America Renewed

obama-victory

In Los Angeles County, where the polls closed after Obama’s election was a foregone conclusion, 81% of registered voters marked a ballot. When year after year voter participation rates hovered around 50%, I often felt like our democracy was losing its essence.

But not this morning.

Or as a New York Times correspondent writing from the Gaza Strip in Palestine put it,

From far away, this is how it looks: There is a country out there where tens of millions of white Christians, voting freely, select as their leader a black man of modest origin, the son of a Muslim. There is a place on Earth — call it America — where such a thing happens.

At 8 PM in Los Angeles last night, when NBC called the election for Obama, I looked around my living room full of friends, many of them with tears streaming down their faces, and tried to think back if there had ever been a political moment like this in our lives. Most of us are in our late 50′s or early sixties, though there was a group of our children in their 20′s as well–and I concluded that there had not been such a moment of joy in our political lives.

We cannot underestimate the herculean task that lies before Barack Obama. Though I have been on his side from the very beginning of his Presidential journey, we cannot expect that the accumulated mistakes of 30 years of neoconservative philosophy to be quickly erased. In his victory speech, echoing Dr. King’s prophetic words from Memphis, Barack indicated the steepness of the hill to climb.

The road ahead will be long, our climb will be steep.We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you, we as a people will get there.

One last thought. Obama’s victory margin of 7 million votes (52%-46%) is a major landslide, the likes of which we haven’t seen since 1984. The Republican Party must now rethink its role in America’s renewal. McCain tried in his concession speech to begin to close some wounds that he and Palin had worked viciously to open in this last month. The boos from his crowd,when he mentioned Barack’s name, are a testament to the politics of fear that have been the defining tactic of Republicans since 2000. They must now realize that their view is not shared by the majority of Americans. The Palin/Limbaugh wing of the party will want to start an immediate guerrilla movement to delegitimize Obama. McCain and the cooler heads in the center right must prevail.

They have one choice–you are either part of the problem or part of the solution.

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75 Responses to America Renewed

  1. Bush. We’ve never had a president who won by so little after running so close to the middle and governing so far to one side. Therefore, we’ve never had a country so out of step with its leader before. Therefore, we’ve never had a reactionary momentum shift this powerful before. It’s heady stuff, and I guess what I’m saying is that you can’t have had it without George W. Bush.

    As a West Coast guy, I never understood the amazing feeling of Spring because I’d never endured a real Winter. Then I moved to Ann Arbor and my first Spring there was like a hallelujah moment with an angel’s choir. Now I have had that moment, weather-wise, and understand the feeling. I knew, intellectually, that the same thing was possible with our democracy, but after so much political winter, it’s almost hard to accept as real.

  2. Noel Mccarthy says:

    My new found pride in America is as intense as it is unfamiliar.
    It is a wilderness that I enter happily – today.

    Though sobering is the hit our gay friends took yesterday…

  3. VeryBadMan says:

    The World has never seen anything like this before.

  4. Rick Turner says:

    The gay marriage ban here in California strikes me as really weird. I don’t get it given most of the other voting here.

  5. Ian Masters says:

    Having treated elections as a duty, like going to the dentist every two years, we’ve grudgingly punched our ticket for democracy and returned to our lives as though politics end at the exit of the voting both. This time it will have to be different because all that Obama has achieved so far is but a rehearsal for the task ahead. Unless our new leader goes to Washington with his landslide at his back, the special interests who own the capitol, where they represent money and not people, will chip and chisel at his dreams and whittle away our hopes as business as usual inexorably returns to the company town. We the people must become the permanent lobby that protects and defends Obama’s mandate and unless and until we show up, around the clock for the next four years (and like much of the Obama campaign it can be done virtually), our tears of joy will will be a moment we will look back on to reflect that “yes, we could have.”

  6. Hugo says:

    Jon,

    I’m so glad that already you are turning to the road ahead. So much to do now. Thank you for mentioning it.

    Have you noticed that this historic moment, and the happiness and pride that goes along with it, is causing your eloquent dinner guests to sing the more beautifully for their supper? Lovely. A fleeting time to be caught and relished from time to time, like a memorable meal.

    As to gay marriage in California, too much, too soon. Especially for so many California Latinos. In the Mexican Revolution, the Generalisimos were right about miscegenation, about universal education, about land reform, about the franchise for all women and men. But they were wrong to outlaw the Church. Almost all Mexicans and other Latinos, and most Chicanos, are indellibly and preeminently sons and daughters of the Church. Whether Antonio Villaraigosa, Fabian Nunez and even Roger Mahoney like it or not.

    In Mexico, Jose Vasconcelos got that one right.

    With him, I’d counsel patience…

    Still, Felicidades, Don Taplin!

    hugo

  7. Dinah says:

    I’m still struggling to articulate what this victory means but all I can say is the following: Its not just historic – its historically positive. In a cynical perspective, history is written by the victor but I believe that on November 4, 2008, history was written by the masses, by the disenfranchised and privileged alike and the “victor” was a nation that can be proud of its gigantic move toward embodying the American Dream it blithely and sometimes disingenuously promoted.

