Quote of the Day “And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world – our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down – we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security – we support you. And to all those who have wondered if Americas beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope. —President Elect, Barack Obama
It looks like Obama ended up winning about 52% of the popular vote last night along with a commanding majority in the Electoral College. Comparing the popular vote with our last four elections, it was a strong majority. It was roughly equivalent to Bush’s win over Dukakis, and it was substantially below either of Reagan’s margins. So what does it mean?
I think Obama has a mandate to change US policy abroad, but not in a wholesale manner, assuming he even wants to. What I expect to see is a lot more diplomacy and less heavy handedness in our negotiating style. I hope and believe that a change in the White House will lead to America regaining a leadership position in the world rather than trying to enforce domination upon it. A little more carrot and a little less stick, to coin a phrase. That does not mean I think Obama will be weak. As a matter of fact, I fear more that he will feel compelled to turn to the military more quickly than necessary in order to stave off accusations of weakness. Discounting Bush the Younger, our left leaning Presidents have historically done just that while our right wing leaders have often succeeded unexpectedly in diplomacy. The greatest example of that is probably Nixon going to China, something no Democrat would have been able to do without being damaged politically. On the other hand, it was Democrats Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson that got us into wars along with W. But I think Obama will use good judgment, particularly in surrounding himself with thinkers rather than ideologues. Time will tell.
On the home front, I will candidly say this was not the tsunami I was expecting or hoping for. Still, it was a huge Democratic victory with either 5 or 6 Senate seats gained and around 24 House seats. The two races I was watching most closely were the Senate campaigns in North Carolina and Minnesota. In Minnesota, it looks like Norm Coleman will hang on–a very surprising result in my eyes from a “liberal” state in the midst of a Democratic wave. On the other hand, in moderately conservative North Carolina, Libby Dole was soundly defeated. It was a split decision in the culture wars. I believe Dole lost due to her despicable ad trying to convince voters her opponent, a Sunday School teacher, was godless. I don’t have an opinion as to why Coleman hung on. But I do have a ten-cent opinion on what the elections told us, from President down through Congress.
The Republican Party lives and remains strong. Conservative ideas are alive. But outside the Confederacy, southern dominated conservative politics are dead as a doornail. Only in the deep south do campaigns focused on race or sexual orientation or McCarthyism style demagoguery still thrive. The rest of the country is fed up with it, and the outer edges of the South are getting there. Southern style social conservatives are consuming the old Reagan coalition. As I have said on this blog many times, I think the conservative thesis that all government is bad is simply wrong. It is, like all generalizations, overly broad. However, conservatism focused on limiting government’s power still makes good sense. Tyranny by corporations replaced by tyranny of bureaucrats is no good trade. If the thinking conservatives can re-take their party from the religious fundamentalists, false patriots and race baiters, it will not be long before they reassert their strength. In the coming weeks, it will be interesting to see whether the Romney wing of the party or the Palin wing wrests control. Huckabee is a wild card who would probably make a good leader if he’d just get educated on evolution and when the dinosaurs lived.
As for the Democrats, the election shows the country believes there is a place for progressive ideas and legislation. We have heard it so long that most accept it to be true without question or consideration–America is a center-right country. TB accepts nothing without question or consideration when it comes to politics. In my opinion, such a statement is another over-generalization. There are so many issues. To say we are collectively center-right is both a misstatement and non-sensical. On gun ownership, we are far right. On taxes, we are center. On freedom of speech, press, and religion, we are far left. On new issues, like global warming and alternative energy, it remains to be seen. I believe we are center-left on what will become, maybe has become, one of the most important issues of the day. My point is, each issue is different and no simple categorization is sufficient to define a country as large and varied as the USA.
I am looking forward to the Obama Presidency. I have high expectations of him. They are not so much in what accomplishments I expect as they are in how his administration conducts itself. I expect integrity, respect for civil liberties and human rights, strong and sensible diplomacy and political courage. If he indeed has these traits, as it has appeared to me over the last two years, his tenure will be a success.
