It's Wednesday Morning. Was it Good for You?

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Empty liquor bottles in daylight

The party: over? [Johnsyweb / Flickr]

The most likely outcome after Tuesday’s midterm elections is a new majority in the House and a couple of squeakers that lead to an evenly divided Senate. But regardless of who wins, there will be plenty that’s new in Congress, plenty of new plans on Wednesday morning, plenty of old enemies to pay back, plenty of aggressive awareness that it’s only two more years until we choose the next President.

But that’s Congress. What about you? The last time the Republicans won, some Americans considered moving to Canada or posted pictures of themselves to the Internet with the words “I’m sorry.” “I’m sorry,” that is, to the world, for being American. What happens if the Democrats win, when “I’m sorry” turns into “Hoo doggie!”? If you’re a Republican, are you more or less of one after the election? How has this summer of infighting — new among Republicans — changed you?

On the morning of Wednesday, November 8th, we’ll be collecting comments, emails and blog posts that answer the question “Was it good for you?” Is YOUR life — not Nancy Pelosi’s or George Bush’s — better or worse? Have your plans changed? Has your party affiliation? We’ll be looking at the election results at a personal level, asking how each of you is reacting now that the world has realigned itself.

Or hasn’t.

Obviously you can’t write about Wednesday morning until Tuesday night has happened. To participate, send a short email now to everyone radioopensource org (turn it into an email address). We’ll check back in on Wednesday morning to see how you feel.

Steve Almond

Author, The Evil BB Chow and Other Stories, My Life in Heavy Metal, and Candyfreak

Megan McArdle

Blogger, Asymmetrical Information

Global agenda correspondent, The Economist

Jay Stevens

Blogger, 4&20 Blackbirds

Dee Vantuyl

Author, The Chatterbox Chronicles

Toby Archer

Toby in the North, Open Source commenter

Matt Stoller

Political activist

Blogger, MyDD

Update, 11/8/06 5:51 pm

And the responses rolled in. Here’s a sample. More to come.

7 a.m.: The radio alarm wakes us up. NPR briskly announces that the Democrats have taken the House. I’m trembling with glee. No, wait, I’m trembling with cold. I look out the window. It’s pouring rain. The Democrats never said anything about rain.

Alice Bradley, A whole new world! The first three hours, Finslippy.

If I could have created a perfect candidate, he or she would have wanted to end illegal immigration, improved our national image, created a true winning strategy in the Middle East, reduced gasoline costs by eliminating the tax breaks given to the big oil companies, maintained our current federal income tax breaks for individuals, created civil unions, banned partial-birth abortions, banned smoking in all public places, improved medical and life insurance coverage for our military, reduced medical malpractice lawsuits, and provided more public funding for higher education. I know. Pipe dream. But that’s what I wanted from my candidates yesterday.

AF Sister, F-itty F F, My Side of the Puddle

.

Virginia is changing. There are now a decent number of South Asians in Virginia — 77,000 — and a significant subset of them are voting American citizens. Assuming that the vast majority were voting for Webb, there are certainly enough desis there to have affected the final tally of the election in Webb’s favor.

Amardeep Singh, Macacas, Youtube and the Question of Respect, Sepia Mutiny.

I still maintain that most of the country is closer to the middle of the aisle than to the far right or left. I believe that most Americans love America, want it terror and Sharia free, want our children safe from predators and activist courts that would free them and want the partisan bickering to end so that actual progress can be made.

Ala, New Direction or Stand Still, Blonde Sagacity.

Whether it was gun control, gay marriage, immigration, national defense, abortion or taxes, the blue dog democrats who were elected more closely reflect my values than Lincoln Chaffe ever did.

1st/14th, in a comment to Open Source.

If you want to try running on fiscal conservativism here in NY, that will work. But a national party that embraces record deficits and religious extremism has nothing to offer New Yorkers.

Dora, in a comment to Open Source.

I left Columbus around 11:30 for the two hour ride home. Talk about your bad ideas. Two hours to stew over the election results in sheer darkness turns out to be a painful process. Something interesting happened, though. The ride turned out to be cathartic as well. I definitely went through the five stages of dealing with grief.

Matt Dole, So That’s What That Feels Like, Lincoln Logs.

In the long run, though, the real issues have to be this thundering race between China and the US to see who can puke the most carbon into the atmosphere, America’s attempt to bankrupt itself with debt, and our ongoing efforts to blind ourselves to the problems with religion.

PZ Myers, Morning-after Cynicism, Pharyngula.

I was born in a Third World country, and I might well just die in one, so I guess I best get a move on to make sure that I’m nicely ensconsed in the coming oligarchy. But that is the future, the danger down the generations must for the moment cede ground to the government abomination of the present. Sometimes the right hand needs the left, and two wrongs do make a right.

Razib, The Election — the monkey wrench, Gene Expression.

I suspect tomorrow will be like a bag of potato chips – on the one hand, there will be short-term satisfaction, but on the other, there will also be a butt load of empty calories and another step toward diabetes or a heart attack.

Sopper14, in a comment to Open Source

.

This, however, is another day, another pure opportunity to be stunned. The first bruise of sunlight is creeping behind the houses across the alley. Does the world this morning feel like a better or safer place? Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones, and can’t answer that question with any real honesty or perspective.

Brad Zeller, One More Morning in America, Yo, Ivanhoe

.

My greatest fear is that we roll over and look at what we are in bed with and wonder, am I going to regret this? Change is an integral part of life, but we want change for the better, not change for the sake of change.

boyfrmnyc, in a comment to Open Source

.

The e-mails have already started this morning, “oh look, the country has come to it’s senses, when are you moving back?” as if moving to Canada was done on a whim. This is home now; this is where I want to be. Just because the politics of where I lived has changed doesn’t mean that the culture will.

Nikolas, It’s Morning in the United States, Life Without Borders.

It’s almost like being lifted out of your life and set down in a new reality, a reality where struggle and survival and “what it takes to get through it” become commonplace – suddenly, the election doesn’t matter, the price of gas, and the fact that the sushi place shorted us a california roll… it flows in and out and between the facts and emotions and raw data of cancer and chemo and what it means to my little family.

Jennifer Seabs, First Do No Harm, Weight of My World.

I’ve been watching these elections since the early ’40s when the big argument was, ‘should we change horses in midstream when the stream was right in the middle of WW II?’

joel, in a comment to Open Source.

Instead of casting doubt over the Democrats’ ability to make massive gains in the races, the punditry now doubts the Democrats’ ability to affect any real change.

Nice honeymoon period.

Marc Faletti, “Dammit, I thought I’d wake up this morning why aren’t there $100 bills spilling out of my mailbox? I hate this Congress!”, Punk Ass Blog.

I’m most distraught when I think about what this means for the sanctity of marriage. What message does this send to kids everywhere about what our President describes as our most “sacred institution,” the foundation of our society. I do aspect Mr. Bush to come out today and decry this misuse of marriage. I mean this is a slippery slope folks; next you’ll have men marrying dogs and drive-thru abortion clinics.

Say it ain’t so Britney!

nother, in a comment to Open Source.

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  • Since it’s the US and not, say, Canada, I know the election matters in the bigger scheme of things. But I already have a bad hangover from this looooonnnnggg, noisy and acrimonious event and the main show hasn’t even started. Can’t that polity just get on with it minus the pre-game shows, the band playing and all the hype? Then there is the endless analysis and pulse taking.

