Wednesday, November 05, 2008

President-elect Obama

Supporters of Barack Obama gather near Grant Park in Chicago to celebrate his victory in Tuesday's presidential election.

It always sounds weird to hear that phrase, regardless of whose name it includes. We get used to four or eight years of hearing "President So-and-so," and then the new name inserted there hits us with all the oddity of looking at a weather map from another state.

But there it is; President-elect Barack Obama.

And so ends the long national nightmare that is ... no, not the Bush presidency - still nearly three months of that - but this seemingly eternal campaign for the presidency. I, for one, am simply glad it's over. It's like a visit from the in-laws; you don't actually hope anyone dies, but you're REALLY glad when they're gone.

Anyway, my guy didn't win. ... I don't mean McCain, he was never my first choice. Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney were well ahead of him in my eyes.

Regardless, this offers an interesting opportunity. I suspect many of my Republican buddies will rally around Uncle Rushie as a lonely beacon of hope over the next four years.

As for me, I'm going to try to take a little different approach this time. Rather than the endless cycle of spin and parsing semantics, I'm going to do my best to give Obama a clean slate. He wasn't my first choice among Dems, and was well down my list in general, but he's there now. So I'm going to try to understand the policies he puts forth. Sometimes I may agree with him. Sometimes I may wholeheartedly disagree. I will be vocal about both.

But if 52% of voters felt it was time for this mercurial concept of "change," then I think even a traditional conservative such as I could make an attempt to be the change we seek in others.

I watched on CNN the massive gathering of Obama supporters in Chicago's Grant Park and was simply stunned at the spectacle of it all. I don't know how this guy will govern, but between this and his August DNC speech at a packed Mile High Stadium in Denver ... there's no question this guy knows how to put on a show. It made me wonder what the hell it would look like if Obama would've gone on to lose, but despite that ... even I have to admit it was a pretty awesome sight.

So now the Dems have a firm grip on the Senate, the House and now the White House, and even on the state level, they now hold the Senate and - for the first time in 14 years - the Assembly. This in addition to the governor's mansion.

The Dems have no real roadblocks to implement the promises they've made.

No excuses.

And that's got to scare more than a few Dems.

P.S. I found an interesting interactive map at JSonline, which shows how each of Wisconsin's 72 counties has voted for president since 1964.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Countdown to history

Within 24 hours of this posting America will have indicated its preference for its first African-American president.
RealClearPolitics shows Obama with a 278-132 lead in electoral votes among states whose polls are outside the margin of error one way or another. When throwing every state to one candidate or another, regardless of margin of error, puts Obama way over the top at 338-200.
Obama's election would be a pretty remarkable feat considering it was barely 45 years ago that blacks couldn't even be assured the opportunity to vote in every part of this country.
No less than Ward Connerly - he of crusades against racial preferences - even proffers hope at Obama's election, in that it could mean a fundamental change in the definition of Affirmative Action. Connerly seems to think Obama would shift this definition from racial to socio-economic.
This is something I've said for years; that one's ethnicity doesn't enable him to inject "diversity" into any setting, but one's socio-economic status does.
Consider: Two kids - one black and one white - could grow up next door to each other, go to the same schools and graduate from the same college with the same degree, and some companies would be more likely to hire the black kid just because he represents "diversity."
Continuing to focus on race-based diversity ignores the significant gains minorities have made, socially and economically.
Shifting that focus to classes of Americans who are struggling with the emasculating effects of joblessness and poverty, however, could be just the change our country needs.