James Morone on Presidents and Health Care — Chair of Political Science at Brown University, talks with a local KC radio host about National health care and the Presidents who have tried (or succeeded, in the case of LBJ) to pass it. It is in the second half of the show, so you might just skip to it, but totally fascinating. He was so interesting they ended up taking just one call.
There’s a lot to read out there post election, about the dysfunctional McCain campaign workings (imagine them running the country), about Obama’s plan (to be patient, apparently), about the future of the GOP (no future for you!), etc. But I found a couple of things I like best so far:
- This collection of newspaper front pages from Newsdesigner (it seems the Newseum site, the go to location for this kind of thing, has been swamped of late).
- Newsweek’s excellent articles looking at events inside the campaigns (and they’re not done yet) . If you have the time to read them, this is some inside baseball of the finest caliber.
- This photo of Obama, which seems to have been found here, but originated here. Shot by Ben Baker.
Two more since lunch:
First, and I feel I need to get this off my chest: Boo-ya! Take that, Permanent Republican Majority. In your face.
We watched CNN most of the night last night, except for one period of time between when they called Ohio and they called the Presidency, when the CNN pundits clearly knew Obama had won, but were not being allowed to say so. Most salient during this period was when John King tried to show how McCain couldn’t win by giving him every single state left in the Union and showing how it didn’t add up to 270, when instead he could have just added California, Oregon, and Washington to Obama’s total and shown how he had more than 270. I got so irritated by this (I actually felt insulted by them) that I switched to ABC’s coverage for half an hour or so.
But during our stay with ABC we only got to hear Cokie Roberts once, and George Will less than that, and frankly, seeing George and Charlie and Diane each at their Command Station™ made me yearn for CNN’s crowded Island of Opinion™, so we went back.
One of the best coverage comments of the night came from James Poniewozik on Time’s liveblog of the event, “God, switching over from the frantic cable news to Shields and Lehrer conversing on PBS is like listening to the Ents talk in The Lord of the Rings. Pontificate faster!”
From stuff I’ve read, it seems none of the Nets had the cojones to call it earlier than the poll closings on the West Coast. Which I guess is okay, given the need to get voters out for Prop 8 in California. But really, everyone with half a brain and elementary math knew it was over. The Time liveblog noted the lack of a Tim Russert, a Big Dog, as they characterized him, able to buck the conventions and call it early. RIP, Tim Russert.
As for what I thought (beyond my pithy one-liner at the top of this post), I had a couple of very random thoughts as I got ready for bed last night. I Twittered one of them, but I’d like to expand on it a little.
My boys are 2 and 5. The two-year-old sees Obama signs in yards (and on my chest) and declares “Rock Obama!” But the five-year-old understands enough to know that Mommy and Daddy were eager to see Barack Obama win. For my birthday he drew me a picture of Barack Obama (in a rocket, I think, I’ll have to find it and post it). He was happy this morning when I whispered to him who had won, and gave him a great big hug. But who am I kidding, he doesn’t know what the Hell is going on. But I do. I know that he will grow up in a world where black men (men, I realize, not women) know that they can be President.
The world is better. In a small, tiny way, I have made it better. For my children. Damn.
Then, as I was falling asleep, I thought to myself, what is Obama going to do with his web site? Will the White House site be turned in to a bully pulpit like barackobama.com? That would be all kinds of awesome. All kinds.
I have been looking for the easiest way to understand what is going to happen tonight as the polls begin to close. These are the resources I am marshalling to my defense:
- Rundown of what to look for tonight — Taegan Goddard’s awesome schedule for tonight, when the polls close, what to look for each hour, and what it all will mean. This is by far the best thing I have found (better than Josh Marshall’s, because it is shorter, by a lot), and I will be printing it out.
- Google’s election results map — Hard to know if it will be helpful until the results start coming in, but I hope it will be a good place to go to bask in the Blue glow.
- All purpose drink — So many ways to enjoy your alcohol.
I am also lining up my favorite political blogs (warning, partisanship ahead!) so I can roll in the hay, as it were, and enjoy, sweet, sweet revenge. And, you know, all the healing and stuff the country needs, etc.
- FiveThirtyEight — final projection is Obama 349, McCain 189
- TPM Election Central — f) The Princeton Band!
- Political Wire — Short, succinct, and with a full text feed, too.
- Huff Post — Yeah, I’m so hip I call it Huff Post.
That Princeton Band thing is an inside joke I will never explain. Sorry.
There should be little doubt as to whom I would like to see crowned as President tomorrow (preferably just after 8:30 pm, Central). Barack Hussein Obama, is a man I believe in. A smart, confident, emotionally secure, loving man who will be only good for this country. Couple that with his opposition, an man beholden to all that is bad about US politics the past eight years, and who would be terrible for America, not to mention the world, and the choice should be clear.
But this is what impresses me the most about him: his raw intelligence, his astounding competence, his unfailing steadfastness. Even The Economist, in (grudgingly?) endorsing his candidacy, said this about his supposed inexperience, their biggest problem with him:
“But the exceptionally assured way in which he has run his campaign is a considerable comfort. It is not just that he has more than held his own against Mr McCain in the debates. A man who started with no money and few supporters has out-thought, out-organised and out-fought the two mightiest machines in American politics—the Clintons and the conservative right.”
So, when Sarah Palin was announced last Friday, I almost immediately turned to my wife and said, “Wouldn’t it be funny if they did this just to get the news cycle away from Obama and the Democratic Convention, then pull a switch at the Republican Convention next week?” I’m especially interested because Sam Brownback, Senator from KS, is supposed to put Palin’s name into nomination.