I personally choose to look at Obama with optimism. If he conducts himself as president as he has ran, (moderate), I may can even get behind him. I think in the world’s eyes, it is also a good thing. Hopefully he will realize he is the one in power, not Reid or Pelosi. Those sorts of dems could not even have beaten Bush in an election. The public sees Obama differently. Someone who will finally work with both sides. That is what got him elected. That is the change they want. Not Dems policies which are not any more progressive than the way I dance when I am gettin my groove on. It has nothing to do with a shift in the peoples views about republican policies. It is simply “can you help me out right now?” They believe an Obama presidency can, by actually getting compromises and solutions to the problems.
He was elected by young people and minorities and enough whites that are fed up with Bush, the fat cats ruining the economy, and the war. First off young people voted on emotion. Not necessarily a bad thing, but they have no idea about the economy yet or things like war, or the real world itself. They viewed the election with excitement at somebody who relates to them not someone who takes them for granted. Also they bought into the notion of being part of something BIG and historic and they simply feel good with having a president they can view as THEIR PRESIDENT. Also, they see things like race much differently and this election will do more for race relations than any civilrights act or movement ever has. Overnight, everyone can and does probably feel better about the race issues in this country.
Overall very few voters dive into the many details of all the issues put forth to them. They don’t know if its a conservative or a liberal issue. More or less they just want diplomacy in coming up with solutions. Which the vast majority of people believe lie somewhere in the middle. The way the issues are convoluted, its impossible to get a square slant on them and most people don’t care. They are tired of what’s been going on. The republicans have done it to themselves and must suffer the consequences but the people can turn their anger right back on the dems if Obama blows it. They already have dems like Reid and Pelosi on a short leash. They are as sick of them as they are of the Current Administration. I believe the people voted for the man they saw not his party. And listening to him, I am ready to give him a chance. I think he is smart enough to govern to what the people want and put wise men that give a s#*t around him. Remember I said SMART enough. He also has to be willing enough.
sEan, I agree with your comment on young people wanting to be a part of something big. Watching all of those 20-somethings cry with joy last night is evidence of that—–it was rather disturbing to me. They act as if this guy is their saviour!
To me, the fact that we basically have an almost 50/50 split in the popular vote on two candidates who could not be more different still says that we are a very divided country.
On race, possibly the best thing that could come out of this election is race-baiters like Jessie Jackson hopefully being out of a job.
MD, I agree that the left wing race baiters will also be marginalized and not missed. I think the Dems since Dean took over have already pretty much pushed them aside, but I was thinking the same thing last night. On the other hand, while I was not brought to tears, I was affected by the moment and the message our country sent of a person of color achieving the highest position available. I thought Shepherd Smith’s commentary after they called the election on Fox was really good.
Smily, your comment on how people view right vs left or conservative vs liberal is very similar to one I just heard on the radio and it makes a lot of sense.
I can’t make heads or tells of your right, center, and left.
In my view, if you are in favor of personal freedoms, you are pro-gun, pro free speech, and against tax increases.
Working off your you can’t pigeon hole me theme, it is wrong to lable those positions left and right. The parties have got this all messed up (probably can blame the republicans southern strategy in the 60’s that brought the religious right to a position of power).
I strongly believe I have a right to say what I want, own a gun to protect myself and my family or hunt, and keep the money I earn. I do not want schools teaching religion (that is the parents job alone) or telling people who they can sleep with.
If you define conservative as cautious and suspecious of radical change, I think that this country is a center-right country. Even in California, changing the definition of marriage fails. Very few will support large scale tax increases and Obama better be careful about doing anything that appears to make the US weaker militarily. I suspect those type changes will result in a significant back lash.
I enjoyed watching the coverage last night. It is always refreshing to watch the most powerful person in the world willingly hand over power. That does not happen in places like Russia. Our democratic institutions are very strong. That makes me happy every time I see it. I think the strength of our democracy has a calming effect on the world and scares the world’s dictators.