    If it really led to better leadership and enlightened policy making it might seem worth it. In other “democracies” there is one month of electioneering every 3 or 4 years and the outcome doesn’t seem much worse for it.

    Please, give me an ice-bag.

  • jdyer

    Was it good for you?

    If you are going to use a sexual allusion, I would say that elections resemble coitus in·terruptus more than a completed sex act.

    No matter who wins in the end it’s always short of complete fulfillment. This is actually a good thing since would we be completely satisfied by the results then we would go to sleep til the next election. Better to stay awake and disatisfied.

    But then elections don’t resemble anything sexual. They are more like a never ending sports where today’s winners will be challenged tomorrow by the losers for a rematch.

  • plnelson

    “Can’t that polity just get on with it minus the pre-game shows, the band playing and all the hype? Then there is the endless analysis and pulse taking.

    If it really led to better leadership and enlightened policy making it might seem worth it. In other “democracies” there is one month of electioneering every 3 or 4 years and the outcome doesn’t seem much worse for it.

    Please, give me an ice-bag. ”

    I don’t know what I’m doing RIGHT this time but I’ve barely noticed there’s an election. The only clue I have is the signs I see on the lawns of neighbors for Patrick or Healy. I don’t watch TV and I seldom listen to commercial radio, so that probably helps. I THINK there might be more political advertising in my mail recently but my basic mail policy is that I look at the return addresses of all my mail as I’m walking in from the mailbox, and if it’s not from a friend, family member, or someone I’m currently doing business with and expecting mail from, it goes in the recycle bin, before I even get in the house. I read the Wall Street Journal and the Sunday NY Times and the Economist, but while I’m sure there must have been ads in the Times, I can’t actually picture them.

    I don’t really care very much which party does well next week. Both parties are so partisan and politically opportunistic and so lacking in anything resembling vision or serious plans to deal with any of the major issues facing the US, and both are so hobbled by pressure from various special interests, that I can’t see anything good coming out of either side.

  • plnelson

    “They are more like a never ending sports where today’s winners will be challenged tomorrow by the losers for a rematch. ”

    No even THAT’s not a good analogy, because in sports you actually have to PERFORM WELL. and PRODUCE results. A QB has to actually complete passes, a WR or TE has to catch them and pick up some yards, an OT has to block and protect the QB and open some holes for the RB. etc

    If sports were like politics a QB could remain the starter year in and year out by mounting a marketing campaign that showed him LOOKING good while throwing the ball, or containing glowing descriptions of touchdown passes or QB sneaks on 3rd-down conversions that he’s GOING to make in the upcoming season if we offer him a lucrative contract. It would also help if he badmouthed the recently drafted rookie QB.

    I actually COULD imagine some metaphors more appropriate to the title of the thread but then Brendan would have to delete my post.

  • jdyer

    “No even THAT’s not a good analogy, because in sports you actually have to PERFORM WELL.”

    Fair enough, Pinelson.

    Even in a match, though, between two underperforming teams you will have one that wins if only by sheer luck.

    The difference between the lucky sports team team and the lucky political team is the sports team doesn’ t get to rule anyone. They just get a trophy.

  • plnelson

    “The difference between the lucky sports team team and the lucky political team is the sports team doesn’ t get to rule anyone. They just get a trophy.”

    The other thing is that in politics there are no penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct or personal fouls.

  • zeke

    My hopes for Tuesday are completely disproportionate to any real belief that the results might improve things in the short run. I am desparately hoping that its (another) last chance before our constitution and our country are driven off a cliff. No matter what happens the Democrats aren’t going to be able to wrest the steering wheel away from the reckless driver for another two years. Perhaps a Democratic majority won’t even be able to force him to step on the brakes; he may become even more dangerous as a “lame duck.” But maybe it will force the government to turn the headlights on. Or, to make the metaphor more apt, at least allow us to get a spotlight shining on the runaway bus through oversight hearings and the power of the subpoena.

  • mdhatter

    I’m a voter in MA, and for 10 years i’ve been registered independant. Even though I’m in what is arguably the bluest blue state, I have recently registered Democratic and plan to vote the partly line on tuesday afternoon.

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  • David Weinstein

    [This comment has been deleted because it failed to heed our commenting guidelines. – Brendan]

  • Sopper14

    I suspect tomorrow will be like a bag of potato chips – on the one hand, there will be short-term satisfaction, but on the other, there will also be a butt load of empty calories and another step toward diabetes or a heart attack.

    I feel almost an almost desperate desire for the majority in both houses, our State rep, and our Governor to change parties. Yet the knowlege that our State’s Senate and this district’s Congressional race will result in victories for this same party leaves me vaguely reassured but not enthusiastic. Why? Because as much as I want to see the GOP rebuffed, I have little faith that a Dem majority would result in much other than a slower pace toward oblivion for the planet and our “democracy”.

    So on Tuesday, regardless of who wins:

    Will lobbyists no longer be instrumental in writing bills?

    Will a politician’s vote be more strongly swayed by the needs of their constituents and the nation than by their campaign donors?

    Will Congressional ethics rules be revivied and strengthened?

    Will the war in Iraq be justly and quickly brought to an end?

    Will the US’s contribution to global warming be slowed (much less reversed)?

    Will conservation, environmental protection, human welfare, and justice-related agencies be fully funded?

    Will the bloat at DOD, DOE, DOC, and Homeland Security be redirected?

    Will our election processes be restored and protected so that all citizens have an equal opportunity to vote and all votes are accurately counted?

    Will health care be viewed, and legislated, as a basic need and right rather than as a profit-making opportunity?

    Will foreign policy be based on respect for humanity rather than fear of brown people with accents?

    I could go on and on, but I’ll bet my retirement that the answers are 10x”NO!”

    I’ll vote tomorrow, but on the way home, I might just pick up a bag of Cape Cod Potato Chips – at least something about it all will taste good,.

  • So far so good…Daniel Ortega is winning : )

    I hope Ronald Ray-Gun is rolling in his grave.

  • bachfan

    It’s 11:15 in Ohio, and the polls have been open for less than five hours. Most of the day’s classes are still ahead of me, yet I’m DESPERATE to hear election results! As a child of the information age, have I been spoiled by the play by play action one can get from sites like ESPN.com? One click weather? I find myself wanting to watch “my” candidates ride on to victory just like I’d watch a horse race — live, and over in two minutes. Is this a by-product of the information age? Or am I just THAT much of a political nerd?

    Also, this morning, I voted for the first time on a touch-screen voting machine. Does anyone else trust these just a little bit less than punch cards?

  • Can you guys address the neeed for massive election intergrity reform: the security and integrity of voting machines, ballot trails, voting records; the training and integrity of poll workers; the consistent enforcement of voting laws and regulations; and dare I say serious legal attention to campaign practices that in effect surpress, disrupt and interrupt the actual practice of voting…robocalls, literature and messaging the aims to confuse voters about polling places, all that damages the threatens the integrity of the vote. We spend billions keeping hair gels off airplanes, but we don;t have anything near the same commitment to insuring that voting — the practice of democracy — is secure. When will we take this on?

  • Ben

    I’m stoked at the possibility of waking up to find a speaker of the house from a city on the Pacific. Has it ever happened before?

  • Can’t wait to wake up to find all the hype about Democrats winning was only hype, and the country can continue on our prosperous journey.

