Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Tag: 2008 elections

What a Day That Was

Austin American-Statesman - Obama Victory

Austin American-Statesman - It's Obama

I’m still kind of at a loss for words other than ‘wow.’

I doubt I’ll ever forget the moment they called Ohio, and we knew it was all over as soon as the west coast polls closed. We ate the cupcakes we’d been saving for the first state to flip after we finished cheering and jumping around.

Watching the returns come in, the country slowly turning blue, reminded me of the scene in Lord of the Rings when the Ents destroyed the dam on the Isen, and the water flowed down into Isengard washing away the monstrosity of warmongering and environmental destruction that Saruman had wrought. There was still a lot to do, battles to be fought and rings to be destroyed, but you could tell things were changing.

Everything yesterday was the same. Kids to teach, dishes to do, dogs to feed, and errands to run. But I caught myself grinning like a fool when I heard the words on the radio or saw a newspaper.

President-elect Obama.

Finally, on Tuesday, the good guys won, and though everything is the same, it’s a bit different too.

I feel like our country answered to the better angels of its nature in electing someone competent, smart, and decent. A combination that’s been missing too long.

My dad has said several times this year that he hasn’t felt this way about voting since 1960. For me, this was the first time I was able to vote for a politician in whom I truly believed.

It felt good and for once I feel a little less cynical about politics than I always have. I hope Obama exceeds expectations, but his work will certainly be cut out for him. There is much to do. Many wrongs to right.

Still, for the first time in a very long time, I suddenly feel good about where our country can go. It won’t be easy and it won’t be perfect, but it’s a start and it feels good.

Once again, I feel optimistic about our government.

It’s about damn time.

Hope.

President-elect Obama nailed that one.

Wow

President Elect Obama

President Elect Obama

I guess we know what community organizers do.

Wow.

Bona Fide!

I’m not sure if I am a real American or a fake American. Sarah Palin’s recent floccinaucinihilipilification of the not so pro American parts of the country has got me thinking (and, yes, busting out the big words that any real American would never utter, by gosh wilikers!).

So, to take stock.

I live in Texas. Real America.

But I live in Austin. Fake America.

But I live in the part of Austin that’s in Williamson County. Real America with a capital A.

But I’m from Rhode Island. Fake America.

Well, that doesn’t help.

I have heard that trusty red Alabama might be considered real America. Let’s see what some of those hard-workin’ betcha by golly wow real Americans have to say about Barack Obama:

“He’s neither-nor,” said Ricky Thompson, a pipe fitter who works at a factory north of Mobile, while standing in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart store just north of here. “He’s other. It’s in the Bible. Come as one. Don’t create other breeds.”

[…]

“I would think of him as I would of another of mixed race,” said Glenn Reynolds, 74, a retired textile worker in Martinsville, Va., and a former supervisor at a Goodyear plant. “God taught the children of Israel not to intermarry. You should be proud of what you are, and not intermarry.”

[…]

“He’s going to tear up the rose bushes and plant a watermelon patch,” said James Halsey, chuckling, while standing in the Wal-Mart parking lot with fellow workers in the environmental cleanup business. “I just don’t think we’ll ever have a black president.”

[…]

“I’ve always been against the blacks,” said Mr. Rowell, who is in his 70s, recalling how he was arrested for throwing firecrackers in the black section of town. But now that he has three biracial grandchildren – “it was really rough on me” – he said he had “found out they were human beings, too.”

Of course this all came from the New York Times, so take it with a grain of salt, I mean, the New York Times?!? talk about your fake America.

They did let me vote, though, and I voted for one of the pro-American candidates.

The Ugly

This is awful.

Talk about never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups

The celebration of ugliness, hate and stupidity that the Republican party has become under McCain and especially Palin really is breathtaking. I hope all we’re seeing are the last throes of a dying beast, but even if they are this is not good. John McCain, at least, should be better than this.

If Obama wins (please please please let that happen) these people will dog him with the line that he’s a terrorist, a socialist, unAmerican. Of course these are the people who still like Bush. The guy who’s bringing us closer to socialism than we’ve ever been, but still, that’s different, though I don’t see how.

Fortunately, a few Republicans still have a modicum of sanity left. David Brooks:

But over the past few decades, the Republican Party has driven away people who live in cities, in highly educated regions and on the coasts. This expulsion has had many causes. But the big one is this: Republican political tacticians decided to mobilize their coalition with a form of social class warfare. Democrats kept nominating coastal pointy-heads like Michael Dukakis so Republicans attacked coastal pointy-heads.