Obama won fair and square and in an overwhelming fashion. He is now my President and I hope everything he does works to make the country stronger. He certainly is a talented guy. Maybe he will be JFK like.
I do not accept your wishy washy assesement of the victory. You sound like Lou Holtz at Notre Dame before the Army game. “Those are some great players, I do not see how we win that game.” Be more like Spurrier. In my view the victory was total. Obama has majorities in Congress that no Republican has ever had. He can pass any legislation he is willing to put his weight behind (filibuster will be almost impossible when left of center republicans like the ones from Maine are included) and change any rule, policy, or law he thinks is holding the country back.
TB you have argued to me that the Republicans needed to lose because they controlled both houses for a time and held the presidency. Thus, you said, if a Clinton era rule was bad and caused the economic crisis, the Republicans should have changed the rule, law, etc. I know you will continue to hold this view now that the democrats control everything.
I do not think that Obama will rule from the center (he is a left leaning guy). I do not think Obama should be expected to rule from the center. He just kicked the crap out of the republicans. If he appoints Rham Emmanual as his Chief of Staff that will let you know where he is going. Hard nosed partisan guy. This tells me he is planning to ram through his agenda and will crack the skulls of those that try to stop him. Emmanual once sent a vanguished opponant a dead fish. He plays hardball and there is nothing wrong with that. You win the election you get to lead. If you listen to Obama, he made no real promises to do anything moderate. Just the same old promises of bipartisanship they all make. I do not buy that. Obama won he gets to set the agenda.
I do think that Obama will be pragmatic. He will, to some extent, slow play things. There will be a big spending bill for a stimulous package (plenty of good reasons for one of these and they are talking about construction projects), there will be an energy bill (because everyone agrees it is a good idea and he can get an easy win), and there will be the promised tax increases. The rest of the stuff will be brought in slowly.
I confirmed to myself that I am not right wing. I watched last night and did not once get upset. The better candidate won. I am fairly certain that my view on the current state of politics is based on reason. Thus, failures in my view are failures of my ability to reason and not based on a desire for one side or the other to win. I thought to myself last night if I ran for office what would I say and/or do and could not figure out what party I would join.
Obama has reportedly asked John Podesta to be the head of his transition team and Rahm Emanuel to be his chief of staff. Both are former senior Clinton advisors/hacks, are highly partisan and Rahm is especially known for his bulldog tactics.
The media always asserts that Reps should hire Dems as advisors to show their bipartisanship like when they all said that McCain should pick Lieberman as VP. Does that standard not apply to Dems as well?
WTF happended to Obama’s hope and change and promise to reach across the aisle to work with Reps? I guess that was just election talk as these first two picks are known for not ever doing that. I am already disillusioned.
Adam, this post was my analysis on what I think we learned from the election. You addressed a myriad of issues that are good for discussion but outside the intent of my post.
I don’t know what was wishy washy. I said Obama won “huge”, but not as big as I’d hoped. I simply recognized that conservatism as it is currently applied was not handed the death blow I hoped for, though I did–oh just re-read the post. I wrote it the best I could.
I agree with most of your points about left and right personally, but don’t think most of the country defines these the same way. The points you make simply reinforce my argument that to say we are “center-right” is unproven at best and inaccurate in my opinion.
You accurately summarized my position on the Republicans’ failures when they controlled all three branches of government. With Dems controlling two, I absolutely expect them to pass bold legislation.
On “ruling from the center” I’ve heard this phrase repeated many times on tv. I don’t know what it means. I do know a wise man once was fond of referencing a wise movie on the following quote:
Miyagi: Walk on road, hm? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later
[makes squish gesture]
Miyagi: get squish just like grape.
I don’t want to post 20 page white papers on my reaction to daily political events. These short essays are by their very nature incomplete.
MD, I know you walk safely down the right. Obama has indicated he will put Republicans on his cabinet, just like Clinton did. And unlike Bush I or Bush II. I don’t think its reasonable to expect him to put all Republicans on the cabinet.