    Added bonus… my phone will stop ringing 10 times a night by candidates wanting my vote.

  • Tuesday morning – rain scheduled in CT, so the morning run will be soggy. So, I suppose, my life is somewhat worse…

    As far as politics goes, Sopper14 is pretty much right on the money – the DNC and the GOP are both far more beholden to interest groups than voters.

    – There’ll still be 14,000 pages of tax law instead of a simple and fair flat tax.

    – Route 11 from Colchester to Waterford will still be forbidden to protect the Eastern Cottontail Rabbit (Seriously – a road project held up because a RABBIT can’t keep up its population)

    – School Choice won’t be an option for students trapped in failing schools in Hartford

    – Social Security will still be a mess from which I can’t opt out

    – Ditto Medicare

    – Internet neutrality will remain at the whim of service providers, who haven’t provided any improvement in service since DSL/Cable modems became widespread about 2000, opting instead to try to lock subscribers into their content and services

    – And the writ of Habeas Corpus will still be suspended for a large number of human beings

    I ended up flipping a bunch of levers for the Libertarian party this year – the constant barrage of negative ads from both major parties had me longing for a “None of the Above” lever. Failing that, I felt obliged to support a theoretically viable third party.

  • chovy

    who really cares anymore? I mean really, red or blue, does it really impact your life *that* much?

    I realize there is a war, but most americans are ok with it. If they weren’t they’d be rioting, and they’re not, except for a few wingnuts, but they would riot a pile of elephant feces if you dropped one in their lap.

  • chovy

    At this point, I’ll vote for whoever stands behind solar power.

  • I’m feeling a shameful amount of vengeful pleasure as early returns show the vicious Katherine Harris LOST in Florida.

  • I’m with Peggy Sue!

    Two things: as a blogger, it’s gratifying to see the effect that blogging is having on the democratic process. Our opinions have been heard in tight races such as CT and RI. I mean, even CNN has jumped into the fray hosting a “bloggers party” with some of the best-known political blogs.

    And in MA, we’ve just voted in Deval Patrick as the first black governor in state history–only the second black governor elected in U.S. history. I’m a Virginia native, so it was my great pleasure to vote in Doug Wilder as the first in 1990. With so many blacks running on both sides, it really is a watershed moment in the political history of this nation.

  • kik williams

    I was in Lebanon this summer when the war started and since then have been reading lots of alternative news to find out what’s really going on in the world. The NYTimes just wasn’t cutting it. I voted for W the first time for the wrong reasons. I don’t think I’ll ever vote for a Republican president again. George Bush has taken away our freedom. I don’t believe we are any longer a democracy. Considering that most of the press in this country is owned by only five major corporations we never get the whole story without digging deeply to find it. I’m hoping that with the out come of todays elections the the neocons will loose their power and hopefully the Democrates will manage to keep us out of the planned war with Iran and Syria. I feel graditude towards Syria for allowing me to enter their country when Lebanon was at war even though the embassy in Beirut and the State Department told me to absolutely not go there, to hold tight and wait for an email from them. I’m still waiting. George Bush has turned what could have been the most respected and loved country in the world after nine eleven into the most hated. I’m hoping we can turn back the clock somehow. And the environment! maybe we can try to start saving it….I recently had a conversation with Patrick Kennedy who told me that Syria needed to get out of Lebanon….Obviously he’s unaware that they left last year and that Lebanon is a democracy! His step mother is Lebanese and I never heard Teddy or Patrick say anything about the distruction of this country….talk about birthing pains….I can’t wait for the next election! Thanks for the opportunity to vent. Kik

  • Don Solomon

    These days, I’m happy when Democrats win, relatively speaking. But I’m not overjoyed.

    First, Democrats in office don’t guarantee much of anything. With the “unitary executive” still in the White House, there is virtually no chance they will affect foreign or military policy. They would have to precipitate a constitutional crisis to do that, and they just won’t — the Democratic Party of Watergate is long gone. Moreover, Democrats cannot maintain party unity the way the Republicans have under DeLay and Frist. They would have to risk being tarred with the “liberal tax-and-spend soft-on-crime tree-hugger” label in order to reverse the massive transfer of wealth that has funded both Republican supporters and Republican campaign chests. And not many Democrats are willing to be called names in order to do the right thing.

    Second, even if Democrats win now and in 2008, democracy is still in intensive care. The bogus voting machines and corrupt state election officials are still there. In the campaign arena, money trumps all other means of communicating with voters. The “pundits” who cover politics most intensively can no longer tell the difference between a bald-faced lie and a ham sandwich, or else are willing to let the conglomerate network owners silence them. Most voters have no appreciation of history or civics and stay away from the polls even as soldiers are fighting for their — or someone’s — right to vote.

    Third, millions of votes nationwide simply do not count for much. I live in Massachusetts, where all the races were decided by significant margins. We get to vote for unimportant offices like Clerk of Courts, while we are unable to vote for members of agencies that affect our lives every day, like the Turnpike Authority and MBTA. Nationally, because of the Electoral College system, voters in most states are ignored. This system is a relic of the 18th century, when states as such had a much greater importance in our national life. Today, with voters moving several times in their lives, it is beyond ridiculous.

    The Democrats will have a significant agenda in the House, and in the Senate too if they win it. And no doubt, the prosecutors will be busy putting Republicans in jail. But there has to be a greater agenda for our national democracy in the next two, four and six years. Here are my three priorities, which no national political figure has addressed:

    1. Abolish the Electoral College and have a direct popular vote for President.

    2. Overturn the Supreme Court decision striking down campaign finance reform on the basis of “free speech.”

    3. Convince centrist Democrats and Republicans to form a centrist third party that would immediately have a sizeable caucus in Congress. Fringe groups can never gain traction, but a centrist third party will be able to abolish the two-party lock on the political process and form alliances with core Democrats and core Republicans on an issue-by-issue basis.

    Let’s get some major political figures to even start speaking of these issues, and I’ll be happy indeed.

  • I sent my ballot in two weeks ago- I live in Beijing, and voted absentee. What’s interesting about China, from a political perspective, is how closely it’s closed political system imitates America’s “open” system. The US has had true One Party Rule for the last six years, and our scandals have begun to resemble China’s scandals. Without oversight from a competing party, corruption has a chance to flourish. When there’s no friction between exective and legistlative branches, the head of state can abuse his power without fear of reprisal.

    China’s modernization adds a twist, because “Socialisim with Chinese characteristics” oftentimes mirrors the Republican ideal- if it’s good for buisness, it’s good for the country. The upper levels of the Communist Party are now staffed by wealthy businessmen, who are much more sympathetic to the needs of Management than to the needs of Labor. The enviornmental and social impact of industry is seldom taken into account, and bribery amongst the overseers is rampant.

    I feel privileged to be the citizen of a country where the people have at least a chance of removing from office those lawmakers who act unwisely or abuse their power.

  • d52boy

    The boring and mostly pointless arguments between the far right party and the moderate right party would be completely irrelevant but for the unfortunate fact that they take place in the world’s economic and military superpower.

    The move toward moderation is a good thing if it will delay or avoid further disasters in the Middle East and allow the positive changes in Latin America and the growth of China’s economy to continue until we have a world in which one right-wing superpower does not dominate.

