Thursday, November 06, 2008

Why McCain lost

Driving in to work this morning I turned on one of the wingnut AM stations and listened as they took calls about “What went wrong” and “Why McCain lost.”
The responses were unsurprisingly stupid. One woman blamed the “liberal media” and was incensed that some anchors on CNN appeared to be “giddy” after Obama won. She also blamed Oprah.
Another caller said the problem was that Obama simply looked better than McCain and was more attractive (i.e. Kennedy vs. Nixon).
One guy claimed that if McCain had come out strongly against the Wall Street bailout package he would have won. As if just being against something without offering an effective alternative would have been a winning campaign theme.

The answer is not that simple. McCain lost because he was weighted down by eight years of Republican policies that failed to achieve the things they were supposed to do. Let’s review the long list of Republican policy failures:
• Failed to capture Osama Bin Laden seven years after 9/11
• Launched unneccessary war in Iraq that has cost far more in blood and dollars than they claimed.
* Doubled the national debt to $10 trillion all while Republicans controlled both the Executive and Legislative branches.
* Tax cut policies failed to spur promised economic growth. After eight years of Republican economic policy, the economy is in a recession and Wall Street has collapsed in spectacular fashion.

There are countless other failures in the areas of education and healthcare, emergency services (Katrina), infrastructure and transportation, small business development and science research. In addition, there has been a plethora of corruption and cronyism that has tarred the government and damaged the public trust.
Things have been so screwed up by these Republican policies that there was really no way any Republican could win election in 2008. If Hillary had won the Democratic primary, she would now be our first woman president. Instead, Obama won and we now have our first African-American president.

Now that doesn’t mean that McCain could not have won. But it would have required Obama to run a bad campaign as opposed to McCain running a good one. I think as long as the Democrat ran a compentent campaign - and Obama’s was by all accounts nearly flawless - there was not much hope for a Republican in this race.
McCain might have done somewhat better had he chosen a different running mate, but I think ultimately he would have still lost regardless. Bush’s unpopularity was too big of a drag for any Republican candidate this year. And Bush was unpopular precisely because Republican policies failed so miserably throughout his two terms.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Election aftermath, elation and disappointments

I’m not sure how I feel about the election right now. I’m not shocked or surprised. I knew Obama was going to win, I even got pretty close with my predictions.
I think more than anything I am just relieved that it is over.
There were lots and lots of things to be happy and even giddy about....

Obama won Indiana!!
Kay Hagan defeats Liddy Dole!
Jean Shaheen ousts Sununununununu....
Udall times 2
Bexar County goes Blue, votes for Obama!!
Term limit extentions pass!!!

And there are the inevitable disappointments...

John Cornyn re-elected.
Nick Lampson loses.
Mitch McConnell doesn’t lose.
Homophobes pass anti-marriage referendums in several states.
Texas House remains in Republican hands.

But overall this was a great election and it isn’t even over yet.
I predicted that Obama would win 375 electoral votes to 163 for McCain. Right now it stands at 349 - 163 with two states still outstanding - North Carolina (leaning Obama) and Missouri (leaning McCain). If they both go to Obama, then it would match my prediction dead-on. However, if Missouri goes with McCain then they will lose their distinction of being the bellweather state that always seems to side with the winner in every election. LOSERS!!!!!

I may have been overly optimistic in my Senate predictions, although I haven’t been proved wrong yet. I said the Democrats would pick up eight seats and so far it looks like they might only get five. I knew that I was taking a risk going with Al Franken in Minnesota, but he is much closer than I had feared and will go into a runoff that won’t be decided for several more weeks. He’ll probably still lose.
And Jeff Merkley has been trailing Gordon Smith in Oregon although Atrios seems to think he might still pull it out.
Finally, probably the biggest shock of the evening is that Alaska appears to be ready to buck the polls and re-elect a convicted felon to the U.S. Senate. That would be a shame for Democrat Mark Begich who is clearly the better choice, but it would also be fitting for Republicans to have a convicted felon as their senior most member in the Senate. I figure that if he wins he will get expelled and then Sarah Palin will run for his seat.

Jeff Merkley wins Senate seat in Oregon!
Obama wins North Carolina!

Yellow journalism

Here is the Doonesbury strip that the San Antonio Express-News was too scared to run...

Shocking, isn't it?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Winning isn't enough!

The Waiting is the hardest part...

Barack Obama is going to win. Of that, I have no doubt. What eats at me though is that I don’t want him to just win. I want him to kick some serious butt. I want this election to be a blowout like no one has ever seen. A Democratic tsunami that sweeps every Democrat within five points of polling margin to victory.
That’s a hard thing to set one’s hopes for, but I can’t help it. Every state that Obama does not win is going to eat at me. Every Democrat that falls short is going to sting for me. This is a no-brainer election year for me. The Republicans have royally screwed up the country to an incredible degree. And it is not just the incompentence of George W. Bush that is to blame, it is the Republican policies that he faithfully put into place and which John McCain is sworn to continue that have screwed things up for us.
The Republicans need a come-to-Jesus thrashing this election or they are never going to change and they will just continue down this path until it totally destroys this country as we know it.
My favorite Express-News columnist Jonathan Gurwitz had a piece on Saturday about A Conservative Reckoning in which he speculates on what went wrong for Republicans this election (he assumes McCain will lose big). Gurwitz’ problem is that he believes the only thing Republicans did wrong in office was to spend too much money (although he doesn’t think spending on Iraq is the problem) and allowed themselves to be corrupted by Washington lobbyists.
So if Obama wins, but not by a whopping margin, then people like Gurwitz will take solace that their ideas are still good and that it was just some character deficiences among some incumbent Republicans that made them lose this time around. They will advocate for redoubling efforts to push for the same economic and international policies that have been tearing the country apart and in four years they might be back stronger than ever.
I want to see them smashed now. I don’t want my country to have to go through even more economic misery and international crisis before people realize that the policies are wrong and not just the people.