Just getting my first dig in on DAY ONE OF THE NEW AGE OF HOPE AND DREAMS IN AMERICA. Can sarcasm be detected on a blog?
I predict that I will have plenty of material about which to comment over the next few years.
I think the magnitude of the victory was such that the Republicans will have to either 1) rebuild themselves or 2) die.
Not calling you out.
TB is trying to be statesmanlike today MD though what I’m feeling on the inside is more akin to the singin munchkins… “ding dong the witch is dead. The wicked witch is dead!”
Bottom line is Obama won and he is our President, for better or worse. The rest remains to be seen and will begin to unfold before our eyes momentarily. I’m just interested to see who gets the pardons that Bush should hand out before he steps down.
Personally, I like the dead fish story on Emanuel. I’ve been very close to doing the same thing a time or two myself. Walter Mathau did it in “Grumpy Old Men”. Politics is a very nasty business my friends.
MD I would like to comment on your displeasure with the people crying last night. I’m no longer 20 and moving closer to 40 everyday and I too cried last night, not because I think Obama is a savior but because what it symbolizes for our society. I think when you are in a majority it is easy to dismiss or minimize the struggles of those who are not. Growing up in the South I have been a bit consumed at times with race relations and have placed myself in enough situations where I was the minority to at least get a brief glimpse into how this must feel. The election yesterday was not about electing a black man (although I’m sure some people voted for or against him because of the color of his skin) but more that people came together and voted for a person and his beliefs regardless of his skin color. I believe this is a HUGE step for our society and it gives me hope a woman, Latino, lesbian, etc. can be president someday because of who they are and not how they were born. This is a historic moment and I believe well worth the tears.
I could fill a small book with all the thoughts I have about this election, but every time I try to write something, it sounds tinny and hollow. So, I’ll just sit here with a smile.
Silence is Golden.
I understand and respect your position. I guess I am a little jaded on events surrounding politics.
Don’t pigeonhole me!!!! I am extremely conservative on many issues but probably more middle of the road on social issues.
yes, I know MD. Who do you think all the evolution and dinosaur and Bible thumper digs are directed at?
The Dems simply connected with the voters better than the Reps. I think Change registered with voters more than “Drill Baby Drill.” It seems to me that the Reps are out of touch with what matters to the American people. Did the Reps really think “Drill Baby Drill” was the answer? Really? When I was watching the Rep convention and heard “Drill Baby Drill”, I thought the Reps do not get it. It is clear that the majority of voters do not think the answer to the energy situation is “Drill Baby Drill.” For most voters, Roe v. Wade has been decided and is not a issue that is a deal breaker. Obama stated his position and let McCain harp on the issue. Obama then went back to the economy or the war. The issues that mattered to the voters. The wars? Why are we spending lives and dollars in Iraq? Reps could not justify the lives and dollars to the voters, so the majority of the people are against the war. The Reps positioned John McCain and Sarah Palin as mavericks? Really? Really? A 72 year old long term Senator and a less than one term governor as mavericks? Nobody was buying it. The Palin choice was out of touch as well. What did it bring to the ticket? Soccer or Hockey Moms? The Reps already had that group in their pocket. What about a battle ground State VP candidate with some credentials? Or someone with credentials period. I do hope that the race baiters on the Dem side are pushed to the fringe, but I also hope the scare tactic wing of the Rep party are pushed out as well. The McCain campaign never seemed to have a focus. McCain jumped from issue to issue and Obama stayed on message. It was easy for Obama to stay on message after eight years of Bush.
I am moderate. I think that being moderate pulls you to the middle, but you walk on one side of the road based on the issue. Sometimes you have to cross the street. You have to look both ways and make the correct decision on when to cross and not get squished. Sometimes you just have to bow-up and do the bird kick like Daniel-son.
Do I want my taxes raised? No
Do I want the economy to go in the tank because of greed and no regualtion on Wall Street? No
Do I want government programs to to spend billions of tax dollars with no regualtion? No
Am I willing to pay my fair share of taxes for the good of the country? Yes
Do I believe in capitalism? Yes
Do I want tax dollars for government program to be spent effectively? Yes
I think the voters want someone in office they can trust. I think it is apparent that George W. Bush is not that person. I hope Obama is that person.