    However, the fact that Democratic gains in this election are so modest, despite the manifest crimes, lies, and incompetence of the Republicans shows once again that those who hope for progressive politics in the United States are truly deluded.

  • Almanch

    I’m in NH and I’m enjoying the story of Carol Shea-Porter.

    She was a relative unknown who ran with a huge financial handicap compared to the incumbant Jeb Bradley ($200k vs $1M). She became known through a grassroots effort and state-wide debates – where she represented most of the issues supported by listeners to the show (IMO: “progressive” view points more than “liberal” view points).

    Now she will be the first congresswoman in NH history.

    http://www.opensecrets.org/races/summary.asp?cycle=2006&id=NH01

    side note: The NH’s swing from R to D has more to do with the current Mass(achusetts) exodus – myself included.

  • mbblack

    Tomorrow the work begins. They may be democrats but that doesn’t make them immune to greed and overcautious temporizing. Serious citizens will have to hold their representative’s feet to the fire. We have crises in health care; election reform; education; national debt and the list goes on. More alarmingly, we are building an increasingly stratified society. If you like banana republics you will love the way the US looks in ten years if there are no changes in the Bush “tax reform”. So the challenge is to pay attention and let them know we’re watching……….of course, with the crisis in news and the media that may be harder than ever……..we may be limited to the Faux News Networks.

  • Here’s some perspective from the disenfranchised across the globe.

    http://nofolete.blogspot.com/2006/11/vote-hereaqu.html

  • Dora

    Oh, the joy of being at Democratic HQ in Albany, NY tonight. An absolute landslide as voters expressed their revulsion over 12 years of incompetent Republican rule in the NY Governor’s Mansion _and_ in the US House.

    I have been passionately interested in the race in NY’s 20th congressional district. Do read the Wikipedia entry about Congressman John E. Sweeney. A real prince. One paragraph stands out.

    “During the 2000 election, Sweeney helped to stop the third recount in Miami, possibly leading to his nickname from President Bush, “Congressman Kickass.” He led the charge in November 2000 on the Miami-Dade elections commissioners by urging the Bush supporters to “shut it down!”; they then banged on the election commission’s doors and the commissioners stopped the third recount.Sweeney used the words “thugs” to describe the Florida officials involved in the recount. He defended his possible commission of federal crimes in connection with the incident by stating his intent was only to stop the canvassing board’s withdrawal from public view, and that his actions were “completely and absolutely legitimate.”

    This race was expected to be a nail-biter. Adam Nagourney told us just days ago that the opponent, Kirsten Gillibrand, didn’t stand a chance.

    Well that’s Congresswoman-elect Gillibrand to you, Mr. Nagourney. It wasn’t even a nail-biter–it was all over before midnight. And as John Sweeney gave his concession speech I first thought, Congressman Kick Ass certainly got his ass kicked.

    Then I thought, as the 20th congressional district goes, so goes the country. Ms. Gillibrand was down 13 points about a month ago; a few days ago she surged ahead in the polls. (Sure, it didn’t help that voters learned recently about the congressman’s wife-beating incident from last December and the subsequent police cover-up.) But in the end voters were, I think, just sick of the sense of entitlement, the corruption, and the lies of the Republican party. John Sweeney paid dearly for his 2000 stunt in Miami. If Al Gore were president now, Mr. Sweeney would probably still have what has always been a reliably Republican seat.

    I did some phone banking this election cycle. There was one woman I spoke with who summed it up best. I asked her if she thought we needed change in Washington. She pretty much snorted contemptuously at the obviousness of my question. “_Everyone_ thinks we need change in Washington,” she said.

    Well, _almost_ everyone.

  • At midnight Pacific time my State is still bright Blue. My Democrat Senator Maria Cantwell and Democrat Congressman Rick Larson have been re-elected. Democrats have the House & with 2 seats could have the Senate. Nancy Pelosi is Speaker. I’m happy. With all of the many failings of democrats, (right on mmblack – feet to the fire!). I am happily trundling off to bed with a satisfying sense of relief colored only slightly with happy revenge. Can we impeach him now?

  • babu

    This proves, once again, ‘You fool can alot of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool a majority of people all of the time…’. Basic common sense has kicked in – loud and clear.

    Now is there enough political capital to impeach the poseur and indict his cabal?

    For myself I’ve been in a funk since I heard Al Gore speak in Seattle ten days ago. How to quickly inject some carbon thinking into the Dem’s national dialogue when the carbon arithmetic flies in the face of the American dream, our whole profligate way of American life? I know they can’t afford to talk about it and civilization can’t afford not to…

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  • Dora

    The Democrats under Howard Dean have been running a “50-state strategy.”

    Perhaps it’s time for the Republican to start thinking about their own 50-state strategy.

    Pandering to voters in the South has led to the destruction of the Republican party in New York State. Last night we had what the Times called a “historic Democratic sweep of statewide offices.”

    If you want to try running on fiscal conservativism here in NY, that will work. But a national party that embraces record deficits and religious extremism has nothing to offer New

    Yorkers. David Paterson, our new lt. governor, made a point of mentioning stem-cell research in his victory speech. I thought that was an interesting choice of empasis. Voters in New York want cutting-edge medical research to be supported, not sacrificed to appease some of the most extreme members of the Republican base.

    Spitzer swept into office vowing to legalize gay marriage. When NY joins the rest of the civilized world (i.e. Massachusetts and Canada), will the Republicans continue to demonize the Northeast as the home of depraved libertinism? Go right ahead—and keep on losing congressional seats in this region.

    The distaste for the national Republican party is so strong here in the Northeast, that not even Lincoln Chafee–hardly a Bush lapdog–could hold onto his seat. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe have to be worried. Can Republicans really hold onto power in the long term when the party just writes off the Northeast?

  • Sutter

    It’s Wednesday morning, and from where I sit, things look pretty good. But I fear that the most important message for Democrats and supporters will get lost amid the cheering: Triumphalism is the enemy. This time, Democrats succeeded largely as a result of Republican bungling and corruption. I will accept (and savor) the victory, but this is not the stuff of which permanent majorities are made. Irrespective of how the outstanding Senate races turn out, we must celebrate, but then – quickly – we need to start thinking about how to cement last night’s gains going forward. The key to doing that is not to find the slickest candidates for 2008, to plot new embarrassments for President Bush, or to spin the 2006 victory in just the right way. It certainly is not to sit back and hope for more Republican mismanagement and scandal.

    The key, rather, is to begin working today to convince the American people that the Democrats are right on the issues that matter to them. This is a task that few are willing to take up during election seasons (when conventional wisdom says it is too late to change people’s minds), and few are interested in taking up between election cycles (when we’re busy first celebrating and/or licking our wounds, and then actually governing). But it is essential that Democrats begin this task immediately. This year, in the wake of Iraq, Katrina, Abramoff, Foley, Cunningham, Ney, Iran, North Korea, Delay, spiraling deficits, and probably much more that I’m not remembering right now, Democrats won – but barely. We don’t know what 2008 will look like, but it will not likely present the same kind of “perfect storm” as 2006. Democrats will then have to win the old fashioned way: By convincing the voters that they, and not their opponents, have the superior vision for America.

    The 2008 election is only two years away. It’s time to get started.

