President Obama it is. Cool. I wanted Hillary Clinton, but I’ll take what I can get. And even though I’m one of those people who says things like, “If you’re not cynical, you’re not paying attention,” I confess to being moved by Obama’s victory speech.
Can he lead? Who knows? The braying nincompoops from the National Review notwithstanding, I see little evidence that Obama is some sort of left-wing ideologue (not that I hold that against a candidate). In fact, my great fear is that he values compromise and pragmatism so greatly that he will bend over backward to placate the right-wingers.
That said, it really does not take much for a President to win my support. I want flaming left-wing judges. After that, I’m happy if my President can avoid doing anything colossally stupid. You know, like starting unnecessary wars with insufficient planning, staffing government relief agencies with incompetent cronies, pursuing economic ploicies specifically designed to redistribute wealth upwards, and standing in the way of scientific advance at every opportunity.
Alas, there were several reasons for being something less than euphoric with how everything turned out. Our friends in Minnesota seem to have dropped the ball, reelecting the odious Michelle Bachmann and apparently reelecting the equally odious Norm Coleman (he defeated Al Franken by less than 600 votes. There will be a recount, but I’m not optimistic).
On the subject of gay rights it seems that Florida, Arizona and California remain majority bigot. Even when I have strong feelings about a subject I go to great lengths to try to understand how it looks from the other side. That’s one of the reasons I spend so much time hanging out with creationists, after all. But gay marriage has defeated me completely. Who could object to recognizing gay relationships with a handful of legal rights? In what conceivable universe does such a thing threaten traditional marriage?
But why dwell on the negative. Obama flipped a whole bunch of red states. (I still can’t believe he won Indiana). Elizabeth Dole lost. Anti-abortion measures failed in South Dakota and Colorado. Washington state’s Democratic governor Christine Gregoire won her rematch against Republican Dino Rossi. (In 2004 Gregoire won only after several recounts and a court battle. (Appreantly the state has gotten over it).
In other news, I agree with the common sentiment that McCain’s concession speech was very classy. I was kind of hoping he would say something bitter or partisan. Oh well. The fact remains he ran a sleazy, dishonest, vacuous campaign pulled straight from the Republican playbook. Don’t believe anyone who says this race was never winnable for him. Of course he could have won. Just imagine if he had chosen a competent VP candidate, or had responded to the economic crisis in some sensible way, or didn’t make a fool of himself trying to attack Obama during the debates. McCain lost this election because he sold his soul trying to appeal to the worst in people, and will now end his career in much-deserved disgrace.
I suspect we have heard the last of Sarah Palin. Conceivably she could become a senator from Alaska, but that’s as far as she goes. She will never be a serious candidate for President or VP, and she will not become chairperson of the RNC or anything like that. The only thing she brings to to the table is an utter lack of conscience and a near perfect ignorance regarding national and international politics. As the old saying goes, “Beauty fades. Dumb is forever.” Her main contribution to this campaign was to embarrass McCain at every opportunity, cost the Republicans votes among moderates, and to make Alaskans look very foolish indeed.
Classless as ever, the folks over at National Review are already bashing Obama for his choice of Rahm Emmanuel as his Chief of Staff:
Obama’s apparent selection of Rahm Emanuel for White House chief of staff is an extremely disconcerting (if not wholly surprising) first indication on the “which Obama will we get” question. It suggests both that he wants to be ruthless and partisan and that he does not have a clear sense of how the White House works.
Blah. Blah. Blah. Ruthless, partisan, and confused, all based on his choice of Chief of Staff. Pathetic.
While I was slumming over at NR, I also got a kick out of this:
Down-to-earth, Fargo-talking Palin was a missed opportunity because almost immediately for some reason she was served up to the DC press in gottcha interviews and caricatured as a hockey-mom bimbo by NY-DC grandees of her own party.
Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric were not exactly asking hardball questions. Palin made a fool of herself all on her own. When your answers to easy questions are so bad that Saturday Night Live can not make them any funnier, something more than bad campaign advice is in play.
So that’s it for now. Let’s endure two more months of Bush, and then see if the new guy can actually acomplish something.