    Yes We Did!

  8. len says:

    The gay marriage hit was nationwide. In California it may have been surprising but it has been turned back elsewhere as well.

    Some items the country is not ready to accept. There is still work to be done but it will be interesting to see where this fits into the agenda and schedule of the Obama administration.

  9. zak says:

    Hugo, it’s not the Latino population that may be the result of Prop 8′s defeat. . .I think there’s a recount pending.

    The irony of Barack Obama getting a surge of African American support is that demographic tends to be particularly gay adverse.

    Per Andrew Sullivan

    Every ethnic group supported marriage equality, except African-Americans, who voted overwhelmingly against extending to gay people the civil rights once denied them: a staggering 69 – 31 percent African-American margin against marriage equality. That’s worse than even I expected. Whites, on the other hand, clearly rejected discrimination: 55 to 45 percent. Latinos were evenly split.

  10. Hugo says:

    zak, trust me on this macro-point. The issue’s been brewing longer in CA than anywhere else. I staffed passage of the first same-sex marriage bill through a Judiciary committee. The challenges of passage, ecclesiastical and sociopolitical, are quite familiar to me. Moreover, I watched sadly the ugly twists taken by Prop. 8, For & Against.

    If the ban sticks (and it goes without saying that Debra Bowen will do whatever she can), then it will have been (largely, not solely of course) because this time the Latino vote was not sufficiently convinced. That does not mean, however, that should the ban fail in the end, it will have been because of Latino voters. Blake wrote: “If a blight kill not a tree but it still bear fruit, let none say that the fruit was in consequence of the blight.” For a madmen, Blake was a shrewd person.

    Also, zak, I appreciate your vigorous efforts on behalf of the Obama Campaign. Good for you.

    hugo

  11. Hugo says:

    Andrew Sullivan flat has it wrong. The Black Pastors Assn. says as much, and he’s certainly wrong about Latino voters also. They don’t switch overnight. It’s that simple.

  12. farkinga says:

    The hill to climb is indeed steep.

    Some of the more vocal supporters of the current administration have been dealt a serious blow, and it’s interesting to watch them deal with it. I collected some of the more extreme viewpoints in a post to my blog.

    With that post, I’ve painted an ugly picture. However, I am encouraged to report that even still, such extreme viewpoints are in the minority among hard-liners.

    The bottom line is: the current administration has worked really hard for the last eight years, and they’ve accomplished a LOT of change in both policy and social spheres. It’s possible the current administration is one of the most revolutionary, effective administrations yet, for better or for worse.

    Obama may have achieved a landslide majority, but the people who “lost” are going to put up an angry, ugly fight. To effect change in a different direction, the new administration will have to work even harder, and the bar has been set pretty high. There will doubtless be a lot to simply “undo” before any progress can be achieved.

    People need to stay involved and motivated. The campaign was exciting, but the Obama presidency must be captivating and compelling. The current administration kept people’s attention through fear and terror – what will replace that compelling force?

  13. jeff says:

    It’s like The Man Who Fell to Earth. Where did this guy come from? How did we get him elected? I’m still amazed that we as a country have made this dramatic turn. A black family moving into the White House. Hard to believe. A great event for America both domestically and internationally. I was part of Jon’s group last night cheering & crying at the sight of all of those people breaking into spontaneous celebration around the country. Especially moving for me was the sight of so many African Americans with tears streaming down their faces. The downer of the evening, the probable passage of Prop 8, which ironically was funded in substantial part by the Mormon Church who are trying to protect the sanctity of marriage. That coming from a heritage of polygamists which as we know is still practiced by many of their flock.

  14. Lumineux says:

    I just wanted to say thanks to Jon for sparking and hosting these conversations and to all of the people who comment here, especially the regulars.

    For me, it’s been like going to the virtual water cooler and getting a cup of sanity. Even people who disagree with what I believe have helped me to see the issues in a larger context and for that I’m grateful.

    I’m glad this campaign is over, but I look forward to watching Obama layout and execute his vision. And continuing to discuss it here. Now the work really begins!

    Thanks, Jon and everyone.

  15. Terry says:

    The butterfly flapped its wings.

    Welcome home America.

  16. Jim Ramsey says:

    One image that really struck me last night was that of Jesse Jackson standing in the crowd at Grand Park. Full of emotion and tears streaming down his cheek. This guy who over the years has been so full of bluster and verbage was just moved because he knew what this means for our country and black people everywhere. It was a very touching sight.

  17. len says:

    “Every ethnic group supported marriage equality, except African-Americans”

    Some of us warned about this. In the South, the cable stations run black church services almost continuously. They are quite outspoken on this topic. It was predicted as being a wedge issue but the right didn’t play the card and the left ignored it. Going toward the midterms, it will resurface so Obama will have to take a stronger position and decide how much of his political reserves he wants to dedicate to it.

    Sexism trumps racism. The difference is race can’t be hidden. Sexual persuasion can be. One might say it is a hotter button. The left and right try to play it as a religious issue because those are the surface features they can play. The truth is it goes deeper than that and that makes it much much harder to create an effective campaign for.