  • Agabus

    I believe that democracy was demonstrated to some extent. We still had some cases of people being refused at some voting stations. That is what has to stop. If we can defend other nations and create democracy we should allow all who are eligible to vote and excersie this sacred right! Yes, I don’t need the hype either. Politics should still be about the people and not the politicians. Again it is a great day in America and history has been made! We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal …. now just wait and see how long it lasts!

  • I got the mailing-list email from Brendan asking for comments so that is my excuse for being so presumptuous in joining in despite being a non-American, who doesn’t live in America and indeed has only visited a couple of times! I do listen to Open Source daily though, so perhaps that is my spiritual-green card.

    Anyways – this is my take on what the election means, and means to me. The election is going to allow, but not cause>/u>, a change in the Iraq policy. It seems that both parties are waiting for the Baker Commission report. The Bush administration wanted yesterday – before the election – directions on how to declare victory and bring most of the troops home, and none of the Democrat contenders for President in 2008 want to start a presidency with significant troops still fighting in Iraq. The election will allow both sides to agree on Baker as a time to change policy.

    With the Dem.s now having more influence in Congress, the Rep.s will try to blame them for anything that goes wrong; meanwhile the Dem.s will a try to use their power to show the failure of Rep. policy on Iraq since 2003, and take credit for ‘saving’ the nation from the Iraq quagmire. But neither side has an interest in seeing the war continuing into the future as it is currently – some bipartisan accomodation will be found, and Baker will probably be it.

    An American scaling back in Iraq will be an event of global significance and will impact on all of us outside of the US to some degree. It’s hard to know how exactly, but if the “Black Hawk Down” in Mogadishu changed US foreign policy for the worse through the rest of the Clinton years (ask a Rawandan or a Bosnian), then who knows what the aftermath of the sure-to-be-declared-as-a-“victory” in Iraq will do US policy for at least the next generation.

  • boyfrmnyc

    After we have imbibed in the champagne or Jack and beers will this be like bad hangovers in the past? My greatest fear is that we roll over and look at what we are in bed with and wonder, am I going to regret this? Change is an integral part of life, but we want change for the better, not change for the sake of change. Tuesday may have been all fun, cheers, drinks and joy, but will this be enough for a long term relationship?

  • There are over 860,000 abstentee ballots to be counted in Tennessee, why would anyone, including Harold Ford, Jr., insist that he lost? Further, we know from the research of Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman in Ohio, Prof. Loo (project censored), Greg Palast and others, that the Republican party has actively and blatantly repressed votes, rigged counts and stolen elections. Of all the Senate races – that in Tennessee was on the top of the Rovian list (hey Karl, call me).

    Granted, Harold Ford, Jr., is one we should call sell-out, but there is no need to deny one child of privilege a seat in favor of any Republican (except maybe Lincoln Chafee – why was he a Republican anyway?)

  • Hmmm – Well, I don’t chase guys…but I was very happy to see how many people voted, and how many voted for change. The only fly in the ointment was that my state voted for the mean-spirited, dangerous “Marriage Amendment”. The “Yes” faction’s signs were very deceiving and confusing, sounding like “Yes” would be a vote FOR allowing marriage between same-sex couples. As it stands now, even heterosexual couples could be classified as outlaws. Shame on Virginia for this!

  • cef

    I am flashing back because of the wait for montana and virginia. I can’t help myself–I know that I should be happy–but I lost my mind 6 years ago and it started with waiting up all night… I want that senate. and a sucessful al gore run may be the only remedy for my ptsd.

  • I’m very excited this morning (though still holding my breath about Virginia), but I’m also trying not to be very excited at the same time. This is the same Democratic party whose “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” mindset has allowed Republicans to run wild for the past 6 years with barely a peep of opposition. True, the Republicans have made opposition a dirty word and done everything in their (illegally expanding) power to shut out any and all Democratic legislative activities, but it still saddened me to see Representative Pelosi – now Speaker Pelosi – on Meet The Press a few months back unable to simply unequivocally condemn torture and instead offering a mush-mouthed response similar to Slick Willie’s famous prevarication over the definition of “is.” Here’s hoping that the Dem’s new-found power will translate into a re-finding of their liberal values that caused them to be Democrats in the first place.

  • mynocturama

    Sorry if this is snide, but I can’t resist.

    The whitest woman in the world:

    http://graphics10.nytimes.com/images/2006/11/08/us/600_tenn.jpg

  • 1. George I still has veto of both pen & pocket and although the future House Leader, Pelosi, has swept any plans of an am-Bush aside, an am-Cheney is still an open possibility now that they have subpoena power…

    2. …Because, in a closely drawn Senate, the tie breaking, veto sustaining, vote of Cheney may be just the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Just how far away from Cheney can the republicans run I wonder?

    3. Anti-republicanism is not pro-democratism: the democrats need two more years of pathetic incompetence to bring the curtain down on what has been effectively a fascist dictatorship…

    4. …So my advise to The New Majority is to let things slide for a bit – especially in muddy Iraq. This is sad news for my friends deployed in Hell, but the democrats have no incentive to heap victory on a tyrannical duck when a tarbaby can be firmly affixed instead.

    5. it’s all about 2008, so I haven’t started drinking yet. But I don’t have a hangover and my migraine is beginning to clear up.

  • I am slightly less ashamed at being an American now. When I go abroad, I will drop my poor version of the Canadians’ “eh.” This election has been great for me because it was aBOUT (no longer aBOOT) sanity and awareness returning to the American people.

    My mother, and many other black mothers, always told me that I had to work twice as hard to get as far as a white person in this country. It was an astoundingly simple yet often accurate lesson. Yesterday’s elections show that Rebublicans must fail twice as hard in order to fall as far as the Democratic party.

    A little bit of my faith has been restored.

    Deval Patrick. I cannot express my excitement over this man’s campaign. I was involved from the very beginning. In addition to personal pride in someone I believed in, I still can’t believe that an outsider, in almost every since of the political word, has triumphed in this state, known for its boy’s club allocation of political capital.

    It’s not just that Deval won (which makes his billboards’ blocking all light in my apartment for the past 3 – 4 months worthwhile), it’s the fact that he triumphed so completely (20+ points) over an opponent who got about as dirty as you can. It’s the fact that at every step the “pundits” said he would not and could not succeed. It’s the fact that his campaign actually involved more people than any in the state’s history. It was more than advertising. It was more than speechifying. It was an actual movement. Even opponents of his should be impressed.

    Back to the national scene.

    I say my faith has been restored this morning because the words “opposition party” may now actually mean something. Five years ago, America overdosed on “patriotism,” and while some of us detoxed quickly and saw the truth of what was happening, the majority was scared into trading liberty for so-called “security,” and it has been a horrible, horrible exchange rate.

    No-bid contracts for highly inefficient war profiteers, falsification of intelligence reports, unconstitutional domestic surveillance, advocacy for torture, vilification of homosexuals, politicization of stem cell research, denial of global warming, unprecedented levels of corruption, provocation of potential nuclear powers Iran and N. Korea, blind concession to oil addiction, intimidation of voters, rigging of elections, closeted gay behaviors among the most righteous, attacks on immigrants, support for corporate malfeasance, idiotic and irrational “homeland security” measures and a failure to investigate any of these things. All this was done in the name of “9/11.”

    It has taken a long time, too long for my taste, for this nation to awaken, but it’s finally morning in America.

