Wednesday, November 05, 2008

More Thoughts on the Victory

Some points on the incredible victory:
  1. We just elected a black guy with a Muslim name president. Just gotta say that, over and over, until I fully understand how incredible this all is.

  2. I see the Obama election as a type of 'virtual impeachment' of Bush. We won't get the chance to do the real thing - we still may be able to put the SOB behind bars - but the election of a brilliant, articulate, African-American, Muslim-named, liberal intellectual Constitutional scholar is a point-by-point repudiation of the stupid, mush-mouthed, pampered patrician rich-boy Texas oil-millionaire, white-bread legacy Christian conservative incurious human rights abuser.

  3. Democrats haven't had a win like this since 1964. And as a result of that election, we received Civil Rights and the Great Society. And even if you think the latter was bad or flawed, you have to take into account how bad it was to be in America *before* those programs were enacted. 1964 ushered in a state of civility and greatness - as the names declare - to America. And that's great change. And that's what we can do in 2008.

  4. For my fellow Hebrew brethren who are worried that Obama's win will bring about the destruction of Israel, or whatever: There is no support or proof for your fears. The fears are based on innuendo, ignorance and in some cases racism. The worst thing to happen to Israel in the past few years wasn't Oslo (which was a mitigated disaster), nor the Clinton Camp David Accords (whose blame can be laid on Ehud "the Other" Barak's feet), rather the worst has been the legitimizing election of Hamas to the Palestinian leadership and the subsequent creation of a pure terrorist state in Gaza. And that was all Bush, baby. Bush also created a terrible threat to Israel vis-a-vis the Iraq war - which has strengthen Iran (taking away it's biggest foe, replacing it with a sympathetic Shiite regime) and emboldened Tehran to pursue nukes. All Bush. And McCain would have continued this insanity. Even if Obama turns out to be like Carter - which isn't borne out by evidence - Carter was better for Israel than Bush!

  5. It's a press axiom - which naturally means its boneheaded - that Obama's toughest job now begins: the cleaning up of the nation. Blah blah blah. No. That was not the toughest job. Becoming the first black president, as a first term Senator with a Muslim name, defeating both the Clinton machine and the Republican party, was the toughest job. Cleaning up the country will be not be as tough. Why? Well, first of all because it's just an obvious point. But second of all, because most of our problems were CAUSED, they didn't just 'happen.' Bush created this fate. All Obama needs to do is not be a horrible person/executive and it's already an epic win.

  6. I'm disheartened by the possibility that Coleman and Smith may have been re-elected. While the landslide for president is a nice thing, if Obama's coattails weren't enough to defeat Republicans in blue states, then its a bad sign.

  7. It's so sweet that Elizabeth Dole was spanked by her opponent, Democrat Kay Hagan. Dole ran a disgusting race and deserves to have lost. It's ironic: her husband ran for president in 1996 and conducted a comparatively clean and honorable race. Yeah, he lost, (159-379, see map to the left) but he kept his dignity, soul, and the good graces of history. I've long said that 1996 was one the only years where both major tickets had great candidates such that a victory either way would have been palatable for the country (as opposed to, lets say, 1988 which was wretched either way). So Bob Dole ran with respect and his name can be seen as a watchword for how to lose with grace. Then came Dole's doppelganger, John McCain. Another war-hero, Senate lion, known for bipartisanship and moderate views (note: McCain's rep was largely myth while Bobdole's was true)... and McCain ran a shameless, horrid campaign (see more below). And "Liddy" Dole chose, for her defeat, to be like McCain instead of Bob. And her name is mud.

  8. The great victory for America, and the world, has a the concomitant benefit of validating the clean, respectful style of Obama and repudiating the sewer methods of McCain-Palin. That will have far-reaching consequences and all for the best. After Bush-Rove won dirty in 2000, and dirtier in 2004, it seemed we were doomed to a future of sleaze and fear every election cycle. Not anymore. True, many unregenerate Goopers will believe that were it not for the cratering economy etc. the slash-burn tactics would have worked. I disagree (for the billion reasons I've written about before), and the Goopers may not learn from their mistakes (considering they are now the party against science, evidence, and expertise), but I trust cooler brains will prevail.

  9. Related to the horrible Republican tactics, and the paradox of the McCain campaign, was the McCain concession speech. So odd. Just like how John Kerry and Al Gore spoke with fire and talent at the Democratic convention - and many of us asked where these people were when they ran their national campaigns! - so too with McCain last night. What a gracious and honorable speech. And it was delivered so well! With clarity, confidence and decency. We should ask "where was this guy on the campaign trail?" but also note that any person who sounds better when no longer campaigning (Gore, Kerry, McCain) obviously has mental reservations, and a fundamental problem as a politician. Does this 'mental game' automatically presage defeat? Not sure; which successful politician sounded better when out of office than in? I can think of a number, successful pols, who were better while running than not. Something to inspect.

  10. And, of course, at that same concession speech we heard the base of the Republicans booing Obama's name, shouting and bellowing out who-can-imagine-what craziness. The crowd was the embodiment of the McCain campaign, the speech was the embodiment of the mythical McCain that the press apotheosized and who I had liked back at the beginning of the millennium.

  11. Let's not forget Joe Biden. I am very happy for him; I genuinely like the guy. And - speaking as a rabbi and a budding scholar of the sociology of religion - the president-elect is just another Protestant, but we just elected our first Catholic VP, and only the second non-Protestant in the White House. Wow.
More later.

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