A New Day

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the_white_house.jpg
OK. The right team won. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will take this country in a new direction.
Hopefully, they will pick a competent team and apply themselves the challenges that matter, not just the tasks that are easy.
I was all over New York last night — and I have to say that the crowds, the noise, the excitement in every corner of people watching the returns made it impossible to analyze and comment on what was really going on.
Zbigniew Brzezinski was the first major foreign policy voice I respect to endorse Barack Obama. I now hope Obama performs at the level deserving of Zbig’s support.
More soon. After I pop some Advil and recover a bit.
And what is going on with Proposition 8??
— Steve Clemons

Comments

17 comments on “A New Day

  1. WigWag says:

    “My wife and I worked the polls in a poor black neighborhood in Richmond this year, doing voter protection. When we got there at 5am for a 6am opening, there was a line that wrapped twice around the block in the cold rain. The first people were there at 3am. Old folks, invalids, young people…everyone. It was an extraordinarily moving sight to behold.”
    I couldn’t agree with this comment more. I live in Florida and I voted early so on election day I was in Norfolk, VA visiting my brother-in-law who is ill. He lives near Old Dominion University which is in a predominantly African American neighborhood of Norfolk. It poured on election day. But by 6:00 am the lines at the local polling place stretched around the block twice. There must have been 500 people waiting on line in the rain. But they were all in great spirits and they were overjoyed at the prospect of voting for Senator Obama.
    It was a something to behold and it was very inspiring.

    Reply

  2. Sweetness says:

    “Obama’s race seems to have been a non-factor.”
    The point is, think of what it took to make it a non factor. Plus,
    he started WAY back in the pack in the all the ways I mentioned.
    Reagan certainly didn’t have any of those obstacles.
    HW didn’t have any of those obstacles.
    Clinton didn’t have all of those obstacles, though he was
    somewhat of an unknown in 1992. And you’re leaving out his
    under 50% popular vote totals, BOTH times.
    Hillary, Biden, and Dodd didn’t have those obstacles.
    Carter didn’t have any of those obstacles and had the wind at his
    back and a southern pedigree and didn’t break 300.
    So, if you look at where the candidates STARTED when they
    announced, it’s pretty hard not to conclude that Obama ran an
    extraordinary race.
    Sure, when you put his stats next to Reagan’s stats, Obama
    comes up short. But if you look at the help Reagan had–his
    fame, his governorship, the hostage crisis, 20% interest rates,
    his race–he also had a lot of “help.” In fact, some have argued
    that, minus the hostage crisis, Carter would have won.
    I don’t gainsay Reagan’s victory; it was impressive just in terms
    of its totality. In fact, I don’t take away anything from the other
    winners, nor do I say that Obama’s victory was the greatest in
    the universe, or anything like that. I merely say that it was
    extraordinary and extraordinarily well done.
    Of course, what makes this argument difficult to define is that
    it’s hard to impossible to measure Obama’s racial handicap or
    the “improbability” of his campaign.
    But it isn’t hard to imagine that it was substantial, given where
    this country has been and, in some ways, continues to be. How
    many black senators have we had? Blacks are still way under-
    represented. If I’m not mistaken, we’ve only just elected our
    second black governor in the history of this country.
    Given all this, I think it’s silly to put up the numbers and say,
    “Well, he got less than Reagan or HW (his VP) and is therefore
    somewhere in the middle of the pack.” Sure, numerically. But
    this sort of judgement ain’t just about the numbers. If there
    were tons of black senators and tons of black governors and
    we’d had one or two black presidents and VPs in our history, you
    might be able to make that argument–but you can’t–yet.
    My wife and I worked the polls in a poor black neighborhood in
    Richmond this year, doing voter protection. When we got there
    at 5am for a 6pm opening, there was a line that wrapped twice
    around the block in the cold rain. The first people were there at
    3am. Old folks, invalids, young people…everyone. It was an
    extraordinarily moving sight to behold.