  18. bernard says:

    yeesssss for America.

  19. Rick Turner says:

    Len, gay marriage is not perceived by much of the agnostic left as a religious issue except in reaction to situations like the Mormons pumping mega millions into California to make it a religious issue.

    More and more I’m thinking that marriage should not be a state/civil issue at all. Make legal civil unions available for any who want them, straight or gay. Let churches decide who will be “married”, and let them perform marriage ceremonies as they will. Register your partnerships down town.

  20. Alex Bowles says:

    I second that Lumineux. And Dimitri – right on. There idea of a Hegelian World Historic dialectic is very apparent here, where the intensity of one force is precisely the thing that makes the emergence of the next stage in the development of world spirit possible.

    Gore 2000 or Kerry ’04 would have made for a very different political moment now. In all likelihood, they’d have presided over a discontent much more muted than the disgust felt with Bush, and all he represented, but still detached from the much larger need for change that really crystalized in Obama’s candidacy.

    And given that what died last night had actually been in power for nearly three decades, I’m not sure that either of these other guys could – or would have dealt the truly fatal blow that Obama’s candidacy did.

    We’d still be muddling along, playing defense against the fundamentalists, and their support of intolerance and the domination of free conscience, instead of reveling in this clear and defining moment.

    Even if Obama himself collapses (which I doubt) I think there’s a clear mandate for the direction the country expects to take, and a standard for the kind of cool, calm, collected, and above all competent tone we expect from our leaders.

    For the first time in a very long time, people feel they have real authority over their government, and aren’t just sitting ducks, defenseless against the organizations that see the co-opting of government power to abuse, coerce, manipulate and prey upon the general population.

  21. len says:

    ++1 Rick. The trick is semantic. All partnership unions involving legal instruments should be civil unions. Marriage as a semantic if defined as a ‘sacred union’ is a religious union and since we separate church and state, the twain do not meet. I’ve tried to explain this one to my wife several times. We have the conflict in religions and there is also a visceral reaction that people have to deal with individually. But the fact of the phase “the power vested in me by the State of (pick one)” means we have a legal overlap of church and state which can be effectively removed. Someone may say it creates a precedent for other overlaps and if so, consider them case by case.

    The psychological dilemmas where on one side the gay community dislikes the discrimination by religion or where the religious community believes such unions to be immoral simply cannot be legislated. Don’t try. As to the visceral reactions (it makes some people physically and emotionally uncomfortable) should be ignored because there is no legal way for the State to remedy it. This is the only area where I’ve considered it similar to racism. Racism as a visceral reaction can’t be legislated. People grow out of it or don’t. However the law can ensure that depriving civil rights based on such reaction is criminal under civil law.

    So in my opinion (and IANAL), this is best handled as a matter of civil rights where civil unions are explicitly defined and not as a matter of religious discrimination which can’t be and still maintain consistent separation of church and state.

    The political problem is different. Obama faces a problem here similar to Wallace with race. Wallace ran on a desegregationist platform in an segregated state and lost. He changed his political stance to win. Obama has a better situation and it is karmicly interesting. A major part of his base is black and within that base is a large and vocal homophobic subcommunity. To win, this time, he needed to not alienate them. If however he has to take on the cause of gay marriage, he risks some of that support. To risk this political capital, he needs stronger support from other demographics. Hispanic support for that issue is weak, so he will need to increase white support. Wallace didn’t have those options. He had to court the segregationists so he took his stand in the schoolyard door, but then turned and made infrastructure and education his working goals. Since everyone wanted and needed those, he could bargain changes in the racial restrictions for increased support for the others.

    Those are the kinds of deals he will have to make. My read of Obama is that in this he is a very pragmatic politician and will understand that even if he has a comfortable majority, he didn’t get a landslide in popular vote (he didn’t; Nixon got that; Barack didn’t), but he can grow that support and trade on it as long as the members of his coalition who need that are patient and let him gather that capital.

    Otherwise, there is a risk in the midterms if those coalition members ask for too much too soon. It is a monopoly game where he has to acquire more assets to buy more opportunities because once past the election, the great game that pits red against blue is over and it comes down to effective horse trading for influence.

    @Alex: nothing died last night. Don’t be so naive as to believe that. A season was played and a team came out national champions, but every time Congress convenes, a new set of skirmishes begins. Those who think that last night signaled the death of fundamenalism, religious conservatism, racism, or any other minority position are not just fooling themselves, they risk putting their elected representatives in the very difficult position of having no bargaining power when they need it. What you saw last night was a repudiation of one side for another but the same nation that elected Obama elected Bush. Don’t be fooled by thinking a special class or better class of people emerged from that. The same classes changed their minds and 47% or better of them didn’t. If you want real change, change that lasts, give Obama the gift of your patience as he horse trades his current capital for those future changes. Otherwise we make the mistake so common in pop culture of treating this like a movie, an episode of Survivor etc and thinking as the credits roll, all the conflicts are setttled.