Over the past 15 years, the same argument has been heard from a thousand politicians and a hundred television and talk-radio jocks. The nation is divided between the wholesome Joe Sixpacks in the heartland and the oversophisticated, overeducated, oversecularized denizens of the coasts.

What had been a disdain for liberal intellectuals slipped into a disdain for the educated class as a whole. The liberals had coastal condescension, so the conservatives developed their own anti-elitism, with mirror-image categories and mirror-image resentments, but with the same corrosive effect.

Republicans developed their own leadership style. If Democratic leaders prized deliberation and self-examination, then Republicans would govern from the gut.

How did we become a society that so easily and willingly throws out the very idea of deliberation in favor of acting solely on impulse in the manner of teenagers?

McCain and Palin are running on nothing more than fear, feeding its flames with their insistence that there’s just something not quite American about Obama. Something insidious about the man who will most likely be our next president.

If Obama is elected he will have to face this over-the-top hatred the entire time he is in office. Should John McCain somehow win in this way, how in hell does he expect to bring the country together or get a Democratic congress to work with him?

Country first, indeed.

One More Month

I haven’t been blogging political in months. Hell, I’ve barely been blogging at all for months, but now that we’re only a month out from the election, I can’t resist, not that I have been resisting, per se, but there are things to say.I voted for McCain in the 2000 primary and might very well have voted for him in the general had he been the nominee. We would have been better off.

I’ve been an Obama supporter all along this cycle, but now I’ve gone extreme.

There is a sticker on my car.

I’ve never done that because I think a politician should pay me to advertise for him or her, but with the choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate, his reckless and feckless response to the Wall Street crises, his disgusting propensity to attack the man rather than the issues, my car is now an ad.

Of course, I live in Texas so it’s not an especially effective ad, but still. I think it’s important for the world to know, that I, for my part, will be doing the right thing the day early voting begins.

One especially interesting thing is that the day I went to meet the other three Democrats in Williamson County to get my sticker, I was told that while they don’t expect Obama to take the county or even the state, they can’t believe how much interest they’re getting in the local Dems. Change starts at the bottom so that’s good news.

What really needs to change is the fact that somehow we’ve come to be a country wherein being a “regular guy or gal” is somehow considered a qualifying experience for high office. There is a straight line (and ever-shortening bar) from Bush to Palin, whose stardom in the Republican Party seems to stem from her calculated ordinariness.

All I need to know about the GOP is that they think she is the future. Personally, I prefer someone who is smarter, wiser, brighter, better educated, more honest, braver, more pragmatic, more curious and more skilled than the average joe sixpack or hockey mom. The GOP, however, would like to see the least qualified set up to lead.

It’s almost got me thinking about joining a political party. One step at a time, though. I don’t think I could handle officially becoming a Democrat and putting a sticker on my car in the same year.

Even Coyotes Get the Obamamania

See my post at In the Pink Texas: Even Coyotes Get the Obamamania

Which is really just a reworking of this post and parts of this one.

Speechifyin’

Last night I watched the remaining 3 candidates give their victory/denial speeches.

First up was Clinton. She gave the denial speech. That is, denying the drubbing she took in the Potomac Primaries. A ‘congrats Senator Obama’ would have been classy. Still, I have to admire the way she’s soldiering on despite the fact that things aren’t looking quite as rosy as they once did for her. I’m rooting for Obama, but I’ll take no pleasure in seeing her lose. And, truth be told, a part of me would really like to see her give the Republicans the beating they so richly deserve.

Of course, it’s the way that kind of thinking bothers me that makes me lean toward Obama whose speech in Wisconsin was, as usual, inspiring. I could feel the energy coming through the TV, and I wasn’t even watching an HD channel. He was optimistic, classy, funny, and most importantly, acted like a nominee. He began leveling attacks at McCain, but they were of a respectful velvet-fist variety, which is what I think we can expect from Obama.

