Some commentary on the night just past. This will be somewhat scattered, as I stayed up until 1 to hear Obama and read the celebratory postings at my favorite left-leaning blogs:
— As much as I believed what folks like Nate Silver were saying, I was still afraid that it would somehow all go wrong, and we’d be subjected to another four years of lunatic governance from the right, and lunatic conspiracy theorizing from the left. It’s hard to express how happy I am to put all of the lunacy on one side of the political spectrum, the side that’s out of power.
— I guess people aren’t as down on socialism as they used to be.
— On a similar note, thank God we’re finally done with the Sixties. I am sick to death of elections turning on ridiculous cultural squabbles over things that happened before I was born.
— What John said, particularly the last point:
5. Last night’s election didn’t change the country; it offered a chance for the country to change. Which is something Obama himself pointed out last night, because he’s a smart man like that. He will effect some of that change through the power of the presidency, and through his relationship with Congress, but ultimately what will change things is whether people want change and are willing to work for it. Elections are the easy part, basically. Now comes the work. As the saying goes, you have been offered a country, if you can keep it. It’s up to you more than it’s up to your next president.
— I was a little surprised that McCain conceded as early as he did– I expected things to drag out a little longer. The (relatively) early concession probably indicates that all the talk about secret internal polls showing them leading in key states was just bluster. They knew they were going to lose all along.
— I was even more surprised at how classy McCain’s speech was, compared to most of the rest of his campaign. He managed to salvage a little dignity. Not much, but a little.
— The crowd at McCain’s concession doesn’t exactly inspire confidence for the future of the Republican party. And booing his perfunctory congratulations to Obama– all class. At least golf clap like the folks in Chicago did.
— Obama’s victory speech, in contrast, was pretty impressive, and the crowd was amazing. They didn’t hit the million people some commentators were predicting, but it was really something to see that giant sea of people turned out in the cold to see him talk. And he does give a great speech. It’ll be nice to have a president with some rhetorical skills.
— I avoided any and all cable news until after the race was called for Obama, and even then, I went to C-SPAN for the coverage of his victory speech, so I didn’t have to listen to the yammering of the idiot pundits on MSNBC and CNN. And even on C-SPAN, I couldn’t dodge the crazy– after the speech, they took calls from voters, and one of the very first was a female McCain supporter who trotted out all the crazy conspiracy stuff in the book– Obama’s birth certificate, ACORN, ties to “radicals,” the works.
— The next four years will be a long slog, because a lot of things are seriously broken in our government right now, and because a sizable chunk of the population is just flat crazy. Obama seems to be aware of this, though, and if he can hold together the coalition and organization he built for this campaign, there’s reason to hope. He won’t be able to fix everything, but he can at least get us headed in the right direction.
And that thought will keep a smile on my face all day.