I love this line from Ken Levine, a writer from the shows M*A*S*H, Cheers, and Frasier: “Barack Obama’s speech was stirring and (I’m not used to this from a U.S. President) articulate.” (Original post: http://kenlevine.blogspot.com/2008/11/change.html ) Yes, Bush may have ruined any expectation of a Presidential speech being articulate. I actually will miss the Bushisms.
I think, even if McCain won, we would still be in much better shape than Bush going for Term #3.
I don’t think I’ver seen as much of a positive international reaction to the U.S. Presidential election. Or at least, our media has never shown it. Here is what someone from Europe said: “We’re pretty excited about [Obama] here in Europe… Right and left!” And Kenya, where Obama’s family is located, has declared a national holiday.
McCain and Bush both impressed me in how they reacted to Obama’s win. McCain’s speech was gracious and forward-looking. Bush made the obligatory calls to McCain and Obama, but then he also invited Obama’s family to the White House. Yes, the President Elect visits the White House shortly after winning, and the family generally goes, but the President doesn’t always make it a point to invite the family. I think if Bush handled his entire eight years the way he’s handled the last few months, he might leave office somewhat well-liked. When will the discussion start that Bush’s eight years cost McCain the election? I think it’s true (except for maybe choosing Palin as VP, that was the other major factor). More on that later.
I’m not quite sure about the Republican complaints about Obama ruining the country. First, let’s face it, no President really ruins the country, they arguably don’t have enough power to do it. Anything he signs into law first went through Congress (except Executive Orders, but Congress has power there too, I think), the Supreme Court can overturn, and the PEOPLE can repeal, not that we would. We, the People, are too lazy and self-centered to bother. Besides, Obama nearly had the election won after Ohio, Penn, Maryland, NJ, New York, and New England were counted (because from the beginning they should have given Obama California’s 55 votes and McCain Texas’s 34 votes). Maybe Republicans and McCain should have spent more time in New England. (Has Massachusetts EVER voted Republican? That’s my current research project. Even in 1972 when the Democrats won only one state, it was MA.)
One of the biggest things I’ve heard from Obama detractors is that he will make the country socialist. What exactly is wrong with socialism, again? I think I missed that part of the argument. From that great text, Wikipedia (the Socialism page) : “Socialists mainly share the belief that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society that controls capital and creates an unequal society. All socialists advocate the creation of an egalitarian society, in which wealth and power are distributed more evenly…” Let’s see. “[C]apitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth…”. Yep, it does that. If you don’t think so, talk to someone who is a member of a minority group who can’t seem to work their way out of their socioeconomic situation. “[Capitalism] creates an unequal society.” Ibid. Again, talk to someone who tries their best to work to a better socioeconomic situation and can’t do it. Studies are done time and time again that show racism and discrimination are alive and well in the U.S. I particularly enjoy the undercover camera experiments done with renting apartments. Members of minority groups are told rooms are not available when they are, they are quoted higher prices, more paperwork, etc. There’s a particular video with this study, I can get info on it from one of my professors if someone wants to see it. And why would “wealth and power [being] distributed more evenly” be a bad thing? Is that too idealistic for people? Or do people who currently horde wealth and power fear what may happen if they learned to share?
Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention impressed many people. But not me. All I heard was, essentially, “You know Barack the politician, let me tell you about Barack the man.” Yes, every First Lady and First Lady hopeful says that (well, usually they don’t tout Barack Obama). Hopefully she’ll drop that part after Jan 20. Alright, I just read the transcript of her speech and it was better than I remembered. And she never actually said “You know Barack…”. I stand corrected, but I’m still not convinced she’ll be an amazing First Lady. Let’s see how the first year goes.
I will never understand how Christianity has two extremes in politics – many I’ve heard from hate that Obama won and think it’s the end of the country. They tend to be, from what I can tell, from the suburbs, middle to upper middle class and voted based on one or two social issues (or according to party). I also love how many of them are in Arizona where, unbelievably, the state actually became a battleground. McCain had trouble winning his own state. Oops! On the other hand, I’m quite positive that many Christians in the cities (in particular) and who are often members of minority groups are thrilled that Obama won. Evidence? How about the celebration at Rev. Bernice King’s church on election night. Oh, and “King” would be as in Martin Luther King, Jr. She is MLK’s youngest child. Two very different reactions. Both reactions are from Christians. Eh?
