Judgment Day At Last


The rallies are over, the hoopla has ended, and the seemingly endless stream of opinion surveys has finally given way to voting day. An inordinately high number of voters have already cast their ballot in advanced polls. But it’s today that America will choose its 44th president. Last night, I attended the final rally of Barack Obama’s campaign in Virginia and was able to hear up close the powerful oratory of the Democratic contender. It was truly spectacular.

Senator McCain did a seven-state tour on the last day of the campaign to present his closing arguments–lower taxes, a strong foreign policy, and fiscal conservatism. He asked for one more mission on behalf of his country. It was touching, but not very convincing.

We now know the deregulation mantra has failed miserably. The bailout is an admission of that, and even Alan Greenspan has had to concede he was wrong about market discipline. Conservatives like to rail against government, but they have in fact expanded it: both Reagan and Bush II dramatically increased spending, the deficit and debt are at record levels, and unemployment is high. On the foreign policy front, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are still going on, Pakistan remains a serious problem, and Al Qaeda is still a force to be reckoned with. Add to this a corrupt and poorly managed response to the biggest natural disaster in US history (Hurricane Katrina), and we understand better why so many respected pundits on the conservative side have opted for Obama.

I know my conservative readers will go berserk and question my knowledge and objectivity. I respect their right to disagree and actually appreciate their desire to challenge my views. But the Republican campaign has been a disaster. Off message throughout the campaign, engaged in constant personal attacks and lacking policy initiatives that can inspire and rally America, John McCain ‘s presidential bid in 2008 was a far cry from his noble endeavour in 2000. Labeling Obama a socialist was ignorant and showed no grasp of history or understanding of the meaning of the word. McCain should have never used this line of attack. To claim Obama will raise taxes on all Americans was a plain lie.

Finally, when it comes to whom would make a better President, McCain has given experience a bad name with his impulsive and impetuous character. Obama, by contrast, has remained cool and shown a better temperament for the job. Obama can never be fully tested before he takes on the job, but he has shown an intellectual curiosity and a capacity to unify the country that McCain cannot even contemplate. Obama has simply shown himself to be the better candidate for the times.


Judgment Day At Last

  1. “In Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, 100 percent of registered voters — all 21 of them — cast their ballots just after midnight in the first moments of Tuesday morning. For the first time in 40 years, the town voted Democratic in the presidential election, 15 to 6.” CNN, Nov 4

    I think some of your analysis is correct, some of it’s wrong, but I can’t be bothered to argue today.

    I wonder if Dixville Notch result represents trend or outlier? My guess is it’s a trend and Obama is on his way to healthy victory when all is said and done.

    I am going to miss obsessing about this campaign. Have been following the ins and outs closely since last fall and I don’t know what I will do with myself when it’s all over. Thanks for increasing my blood pressure over the months, John P. I have thoroughly enjoyed your posts.

  2. Any errors in the analysis are too small to quibble about.

    When the exit polls start coming in from PA it will be all over.

  3. I really hope that what you despise the most about McCain, his organization and the type of campain they ran is not going to precisely kill your hopes, and mine. I’m not sure thought, we’ll have to wait and see.

    Thanks for informing me throughout the campain John, I loved it!

  4. Hi John,
    I think you forgot one important point, which is the choice of Vice-presidential running mate. I cannot believe, for one second, that an intelligent person like John McCain would chose someone like Sarah Palin considering the fact that she did not have any expertise on the economy or on the foreign policy. All she kept doing was to attack,attack and attack Barack because of her inability to articulate any meaningful policy. I wonder if someone told her that the strategy was not working. All and all, it’s been an amazing campaign,and its memories will stay with me for a long time. I enjoyed all your blogs

  5. “I cannot believe, for one second, that an intelligent person like John McCain would chose someone like Sarah Palin…”

    Palin was a salvage operation. Back to Basics, as it where.

  6. I have a creepy feeling that this could be a lot closer than it should be. One stupid war, one other war that can’t be won, a broken economy, a perverse social system, a despised executive – the Democrats , with a charismatic candidate, should be able to just show up and say “Hi, we’re here”.

    But weeks upon weeks of blatant lies, half truths, and wild exaggerations, repeated long and loudly enough can have a real, though obscured, effect. In a nation where even the liberals are conservative it’s easy to have a failure of nerve at the ballot box.

    And then there are the ballot boxes. Or what passes for ballot boxes these days. Given that the past two elections were probably “stolen”, and that flying squads of lawyers are loose upon the land, who knows what electoral perversions may appear? The attempts at voter repression already documented are not an encouraging sign.

    And, I think the racial (or Bradley) effect is real. The only question is the impact it will have in the too-close-to-call states.

    Democratic optimism may be the triumph of hope over experience. I hope not. I wouldn’t mind being totally wrong.

  7. Sis,

    I think (/hope) you’re being overly pessimistic. I think Obama will probably end up being up by 5-7% ahead, but the way he’s changed the map, 5-7% could mean well over 300 electoral votes (I’m betting on 350).

