If You’re Not Part of the Solution . . .

Great line from today’s Maureen Dowd:

Team Romney has every reason to be shellshocked. Its candidate, after all, resoundingly won the election of the country he was wooing.

Mitt Romney is the president of white male America.

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Until now, Republicans and Fox News have excelled at conjuring alternate realities. But this time, they made the mistake of believing their fake world actually existed. As Fox’s Megyn Kelly said to Karl Rove on election night, when he argued against calling Ohio for Obama: “Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better?”

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The Real America

Timothy Egan’s post on the NY Times Blog captures some noteworthy facts on Tuesday’s election.  It begins “[g]uess who won Joe the Plumber’s vote.  Not Joe the symbol and unlicensed tax-dodger coming soon to a garage sale near you, but the ral people about $42,000 a year, the median income for plumbers and pipefitters.  Barack Obama carried hard-working Americans of that income stripe by 10 points . . .”  And her carried those who make more than $200,000 a year, and Latinos, and the young, and the suburbs . . .

The election results rejected the recent trend in Rove-inspired Republican electioneering, the character-assassination-by-association that replaced substantive discussion at the highest level of the party.  Enough voters saw through the Republican assertion that Obama is “too radical.”  McCain’s concession speech and Obama’s victory speech revealed the truth of their respective appeal in stark terms.  The audience for McCain’s dour luxury-resort address looked like a Junior League party hosting the members of Augusta National.  The camera’s strained to find even once face of color in the crowd.  Other than the range of ages represented, Obama’s audience reminded me of a photo taken when a friend’s daughter graduated from West Point, a cross section of skin colors, ethnicities, and melting-pot origins that truly is, despite Palin’s sneering assertions, Real America.  Republicans can either broaden their appeal and re-establish relevance or continue their sour, mean-spirited migration to the right.

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Finally!

It has been many years* since I cast a vote for the President-elect.  I have watched my candidates concede, accepted that I was out of step with the electoral vote, and taken four more years of the other guy.

Not tonight.  I am amazed and pleasantly stunned.  Barack Obama is President-elect.

Incredible.

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*I voted for Clinton in ’92 and ’96 but was not elated to do so.  The last eight years have been so bad that 1996 feels like it was many lifetimes ago.

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Equal time

A large part of John McCain’s media persona is his reputation for “Straight Talk.” This video shows McCain flatly contradicting and lying about his own prior statements: McCain’s YouTube Problem. As troubling as his dissembling is McCain’s palpable discomfort in dealing economic issues. He is scarily out of his depth.

A week ago Barack Obama pinch-hit for Ted Kennedy, delivering the commencement address at Wesleyan University after Kennedy backed out for health reasons. Obama’s speech, by all accounts stirring and well-delivered, called on graduates to enter public service. Obama failed to mention the military in his list of service options, a troubling omission for a presidential candidate and potential commander-in-chief and especially glaring on the day before Memorial Day.  Is military service only for people who cannot or do not attend schools like Wesleyan?

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Quiet Concerns

An article today addresses a fear that I’ve had, and that is shared by many who lived through the assassinations of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Bobby Kennedy–is Barack Obama more vulnerable to threats of harm than other politicians? The hope and optimism that are central to Obama’s appeal echo the tone and spirit of the two Kennedys and King. Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assassinated 40 years ago this spring, a year in which this country was bitterly divided over an unpopular war and was threatening to spin out of control. No one wants to mention it but the unease is there.

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Democrat$ vs. Republican’ts

The New York Times reports today that Democratic presidential candidates raised $80 million in the quarter ended 6/30, while Republicans raised less than $50 million. It’s just three months in a long campaign but to someone accustomed to a large Republican advantage in fundraising for national campaigns in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s this is eye-opening. While the Democratic National Committee raised almost $389 million and the Republican National Committee raised about $385 million for the 2004 presidential election, “[i]n every previous election cycle since 1976, the year the [Federal Election Commission] first began issuing reports, the GOP has decisively trumped the Democrats. In 1999-2000, for example, the RNC raised $377 million, $116.4 million more than the $260.6 million collected by the DNC.” Thomas B. Edsall and Derek Willis, Fundraising Records Broken by Both Major Political Parties, The Washington Post, 3-Dec-04. Barack Obama led all candidates by raising $32.8 million in the quarter, followed by Hillary Clinton with $27 million. None of the other Democrats raised figures in the double-digits; John Edwards’s $8.9 million led the rest of the pack. Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney led the Republicans with $17.3 million and $13.7 million, respectively. It will be interesting to see whether the Democrats can maintain this advantage.

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Good Government or Gotcha II

Peter Beinart’s column in The New Republic on Joe Biden’s foot-in-mouth remark last week about Barack Obama argues that “[s]tupid, insensitive remarks shouldn’t sink political candidacies unless they bespeak some larger animus.” Unlike George Allen’s macaca moment, uttered by a politician with (in Beinart’s words) “a long history of racist sympathies,” Biden’s senate career displays no racial animus. “Journalists shouldn’t be hypocrites” writes Beinart: “You can’t ask politicians to be unscripted and then decapitate them any time they misspeak.” Comments on recent posts (Say “Cheese” and You’ve Been YouTubed) have rightfully argued in favor of transparency in politics, an end served (ostensibly) by the type of unscripted give-and-take that snared Biden. There is a very thin line between informal transparency-minded journalistic discourse and maybe-he’ll-relax-and-say-something-stupid-that-will-get-ratings discourse. The unfolding 2008 presidential campaign will bring us a lotta gotcha.

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