Other than a short period of time from Jan. 20, 1993 until Congress changed in the, I believe, 1994 elections, the President, the House, and the Senate have not all been of the same party since Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s. I’ve seen enough Presidential terms to know that nothing happens when the President and Congress are different parties. If the Senate and House agree with each other, sometimes they can overturn a veto, but that’s it. At the very least, we’ll see some changes and that will bear out either Obama supporters saying Obama is a great choice or Obama detractors saying he is a bad choice.
Of course one of the big topics of discussion today is the role race played in the election. Being as far from being a member of minority groups as you can get, I can say that race played no role whatsoever in my voting for Obama. To me, McCain’s choice of Palin backfired. If he selected Guiliani, for example, I may have voted for McCain (not that I’m a fan of Guiliani either, but he would be better than Palin, I think). Again, though, not that my vote would matter in Arizona; if McCain is worth electing, he is guaranteed to win his own state. I looked into this yesterday, but I can’t find the page now, it’s somewhere in the Wikipedia universe. Since 1940, no one has lost their state of residence and gone on to win the Presidency. In other words, if McCain lost Arizona (polls on Monday had him up only 3% and he in fact won by only 9% according to CNN, they have him up by just ~161,000 votes), there was no chance of him winning the election. Back to race, though. I was aware of Obama’s race making history, just as I was aware that Palin’s gender would make history (not that she is the first female VP pick, third-parties do it all the time, in fact the Green Party this year had a female Presidential candidate, and the Democrats had a female on the Mondale ticket in 1984). I didn’t even vote Obama because I think he’s better qualified than McCain. I agree with Obama on more issues, but that doesn’t make him more qualified. I voted for Obama because I don’t want Palin in Washington. And because I loved the idea of McCain losing Arizona so my vote for Obama might actually count for something. So for the fourth Presidential election in a row, I voted against a candidate, not for a candidate. There may be something wrong with approaching monumental decisions based on what’s funniest, such as McCain losing Arizona, but come on, of course I would do it that way!
Ah, and then the age vote and how Bush ruined McCain’s chances. On election night, CNN cited that the older the age group, the higher percentage of votes McCain received. They are now talking about how the “young vote” (in pure numbers, not whom they voted for) may have exceeded 2004, which was already in record numbers, if I recall. I believe the “young vote” is 18-25 year olds. Sometimes they talk about 18-35 year olds. Overwhelmingly, younger voters went with Obama. Maybe because, all in all, younger people are tired of Bush and feel society marginalizes younger people? This is a common problem, it happens all the time. And there is a lot of truth to it. The younger generation is usually marginalized by society. No one cares what 18-year-olds think. No one thinks a 19-year-old can change the world. I think, perhaps bolstered by the Internet, the younger generation feels more empowered than previous younger generations and they are tired of the status quo of older generations making the decisions for them. And this time the younger generation came out to the polls in strong enough numbers to overcome other generations. I suspect it was as much a pro-Obama vote as it was an anti-Bush and anti-Republican Party vote (and maybe the Republicans can learn something from that rather than just demonize the Democrats, humility is not overrated). The majority of college students I know don’t understand how people voted Bush into the second term, when, in their opinion, he already did enough damage in the first.
For the record, I am registered Independent. I hate both parties with equal spite. I vote third-party when my vote will not make any difference whatsoever (in other words, what should have occurred in Arizona), when all four candidates are equal (usually equally mediocre) in my opinion, or when a third-party candidate has a legitimate chance to at least make a nice showing, such as 15-20% of the vote. Ross Perot received 18.9% of the popular vote in 1992 (but no electoral votes), so it does happen. Side note, in 1992, Clinton won 32 states and D.C., H.W. Bush won 18 states. Clinton had 370 votes; Bush, Sr., 168. At the moment, with not every state counted, CNN has Obama at 28 states plus D.C., I think, and McCain at 22 states. Obama has 349 votes to McCain’s 163. The result are still not complete, but it’s looking close to the 1992 results.
P.S. The CNN holograms were pretty neat! (and fairly useless when it comes to the goal of reporting news, but still neat)