Monday, November 03, 2008

The lion sleeps tonight

By Carl

A large part of me is thinking that Barack Obama is going to walk away from the election tomorrow with the
largest mandate a president has had since Ronald Reagan.

If not more.

And part of me, the part of me that roots for the Mets, the Rangers, and yes, the Democrats, is worried. This is no time for complacency and if we are to be accused of anything, better we should be accused of running up the score than in losing graciously.

Al Gore lost graciously, thanks in large part to the spiteful vendetta of Ralph Nader. Did anyone want a repeat of the past eight years?

Not that I believe, in his heart of hearts, that John McCain and George W Bush are soulmates, cloned from the same dreck and flotsam that would see this country drift rather than take the reins of its own destiny. I don't. I believe McCain sincerely wants to do right by doing good.

I just don't think he has either the energy or the capacity anymore after selling his soul, one slice at a time, for the past eight years.

This was why, despite a bruising and at time bitter primary campaign in which my candidate lost, I was able to instantly support Barack Obama. The John McCain of 2000, the one able to speak his mind and be funny from time to time, the one I was able to disagree with without being disagreeable, him I might have had a harder time turning down.

Not this guy:

Not ever. How could I even respect a man who was so thoroughly humiliated, even to the extent of having his adopted baby's parentage questioned, by the very man he now had to kowtow to in order to get the nomination?

It is an ignominious epitaph for "The Maverick" that his political career should end in such a shabby way.

I say "end" because I assume at his age that he might even resign the Senate given the amount of animosity he has had to raise on both sides of the aisle in this campaign. He doesn't have the luxury of two or more re-election bids to re-establish his respect.

His chance came eight years ago, and he blew it. I suspect one reason he was practically given the nomination is that he deserved his shot.

That and the fact that ultimately, he and his campaign were about the strongest contenders against an Obama or Clinton ticket. I don't claim to understand the Republican mindset, but my guess is the thinking went something along the lines of "Well, we're going to get creamed this year, the economy will be in the tank, we need to send out the person who has the best shot of keeping the moderates on the sidelines."

He ran, I think, perhaps the best campaign he could, given the circumstances. You know the old saw about being given lemons and making lemonade.

McCain was given rotting lemons and a moosehunter and managed to make something not quite as nasty as moose piss. If that is damning with faint praise, it is nonetheless praise.

It troubles me, this other side of me, the one that obsesses about the possibilities of losing. I realize an awful lot of is was created by the media, who don't want to pronounce the race over until it is over, even if it is over,
even if McCain himself believes it is over.

After all, what's going to draw voters to watch on Tuesday night? Not the spectacle of the first minority candidate to win the Presidency, no, of course not. It's all about "Does the old white guy stand a chance still?"

It's a sad state of affairs for our nation when even our Presidential elections have to be sold like a season ending cliffhanger.

Complacency, then, is our worst enemy. If everyone who said they would vote for Obama would simply get out and vote, then my fears would be allayed.

So that's job one for tomorrow: get out the vote. Take the day off and take five people to the polls to vote.

Job number two: remind people why you support Obama. You don't need talking points to do this. You don't need to know that his healthcare plan is better than McCain's or his tax cuts will provide three times the relief for you that McCain's will.

All you need to do is make it personal. So ask yourself, why ARE you supporting Obama? If you can't answer that question easily, then you need to think it through a bit more.

This is your vote, dammit, your birthright, and at the risk of losing a vote or two to McCain or worse, Nader, you ought not to waste it. Be sure you understand why you are voting the way you are voting, even if it's for some silly emotional reason. It doesn't matter. In our emotions are often the most compelling arguments made.

Number three: after you've voted, make sure to tell your friends you have (hell, Starbucks is giving away coffee for free to people who voted!), because while the five you take to the polls might vote, there are going to be huge numbers of people out there who will forget. Every reminder helps.

That means emails, Twitters, blogposts, phone calls, and casual run-intos in the street. Talk it up. It's important. This election will be historic, people might actually brag about their vote. Get a jump on the bandwagon!

Finally, once you have voted, and are in for the night, find a comfortable place to sit, and be sure to have plenty of relaxing music on hand. It's going to be nerve-wracking by design. The networks won't have the guts to call it for Obama the way Fox called it for Bush in 2000. It will last into the early morning and it will be tense.

I think the Pennsylvania results will be the place where the networks milk it for all its worth. Just my opinion, but if I was going to try to steal an election, that's where I'd put my resources, and the "tell" has been in for weeks now that McCain's focused on that area: Ohio and Pennsylvania.

I don't think ultimately it will matter, but I'm not willing to bet the next eight years on it.

Get out and vote.

(Cross-posted to Simply Left Behind.)

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