    Life doesn’t work that way. Otherwise racism in America would have died in 1865 instead of old newly freed slaves now turned sharecroppers having to make new deals with old masters. Patience. Your heart is in the right place but even while a light is turned on, darkness is also constant because it moves faster than light. It is the only force that can.

  22. Jon Taplin says:

    Len- You are full of poison. I now understand your self appointed troll role here.

    To be buzz kill.

    Your cynicism at this moment of the triumph of our philosophy over your twisted ideas and poisonous rhetoric –about Barack –that you spewed on us during the campaign.

    You want this string to be about Gay Marriage and football championship analogies (“Barack won this season., but…”).

    You were wrong . Piss off.

  23. len says:

    Huh?

    Jon, you baffle me completely.

  24. Ken Ballweg says:

    It’s going to be interesting to see if there is any carry over impact on the Justice system. Will we stop locking up black males in the world’s most costly and disproportionately racist prison system?

  25. Jon Taplin says:

    Len-You are acting like you didn’t write all those hateful posts about Barack. You are like a French collaborateur trying to shrink back into the crowd in 1945.

    Take responsibility for your words, man!

  26. rhbee1 says:

    Jon, it may be a little soon to react so heatedly to what for Len may be (hard as it would be to believe) an apology for his doubt.

    Meanwhile, I find it hard to believe that one of your experience wouldn’t see the sense and practicality of recognizing that being realistic about the political stage can sound cynical but isn’t.

    “Don’t be fooled by thinking a special class or better class of people emerged from that. The same classes changed their minds and 47% or better of them didn’t. If you want real change, change that lasts, give Obama the gift of your patience as he horse trades his current capital for those future changes.”

    I am with Len on that.

  27. I’m confused. Are there two Lens? Until last night, I was used to thinking of Len as the guy who trashed Taplin (and the Taplin community at large) on his own blog (life among mammals) and who ‘agreed to disagree’ with me about Sarah Palin saying that she was a ‘fine woman’ and would make a better number two than Barack would make a number one.

    Then there’s last night’s, kinder, gentler Len and the one who, right now, I thought was agreeing with Rick Turner’s most rational approach to the gay “marriage” issue by saying (what I too have been saying for years): let churches define “marriage” however they want, but states need to provide civil unions (or whatever you want to call them) that grant legal partnership rights (beneficiary/next of kin/dependent status among other things) for long-term partnership arrangements gay or straight, permanent or not.

    Split personality? The most extreme case of ‘gadfly’ ever heard in political discourse? What?

    Oh, and personally, I’m going to keep praying that with peace, prosperity, and patience the American people can learn to stop marginalizing big chunks of the population (gay, redneck, Mexican-American…hell, even Yalies) and get this country back to the tolerant melting pot it was in the best of our dreams. At least there’s a fighting chance for that now.

  28. Seth says:

    Jon,

    Many thanks for making an early investment in this campaign and arguing the case for Barack on this site. It has been a real public service. Please don’t be sidetracked by hostility towards the ‘collaborateurs’. They made their bets and lost.

    I’d like a few key investigations to go forward quietly (like the US Attorney firings, Plame’s blown CIA cover, FISA violations, torture authorization etc.) but I suspect our new President will do a lot of forgiving (if not quite forgetting). We need maximum energy for our positive agenda and vengeance carries enormous costs. Let’s not go there.

  29. Jon Taplin says:

    I’m sorry, I may be intemperate when I should be magnanomous. I just believe that Len has not passed through some magical transformation here, and then goes back to his own blog and mocks us.

  30. Rachel says:

    Seth, I completely agree.

    I wrote here a few weeks ago about the need to move on, and the fact that few leaders can do it with grace. Mandela was a visionary who realized that his nation needed healing, and that this could only be achieved by uncovering the mistakes of the past without calling for the heads of the people who made them. I am very hopeful that President Obama will chart a similar case with regard to investigations regarding abuse of power.

    But everyone needs to come to that same place of reconciliation. Only by being magnanimous and charitable in victory will he be able to show up the mean-spiritedness of the past eight years for what they were, and delay their recurrence.

    Let everyone strive for the same spirit of cooperation. It’s a small planet, and there is no “us and them”, only different kinds of “us”.

    Now, onto a 747 to meditate for 14.5 hours.

  31. Rick Turner says:

    I wonder what percentage of the African American prison population is in for drug related charges…and I mean including crimes committed to either get drugs or be a part of the gangsta drug dealing community? Legalize drugs, deal with them as a medical issue, and suddenly you’ll see the collapse of a criminal Wall St. that will make the recent real Wall St. debacle seem pretty tame. Take the profit motive out of drugs; take the need to steal out of the whole thing, and watch the problem change into something A) more humane, and B) less expensive for society to deal with.

    Conservatives’ kids do not shy away from drugs because they’re illegal any more than their daughters refrain from sex because it’s naughty.

  32. Wow…at the risk of sounding like I live in Santa Fe or Taos instead of here in down-to-earth ‘burque, I am giddy to the point of delirium at the ‘kindness vibe’ that’s starting to resonate here. I hope it’s not just here. I hope it picks up…momentum or whatever…kind of like that tuning fork thingy of Tesla’s that could cause the earthquake (sorry if that’s wrong or if you don’t know what I’m talking about…remember, I’m delirious).