Based on Obama’s position on the issues and the vote. The only conclusion would be that the country is “center-left”.
I have no idea who those evolution/Bible thumper digs are directed at, but I know it ain’t me.
If Americans were center-left to begin with, then Obama would have won the popular vote by 20 points. Almost any Democrat was going to win this election given the very unpopular Republican in the White House, the unpopular war and the country’s financial meltdown which was totally, and incorrectly, blamed on Bush. Still, Obama only got 52% of the popular vote and was behind in the polls as late as September.
Larry I like your thoughts!
Just a little stats to reflect on MD:
Obama won 53% of the vote and McCain 46% according to CNN. This is a pretty big spread when you consider every percentage point equals roughly 1 million people. Obama won by over 7.5 million people which is bigger than the states of MS and AL combined or about how many people live in NJ.
I don’t think you can classify Americans as right, center or left. We are a diverse country in our ideas as much as our ethnicity. When given only two real options for leadership we must choose.
Larry, well stated. That’s some 25 cent analysis right there. I tried to make the same point several of ya’ll just made–that you can’t categorize the country in any “right”, “left”, or combination. It depends on the issue and what’s happening at the world at a given time. But I seem to hear “center-right” on tv-I just don’t buy it, and it sounds like I’m not alone.
MD, dude, do I need to draw a picture? Because I know you think all that is BS, I constantly remind you of it. It’s not quite as fun though if you’re oblivious. Or did I just miss some more blog sarcasm–my meter could be off.
***just re-read. My meter was off.***
I’m not sure, but does anyone think all this talk about Palin runninig in 2012 for president is crazy. Do they really think she is the future of the party? I hear dems and reps both saying this. I think reps may be crazy and the dems must be saying it because they would secretly love it if the reps had her as a candidate. I know this doesn’t have much to do with anything. I’m just wondering if I’m the only one perplexed here.
I think the media is saying Palin in 2012 because they have no one else at the moment. She has four years to prove herself – she was off the radar before but that is over – so I’m sure you will continue to hear about any moves she makes.
This county by county red/blue breakdown link does not appear to show a landslide for Obama (Blue) to me:
It appears to show more of an urban vs. non-urban split.
Reagan is 1984 was a landslide (525 electoral votes and 59% of the vote for Reagan and 13 electoral votes and 41% of the vote for Mondale).
RMAc – I am putting on your rose colored glasses at the moment and trying to picture a lesbian in the White House……now I am chuckling
As far as a Latino, you’ll be getting that soon (relative to how long it took a black) as they continue to pour across our border unimpeded and somehow register to vote by the hundreds of thousands if not millions. Don’t stop this and the United States of America will become North Mexico
I never said landslide I just said significant and no you can’t compare this to Regan.
Yes it is an urban vs. non-urban split but urban is where a large portion of our country lives. NYC alone houses half the population of that State. Maps skew the perception because the visual is about the land area not population.
Sweet I’m glad you got a chuckle out of my lesbian comment maybe it will be Cheney’s daughter.
Réplica excelente, RMac! Muy divertido!
Since some of you are talking about ethnic backgrounds don’t forget about Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana. They (the media) refer to him often as the rising star of the republican party. Those may not be the exact words but it is always very positive.
It is gonna take someone young like Jindal
to get the rep. going again, I’ve heard him a
few times on WWL.
I don’t think the country is center left in my
opinion it is center right because of all the
props that did not pass especially when the
gay Marriage did not pass in Cal. (sorry sweet
and smiley) I’m just glad its over and glad
i got to go to bed early on election night.
TB and MD in 2012!!!!!
and the Presidency
all controlled by the Deomcrats
At the Federal level at this time we are a left leaning country. On the big ticket issues voters went to the left. The last I checked 52% or 53% is more than half. The majority of props went to the right. I think that is because these issues are voted on at the state level. The percentage of voters is less. If these issues are voted on at the national level, I think they pass at about the same percentage as the popular vote for president. And I would not be surprised to see this left leaning government tackle some of these same props.
