It’s Over

I’m not into politics much (a quick search of this site turns up one instance each of the words “Obama” and “McCain”, an entry last week mentioning political signs), but I guess an obligatory presidential entry is probably expected. So, here it is.

With as little as I know about politics, I have the distinct advantage of viewing each presidential election through the eyes of a complete idiot, or at least those of a naïve child. That being said, once Obama received the Democratic nomination I had no doubt that he would win the election. In fact, the election’s results seemed pretty cut and dry to me a long time ago.

A couple of weeks ago, Larry King had Republican Ben Stein and Democrat Charles Barkley (of all people) on his program to discuss the then upcoming election. Ben Stein said that the Republicans had all but conceded the election at that point, and his logic was as follows: white people were expected to split their votes 60/40 between McCain and Obama, while black people were expected to vote 100/0 for Obama. Barkley agreed with Stein and said the biggest key to victory was simply getting black people out to vote.

Again, through my naïve eyes, there was a little bit more to the election, but not much. McCain publicly said things multiple times that made the average person scratch their head. At one point he said he didn’t understand the Internet or use email. Another time he said he didn’t know how exactly how many houses he owned. And then there was the whole Palin thing. I honestly don’t know if Palin got a fair shake or not, and I don’t know her personally, but in the media she came off as an idiot. Let’s face it, McCain is no spring chicken, and I think the thought of putting Palin second-in-command next to a guy that is just a few years younger than Mason’s great grandmother (who uses the Internet and understands e-mail just fine) was a pretty scary thought for a lot of voters. On one hand you have a guy who’s afraid of the Internet and on the other you have a guy who advertised his campaign though virtual billboards in videogames (true story).

The other thing I think pushed people toward Obama was that he had a very simple platform and message, which was essentially, “things suck right now and a vote for me is a vote for change.” I’ll buy that — Obama will be this country’s fifth youngest president of all time (behind Roosevelt, Kennedy, Clinton and Grant) and based on his race and his campaign I think everyone can see change is in the air. Obama’s message destroyed McCain’s, which was … well, I’m not even sure what McCain’s message was. With gas approaching an average of $4/gallon and rampant home foreclosures, “status quo” was the wrong side of the argument to stand on. Whether all his policies exactly lined up with Dubya’s or not, there were enough similarities for voters to avoid voting for him.

A lot of people are talking about the racial boundaries that our country broke last night. I think I will wait four years before declaring that victory.

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5 comments to It’s Over

  • Mom

    I was going to comment. I just can’t think of anything to say. Only time will tell on this one. It couldn’t get much worse. Or could it? We’ll see.

  • Susan

    I think that last night was a break through a huge psychological barrier that was attached to 12% of our population. Anyone can become anything they want to in the United States, officially now.

  • Jeff

    While the results do not suprise me. I have to say I think Obama was a poor selection for many reasons, not that it matters now but I think it only fair to represent “the other side of the story”. I do follow politics and do look at impartial resources(few they may be) like http://www.votesmart.org/. Obama’s choices to vote against and his glaring absence on taking a stand on controversial issues gives me a moment of pause.

    While Palin was portraid as an idiot and it is easy to take comments out of context. Do not get me started on the comments and inconsistencies of Obama, Biden( as late as last week!). Then there is the money all I can say is Hillary proved you could buy a Senate seat and the republicans simply didn’t or couldn’t compete this year. Will there be that much change? I am comforted in knowing that Obama has talked the talk but if he follows his record there will be little action to follow that talk unless he personally benefits .

  • While some elections are complicated, this one wasn’t. The voting public was ready to punish the Republican Party as a whole for its dissatisfaction with George W. Bush. John McCain didn’t do enough to distinguish himself from Bush and Cheney, and that would have made it difficult to win against almost anyone the Democrats might have run.

    I don’t necessarily buy the argument that Sarah Palin lost the election, but she wasn’t the ideal choice. She appealed to social conservatives, and while social conservatives weren’excited about McCain, who else were they going to vote for? What he would have needed was someone who could draw votes from the center, and, ideally, from an area where McCain was weak, drawing votes away from Obama. Joe Lieberman would have been one option who fit both criteria.

    Meanwhile, Obama presented himself as everything that Bush isn’t. He is an articulate speaker who can inspire people, and while Bush was almost proud of saying his two sources of information are Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, Obama demonstrated that he reads newspapers, including op-ed pieces he doesn’t personally agree with.

    This will force the Republican Party to regroup, do some soul searching, and hopefully figure out what it stands for now, and that will be good for everyone. And contrary to what the talking heads want everyone to believe, no man can singlehandedly destroy this country in four or even eight years. A very good history teacher told me 16 years ago that the best thing that can happen after one party has been in charge for a long time is to hand things over to the other one. It keeps the country from veering off too far in one direction or another. At age 17, I couldn’t really understand that yet. Now, having witnessed 8 years of Clinton followed by 8 years of Bush, I can see what he was talking about.