  33. Rick Turner says:

    Oh, that’s the remaining libertarian in me writing.

  34. Oh Rick, there you go being sensible again.

  35. Maybe I love you, Rick Turner, because you are my evil twin! ;)

  36. Jon Taplin says:

    Rachel- You are right. I will move on. I think I just had to get it off my chest.

  37. Mason Dixon says:

    Jon,
    Don’t let anything crush your joy at what you know to be true.

    We all remember Len’s many “concerns” throughout these last several months, and the thousands of words he spent on these pages, which finally added up to one crystalline “WAAAAAAAHHHH! Booooohoohoohoooooo!!”

    Last night, I went to a bar, and the whole place was utter joyous pandemonium. Cheering that broke into the whole room chanting “YES WE CAN!!! Strangers hugging each other, black, brown and white, the most boisterous, hilarious, happpily riotous celebrating I’ve ever seen. It must have been what it was like when WWII ended. I’ve never seen anything like it, never so much love and joy in one room. One very large African American guy and I were talking, smiling, and he said, “It’s like a universal reset button just got pushed!”
    Another guy said, “It’s like now we can find out about each other, what we think, what we care about, we can talk.”
    The other side of the 9/11 coin, all of the love and togetherness, none of the pain and sorrow.

    Jon. Let go of anything that takes you back before last night.

    You helped make last night possible. So many people that have never before done more than talk back to the television or write a check, got themselves to phone banks, flew or drove themselves to swing states, knocked on the doors of strangers, spoke to them of hope, change and possibility. And it worked.

    Last night, today, and for many days to come, the whole world is celebrating, enjoying the feeling of being brought back from the brink of destruction, of our souls, our spirits and our planet. People can breathe again. They can look each other in the eye.

    Ian was right. Let’s keep looking forward, looking for solutions, and be the change we want to see. We have so much work to do. Now we can feel good again. Don’t go back.

  38. Rick Turner says:

    Ah, Amber… Did I mention that my first wife’s name is Amber? We managed to put away the hostility for good this past summer after not talking to one another for years and that after a most unpleasant “final” exchange. Much better burying the hatchets, and not in each others’ heads… May that spirit prevail in across this country now, at least for a little while…

  39. Rick Turner says:

    Oh, Tesla’s device tuned itself to the resonant frequency of a building and then just put little bits of energy in at just the right time…exactly the way you pump when you’re on a swing. It is reported that he got some buildings in New York going, one of which was a police station where chairs skittered across the room. The cops were not amused and invited Tesla to find some other locale for such experiments.

    Tesla also had a resonant vibrating platform and if you stood on it, he could dial in the “brown note” frequency that would make you involuntarily loose your bowels. Mark Twain would take pals up to Tesla’s joint and they’d play the practical jokers.

  40. len says:

    “Split personality? The most extreme case of ‘gadfly’”

    One, there is no apology. Don’t expect that. Rational people can argue to consensus, but hypocrisy is just a doggie on a leash looking for an opportunity to bite. No harm though.

    I’ll take this back to my blog to answer what Jon has to say. That’s the right thing to do.

    I think Obama is a risk, but he is also the President-elect and that means a good citizen works with him unless he proves to be a bad one. That’s what we did with Bush. That’s what will be done with Barack.

  41. Rick Turner says:

    And you were voting for the less risky in McCain/Palin? Whew!

  42. Alex Bowles says:

    Len,

    Bigotry may have outlived slavery, but it didn’t bring slavery back. And last night, we saw it take a big step of its own towards oblivion.

    It’s got a long way to go, of course, but it has receded far enough to loose its majority position in society as a whole, and for this reason alone, there have been – and will continue to be – real and well-earned celebrations.

    Next year, Lincoln’s bicentenary will be presided over by a Black President. And not one who got the job via affirmative action either. He got it by running the cleanest, smartest, best managed, most focused, and most totally-on-the-money campaign any of us have seen in our lifetimes.

    Perfect? No. But then you don’t have to be. You just have to be better than the other guy. And he was. By a long shot. And now he has a landslide victory to show for it.

    Last thing, about the ‘class’ you mentioned. Yes, there is a divide, but no, it’s not imposed by its members. It’s open to all with open minds. The only thing it won’t tolerate is intolerance, legal attacks on the freedom of consciousness, and positions that contradict reason and reality themselves.

    These are exactly the kind of attacks that have defined the Bush presidency. Consider AG Gonzales, for example, telling the Senate that while the Constitution does prohibit the revocation of Habeas Corpus, it’s a moot point, since it never explicitly grants the right in the first place.

    Bush backed him to the hilt on this, which is simply pure, undiluted evil. It is exactly the kind of linguistic abuse that Orwell described in 1984. It was the mainstay of the Ministry of Love, and dovetails with his larger point about the nature of totalitarian rule, and it’s obsession with the sublimation of individual freedom of thought (which, let’s face it, is the goal of theocrats everywhere).

