Wednesday, November 05, 2008

And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords

Three cheers for our latest and greatest fearless leader elect. Perhaps more than anything, I eagerly await what South Park will have to say tonight about soon-to-be President Barack Obama. Just some random thoughts on the election and our new overlord ...

# The electoral disparity makes the race look a bit different than the close race it actually was. The battleground states were key and Obama took them all- Colorado, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida. Those 7 states and their 107 electoral votes were the difference and they were all taken by Obama. Bush had won all of those states in 2004 with the exception of Pennsylvania. For the most part, blue states voted blue and red states voted red. Overall, 41 of the 50 states voted the same way they did in 2004. In fact 32 states (18 blue, 14 red) have voted the same way now for five consecutive presidential elections, dating back to 1992.

This shouldn't be taken as a portrait of a nation divided, because that's not what it's meant to be. The truth is, rural voters tend to go Republican and urban voters tend to go Democrat. This is true in blue states and true in red states. Red states tend to be red because more of the population tends to be rural and blue states tend to be blue because more of the population tends to be urban.

# My personal feelings are fairly muted, mostly because what I thought would happen actually happened, surprise, surprise. Obama could be the worst president ever, but one good thing will come of this and that is that never again will it be said that a black American can not be president of the United States. Hopefully, this will mark a change in the racial discourse of the country and we can move beyond our past.

# I think McCain would have stood a better chance if the economic crisis hadn't reared it's ugly head. Suddenly, foreign policy terrorism, McCain's strong suits, were off the table, and things got ugly rather quickly. Obama appeared comfortable on the economic stuff and McCain seemed more like a chicken with his head cut off. Plus, as a Republican, he faced the automatic connection with George Bush. It was just too much for him to overcome.

# I was touched last night, both by McCain's gracious concession speech and by Obama's victory speech. I've been highly critical of McCain, but to hear him talk last night, it was as honest as I remember seeing him since his dressing down of the radical anti-immigration types during the Republican primary. His compliment to Sarah Palin- that she was the best campaigner he'd ever seen- almost seems like a veiled insult. That comment, along with the palatable look of disgust on his face when he heard the crowd boo at his mention of Obama and his friend Joe Biden, makes me wonder if he was really cut out for all this. (Witness also, the campaign's use of Bill Ayers, but McCain's unwillingness to ever bring up Ayers himself, as if that sort of politicking did really disturb him.) There's plenty I don't agree with McCain on, but his disgust with partisanship is something to be admired.

# Obama's speech was powerful, simply from the perspective of this being the first black man to be president of the United States. It is truly meaningful and it's something I'm not sure white people can ever truly appreciate. And then there's hope and platitudes and the future and all the other nice-sounding vagaries about what we can do. Yes we can indeed. Since Obama-mania first swept the nation during the primaries, I've been waiting for the day to come when those with stars in their eyes comes to realize that Obama is just another politician. An eloquent and inspirational one of course, but still a politician. Obviously we haven't seen that day yet, but it's coming. And that's where my hope lies. Elections are won with the sorts of speeches Obama gave last night. Presidents are made through their policies and through their actions. God, some of what he says is scary, but Obama didn't get where he is today by being an ideologue. If he cares about his place in history- and he certainly will- his administration should prove to be moderate. But we'll see. I guess hope is the key word for everyone.


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