    Reply

  3. WigWag says:

    Actually, Sweetness, I think Obama was an adequate enough candidate to win at a time of national crisis when the other party was despised by the vast majority of Americans; no more and no less.
    Obama’s race seems to have been a non-factor. If exit polls are to be believed, Obama’s share of the white vote was reminiscent of Kerry’s. He won 5 percent more of the African American vote than Kerry did but the African American turn-out increased by only two percent. Obama’s share of the Jewish vote was almost exactly the same share as Gore’s and Kerry’s (78 percent). So, it appears that on balance Obama’s race helped him slightly more than it hurt him; but it was clearly not decisive. Parenthetically, the one ethnic group that broke decisively in Obama’s favor was Latinos. They voted for Obama in far greater numbers than they voted for Kerry. Thank Lou Dobbs and his fellow travelers for this. Democrats will benefit from a Latino backlash against Republicans for years to come.
    Obama is growing on me. I’m glad he won (Palin scared me to death) and I like the fact that he seems to be channeling Bill Clinton (I know lots of other folks don’t like this). It’s Obama’s supporters who puzzle me. Their willingness to fall for the hype astounds me.
    The media is conveying the message that Obama ran a brilliant campaign. It’s not true. Obama ran an adequate campaign that resulted in an average sized electoral vote victory.
    Here is the number of electoral votes won by the winning Presidential candidate since 1960 (the first year that the winning threshold was 270 after Alaska and Hawaii became states).
    Kennedy-1960 (303); Johnson-1964 (486); Nixon-1968 (294); Nixon-1972 (520); Carter-1976 (297); Reagan-1980 (489); Reagan-1984 (525); Bush-1988 (426); Clinton-1992 (370); Clinton-1996 (379); Bush-2000 (271); Bush-2004 (286); Obama-2008 (364-pending).
    Of the 13 elections held since 1960 Obama’s electoral vote total was better than that received by 5 presidential winners and it was worse than that received by 7 presidential winners.
    This doesn’t take anything away from Obama’s victory. He won and that is what matters. But his Campaign, as a campaign accomplished nothing extraordinary. It was an average effort that produced a mediocre electoral vote victory and an average popular vote victory.
    Obama supporters who feel that their candidate’s 364 electoral votes indicates that he ran an extraordinary campaign that was highly focused and brilliantly managed, must also think that both Reagan and Clinton ran even better campaigns than Obama did. After all, they both received more electoral votes than Obama did twice. They must also feel that Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush ran better campaigns than Obama because they both exceeded Obama’s electoral vote total once.
    I don’t think it’s unreasonable to argue that given how bad times are today, Obama should have won in excess of 400 electoral votes. If he had, that would have made his campaign special. When Johnson and Reagan did it, times were bad but not appreciably worse than they are today. And when Clinton scored in the high 300s the economy was in a minor recession and had just emerged from what was considered at the time, a highly successful war.
    I think Obama has a chance to be a decent President. He’s smart and well spoken. He’s far better than McCain would have been.
    But as a candidate, he was just about good enough to get the job done, when what he should have scored was a knock-out.
    All the hype in the world doesn’t change the facts.

    Reply

  4. Sweetness says:

    Yes, but a) you said you would and now you’ve reneged; b) he
    won a number of states that Kerry did not; c) he won more
    electoral votes and a greater percentage of the popular vote
    than Bill Clinton; d) Bill Clinton (and all candidates) benefit from
    poor conditions and mistakes by the other side.
    Recall that HW Bush was presiding over a recession and
    famously looked at his watch during one of the debates. Recall
    also the pathetic old man Clinton ran against in 1996.
    Recall also that no other candidate has had to face the obstacle
    of his or her skin color. Hillary was able to crow (rightfully)
    about the 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling–to the point
    where Palin picked up the same meme.
    But when Obama noted (truthfully) that he doesn’t look like any
    of the guys on our money, he was accused of playing the race
    card. And he was tarred with the brush of his pastor who, let’s
    be honest, is nothing more than a garden variety black liberation
    pastor a bit stuck in the 1960s when blacks had every right to
    say “goddamn America.”
    So the historic nature of Obama’s candidacy had to be
    downplayed to the point of non-existence by the candidate
    himself. I mean where was Obama’s up from slavery speech. Or
    content of his character speech. It had to be left to others.
    Where was his righteous anger about the situation of blacks in
    this country; it had to be left to others lest he be accused of
    being an angry black man. Talk about having to tie one hand
    behind one’s back!
    I’m not sure what you think the wrong lessons are that Dems are
    learning. That if you’re a black candidate, you have to run a
    picture perfect campaign and have an Ozzie and Harriet family?
    Given all the things working against Obama–the Clinton
    machine and popularity and name recognition, race, lack of
    name recognition, relative inexperience, no deep pockets
    initially–he had to be a GREAT candidate to get where he got
    to.
    Circumstances are hard to factor into this conversation. Gore,
    one your favs and mine, had a GREAT set up and yet blew it. A
    weak candidate? Would have made a much better president than
    candidate, IMO. Surely Bush “made the most” of 911.
    Would Hillary have won in this situation? Maybe; it’s hard to
    know because she was such a poor candidate and ran such a
    poor campaign, blowing her humongous lead and advantage to
    a pisher. Obama’s strong performance toughened her up
    considerably. And she, too, would have been “lucky” to have had
    the economy and (perhaps) Palin in her favor.
    She got better in the end, and almost pulled it out. But in
    politics, you pretty much have to be good on day one. Either
    that, or learn fast, and I do believe Obama is a fast learner.
    Anyway, I always learn something from your posts and
    appreciate your hanging in here against all the head winds.