    Of course, you’re right about one thing – the people who think this is okay are still out there. Only now, ‘out there’ means ‘out there in the wilderness’. Which is exactly where they belong – too busy fighting for their own lives to go around destroying the lives of others.

    Obama is right about the Constitution, and the fact that its real genius lies not in its imperfect founding, but in its eventual perfectibility. That’s a project that can take centuries. It’s slow going. But, as we saw last night, we’re making very clear progress.

    And again, the losers aren’t consigned to any awful fates, except the ones of their own making. The moment they decide to respect the freedom and dignity of people who expect to think for themselves, they can join the party.

    Alternately, folks can go on identifying themselves as being completely backwards with their support of Sarah Palin, and her absurd assertions that her First Amendment rights are being impinged upon by criticism from the press.

    Honestly, she is so completely ignorant that’s it’s a wonder she passed 9th grade civics. The fact that she’s the ‘most popular governor’ means little when she comes from a state that’s on the verge of sending a freshly convicted felon back to the Senate.

    Of course, that’s not surprising, considering that, as Stephen Haycox, a University of Alaska Anchorage history professor points out,

    “We are extremely vulnerable and dependent here on federal money and oil money.”

    .

    But the rank dishonesty of the Governor in the most socialist state in the union making ‘socialist’ into a slur word applied to her enemy, while insisting that she believes in limited government is, frankly, nauseating. Especially when she’s out there saying that her view is, if she has her way, ‘the future of the Republican Party’.

    Reagan must be rolling in his grave. Goldwater too. Not to mention Buckley.

    But now, none of that matters. The GOP can’t get by with lip service paid to their own leading lights, while running a third world dictatorship in the background. For them to get back in power, they’re going to have to cut all ties with the bigots, jingoists, and mindless fundamentalists, and re-engage with the political center by reformulating their best ideas into policies relevant to the 21st century, and coming up with candidates who can actually deliver.

    It could be a while. For now, Obama has a very open field. Personally, I could not be happier.

  43. Gage says:

    I found this post on the NYT Caucus blog. Verbatim:

    “To american citizen,
    One thing you’ve already got: in a single day, you not only proved the power of the “american dream”, and left discrimination backwards, but you got another thing: today, we are all americans all over the world.
    Your leadership is now accepted as never before.

    Cheers!
    Eduardo

    — Eduardo Gravanita”

    We left discrimination backwards. Muy bien, Eduardo. Yes, I think that’s exactly what we’ve done.

  44. Hugo says:

    Yes indeed, Alex, just as Amber said: Brilliant.

  45. len says:

    “And you were voting for the less risky in McCain/Palin? Whew!”

    I voted for Obama, Rick. No lectures from me tonight. It’s time to rest and start thinking about bridging differences because differences remain and it don’t come easy.

  46. Rick Turner says:

    I don’t want to see us trying to lead the world until we can lead ourselves out of this mess that we’ve gotten ourselves into. If we take care of biz here, the world will notice. If we don’t, they’ll know we’re just business as usual. Then, instead of making this a destination for immigrants, let’s encourage other world leaders…by example…to make their own countries a paradise for their citizens.

    Why the do Central Americans want to come here? Because their own governments are corrupt, and the spread of poor and rich is far worse than it is here. It’s not because their countries do not have resources or beauty; it’s because we’ve helped the leaders grind the poor under and get rich in the doing of it. It’s called colonialism, even if the colonies are geographically within the same borders as the government. The only countries South of the Border that don’t seem horrendously corrupt…with our help…are Costa Rica, Brazil, Venezuela (yeah, there are problems there, but…), and maybe now Argentina. Why is it that Americans want to retire in Mexico, yet Mexicans want to move to the US? Weird…

  47. Jon Taplin says:

    Len- Then I owe you an apology.

    I would much rather express your doubts to my face than on your blog.

    As Amber and you both say–Let’s move on. There are a lot of problems to solve and engineer/guitar players are going to be important to the creative leaps Obama is going to ask us to make.

    We are going to work very hard on Universal Broadband (meaning a “lifeline” Broadband for $6 a month) for the poor, subsidized by the Universal Service Fee the FCC collects out of every telephone Bill you pay. Barack is also going to enforce Network Neutrality.

  48. Hugo says:

    Ladies & Gents.

    Allow me, of all persons, to present a toast to…

    Our host Jonathan Taplin:

    Right about everything of real importance, wrong about trifling things, incomparable at all times!

    Clink, klink, now…

    Thank you. That seals it nicely.

  49. Hugo says:

    …Oopsie. I forgot the drink myself….There, now…

  50. Hugo says:

    Muchisimas Gracias, Eduardu y su muchacho Gage, y su compadre de Gage, Don Taplin. Gracias, Senor, y Mil Felicades. Felicidades, y por La Union Estados Unidos y por La Republica California, Vaya

    con Dios!

    hugo

  51. Hugo says:

    …perdon: “EduardO.”

  52. Fentex says:

    I see 52% to 46% giving the impression of a landslide when compared to the last two razor close U.S Presidential elections – but on their own those aren’t the numbers of a landslide.

