Thursday, November 08, 2012

Florida Goes to Obama

Slate's reporting that Romney camp concedes Florida, thus making the win official: Obama 332 to Romney 206.

I told my family in the leadup to the election that while I just want Obama to win, I do find it symbolically important to win the major swing states, i.e. Ohio, Virginia, and especially Florida. It's not just a 2000 thing, it's about mandate.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Election 2012, After Action Report, part 1

I stayed up until 3am last night, awaiting the concession and victory speeches, and then generally having the post-victory high.  This was so important and don't let the pundits - a dying breed we all hope - tell you otherwise.  [Note, I am not a pundit; I am an independent blowhard.] A few points:

1. While Obama lost some states from 2008, you can't seriously have expected him to carry Indiana again, did you?  November 2008, like 1932, like 1976, was in the shadow of Republican catastrophe (and a bit of a mixture of both years, Bush being a combination of Hoover and Nixon).  We got lucky in 1932 and 2008 to elect a manifestly talented urban leader (not so lucky in 1976).  Yes, as I said yesterday, if the Democrats ran a white male (governor from a Southern state even more so), 2008 would have been a huge trouncing.  While I like style points, I invoke the Steelers manta: a W is a W is a W.

2. The broken Press wants to say that this is a narrow victory and a perpetuation of the status quo.  Nope.  Compare to 2000 when Bush lost to Gore 291 to 246, or in 2004 when Bush beat Kerry 286 to 251.  Those are close.  When Florida is counted for Obama, the win will be 332 to 206.  That's pretty big.  The popular vote margin is coming in as well, and Obama will likely get 51% to 48.  Again, that sounds small, but it's still more than Bush and Gore each in 2000; and it's worth remembering that the acclaimed Bill Clinton never broke 50%.

3. Another sign of a great night is that the Democrats gained in the Senate (they finally declared MT and ND), going from 53 to 55 - which sounds small, but this was a year when 22 of the 33 contested seats were Democratic (the class of 2006 when we spat in Bush's eye).  That's a significant margin of victory.   Also, many of the wins were against utterly noxious GOP thugs, like the pro-rape dudes in the Midwest, the wrestling tycoon in CT, and the nudie model in MA.  It was nice to retain VA, FL, OH, PA and other swing states.  And we also gained some seats in the House.

4.  Anyone watching last night found out how not close the race was by being reminded of what Nate Silver had been publishing all year - that Romney's coalition was so weak that he needed to win every toss-up to get to 270 (the metaphor that works for me is the NFL playoffs, "one-and-done"). 

5. Yet, all told, while the evening showed that it wasn't a "close race" that didn't come easily.  The reason Obama won was because of an amazing get-out-the-vote effort.  Without that machinery, this election could definitely have gone the other way: I still have nightmares of November 3, 2004.  I was sure that Kerry had won - mainly because Bush was patently horrible.  But Karl Rove worked the levers of the system better than anybody before.  Now Obama's crew can show how to fight back against voter suppression.

Thank God We Won

Whew!  And Nate Silver was right on the money too.  Wow, this is just really great.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Tonight's Election, part 2

Some other points, mainly in reaction to idiocy in the Press.

1. Is this a close election or not? There's been some bizarre attacks on Nate Silver of the heilige 538. Of course, I'm a supporter of rational analysis over gut-feelings, and of course the 2 parties differ on that self-same issue. The Democrats are the party of rationality, reason, facts, and science. The GOP has become the party of mysticism, magical thinking, and anti-science. It's very frustrating. So, according to Nate Silver, Obama has a 90%+ chance of winning tonight.

However, if you look at his data you'll see that the polling is still very close in each of the tossup states. Silver's main point is that the data has consistently and thus convincingly been in Obama's favor all year. My counter-point, speaking as a diploma carrying Sociologist, is that the polling data is terrible all-around. Very few polls can get people on cell-phones; we're potentially losing a huge group of people.

This isn't Silver's fault at all, and to his credit, he's been trying to deal with that bias. But it also means that I'm not popping a champagne cork until I hear the returns from Ohio, Virginia, and Florida.

2. Is this the most important election of our lifetime? Yes. And, yes, so was 2004, 2008 and 2012. I've read a bunch of stuff online from people who say that this is all partisan hype; that it loses all meaning when we say each time is the most important, etc. People who say this are largely idiots (case in point, Jeff Goldberg's dude here). But there can be a context for this whinge for people who are too young to remember 2000. If you recall, 2000 was *not* called 'the most important.' It was so apathetically received that many idiots thought (a) they could throw their vote away to Nader, and (b) there was "no difference" between Bush and Gore (cough cough gag).

