hold his feet to the fire over the next few years to make sure he does. Be prepared... victory may come tonight, but the stupidity will definitely start tomorrow.

Election Day

As is my usual tradition, I woke up at 6am to go vote early. I was greeted with a real shock, though, when I got to my local polling place... it was packed!! When I voted in 2004, there were only a dozen people there at this time of the morning. This morning, however, I waited on line for 20 minutes before I got to cast my vote. It was worth every second.

A big fear-- and one Rachel Maddow was very vocal about last night-- is that these long lines, which will be astronomical in the swing states, will discourage many voters, who will walk away. I don't know how many people read this blog, but I encourage all of you to please vote no matter what. Ditch work, go in late, leave early... whatever it takes. And encourage everyone you know to do the same.

Have voting stories to share? Thoughts in general? Post a comment! Thanks for reading.

[UPDATE/PS: If you're voting in the later, western states that close later, and the media calls the election early, please vote anyway! Remember, there is more at stake here than the presidency. The Senate, the House, a number of important propositions... it all matters. Vote, vote, vote.

UPDATE #2: If you encounter voting problems, contact 1-877-US-4-OBAMA (1-877-874-6226).]

We Should Be The Change That We Wanna See.

As final inspiration, I present John Legend performing "If You're Out There" at the Democratic convention this summer. It's my favorite song to come out of this election cycle.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Where Things Stand

So I was thinking about what topics to blog about today-- the economy, the war, other issues, the candidates themselves?-- and it seems almost pointless. I feel like I've been blogging about this election for years. I'm all opinion-ed out, and the many posts I've written in just the last week reflect that. The jury has heard all the arguments, and now it's time to deliberate.

So, I'll settle for being boring and doing the standard pre-election fare... horse race jabber and predictions!!

Yahoo has a great resource for seeing the latest, updated poll numbers (by state, by electoral votes, etc). It certainly does look encouraging. Unless the Bradley Effect is in play here to a supersized degree (I remain cautiously optimistic), I don't see what can happen by tomorrow to change where this is going. Real Clear Politics has a feature let you create/edit your own map. Here's mine-


Lest I be accused of liberal bias, I have decided to buy the McCain spin about 'tightening' polls and be very generous toward him. You'll note that I gave him not only Ohio and Florida, but also Indiana, North Carolina, and Missouri... all states that Obama still has a good shot at winning. Notice then, even in this optimistic scenario for Team McCain/Palin, that Obama still wins. No, I'm not celebrating yet, I'm just wondering what the McCain victory scenario entails.

Ultimately, a lot of these close states depend on factors the candidates themselves have little control over... voter turnout, poll station dirty tricks and voter suppression, possible vote-counting errors, long and discouraging lines, or just plain old voter indecisiveness and mind-changing. See you tomorrow. It's going to be a long day.

Last-Minute Odds and Ends

Here's a last-minute roundup of links before we leave out cookies for Obama Claus...

Andrew Sullivan has a great post up now-- 'Barack Obama For President'-- which is equally a lengthy indictment of the failures/crimes of the Bush administration, and an endorsement. A reminder of how we got here.

On a humorous note, looks back on 2 years of an insane campaign.

Many high-profile politicians (including Obama) encourage voters stand up for marriage equality and vote 'NO' on Prop 8 tomorrow. I don't live in CA, but this one is personal for me, and I'm not optimistic. has SNL clips, including McCain, and Ben Affleck as an angry Keith Olbermann.

Finally, really sad news... Obama's grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, passed away today.

Things Are Going Great!

The National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez is not a happy camper today-
We're One Day Away from Changing America [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

Obama said that a few ago in Florida. Am I the only one who doesn't want to change America in any fundamental way? Does that make me crazy? And alone?

Yes. Yes. And yes.

One more days, folks. One more day...