2008/11/05

Election reactions

Ah, the sweet smell of success! Victory has been attained, but it's not a military-type victory, attained with the blood of our enemies, the wailing of foreign widows and the crying of the children of other lands. No, the election of Barack Obama by 63 million to 56 million was obtained peacefully, with persuasion, with good arguments, and yes, with an economic situation that was the direct result of Republican rule over this land since 1981 (CEPR counts Clinton as a "Republican-lite" for the purposes of this study). Certainly, the Mideast, with the exception of Israel & the Kurdish NorthEastern part of Iraq, has been hungry for change and so welcomes the American regime-shuffling.

And yes, I know it's mean, but I really had to guffaw at the National Review Online guy who bitterly complained that:

Just watched Wonder Boy's speech. Hmph. "Callused hands?" When did he ever have callused hands?

Ri-i-i-ight! Like, anybody at the NRO knows about "callused hands" from anything but storybooks and the occasional field servant that they dealt with in their youth. He then blames "the swooning complicity of the media," but it's quite clear that the traditional media was firmly on the side of McCain throughout the election campaign.

Media Matters also compared coverage of Obama's association with former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers to coverage of McCain's association with G. Gordon Liddy, whom Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman has described as McCain's "own Bill Ayers."
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Moreover, while these same media outlets mentioned Obama's ties to Ayers 311 times in 2008 through Election Day, they produced only five reports mentioning McCain's connections to Liddy, whom McCain has praised and repeatedly associated with in public and in campaign settings.

And our NRO guy then has asks a question:

Sour? You bet I'm sour. Where was conservatism in this election?

Hmm, okay. but we have to ask, what exactly does he mean by "conservatism"?

Where was restraint in government? Where was national sovereignty? Where was liberty? Where was self-support?

I heartily agree that government has been completely unrestrained under Bush. What with warrantless wiretapping, detaining prisoners without evidence of wrongdoing in defiance of habeas corpus (or the Geneva Conventions, as applicable), voter suppression through the widespread use of "vote caging," (that is, "sending 'Do Not Forward' letters to minority voters that, if returned, could be used to challenge them as nonresidents"), vote purging (famously seen in Florida before the 2000 election) and the firing of US Attorneys who weren't sufficiently pursuing bogus "voter fraud" allegations (as opposed to "vote fraud," which is when vote suppression is done by the government).

Problem: Where was the NRO during all of this lack of "restraint in government"? Seems to me that conservatives of all stripes and varieties spent the early part of this century praising Dear Leader Bush and bashing the liberals who tried to object. Or did the bulldozing of Dixie Chicks' CDs strike people as an action where the right wing showed respect for political dissent? And remember:

The "K Street Project"—the most successful shakedown operation since the first Gilded Age—was the brainchild of Representative Tom DeLay and Grover Norquist...

I don't remember any conservative objections to that, either. Granted, the "K Street Project" was shut down shortly before the Democrats took over Congress, but let's not confuse a preemptive, defensive reaction to an action based on principle.

Quite frankly, Obama's choice of Rahm Emmanuel for Chief of Staff fills me with joy, as no, he's not as liberal as I'd prefer (He backed NAFTA and wants to privatize the border), but he "doesn't do 'bipartisan'," which I find completely cool at this point.

A piece on PhillyIMC makes an interesting charge, that as the left of 1993 didn't put up much of a fight to control Bill Clinton's "Third Way," "Republican-lite" tendencies, that the left of 2009 will be equally useless at guiding and directing an Obama Administration. I dunno. Seems to me that the left of today is much more together, more energetic, more connected than it was in 1993. President Reagan garnered genuine support from the American people and the elder Bush, who inherited a lot of that good feeling, was less of an overt criminal than the younger Bush is. When the press corps of 1993 launched its all-out assault on Clinton with idiotic crap like "Whitewater," the press being crazy and out of control was a new thing and progressives weren't sure how to handle such a thing. Nowadays, we're fully aware of it and know how to deal with it. That's not to say the netroots are as powerful as the traditional media is, but I think they're far more able to take on the combination of the right-wing noise machine and the traditional press then they were before.

Finally, I agree that there's a danger that Obama will become the new Dear Leader who can do no wrong and who will be defended from our side of the aisle whether he deserves it or not, but I think this blogger makes some very good points:

But I genuinely expect that those who have made the restoration of our Constitutional framework and preservation of core liberties a top priority over the last eight years will continue to pursue those goals with equal vigor, regardless of the change of party control. And few things are more important in that effort than having a Supreme Court majority that at least minimally safeguards those principles. It's hard to overstate the importance of last night's election outcome in ensuring a reasonably favorable Court majority and, even more so, in averting what would have been a real disaster for our basic rights and system of government had John McCain been able to replace those three Justices with GOP-approved nominees. By itself, maintaining the Court more or less as is won't reverse any of the Constitutional erosions of the last eight years, but it is an absolute prerequisite to doing so.

I think all the work we put into making sure that McCain did not succeed Bush was well worth it.

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