And she voted for Obama....

Breaking news: 92-year-old takes ambulance to the polls

Determined to participate in a history-making election, 92-year-old Betty Owen rode in an ambulance to her polling place Tuesday and cast her ballot in a parking lot.

I was also glad to learn late last night that the residents of Dixville Notch, New Hampshire went overwhelmingly for Obama - the first time they have supported a Democrat since 1968.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Senate predictions

I predict that Democrats will pick up eight Senate seats tomorrow giving them effectively a filibuster-proof margin on most issues when moderate Republicans like Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins and Arlen Specter can be counted on to fill the gap.
The surest of sure things is in Virginia where there has never been any doubt that Democrat Mark Warner was going to sweep into office to replace the retiring Republican John Warner. Heck, John Warner has even endorsed Mark Warner over the hapless Republican opponent Jim Gilmore.
Next, the Udall cousins, Mark and Tom, are locks to take over open Republican senate seats in New Mexico (Domenici) and Colorado (Allard), while Democrat Jeane Shaheen looks like a sure thing to toss Republican John Sununu out in Blue New Hampshire.
Next, Democrat Mark Begich of Alaska had the good fortune to challenge Republican Ted Stevens just as he became a convicted felon.
Closer races are expected in Oregon where Democrat Jeff Merkely is trying to shake loose moderate Republican Gordon Smith (ironically also a Udall cousin) who has been desperately trying to attach himself to Obama’s coattails in the Northwest, and in North Carolina where Democrat Kay Hagan is poised to topple Republican Liddy Dole who recently resorted to one of the most despicable and pathetic attack ads in memory by trying to label her Sunday school teaching challenger as an atheist.
Finally, while Democrat Al Franken has run a very weak campaign in Minnesota, never attracting more than low-40s support in any polling, he still appears to be close to toppling Republican Norm Coleman whose campaign has collapsed in recent weeks along with support for McCain/Palin in general.
I think those eight races will go for the Democrats.

I am less optimistic about Georgia and Kentucky and even less still about Mississippi and Texas. While I would love to see Democrat Jim Martin cast out the despicable Saxby Chambliss in Georgia, it looks as if he may come up short. Same with Democrat Bruce Lunsford’s bid to unseat Republican Mitch McConnel in Kentucky. And Democrat Ronnie Musgrove seems to have lost traction sometime ago against Republican Roger Wicker in Mississippi.
And unless a miracle occurs on election day, Republican John Cornyn is likely to trounce Democrat Rick Noriega in the Lone Star State. Sigh.

Still, there is a lot here for Democrats to celebrate and we can always cross our fingers and hope for a 2006ish tidal wave that will sweep the Lunsfords, Martins and Noriegas into office the way it did Jon Tester, Jim Webb, Clair McCaskill and Sherrod Brown.

Censoring Doonesbury

The contempt that I feel, the utter disdain I have for my local newspaper - The San Antonio Express-News - just continues to grow each day.
Today, I learned that editorial page Editor Bruce Davidson has decided to ditch this week’s Doonesbury comics because they have a story line that predicts an Obama election victory. Here is Davidson in his own words:

Bruce Davidson, the Express-News Editorial Page editor, says Trudeau's "stunt was self-indulgent and reckless," and he's not going to use the Obama-wins strips. Here is how Davidson explains his decision:
"Trudeau's decision to declare Obama the winner created a number of problems for us. We had no way of knowing whether he would be right. We can't trust polls to be foolproof.
"Even if Trudeau turns out to be correct, we have (election night) production issues. What if the results are unclear at deadline time? We would have to decide whether to take the risk of being wrong. That kind of gambling is unacceptable for a newspaper."

Risk of being wrong?!?! Gambling?!?!? THIS IS A COMIC STRIP, YOU MORON!!!!!

My God. I don’t know if I can take this stupidity much longer. How asinine. How ridiculous. I really don’t know what else to say. Does Davidson really believe that his readers are as stupid as he apparently is? Does he really think people will wake up Wednesday morning and be mislead about who won the election based on a comic strip on the editorial page?

So they are going to publish old re-runs of Doonesbury this week, forcing readers to abandon the print media and go online to read the current strips.
In the meantime, they have no qualms whatsoever about publishing all the garbage that Mallard Fillmore spews forth on a daily basis. If Bruce Davidson feels the need to hold Doonesbury to such a high level of accuracy, why not the right-wing duck cartoon? Mallard Fillmore is filled with false and malicious garbage nearly every day and it gets published without question. Today, for example, the Mallard strip implies that all members of the mainstream media believe that people who will vote for McCain are racist. Is that what Bruce Davidson believes? I must assume as much since he allowed the strip to be published.