    I’m also not too worried about the Bradley effect. As Luiza Ch. Savage writes in her blog today, I think the “History Effect” will overwhelm the “Bradley Effect” (if there is such a thing as the B.E., which I personally doubt).

    For every voter who told a pollster they’d vote for Obama when they really won’t, I’d bet there’s AT LEAST one voter who wouldn’t ordinarily vote, but will do so today so that they can tell their kids and grandkids that they were a part of history. I think Savage’s remembrance of what Obama supporters were saying way back during the Iowa caucuses is particularly instructive. As other candidates’ supporters were touting their candidates credentials and policies, Obama’s supporters had an additional, and compelling mantra: “Are you going to just stand there or do you want to be a PART OF SOMETHING?”.

    People want to be PART OF SOMETHING, imho, and today is a great opportunity to do just that south of the border.

    I really think it’s going to be a historic day.

  8. I am 22 and I’d like to capture my thoughts before America either elects a president who its first 26 presidents could have legally owned, or brazenly subverts the very ideals it was founded upon by manipulating numbers in a final embarrassingly overt goosestep towards corporate totalitarianism.

    I am nervous. And not night-before-the-swim-test nervous or even night-you-lose-your-virginity nervous, it’s a low rumbling primal panic which I can only liken to Star Wars panic. Disney panic. The edge-of-your-seat-terror that makes you wonder if Skywalker’s doomed after he refuses to join Darth Vader and drops down into the abyss, if the wicked octopus or grand vizier or steroid-pumping-village-misogynist is going to wed/kill/skin the dashing prince and then evil people in dark funny costumes are going to take over the world… if it wasn’t a movie of course.

    And tonight it’s not. It’s not a movie and yet I feel like Obama might as well be wearing an American flag cape while a decaying McCain, in a high-tech robotic spider wheelchair wearing an eyepatch and stroking an evil cat, gives orders to a sexy scheming Palin who marches back and forth through their sub-terranian campaign lair in four inch thigh-highs and full-body black leather catsuit bossing around the evangelical ants with a loooooong whip… umm… is this just me?

    Anyway, the point is that things feel weird folks. I have friends who have peed in waterbottles to keep from interrupting a Halo-playing marathon who got off their asses/couches to volunteer for the Obama campaign not once, but many times. Friends so cheap their body content is at least 1/3 Ramen Noodle who donated a good deal of their hard-earned cash to the campaign. People have registered to vote in record numbers, and yet, something just doesn’t feel right. I think we should stop congratulating ourselves for just voting. To vote is a privilege which people have died for, and I think there’s a whole lot more to be done for the country than to simply help win an election every 4 years.

    Hundreds of millions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of man-hours spent on both sides by good-intentioned people who want to make a difference in an historic election, so many resources and voices and energies devoted to a single day. After tomorrow, half of that is going to have been a waste. And I can’t help but wonder what could have happened if all that muscle had been put towards something else, and what will happen to its momentum after the election has come and gone. Shouldn’t we be donating our money to good causes whenever we can? Helping people who don’t have? Dedicating some of our time to contribute to making the country which provides for us a better place? Of course a power shift is a hugely significant step on the path to great reform, but worrying about this election has been a wakeup call for me:

    Even if Obama wins, we have not “won.” This isn’t a movie and we can’t toss every greedy lobbyist oil fatcat bigot down a reactor shaft. I think if we dedicate ourselves to the ongoing welfare of the country as much as we have to the outcome of this election, we’ll have a much better shot at coming closer to the overwhelming good the liberals hope Obama will usher in, but which no mere mortal could fully realize alone.

    Which brings me to the other side. I’ve heard a lot of people claim that if McCain wins, they’re leaving. I heard the same thing about Bush’s reelection, and his unelection before that, and nobody seems to be leaving. And that’s fine. Because as much as I complain about certain political happenings, atrocities, etc., I really do like it here and I suspect most other people do too. We have New York and Hollywood, purple mountain’s majesty and sea to shining sea, we created jazz and country music and baseball and cars and lightbulbs and computers and that movie with hundreds of animated singing Chihuahuas! I mean who among the shivering Plymouth pilgrims ever imagined ordering hundreds of animated singing chihuahuas onto a magical box from an invisible information superweb?

    The point being, if things don’t turn out the way I want tomorrow, I feel compelled, as a college-graduated adultish-type-person, to take a stand. And if I’m going to leave I’m going to leave. But if I’m going to stay I’m not going to sit around whining like I have for the past 8 years. It’s like when I don’t clean my room because it’s dirty and then I blame the dirt. So in my very indecisive way, before you and your screen, I’m declaring my intention to make some kind of stand in the event of -(Ican’tevensayit)-, and encouraging you to consider making one too…

    Jump the ship or grab a bucket?
    Wasn’t everything so much easier back when the worst possible affront to your values was a PB&J sandwich cut diagonally with crust?

    Anyways, I guess what I’m saying is that if we’re going to stay on board, we should probably be generous with our time and resources when times are tough even more than when the hero saves the day. Because what if he doesn’t? And what if he can’t? If we’re serious about real change, election day should only be the beginning of “Yes we can,” not the end.

    Hannah Friedman

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