  • zeke

    This morning feels a bit like the mornings-after during the amazing Red Sox-Yankees playoff series in 2004 when the Sox came back from the brink of elimination by winning four straight games, each of which lasted into the wee hours. I’m sleep deprived, a bit hungover, thrilled by the victory, yet anxious about what comes next.

    The most pleasant surprise was my local congressional race, cited above by almanch, and won by Carol Shea-Porter. This really is a “Mrs” Smith Goes to Washington story. Spurned in the primary by the party establishment, and ignored by the DCCC, which considered it a safe Republican seat, this social worker, mother, political newcomer plugged away relying on volunteers and with virtually no paid media.

    I detest arrogance and hypocrisy, so I am cheered to see that the “permanent Republican majority” (originally proclaimed after a 5-4 Supreme Court decision) did not manage to survive two terms of Bush leadership. Still, we Sox fans know that things are seldom as good as they seem: New England winter follows even championship seasons, and Bush remains the dangerous and scary resident in the White House. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait 86 years for the next celebration.

  • bachfan

    As an Ohioan, I’m quite happy with the outcome of the election in my area. We got our first Democratic governor in 16 years, and a Democratic senator. Also, more directly affecting everyday life, smoking is now banned in all public places (including bars and restaurants), and the minimum wage has been raised to 6.85, with a stipulation that it be raised more each year, to mirror the consumer price index.

    If you hadn’t heard about the Ohio smoking thing: There were two competing ballot issues regarding smoking. One was a real ban: a LAW banning all smoking in public places. The other was a sneaky one: the big tobacco companies backed a state constitutional AMENDMENT that, while requiring non-smoking sections, would make it illegal to completely ban smoking from a restaurant or bar — even if the establishment was already “non-smoking.”

    The new majority in the House and new balance in the Senate is exciting, but I’m still wondering how much can be done when, as plaintext said, there is still the veto hanging over our heads…

  • Hey Sutter… I am extremely interested in your response… The Democrats need “to begin working today to convince the American people that the Democrats are right on the issues that matter to them.”

    Please… I’ve been trying to figure out what the Democrats ideas about any of the issues are for years now…

    So please… expand on that!

    I would love to see an election that was an honest debate of ideas…

    This year… We got… “We need a change”. Ok… so a change to What? Democrats got control… so what will they do with it? Does anyone have a clue?

  • joel

    I’ve been watching these elections since the early ’40s when the big argument was, “should we change horses in midstream when the stream was right in the middle of WW II?” I have even voted in some of these elections. Since the early ’40s I have learned I can always tell who is going to win if I vote. I can also always tell who is going to win if I don’t vote. They are always the same. I have, over the years, learned instead to find something useful to do on voting day.

    Cheers.

  • As I dragged myself toward the bathroom this morning, my partner’s voice floated musically from her computer desk, “We won the house.” It sounded like a local radio report on the last professional sports contest “we” won.

    An old radical friend used to growl, “If elections culd change anything, they would be illegal.” But sometimes elections have unpredictable–and unintended–effects. For instance, the pride in Mattapan at Deval Patrick’s win. I suspect that will have a more slautary effect on African American attitudes toward “their” place in “our” society than anything else that has happened in a long time. That will be tempered, of course, by what happened to Harold Ford in Tennessee.

  • Sutter

    Guppy — I’m sure lots of self-described Democrats would answer in lots of different ways, but my very brief answer (really more of a heuristic than a list of policies) is this: progressives/Democrats believe in “there but for the grace of God go I,” and conservatives/Republicans (in my admittedly biased view) often believe in “phew, thank God that’s not me.” As a result, Democrats reject the moral and political significance of chance (i.e., luck), whereas Republicans (again, in my own view) too often see the results of chance as resulting instead from poor character, bad choices, and so on, and therefore worry less about remedying the results.

    This dynamic, it seems to me, plays out across the spectrum of domestic issues: Democrats favor robust social safety nets to capture those who don’t have the same opportunities as others, at least partly through no fault of their own. They favor stem-cell research to benefit those who are stricken by dreadful diseases. They favor a restructured tax code that recognizes the value of work. They favor personal autonomy over questions involving birth and death — even when they have strong moral objections to the choices others may make with that autonomy — because they understand that other people’s circumstances differ from their own and that they, too, could one day find themselves in an awful situation.

    The list goes on, and I concede that this is just one way of looking at the world, which may differ greatly from yours. But to me (an agnostic, I should say), “there but for the grace of God go I” sums up the Democratic creed very nicely.

    What are your thoughts on the issue?

  • As an very socially concerned expat, I must say the the morning after leaves me relatively somber about the democrat victories. At first glance many will tout it as evidence that a new more open minded and cooperative congress is about to take shape… which would be good news for any expat or american traveler that has had to weather the abuse, dirty looks, and disappointment of people in our host countries when it comes to the US government.

    But if you take a closer look at the individuals who have been elected and re-elected from the democratic side (and certainly the few re-elected republicans) one can see that there is a class of democrats coming to power that are socially conservative, apparently more gung-ho about the military than the current administration, and in general a shift to the right for a party that is supposed to represent some sort of American left. No, it is not a festive morning for expats, there is still that feeling in the air that the stink of american political and social conservatism and extemism is still oozing from that side of the atlantic.

  • Sutter… I have such a difference in the way I see the parties…

    Democrats – You are too stupid to do it yourself, so we’ll do it for you.

    Republicans – We’ll help you along the way to doing it, but you gotta do the work to get there.

  • I went to bed excited that for the first time in my voting career I voted for the winning governor. I hope that Deval Patrick is able to realize some of his rhetoric. He’ll have a tough go of it in the Massachusetts State House. Even if he is no less effective that Romney, Weld, Celucci, etc. it will be worthwhile having voted in an African American. The Northeast needs to bring it’s so-called liberal society up-to-date and start erasing the ideas that skin color has anything do with capacity.

    Nancy Pelosi’s rise to Speaker of the Hosue feels the same for me. The more often we put women and people of color in leadership roles, the sooner we break down these inane concepts of white male superiority. These are the two most important outcomes of yesterday’s elections.

    On the rest, I will wait and see. I’m too cynical at this age to simply believe that giving the Dems a stronghold in Congress will actually result in anything new. Until private money is taken out of the campaign system, I find it hard to see the difference between the two parties. Now, if they launched impeachment hearings – for the Pres and VP -, sent the scalliwags off to war crimes trials, engaged the world – through letting go of US dominance of the process – in finding a resolution to Iraq, and Darfur, etc, and returned our civil liberties such as habeus corpus, I might start to believe that something real has happened.

    Until then, we can at least say that citizens tried to say something. If an election can’t reap the results we want, we may have to find other ways to have our voices heard.

  • Daniel Ortega won in Nicaragua and Bernie Sanders (the country’s first self-described socialist to be elected to the U.S. Senate) won in Vermont. I’m please about the democrat wins but I’m ecstatic to see a socialist gain.

  • hurley

    Well put, bicyclemark. The results so far inspire a degree of shadenfreude, but no great optimism. That the balance in the Senate is in part hanging chad-like on the fortunes of Jim Webb is cause for alarm, regardless of the outcome. No offence intended to Webb, but if he and other conservative “Democrats” are the avatars of what’s to come, then maybe Amsterdam is still the place to be.