But guess what happened after that apathetic yawp in 2000? We elected Gore but it was chucked in the garbage and Bush was installed by his brother's state and father's Supreme Court. And Bush proceeded to destroy America and quite nearly the whole world. Jeff Goldberg above quotes some idiot Palestinian who claims: "For the rest of the world, this is the most important election of our lifetimes only if you're three years old."

It's so cute when Goldblog tries to act all worldly and smart, no? It's possible that he wanted to make his friend sound like an idiot. Score, then. Because 2000 proves the point. The USA appointed Bush in 2000 who turned out (as predicted) an unmitigated disaster. He allowed 9/11, appointed 2 cavemen to the Supreme Court, allowed New Orleans to be destroyed, gutted government regulation, commanded torture, turned Clinton's budget surplus into wholesale plunder of the treasury, and then oversaw the collapse of our economy.

That last point had worldwide consequences, no? The Great Recession of the world's largest economy echoed everywhere. And if that isn't enough for the idiots, Bush attacked Iraq under false pretenses, making Iraq no longer a firewall against Iran, thus leading directly to the current nuclear crisis.

Only a clear idiot can claim that the American election does not have worldwide consequences. Point one. Point two is that ever since Bush's near destruction of the World, every US election has become The Most Important, and will remain so, until (a) we fix what Bush broke, and (b) the GOP rejects the Bush Administration Playbook. Because McCain/Palin in '08 and Romney/Ryan now actively endorse the horrific policies of Bush.

In some way, I apologize to the political commentators who don't remember 2000, who came of age after 2004, who think these claims are hyperbole. I'm sorry that we are living in an age of crisis. But that crisis is real. As my brother stated: if someone told you that the election is the "most important" back in 1928 you would've laughed but you would take it seriously in 1932, 1936, 1940, and 1944. Well, that's where we are now.

3. Some comments about Romney-Ryan. I'm running out of time, but I want to quickly state that the choice of Ryan was a recognition by the GOP that the race was basically lost and they wanted to galvanize the base for the down-ticket races. The GOP will keep the House, and they could have gotten the Senate if the modern-day KKK (aka the Tea Party GOP) didn't nominate rape-enthusiasts in key races.

I'll say more about this after the returns come in. I pray to God we'll be saved from the horrors of 2000 and 2004.

Tonight's Election, part 1

I haven't written much about the election tonight but, naturally, I have much to say.
  1. I endorse Obama 100% for president. It's a no-brainer. The GOP has become a party of actual evil. It's depressing how stark the choice is.

  2. I can dan l'kaf zhut for the frum Jews who want to support Romney, but to do give them the benefit of the doubt I need to accept that (a) they aren't racist (a tough argument to make since I have found out, to my horror, many many passive racists in the community, (b) that the vote for Romney is based on a faulty belief that either Obama is bad for Israel (which he's not) or Romney will be better for Israel (even less chance for that, see below); and that (c) the frum voter is utterly devoid of political literacy, critical thinking, or understanding of the 613 mitzvot.  When I said the GOP was evil, that wasn't an exaggeration.  The Onion captured it spot-on "Romney commits gaffe by reading the GOP platform out loud."
  3. Look, Obama made some serious rookie mistakes about Israel but I rationalize it away thusly: (a) first, it's Hilary's fault.  While that's a joke, it's also very true. She's been a terrible Secretary of State, which was predictable given that she's a female Mitt Romney (see below for why); (b) much of the blame of Israel-US tension must lay at the feet of Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman.  I am a Likudnik, but those guys are just clowns.  Bibi alienates *everybody* and Lieberman is a crude fascist; (c) lastly, let's remember that nothing actually bad happened to Israel under Obama.  As opposed to under Bush - i.e. the Iraq war debacle, the propping up of Hamas, just look under my tag for "Bush Bad for Israel."   Considering that there's no chance that Romney will be any different from Bush, the choice is clear.

  4. My support for Obama is not because he's black, but a certain amount of my fervor for his re-election comes from wanting to poke racists in the eye.  The racism that has been uncovered these past years has been truly horrible.   And racism is something every Jew should be committed to destroy, both because its evil and because we're second on the 'lynch list' of the Obama Haters.  This is something my Republican Jewish friends just don't understand... most of them have lived their whole lives in the Northeast, in major Jewish centers, and they just delude themselves into thinking that they would even be considered Republicans anywhere else in America.   Some of them buy into the whole GOP nonsense as a result, without realizing that a Mississippi Republican white male would be as happy to shoot and skin them as cross the street.