Now, I’m not saying this was their plan all along, nor am I saying that this will happen, but with all the un-vetted bits spilling out of Sarah Palin’s past this weekend, I would not be surprised. Corruption, incompetence, inexperience… it really sounds like they didn’t bother to check on her before pulling the trigger (as it were). Like all they did was look at a photo of her. The Democrats have clearly made the decision to just get out of the way and watch Republicans implode.
But really, can you imagine the Republican First Couples eating dinner together? I mean, John and his “soulmate” would be fine, but what would Cindy and the First Dude talk about?
I’ve always felt that I should dislike David Brooks more than I do. He’s the erstwhile conservative foil to E.J. Dionne on NPR, Official Conservative at the New York Times, and relatively recent neocon gadfly-lite. I don’t like his ideas, but he’s always seemed so milquetoast that I haven’t been able to get up a good head of steam about it.
Well, last night I had an insight into the David Brooks Master Plan. While watching the Democratic National Convention on PBS, where Brooks was one of the talking heads, he stated that in order to counter the Democratic mantra pairing McCain and Bush, in order to separate himself from Bush, McCain’s only possible choice for Vice-Presidential running mate is now… wait for it… Joe Lieberman.
(Not the first time he has suggested this, thanks Wikipedia.)
To which any self-respecting Democrat, and even the still-ardent Hillary supporters, can only say, “Hell yeah!” You’re welcome to him, and good riddance. I can’t think of any decision John McCain could make that would please me more.
And that brings me back to the motivation of David Brooks. Since there is no way an intelligent, articulate, clear-thinking individual can believe that McCain-Lieberman (the Muppet Show!) would be a successful ticket, he must be a secret Liberal working behind the scenes to push this idea, to secure the election of Ned Lamont, to encourage Lieberman’s recent party-busting comments, hoping that this comes about, thus securing the election for Obama-Biden.
There’s not much to say about the first day of the Democratic National Convention except to note that Michelle Obama will be a very different kind of First Lady. And thank God for that.
She was articulate, comfortable, loving, steely, competent and unafraid. And she was daring. She seemed to advertise that she would take a unique path, sharply skewed from the classic tea-and-comfort First Ladies of the past (which I dare say Cindy McCain would embody), yet not so far as Hillary’s policy-making Office-of-the-First-Lady. Michelle struck all the right notes, giving a very politically astute speech, that, if it was seen, should go a long way towards making people more comfortable with the Obamas in the White House.
In other notes: the kids were delightful, but really, who gave them an open microphone? And Ted Kennedy, who hasn’t really meant much to my political awareness, looked hale and hearty, but terribly stilted. Perhaps he is not really well, just remarkably far along the way to being so.
I’m looking forward to tonight.
So, we set the TiVo to tape the Democratic Convention on CNN. It started coverage at 5:00pm, so I figured it would be the most comprehensive. Several hours into the replay, all I’d gotten was Wolf Blitzer yapping for hours, John King playing “Master of the Map,” and a bunch of bit players trying to get the scraps of airtime Wolf would throw out. Oh, and James Carville looking like he’d swallowed something really bitter (which actually made me happy).
The “best team in politics” routinely talked over speakers (including Nancy Pelosi), only grudgingly allowed that people might want to see any of the video montages, and then bitched ad nauseum about how the Democrats offered no “red meat” on this first day. Considering that I don’t think the “best team in politics” listened to any of the convention going on behind them, I’m not surprised they felt that way.
So, after a while of this, when we’d caught up to live TV (just as Ted Kennedy was ending his speech) we started flipping around. We settled on two channels, PBS, for unfiltered coverage (with just the occasional and well-placed explanatory comment, like who that was on stage), and NBC, for political punditry. ABC was a candidate, but I couldn’t take much of Diane Sawyer trying to be relevant again (where has she been?).
Tonight, we’ll watch PBS and NBC, and we may give ABC a chance again. But, and this is all I have to say on the matter, poor Katie Couric. And is it just me, or is Brian Williams starting to turn into Peter Jennings? Look at him around the eyes. That’s not a bad thing.
How’s your Convention Coverage going? Do tell.
I’m pretty sure I speak for most of us (liberal, elite, hand-wringers) when I say, the Democratic Party better not screw this up. My wife asked me just recently if I was still confident that we would win in November. My answer? Not if November were today. But I have confidence that the Dems will get back on their horse and fix whatever has been ailing them the last few weeks.
Many of us are worried because of the polls we see, trumpeting gains and losses and slides and a tight race. But you can’t trust the polling numbers you see, as each poll has a huge number of variables, and even CNN’s vaunted “Poll of polls” can be misguided. Of course, “national trends” don’t matter a hill of beans anyway, since electoral votes are garnered on a state by state basis. But I don’t have the time to check out each state poll as it comes out, so I do keep track of a couple of aggregate polls for a National snapshot. This one at Real Clear Politics, and this one at Pollster.
These two graphs show a tightening of the race, too. Which leads to my… um, un-confidence.
I think Biden was the best choice among the unofficial candidates for VP, but I wonder what might have happened had Obama announced a “change” candidate (like Tim Kaine) and then laid out a likely Cabinet makeup to assuage the “inexperience” doubts. The ink is hardly dry on the Obama-Biden signs (and I wonder what Joe thinks about being a light shade of blue?) and the Rovian machine has already begun to strike at the new strengths of the ticket.
It is what we hate about the Republicans, but what we admire too. Really, you know you do. It’s what we want Obama’s campaign to start doing. Screw the high road, you can’t legislate change from the high road if it goes off a cliff. I’d like to see the Dems fight for the chance to fix the country. And I think we’ll see it. We’d better.
Also, let no one bring up “the new Joe-mentum,” please. Unless McCain is so silly as to pick Lieberman. Then we can have dueling Joe-mentum.