Like the true political junkie I am, I spent the entire night watching the results come in by channel surfing the broadcast & cable news outlets and checking my Blackberry for online updates during commercial breaks.
Maybe I just drank the Kool-aid, but what a great night for America. I am proud of both candidates tonight. I am proud of my fellow Americans tonight. Turnout levels were high and old myths have been shattered. I’m glad the guy I voted for won, but I’m more glad that I live in a nation like America where we can peacefully chose our leaders. And i’m glad the outcome was decisive and pray it will help us move on together as a nation.
Months and months ago, I wrote on this blog that America was ready for a woman or an African American to be president. I heard many women and African Americans say that was not the case. My point was that it had to be the right woman or African American. I went on record saying that Hillary Clinton was not the right woman. I left the door open to Barack Obama’s becoming the first African American President. Tonight, I’m so happy to say to America “I TOLD YOU SO…”
Now a few observations from all my TV watching & Blackberry checking:
America IS safer tonight. Sarah Palin is not a heartbeat away. Yes, technically, Barack Obama doesn’t have her executive experience in government, although he did spend the last two years running the most complex and successful political campaign in history. But, whether that counts or not, I think what is obvious to most fair minded individuals is that Sarah Palin is not up to leading this country. A few weeks of cram session simply didn’t get her sufficiently prepped. And to be fair to her, a few weeks of prep was never going to be enough. Barack Obama has intensively prepared for this moment. He may or may not become an effective president, but I completely believe we are better off with him leading us than having a 72 year old John McCain lead us with Sarah Palin as his emergency replacement. Imagine THAT 3AM call? I don’t want to. And now America doesn’t have to.
More on Sarah Palin. In his concession speech, Senator McCain hailed his running mate’s future in American politics and as a leader in his party. Here’s the truth. She has crested. This is as far as she will ever rise and now she’s done. It was nice of McCain to say, but the truth is that Palin dragged him only down. While she initially energized the base, it quickly became obvious that she was oblivious and turned off Clinton supporters, independents and other non-committed voters in drove. But that’s not the only reason I say she is done. Palin has cold hard history against her. Almost no person in her expensive shoes (a losing VP candidate on a non-incumbent campaign ticket) has ever come back to capture the White House or for that matter the top spot on their party’s ticket. Want proof? Take a look at people like John Edwards, Sargeant Shriver, Lloyd Benson, etc. If you’re asking “who’s that” then you get my point. Bye bye Sarah…
On CNN, commentator Bill Bennett made the point that he doesn’t think this election means that America has shifted from center-right to center-left. He’s still clinging to the idea that America is center-right. Give Bennett this much, he’s right it’s not this election. It’s actually the last two elections that have shown us that America is shifting politically. In these last two elections, the GOP has lost a ton of seats in both house of Congress and now the presidency. What more proof does Bennett need??
That all said, let’s talk about the center. My firm hope is that President-Elect Obama keeps the emphasis on the center. Yes, he’ll have the power to rule from the center-left. I hope he will have the wisdom not to. The best thing Obama can do is keep his campaign pledge of trying to unite this country together. As Obama has said, I truly believe that we have much more in common than the things that divide us. It’s too important a time in our history not to focus on working together and getting things done. Let’s hope Obama backs up his words. From his stirring speech tonight, I for one am feeling hopeful.
So happy to write this. GOODBYE Joe the plumber. Your 15 minutes is officially at 15:01.
I like John McCain again tonight. His concession speech was class all the way. This is the John McCain so many of us admire. Sadly, he seemed to lose his way a bit during the campaign and attacked his opponent in personal ways not to be admired while often stretching the truth beyond its breaking point. Yet, McCain may have saved his soul and the soul of the GOP in the bargain. McCain resisted the temptation to play the race card in a major way. His decision to not bring Reverend Wright back into the campaign debate will be questioned by pundits for a long time. But, it seems to me that McCain simply was uncomfortable going there because in addition to being old news, it risked a major backfire. McCain put country first by not inflaming racial tensions needlessly and setting back the GOP in the process. Clearly the demographics of our nation have changed and along with it racial attitudes. If the Republican Party is to continue to compete, it will have to widen its base beyond the wealthy and the Joe The Plumber (semi-angry white guy) types. McCain saw that clearly.
Speaking of race. What an important night. Perhaps now African Americans and other minorities believe the American Dream is truly possible for everyone. Perhaps it’s chrystal clear now that not all or perhaps even most whites are racists. What a chance for our country to heal and come together. I have never been the hugest Jesse Jackson fan, but I have to admit seeing him on TV in the Obama crowd with a tear rolling down his cheek was moving sight.
Finally, one last note and it’s a Bush bash. Watching Barack Obama speak it was so refreshing to hear the future leader of our nation demonstrate his understanding of what America truly stands for. Both here and across the world, America’s greatest gift to this planet has been her ideals. During his eight years, the current president has often failed to demonstrate a deep understanding of America’s ideals and focused more on rigid political agendas. Finally, we will again have a president who gets the big picture.
Ok, I lied, here’s the final point. Not sure if it was this campaign or the Wall Street mess, but I’m thrilled that Americans are coming around to the idea that government is not always the problem. Reagan sold on us that false idea. Yes, the government can mess things up. YOu only need to take a look at the current administration to see that. And no, I don’t want higher taxes. What I do want is a government that gives a damn about all its people. What I do want is a government that plays a role where needed rather than starting needless wars. Here’s hoping that’s what we got tonight.
May God Bless America and all of us. And please allow Senators Obama & McCain some much needed rest. They’ve both earned it.