    Reply

  5. WigWag says:

    Sweetness, Obama was behind in the polls until mid September when Lehman Brothers collapsed. The ensuing financial meltdown insured Obama’s victory. Any of the leading Democrats would have fared as well against McCain as Obama did. Some would have fared better.
    Democrats who think Obama was a strong candidate are learning all the wrong lessons from this campaign. To win, a weak candidate like Obama, Kerry or Dukakis need everything to go right for them. In this case, Obama had the weakest economy and the biggest financial crash in 75 years on his side. Winning under these circumstances doesn’t make him a strong candidate or even a pretty strong candidate.
    And by the way, despite all the hype, the data suggests that Obama’s victory was pretty par for the course. Here are the numbers:
    2004
    62,040,606-Bush
    59,028,109-Kerry
    411,304 Nader
    2008
    63,507,800 – Obama
    56,151,859 – McCain
    Youth voters increased one percent over 2004 and African American voters increased by only two percent over 2004.
    Obama can also thank John McCain for picking Sarah Palin and he can thank the Republican Party for pissing off Latinons big time. Obama’s wins in Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico (and his good showing in Arizona which he didn’t win)were entirely due to the fact that voters of Mexican decent turned with a vengence on the Republican Party.
    Throw into the mix the most unpopular President since 1948 and even a weak candidate like Obama was able to win.
    I’m not surprised that Democrats have completely misinterpreted Obama’s victory. But they do so at their peril. Weak candidates like Obama lose 9 times out of 10.
    We just go lucky this time.
    But thanks for asking!

    Reply

  6. Sweetness says:

    Maybe I missed it, but Wig, aren’t you supposed to admit that
    Obama was a pretty strong candidate after all -:)

    Reply

  7. bangzoom14 says:

    Holy Cow.. the 8-Year Nightmare is Over! Okay, I finished celebrating. Now it’s down to the real nitty gritty. POA, I read your comments and I couldn’t agree with you more. Obama should read the riot act to Reid & Pelosi and advise the American public that all those who lied, cheated, stole, threatened or whatever-you-want-to-call-it in the past 8 years are all going to be held fully accountable for their actions. And I’m talking about all those nice little scruby-faced republicans who go around saying ‘oh no, that wasn’t me.. it was the other guy’. Maybe he’s saving these good words for Jan 20. We shall see.

    Reply

  8. erichwwk says:

    The following post- “Change: The Possible One And The One You Might Get” – at MoA may be of interest:
    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2008/11/change-the-poss.html
    I do not see that change comes in small incremental steps, either in science or politics. If we get change out of the Obama administration it will more likely come from greed preventing a reasonable response to our financial infrastructure debacle. I do think Naomi Klein, Milton Friedman, T.S. Kuhn, had it right when they assert that change comes in paradigm shifts or “shocks”.
    That folks like Gary Becker and Richard Posner
    see: http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/
    can justify the failure to recognize the gravity of US debt and its implied financial meltdown, and excuse it by appeal another fallacious excuse (RAND’s Roberta Wohlstetter’s excuse of Peal Harbor and “noise”)indicates to me that the jury is still out on any real “change”.
    After all, the New Deal came about after just such a shock.

