Wednesday, November 05, 2008
I will certainly have a few more things to say about the election over the next few days, but I thought I'd recap where I was wrong last night and my thoughts overall on what the results say.
1. This is not a redefining election. Is is historic? Absolutely. Is it a mandate for liberal America? Absolutely not. The nation is still, at its heart, center-right. This election has no business being so close. The Electoral math ended up as a blowout, but Obama should have crushed McCain. Crushed him. I'm talking 58-60% vs around 40%. McCain has been running into the wind since the economy collapsed, and for him to be in the same general neighborhood as Obama shows that the nation has not changed. Our President has, and people saw Obama as someone who was clear, on message, and the best way to fix our problems. Whether he is or not remains to be seen, but I hope that he governs like he did in his law classes rather than how he did in the Senate.
Another sign of this is the Senate races. Right now it looks like Gordon Smith will inexplicably hold on in Oregon (and I'm certainly happy about that, Smith is a good man), Norm Coleman will hold on in Minnesota, and Saxby Chambliss will hold on in Georgia. In addition, convicted felon Ted Stevens will win in Alaska, which is incredibly obnoxious. Really, you're voting in a criminal Alaska? You might as well have voted for Charles Manson. This is one result that I'm very disappointed in. I want Stevens and his porkfest out of the Senate. At the same time, the Senate balance of power hasn't shifted as much as it was supposed to. There was downticket strength for Republicans that kept them from becoming irrelevant for the next 2 years.
2. Proposition 8 opponents can suck it. I was rather agnostic about Prop 8, in part because I'm not in California, but also because as a libertarian in general, I somewhat oppose it. At the same time, because my church has come out in favor of it, I somewhat support it. That leaves me in the do-nothing middle. Or rather, it did until I saw this commercial that aired in California:
Sorry foes, but demonizing my religion like that makes me extraordinarily happy that you lost. Now I'll sit back and wait for the inevitable US Supreme Court challenge.
3. More people voted in this election than ever before. That's a tribute to the way Obama's team played the game. If this was a traditional election, with your typical 50-55% turnout, McCain would have won. Obama did it by going against James Carville's advice and relying, in part, on the younger voters. That's incredible. He slaughtered McCain in urban centers (where Pennsylvania ultimately went for Obama was in Philly, where he beat McCain 4 to 1). He truly is an inspirational person, and that leads me to my next point:
4. The massive Obama crowds could be a very good sign or a very bad sign. I know what you're thinking, "how could those possibly be bad, Sorro?" Where I see them as a possible - possible - bad sign is that you typically have crowds like that surrounding charismatic leaders. I'm not saying that Obama is like this, but I am saying that historically crowds like those that gather for him are more worrisome than good because they're a form of shock trooper that could mobilize at a moment's notice to push society as a whole in a direction that it shouldn't be pushed. I can't emphasize enough that this may very well not be the case here, and indeed I hope that it's just a twinge of paranoia at something that hasn't been seen here in the US before, but at the same time there's a small chance that these massive crowds may not be the best sign.
5. McCain's concession speech was the best concession speech ever. His supporters were a bit uncouth and overshadowed in their magnanimity by Obama's supporters. Seriously, stop with the booing. Obama is our president and whether you voted for him or not, get your butt behind him. Disagree with him on issues, work to change the nation to what you feel is best, and send a clear message to everybody in the world that the US is united. I'm so sick of that kind of tenor in our politics. I know that we all contribute to it, and it's disappointing that our candidate of choice lost. Nevertheless, Obama is going to be a good president. I am confident in that. Whether our Congress will be good is another matter, but believe a little bit in the innate goodness that both candidates had. At any rate, back to McCain's speech. I loved it. It's that kind of McCain I wish we saw some more of. The McCain who spoke at the GOP convention and in this concession speech is a world away from the McCain of most of the campaign. That's why I supported him, because I knew that he would be this guy rather than campaign McCain in office. A class act by a man who loves this country more than most. If I were Obama, I would do one thing, and I'd do it right now. I would ask John McCain to be my SecDef. I fully expect a mostly Democratic cabinet, but I'd love to see some real bipartisanship in there, with more than your typical token other party representative.