    Since I believe his reelection will further crush the scummy crest of racism in this country, or more importantly a Obama defeat will inflate the racists horrible worldview, we really need him to be re-elected.

  5. That said, Obama's race is one reason why both 2008 and 2012 are so close.  If a white male from a Southern state were on top of the ticket right now, this would be near to a blowout.  Of course, that's a bit of a flaky subjunctive, because I could argue that (a) the reason why the GOP has been taken over my the Legion of Doom is largely because they actively seek the groundswell grassroots of the 47% (made up number) of Americans who are irredeemably racist.  In order to get people to forget just how world-screwingly bad Bush was, the GOP seized on the scumbag underbelly of America, and that forced them to try to destroy everything about Obama.  Potentially, a White Southern Male Democrat incumbent would be facing a credible Republican party instead of this ragged mess of fundamentalist hoodlums.

  6. Many people don't get the point, though, about how racism has kept the GOP in fighting contention.  Considering the GOP has declared war on women, gays, immigrants and science, the new generation of voters are being shown that the GOP is unable to legislate or govern.  In 2016, if the Democrat is white, the GOP will really find out how sunk they are.  West Virginia will suddenly be Blue again (and possibly a few other states, just look at what Clinton won in 1996:

  7. The GOP is thus enjoying a temporary reprieve for their descent into evil.  Will they continue this?  One way to understand this is in historical terms, is the GOP in 2012 the Democrats of 1924 or 1972.  '72 is more recent and thus more familiar.  Basically, the anti-war insane liberal wing of the Democrats took over the national machinery and basically rendered all Democratic nominees from 1972 to 1988 unelectable.  This is a long discussion (and I think I've covered the ground before) but if given half a chance, Democratic primary voters seem to prefer vapid bland technocrats like John Kerry if given half a chance.  Clinton was able to break that mold and the party is now a very robust big tent.  Case in point, Obama has better foreign policy chops than the GOP, that hearkens back to the FDR-JFK era. To apply to the GOP - have they gone so far off the deep-end that they will be extremely out-of-step from the US mindset for 20 years (starting with 2008, even though the full descent into Lawful Evil was in 2004)?

    The 1924 Democrats are another example. After Wilson, the Democrats descending into anarchy. The 1924 Democratic convention was dominated by the KKK which is the context for Will Rogers' famous quip: "I am not a member of an organized political party. I am a Democrat." The election was a blowout, and a specific reaction to the racist filth of the Democrats. See how the map below is like an inverse of our current map, with the Demos carrying only the solid South:

    The lesson for the Republicans is that they can recover like the Democrats did in 1932 - by repudiating their own KKK (the Tea Party) and embracing normal policies
I have more to say before the returns come in and that will be in the next post.

Hurricane Aftermath

So we got hit by the Superstorm Sandy and were out of power for a few days. Compared to everyone else, we got off rather easy. Meaning that while we lost power, and thus heat and our refrigerated food, we didn't sustain any house damage. The crazy part was that our family had just spent three days on a family trip to Upstate New York. We left Friday and returned Sunday afternoon... just in time to batten down the hatches in preparation for the worst natural disaster to hit our region in a century.

I kept repeating to myself that whatever stress I was feeling (and there was a lot) that my children were having it 10 times worse - because they don't have power knowledge or perspective.

After the power was out for a few days, we chose to go to my parents house in Maryland because (a) my kids' school was closed, (b) my wife's school was closed, (c) and my wife was slated to go to two conferences in 5 days. We drove down on Wednesday and stayed there until Sunday afternoon. Again, my kids were being whiplashed all around the country and it must have been hard on them (but I tried to make up for it with candy, heh).

The latest wrinkle is that 8:40 last night, I was able to look at my email and found out that the water treatment plant was having a catastrophic failure and a boil water advisory was taking effect at 9:00 pm. That was the cause of a major freakout because I had only a few minutes to fill up a tub and bottles. And I seriously just HATE the idea that water, the substance of life and cleanliness, can just be rendered dirty and poisonous. The town seems blase about it, but it was the last straw for me. The boil water warning is still in effect and I have to say that its insane. I didn't expect this level of incompetence from this state, but I guess the reputation of New Jersey is well deserved.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Steelers vs. Giants

Despite the best efforts of the refs (no exaggeration, it was worse than the scab referees), the Steelers beat the Giants like hosanna-bundles (too obscure?).   More, possibly, later.  But here's a great pic (from the WDVE guys) to sum up the game, captioned "Terrified Eli":