    Reply

  9. WigWag says:

    Obama has named his Chief of Staff. It’s Rahm Emanuel.

    Reply

  10. Linda says:

    Prop 8 is too close to call in CA.
    BTW, so is Chambliss-Martin race in GA as Chambliss is at 49.9%–went down from 55% around 11 p.m. last night steadily. Buckley, the Libertarian, has around 3%. The goal here always was and still is to keep Chambliss under 50% + 1 and into a runoff election with Martin on 12/2.
    Nobody is quite sure yet where the uncounted votes are exactly. Both % of precincts reporting and % of projected votes hovering at 96-98%. This will take several days to sort out and may rest on paper absentee ballots and provisonal ballots.
    No point in holding one’s breath or nail-biting up to one’s elbows. Those of us who worked with few resources from DNC or Obama campaign targeted to GA are exhausted here in Atlanta. Fulton and Dekalb Counties that respectively went for Obama 69% and 79% about as blue as any place except DC.
    If we have to do a runoff election in a month, we’ll be ready to welcome help from DNC and Obama supporters from the entire country.
    POA, you aren’t going to change your way of expressing yourself, but Obama is too smart to make Clinton’s mistake of going too far to the progressive side of the Democratic Party (where I and many commenters here wish the country would go–because that’s not where the country is.) Pelosi and Reid didn’t get the numbers and mandate they wanted.
    Obama heads the Democratic Party, and soon we’ll see his top appointees’ names–probably Chief of Staff and Treasury within a week….a very interesting transition like none we’ve seen before and some audacious choices, perhaps Colin Powell for Secretary of Education.
    The change we hope for will come in small incremental steps and I believe first in the tone of the Obama Administration.
    This is going to be the

    Reply

  11. John says:

    POA, why in God’s name did you have to invoke the image of a white woman holding a black man’s balls in the afterglow of one of the finest days in our country’s history ?! Show some decency and quit the mewling.

    Reply

  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Sometimes people rear their heads, and you can’t help but think….
    “My God, these jackasses actually vote.” Carrie easily dovetails into that category.
    And I realize that Obama can’t just send Reid and Pelosi packing. A shame, too. But realizing that those two still hold tremendous power pretty much negates any hope one should realistically entertain about “change” or accountability. These two have enabled Bush for eight years now, have stood in the way of pursuing accountability, and stand for the status quo with a capital S and Q.
    Obama’s speech was inspiring and historical, but one must remember that Pelosi has him by the balls, and his voice is gonna raise a few octaves when she starts squeezing, come January.

    Reply

  13. WineCountry says:

    At 7:30 on the west coast, with 95% of the vote counted it’s passing at 52%. I can’t believe we Californians have passed this amendment. And I’m furious, with no rational outlet, with the Mormon church’s last minute infusion of $25 million dollars into the Yes on 8 campaign.

    Reply

  14. Carrie says:

    Mr. Pissed, oooh Mr. Pissed,
    Don’t be so down, Mr. Pissed, it’s a bright new sun shiny day! Yippeee ! I know you just love Barrack really and how he can, and we can too, Mr. Pissed !
    Let’s play our song I shared with you some time back. I just know you love it !
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCnUsInBQws
    Bye, Mr. Pissed !

    Reply

  15. PissedOffAmerican says:

    It would be a “new day” if Barack Obama stood before the nation today and said….
    “Be advised, all you people that have lied this nation to war, spied on American citizens, politicized our Justice Department, and tortured human beings; Never again will you trample our ideals, destroy our moral standing, ignore the law and the Constitution. We are coming for you, you WILL be held accountable”.
    But instead, the election has put ALL the power in Pelosi’s hands. Obama can’t even fart if Pelosi is against it. And Pelosi does not stand for change. Pelosi is as bad as it gets.
    Instead of worrying about who Obama will appoint, we should be hoping for who he will give the ax to. He should give this mewling coward Reid and the abetting and complicit Pelosi their walking papers.

    Reply

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