    The joy at having Obama rather than McCain and the delight of a few historical firsts are obviously making people ebullient, but personally I don’t see Obama as having got an overwhelming mandate.

    If 46% of an unusually large turn out still voted against him and wanted the Republican candidate in power it doesn’t look like a momentous change in opinion and attitude across the country so much as a typical (in democratic countries) change in party with the country taking a different though not radical tack.

    Obama will still need to cultivate wider support if he plans on doing something radically challenging to the status quo. Hopefully that’ll come with sarisfaction with his performance as it unfolds.

    Ideally, to get fundemental changes, he’ll have a succesful first term and take that to the electorate for a mandate to be more radical next term.

  53. Hugo says:

    Well now I’ve read this string entire, and now I really am a bit awestruck at what Jon and his Barack hath wrought. I am with Mr. Masters, who cautions us to keep it up lest we look back someday from this one and ask, “what we might” have done.

    I’m with the eloquent newcomer Lumineaux also, and with Jeff, and Terry whose butterfly wings flapped this day. With all of you, too, who ache for the passage or else the tentative failure of California’s Proposition 8.

    But also I am an historian who goes to 1948, when two friends, like magi, took trains, buses and to foot to meet their consumptive “Socialist” friend from The War, Orwell, in the peaty Coast, to encourage him to make his last political testament, a book that was to be called, simply, “1984″. Why did the friends go, the one of them a classically trained “Conservative” book critic of the Sunday Times [of London], the other a jack Fabian? Because they, all three, were friends of the Fourth Estate, the two of them simply friends of George.

    …also, I am in County Cork about ten years later, with the avowedly Communist Claude Cockburn who was then on the lam from London taxation and with the avowedly brilliant but secretly literary American film director John Huston on the lam from taxation American. And who was the Third that time? A magus from 1948, the selfsame, ever-confused journalist Malcolm Muggeridge, later The Muse of one Wm. F. Buckley, Jr., of the USA.

    Journalism, what we now can call only Communications, makes for strange company. Even on this day, President Elect Day. They thought then that they were the last of the Fourth (er, a Fifth thereof), you see. And so did I think, yesterday.

    But no. Look at this thing, this thing that Jon and Barack, between them, have done.

    “Truly it is the Lord’s work in our eyes [well, in mine, anyway], and it is marvelous.”

    Thank you, Jon and all. You restoreth my soul…

  54. VeryBadMan says:

    The Reign of Terror is over.

  55. Hugo says:

    …except for ze media, I trust, my VBM…

  56. VeryBadMan says:

    That rain is never over. I am talking about The Reign of Terror©. (Or The Reign of Terr, if you prefer.)

  57. Hugo says:

    Ah, yes. Ze pitchforks actuel.

    Well, as I was saying…

  58. Hugo says:

    I am waiting such the long time…

  59. VeryBadMan says:

    Anyway, that is my toast… and I’m sticking with it.

  60. Mason Dixon says:

    Alex. Yes. Well said.
    And speaking of well said, perhaps another side benefit to an Obama presidency will be a general rising of the tide when it comes to political discourse, (and that includes speechifyin’), as opposed to the garbled syntax that has defined the Bush era, and was sinking to an even more astonishing low with Palin. One hopes.

  61. Mason Dixon says:

    VBM, Salut.

  62. Hugo says:

    And now who’s “sticking…it” to whom?

    !!!

  63. Hugo says:

    For the sake of clarity:

    By “VBM” I intended then and hereinafter, “Vote By Mail”;

    By “sticking…it” I intended of course to refer to the British obsession with putting a bit of Stick about; hence,

    Nothing of the above from the scrum was at all, in any way, Cricket,

    As neither is my full intention of defeating Sen. Saxby Chambliss, of Georgia, in the immediately ensuing runoff election…

  64. Hugo says:

    …to paraphrase the late Molly, You jes’ might need a Georgian for this Georgia thing…

  65. Rick Turner says:

    The rich can afford to be tax expats…

  66. zestypete says:

    Phew. Reading that was exhausting…

    Anyway, on a lighter note and in honour of the soon-to-be-ex President Bush, let us now look back on this frighteningly accurate description of what his Presidency was going to look like, written in January 2001, as he first took office:

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/28784

    How scary is that?

  67. btchakir says:

    With 70 days left to go, is anyone watching Bush?

    George W. Bush has done so much to damage this country, it is a relief to have Obama elected.

    But 70 days is a long time… and Bush could still make the mess he created worse. What could he do with the military, say, by creating a shakeup with Iran? Or how could he make the financial crisis be worse?

    And Cheney… Cheney is still in place and he worries me more than Bush, primarily because we NEVER see what he is doing.

    One thing the blogs will do is stay as much on top of Bush as possible.

    I hope.

    Under The LobsterScope

  68. len says:

    The worry would not be Bush doing something dangerous. He will be packing up and getting out as fast as is legal. There is some bloodletting going on in the Republican Party but that is normal after a major defeat for any party. They will be inventorying assets and I wouldn’t make too much of what is said for the next month or so because the hired guns are jockeying and the FUD will fly. Let them pass. Energy spent on the great get even is wasted except in the cases where criminal acts have been committed. As good as it would feel, wasting the time to the midterms pursuing indictments will only cause other more important work to go undone. Exceptions are high crimes, IMO.