McCain followed Obama. The starkest contrast was in the visuals. Where Obama spoke before a jubilant crowd of thousands in a basketball arena, McCain spoke before a group of old white folks in what appeared to be the kind of hotel conference room that is usually reserved for high school proms. There doesn’t seem to be much enthusiasm for the Republican party these days, but then I guess that’s what they should expect after driving their brand into the ground. Still, listening to McCain speak, I couldn’t help but feel a bit sad that he had so thoroughly hitched his wagon to Bush’s star (surely a white dwarf). I don’t think I’ll take much pleasure in seeing him lose either, but lose he must.

Speaking of McCain, someone made a clever video along the lines of the Obama video I linked to last week. It’s a nice repudiation of his let’s-stay-in-Iraq-for-1000s-of-years position. Call it the audacity of hopelessness…

Well, Hell, Now I Have to Vote

Since Super Tuesday wasn’t the decisive event it was planned to be, the Texas primaries will actually mean something. I’m all atingle at the thought of my vote actually counting. What to do…

I usually vote in the Republican primary since in my county that’s where the actual decisions are made, and besides, since 1994 it’s given me extra opportunities to vote against Bush. I’ve proudly voted against him 8 times, not that it’s done me any good. Still, there’s something ennobling about glorious defeat as I’m sure the defenders of the Alamo would likely have said if they hadn’t all been slaughtered by a bunch of illegal aliens. Too bad we didn’t have that border wall back in 1836.

This year it’s different, though. I might have a say in the Democratic race. A say in choosing the candidate I will actually vote for in November. I wonder what that’s like. Texas might even become the new New Hampshire (Nu H-shire?).

So, the question becomes who do I support? I think Clinton would make a fine president, but I don’t want a president McCain, so I’m going for Obama, who will also make a fine president. It crystallized for me while getting my gray locks shorn yesterday afternoon.

The stylist and I were talking and the subject turned to Super Tuesday. I said I would be watching the returns, and she said she would be doing the same. “It’ll be interesting,” she said and then looked around before whispering, “We’re not allowed to talk about that stuff with the clients.”

Now, think about that for a minute. Talking and debating politics with each other is the essence of a functioning democracy. The notion that we can have differing opinions and actually discuss them with one another without coming to blows is so rare that employees can be forbidden from discussing politics. That is indicative of a severly poisoned political atmosphere.

Our political life has become such a twisted brew of ideological purity, acrimony and intolerance that more than anything we need a politician who can rise above it. Barack Obama is that candidate. We need someone who won’t start out with 50% of the country and all of the opposing party steadfastly against him or her. That’s Obama. Even those who disagree with him on policy respect the man.

Perhaps we can learn to once again have a political culture in which we can talk and respectfully disagree without having to demonize those with differing opinions.

There are plenty of other reasons why I intend to vote for Obama in the Texas Democratic primary, and perhaps I’ll explore them here, but in the meantime, I have to plan the press conference and event where Obama and I will take the stage so I can announce the official Coyote Mercury endorsement that will seal the deal for him in Texas.

His people and mine are working to find the most advantageous day for the event.

And, in the meantime, this is a really beautiful video. And isn’t that Herbie Hancock in there too?

Eeny Meany Miney Moe

I’m a sucker for a quiz so I couldn’t resist the Washington Post’s choose your candidate quiz.

You read a series of questions and pick the candidate’s response with which you most agree, not knowing who said it. The problem is that some say exactly the same thing and others use words to say absolutely nothing so a few questions wind up being toss-ups; nevertheless, here are the Democratic candidates ranked in order of how closely my views match theirs:

  1. Dodd
  2. Obama
  3. Edwards/Richardson (tie)
  4. Clinton

Dodd was a surprise, mainly because I know nothing about him, but the others came out much as I expected.

I don’t believe in joining parties, but in these times, I very much favor the Democrats. Still, I figured I’d try the Republican quiz. The ones most likely to offend me least are as follows:

  1. Giuliani
  2. Paul
  3. McCain
  4. Huckabee
  5. Romney/Thompson (tie)

When I watched the Republican YouTube debate last week, I was struck by two things. The first was that nearly all of these guys would be an improvement on Bush, so low has the bar been set. The second was all of them seem destined to lose.

However, I might have to vote in the Republican primary since I live in one-party Texas where the Republican primary tends to be where elections are really decided. So who do I chose? I’m leaning toward Romney just to give me the satisfaction of seeing the Republicans nominate a flip-flopper from Massachusetts whose commitment to rightwing fundamentalist Christianity seems suspect to many an evangelical.

That’s the kind of poetic justice you just can’t make up.

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