    I was particularly disapointed that heading into the elections both Nancy Pelosi and Rahm Emmanuel (sp?) dismissed the possibility of impeachment hearings, heads wagging sagely left to right like the doggie in the rear window. Apart from the material facts of the case against Bush, I doubt the US could send a more emollient message to the millions across the world it has alienated to the point of who knows what, than to put this fellow in the dock. Make him and his administration accountable for their criminal malfeasance so that the rest of us don’t have to bear its burden any more than we ought.

    Show suggestion: Impeachment. But I’ll take that up on another thread. Looking forward to your show.

  • carrollt

    I feel pleased this morning at the return of the democrats to some sort of national power, but I am also unsettled. The Iraq war is a burden the country must carry for who knows how long? I opposed the war from the start, but once the US was involved, I believed it took on the responsibility of following through on the idea of establishing a stable state in the place of the one it tore down. We Americans have a resposibility to do right by our troops and not keep them involved in an unwinnable war, and yet we also have a responsibility to the “Iraqi” people (as if they could be thought of as a unitary people), to see their country through to some measure of stability.

    It now seems impossible that the US could live up to this responsibility to Iraq. I don’t see how success is possible here, and the main benefit of the democrats arrival into power may be that it quickens the return of our soldiers home. Ultimately, I do not think this is a time for celebration; it is a time for responsibility and resolve. Even so, this sobriety comes with the awareness that we have probably failed the Iraqi people — and in the process, many of our own troops.

    I’m sad and angry and I’ve felt this way for the last few years. But today I feel some hope. I just don’t know how reasonable that is…Bush is, after all, still in power and I believe the chances of him taking responsibility for the failures of his administration are slim to nil.

  • pat@pat-crowley.org

    Here in Rhode Island, I am estatic at the Senate race outcome if for no other reason than that it will hopefully prompt an attitude change in the country. Since 1994, the Republicans have made politics about attacking people, about attacking anyone who disagrees with them, about attacking even the very idea of government. That attitude will hopefully fade away and we can get back to making progress in this country’s problems.

    For me, this picture summarizes the RI Senate Race: http://www.pat-crowley.org/blog

  • jdyer

    I have two comments about the election:

    First, the Republican’s lost because they were an ideological driven party who like all ideological movements believe their own propaganda. Listening to some of their commentators this morning tells me that they still don’t know what hit them.

    Second, the Democrats will succeed only if they adopt a common sense middle of the road approach to governance. If they too fall into the ideological trap they will lose in 08 what they gained last night.

  • 1st/14th

    Surprisingly, I was rather happy with the results of yesterday’s election. Although the Democrats did win control of the House and quite possibly the Senate, they only did so by fielding candidates who were as far to the right, and in some cases (like Webb) even further to the right than their competition. Whether it was gun control, gay marriage, immigration, national defense, abortion or taxes, the blue dog democrats who were elected more closely reflect my values than Lincoln Chaffe ever did. I know that the left is going to spin this as a victory, but if anything yesterdays results only showed how far to the right this nation has come in the past 20 years, a good thing to be sure, so for rank and file lefty this is a pyrrhic victory at best, and a ideological defeat at worst.

    Plain and simple, this is a victory for conservatives.

    This will also force the Republicans to re-evaluate their strategy and get back to the revolutionary party that they had become in 1994. A back to basics approach that brought them to power in 1994 focusing on issues (which were completely absent from the Democratic Party’s platform this cycle) that matter to Americans. The Democrats will only be able to say “were not Bush” for so long until the public says “nice dog and pony show” but what are you actually doing. I also think this might just wake the Bush administration out of its coma and force them to articulate issues rather than rely on congress to pick up their slack, I know they can do it and am hopeful to see Bush rise to the occasion.

    Arizona’s ballot initiatives are also good news to anyone concerned with the southland invasion of America, congress and the administration best think really hard about amnesty and a “guest worker program” and listen to the real “silent majority” on immigration.

    The decimation of the Republican Party in Illinois is perhaps the best news of all. The party has always been a micro sized version of the Illinois Democratic Party, definitely the most corrupt political machine in the nation, whose nepotism has cost them dearly. After their abandonment of Peter Fitzgerald in ’04 and their support of that feckless hack Topinka over Jim Oberweiss, some reckoning is due.

    A few disappointments to be sure, the election of Nation of Islam lackey Keith Ellison is a sickening stain on Minnesota, but its sure to fire up people in 08.

  • carollt says: ..It now seems impossible that the US could live up to this responsibility to Iraq. I don’t see how success is possible here,,,,

    The only way I see any chance as a postive resolution is to oust Bush/Cheney and appeal to the rest of the world for assistance. We’d have to be willing to put in lots of money since we caused so much damage, but cede control of the process and allow a real peace-seeking council to help the “Iraqis” (I agree with the tentative use of this word) self-determine how they will move forward. We must give up the role of imperially imposing our vision and give these people back their dignity.

  • I feel great. I tend to be democrat, my wife republican. For 8 years she had a bitter distaste for President Clinton – she couldn’t stand him even though she directly benefited from legislation that he pushed through (family medical leave act). I have a similar experience with President Bush. I can’t stand him – and am counting the days until he is no longer in office. While my vote across the board for democrats did not always fall on the winning side, I feel good knowing I did my part and that if it came down to one vote, I was there and participated.

    People across many states are sending a message to the republicans. Even if the record of the republcians was above reproach, change is always good. One must always change and adapt – and I feel the same way in government. That’s why we have term limits. I also believe that if you give anyone enough rope, they will eventually hang themselves. Sadly for the republicans, their time has run out and a new era in leadership is at our feet. It will not last forever, it never does. But at least we got to send a message – even if our candidate failed – that we want change and are all driven by a common desire to improve our government for our own people and others that our country affects.

    One of the commandments that I adhere to within my martial arts training is “Thou Shalt Be Accountable”; and yesterday we exercised that commandment upon those elected to represent us.

  • 1st/14th

    On a side note, this election really serves to illustrate a key difference between conservatives like myself and liberals. Most conservatives have peen fairly gracious and accepting of the outcome, and will indeed take the message to heart. There has been quite a bit of good humored introspection, There is no talk of “stolen elections” and “crooked voting machines”. No one is whining about how “stupid” the electorate is (remember all the “Jesusland” cracks) or how this is all the medias fault (Republicans have faced a hostile media for as long as I can remember).

    This will serve as a lesson and leaders will emerge to reorganize and come back with a passion.

  • nother

    Whoa! What a surprise, I did not see this coming. I learned of the earth shaking news while watching CNN last night in my sleepless slumber. Check this out, I’m sitting there on my fluffy futon, eating my fluffy cheetos, and the CNN scroll informs me that a change is gonna come, Britney Spears is filing for divorce from Kevin Federline!

    I was stunned to say the least, I honestly feel a little betrayed, I bought into their rhetoric, I drank their kool-aid. They talked so much about family values and security, and now I find out is was all talk, they were in it for themselves all along, ugg!

    I’m most distraught when I think about what this means for the sanctity of marriage. What message does this send to kids everywhere about what our President describes as our most “sacred institution,” the foundation of our society. I do aspect Mr. Bush to come out today and decry this misuse of marriage. I mean this is a slippery slope folks; next you’ll have men marrying dogs and drive-thru abortion clinics.

    Say it ain’t so Britney!

  • Rumsfeld is out. It’s a Festivus for the rest of us!