    As to security, the worry and I think minor is that during the transition another entity decides to exploit the tentativeness of leadership during the next two months. There are some signs of that coming from Russia. Big powers probe each other’s perimeters constantly. Obama is getting his first in depth security briefing today so the full scope and detail of the problems will be clear to him. Watch his speeches over the next week even as he is assembling his cabinet.

    Some random thoughts on universal broadband follow.

    This isn’t my area of expertise but as a vendor of PHIN-compliant health systems that also support other public safety services, the demand for use of broadband by private and public resources is skyrocketing and competing. The competition for the Universal Service fees allocation seems to be increasing including more emergency services (eg, telematics) with passalong costs and a need to prioritize available bandwidth in emergencies. There is competition also from the health industry linking up the rural health providers for day to day alerting and case notification messaging.

    Some of that traffic is fat and bursty (wrap CAP inside EDXL over eBXML and we are sending a few hundred bytes wrapped in multi kilobytes of metadata per message – say verbose but the result of demands for interoperability and standardization without enough implementation to proof the standards in a real world environment).

    HL7 was originally more efficient prior to the shift to XML. It was harder and more expensive to implement.

    So pay some attention to the situation of emergency services. In some cases, radio and landline telephone are simply better and it may be the case that a tradeoff is necessary in which messages go into which systems.

    Broadband didn’t become a necessity for me until the son started college and important lessons were conducted online. Requirements such as that suggest that broadband quit being a luxury and are now utilities the same as electrical power in the home. It may be the case that metered access is inevitable although that is a real can of worms.

    In the last race for governor here, it was noted that broadband access to every part of the state was desirable but not physically available to the rural counties. Even where I live just outside of a major technical center, the last hundred yards were a problem unless one bought it from the cable provider. DSL finally got here but DSL is not that reliable. A state by state survey of resources should be made if it hasn’t already, or the mandate will sit umiplemented similar to the 9-11 (the service not the event) location services even as the fees are collected.

  69. The latest voter data seems to suggest that fewer Republicans voted in this past election than in the last two. Listeners to Conservative radio talk shows could see it coming. Many callers expressed their contempt for John McCain for not being a true Conservative.

    Others said that they didn’t see the point in electing a Republican president who would not be able to accomplish anything with a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress. They wanted Barack Obama to win, they said, so that America would see the harmful effects of the Liberal agenda first-hand.

    I am more concerned about the strength of this country, however, than to wish it ill for political reasons. I hope they are wrong and that the Obama presidency turns out to be an amazing success.

    I am skeptical, however, since the economic numbers just don’t add up. I hope for all of our sakes that I am wrong!

  70. Rick Turner says:

    A “true conservative”…what is that? Limbaugh? Hannity? or are you thinking more in the Buckley line? It would seem that the mantle of “true conservative” has been taken up (or stolen) by the hate spewing assholes. Thinking, reasoned conservatives seem to be in hiding, not wanting to be tarred with the same brush as their hot headed, puke spewing brethren. I think a lot of the thinking man’s conservatives see hope in Obama.

    The economic numbers just don’t add up… Who stacked the numbers that way? A bunch of cowboy “free market” (as long as it’s free for them) Wall St. types did…the Republican base heros…the “greed is good” crowd. Obama is being handed the shitty end of the stick even before day one as GWB scrambles to get out of the line of blame fire. You can bet that George is very happy that a president can only get two terms these days. He’d have had on hell of a time just hanging onto being nominated this year, and he’d have been the biggest loser of all times if he’d run.

    So it’s time for renewal, and time to give Obama all the help he can get. He seems to be a good man and a wise one. May he be this generation’s Lincoln or FDR. May he not die in office, though.

  71. Hugo says:

    zestypete, I am disappointed. I don’t see you offering to help me disappoint Saxby, right here in his very stronghold, in a runoff that may determine the fillibuster powers of the U.S. Senate under an Obama Administration.

    What is WRONG with my smug Democrats just now? Flush with victory, are we? Did I not warn you of smugness, especially at a time like this?

    Come on now: What then shall I mark upon my sandwich boards, upon the leaflets I shall drop to the richest MF’s in all Georgia State?

  72. Seth says:

    There are any number of ways to contribute, but here’s one appeal for assistance in defeating Saxby and putting Jim Martin in the Senate in his place.

  73. Hugo says:

    Thanks, Seth.

    And, say, you’re not a Bo[w]les too, are you? Because then you and I really WOULD be cousins, as Alex and I just possibly may be…

  74. Hugo says:

    As I’m divorce-poor, Seth, I believe I’ll just stand out on the most prominent corner in Saxby’s affluent GOP base, Cobb County, with a sandwich board that reads, on the front, “Our Saxby’s a fine ole liar, but…” and, on the back, “the time for Pluto-krats is OVER!”

    That ought to be good for swinging a few money-votes…

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