Right or wrong the reality in the public’s eye is that Bush is to blame for what is wrong with the country. It did not take a genius to see that the public felt that way. The Reps seemed to not acknowledge this fact. The Reps ran a scattered campaign. They did not connect with the voters. The Reps did not have a plan to respond to the issues that counted with voters. Some of the maneuvers by the Reps seemed gimmicky or insincere. The Reps have their base, but you can not win on your base voters alone. The Reps better hope that the Dems can not keep the current momentum and use this election to transform their base. If that happens we might see a filibuster proof Congress and Senate during the mid-term elections. The Dems are better organized. The Dems have focused on the big electoral states like Ohio and Fla and have taken those states from the Reps. I bet you see a lot of Reps crossing the line to vote with Obama – trying to keep their jobs.
Is this part of the great “change” that Obama will bring us?
Democratic leaders in the U.S. House discuss confiscating 401(k)s, IRAs
By Karen McMahan
November 04, 2008
RALEIGH — Democrats in the U.S. House have been conducting hearings on proposals to confiscate workers’ personal retirement accounts — including 401(k)s and IRAs — and convert them to accounts managed by the Social Security Administration.
Triggered by the financial crisis the past two months, the hearings reportedly were meant to stem losses incurred by many workers and retirees whose 401(k) and IRA balances have been shrinking rapidly.
The testimony of Teresa Ghilarducci, professor of economic policy analysis at the New School for Social Research in New York, in hearings Oct. 7 drew the most attention and criticism. Testifying for the House Committee on Education and Labor, Ghilarducci proposed that the government eliminate tax breaks for 401(k) and similar retirement accounts, such as IRAs, and confiscate workers’ retirement plan accounts and convert them to universal Guaranteed Retirement Accounts (GRAs) managed by the Social Security Administration.
That’s just great. I guess if are going to sh–it, I mean socialist, this is just one step along the way. If we are turning into France, at least Brad will finally be able to use his vast collection of manpurses (i.e. European Carry-alls) in public.
MD, this is the kind of misinformation that I believe was instrumental in turning people against Republicans. I’m not saying you are engaging in it, just doing the natural thing and spreading the information that sounds important. It did, in fact, scare the hell out of me, so I tried to find her actual testimony. I read her position paper. It does not include any language about confiscating accounts. It mentions giving older workers the option to trade it in for a guaranteed 3% rate of return. It also calls for a new tax policy that would be to the benefit of lower income workers and higher government involvement in retirement savings. I would not favor her plan, but parts of it would make sense for incorporating into a broader plan that is not punitive on higher earners. I wasn’t able to find a transcript of her testimony, so I can only discuss her position paper. I also found that she was one of 5 to testify at a hearing on how to improve retirement savings on Oct 7. An additional 6 testified Nov. 7. They each had different proposals and they included academics like Ghilarducci, representatives of conservative and liberal think tanks (i.e. Heritage), CEO’s and others. Each of their proposals is brief and linked at the site of the House members who sit on the committee that was hearing them. I read a couple of other papers and they similarly had ideas I both liked and disliked. I can’t find where the Dems are discussing adoption of any of these plans right now.
When I googled this, I found page after page of conservative bloggers warning of this “confiscation.” I didn’t see any liberal blogs reporting on this nor any traditional media. I finally found a reference to the hearing on a couple of Congressmen’s sites and that’s where I got the above information. Neither representative’s site I looked at endorsed any of the 10 or so plans they’ve heard about.
Roger that TB.
I guess much of the info that we receive via the internet, newsmedia, etc., reflects the particular author’s bias and is slanted to fit the author’s worldview.
Yeah the internet sucks. Except for this site.
There is no way to authenticate what we see/read on the internet and you have to keep that in mind when you find things there. That is what sucks – you cannot trust everything you hear or read.