  • I expected the Dems to pick up about 20 House seats and 4 Senate seats, and I am beyond relieved this morning (it has partially restored my faith in my countrymen). I hope that the House and Senate get down to the business of legislating and providing the Congressional oversight that has been so sorely lacking the last 6 years. I guess the old saying is true: You can fool some of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

    And though I live on the other side of the country, I’d like to take a parting shot at George Felix Allen, Jr. , who appears to be headed for defeat in Virginia: who’s the macaca now?

  • chilton1

    well it’s thursday morning for me

    but this election is just as important for people in all time zones

    I hope they have some guts -now they have some power

    we will see

  • Potter

    There is no talk of “stolen elections” and “crooked voting machines”.

    That must because now, after the pain, there is enough suspicion and a whole heck of a lot of vigilance.

    ————————–

    This is a moment to celebrate even if it may not last, even if it was too long in coming. The arrogant partisans were thrown out–except for the chief one— with a message.

    And we here in Massachusetts can celebrate Deval Patrick. And we in central Massachusetts can celebrate Rep. Jim McGovern (once again).

    I would love to see the nation get an accounting that many, myself included, have been waiting for and deserve. We need long overdue ongoing oversight, and, looking back as we go forward, hearings on the use/ misuse /nonuse of intelligence that took us to war not to mention the billions spent.

    Impeachment would not be an extreme in the light of the Clinton precedent but I would sacrifice that joy to be a less divided nation with a muzzled humbled leader until we can get someone in that office that is worthy. I’ll be content to let GWB suffer in history.

    I hope that the image of this country that most of the rest of the world has come to dislike and mistrust wears off eventually through our good works, but for now is at least softened somewhat by this election result. In Madrid last week, a woman I met was agitated enough to ask if I agreed with my government. She shook two fingers at me – “how could you have elected him TWICE” ?

    I can’t believe we are a country that could have or would ever go to, be led to, war so willingly, so easily.

    Can we now focus not on divisive issues but what we need to do to save us all?: slow climate change, contain nuclear weapons, equalize the effects of globalization, and reduce poverty (the disparity between rich and poor) and disease? Can we start at home? Can we set an example? or start?

  • 1st/14th

    ”That must because now, after the pain, there is enough suspicion and a whole heck of a lot of vigilance.”

    More likely, the allegations were sour grapes from 00, 02 and 04. But that could never be right?

  • poemeater

    As a woman unashamed of the word liberal, I was definitely happy to see that many other voters out there are also craving some kind of balance in the political landscape. Not that I think the Democrats are necessarily putting forth a strong vision that reclaims liberal traditions.

    The Iraq war has been the dominant issue, primarily because of the chaos and lost lives it has brought. However, instead of using this as an opportunity to look at larger issues of chaos [such as ‘Why are private contractors receiving billions of dollars to do the military’s work and do it more poorly?’], the Iraq war is framed only in black and white terms of stay-or-leave.

    Watching various channels report the elections last night, I was reminded of how the mainstream media can contribute to this simplicity when I saw a couple exit poll graphs for people who considered themselves ‘Iraq voters’ or ‘security voters’. How about ‘corruption voters’? Or ‘global warming voters’? I think I will feel more hopeful for the Dems in ’08 when it becomes more realistic that those last two questions will be asked by the media and the pollsters because those are the issues that the Democrats are hammering away at.

  • Old Nick

    Guppyman’s reply to Sutter @ 12:35 PM, Nov.8th is a microcosmically perfect example of the difference between the judgmentalism of the ‘Right’ in contrast to the empathy of the ‘Left’. Thanks, Gup. I couldn’t ’ave said it better meself.

    Most disadvantaged people aren’t ‘stupid’. They’re socially disadvantaged. Worse, and more to the point: their disadvantages leave them prey to economic exploitation by the fully advantaged.

    Progressives recognize this entrapment, and attempt to find remedies for it. Perhaps not always successfully, but tirelessly, and by suggesting that we all volunteer portions of our incomes (the societal membership fees vilified by the selfish as ‘taxes’) toward the goal of ameliorating inequity and inequality.

    I hope to have time to offer a better post to this conversation later. But I couldn’t any longer leave the two paragraphs above out of the mix.

    Progressives, be proud.

    And be brave too, in the face of the insults to your intelligence that your humanitarianism so consistently earns by the propagandists of ‘the goodness of greed’.

  • metolius8

    Its jubilation now…like Christmas morn and New Years Eve all wrapped in to one…but soon the wrapping is recycled, the gifts put away and its the morning after. Will the Dems face it with a hangover or a plan.

  • metolius8

    Did we really get everything we wanted? Is dubya still in office?

  • jazzman

    The results of this election cycle demonstrate how anger, despair or a sense shared purpose (common cause) can trump FEAR (at least for enough time to allow one to ignore one’s self-preservation concerns and embody the archetypal Jungian/Campbellian hero)

    When people feel they are helpless/hopeless, unheard and left out or bolstered by a like minded community, they find the courage/bravado to suppress their ordinary fear and act. This phenomenon cuts across the spectrum from individuals to cults to cornered animals, and from suicidal fanatics to political parties to religion.

    When any authority ignores this phenomenon and attempts to control people thru FEAR or alienation, eventually rebellion/revolution will seem preferable to the status quo and fortunately the mechanism for revolution in democracies such as our republic is theoretically a non-violent one.

    Peace to ALL,

    Jazzman

  • Sopper14

    Ok, maybe like a really big extra good bag of chips. I am more giddy than expected, and its lasting longer than I expected. But this overwhelming outcme reveals a mean petty streak in me that I can’t deny. I search the web for a place to wallow in mean spirited gloating. I fight the urge to call a Republican politician and say “Ha Ha!” like Nelson on the Simpsons. If I were to run into “Chimpy McFlightsuit” on the street I’m afraid I would sneer in the style of a drunken sexually frustrated frat boy: “Take that you wuss-ass!” I want to believe that the American people have finally had enough of a party that waves a flag, makes the sign of the cross, and paints Norman Rockwell with one hand, while shredding the constitution, lining their pockets, and diddling pages with the other. God almighty I hope the Democrats keep both hands visible at all times.

  • jdyer

    chilton1 Says:

    “I hope they have some guts -now they have some power

    we will see”

    Just because the Demos won’t agree with this poster doesn’t mean that they have “no guts.”

    It means that their view of the world will be different from the poster or perhaps even from mine.

    Guts has nothing to do with it.

  • plnelson

    “First, the Republican’s lost because they were an ideological driven party who like all ideological movements believe their own propaganda.

    . . .

    Second, the Democrats will succeed only if they adopt a common sense middle of the road approach to governance. If they too fall into the ideological trap they will lose in 08 what they gained last night. ”

    I disagree. I don’t think we need LESS ideology; I think we need MORE ideology.

    The Republicans lost because they DIDN’T stick to an ideology. There is nothing intrinsically “conservative” about invading other countries, running up huge budget deficits, big-government intrusions in people’s private lives, scandals, or huge agricultural subsidies. Yet the GOP did ALL those things.

    Likewise the biggest problem with the Democrats is that they don’t know WHAT they stand for!!

    A political ideology provides a core set of values and principles that guide policy and allow voters to anticipate how a candidate will respond to yet-unforseen situations and problems. Neither the GOP **nor** the Dem’s have an identifiable ideology; instead they calibrate everything they do to polls, short-term political tactics, or pressure from special-interests.

    PLEASE state an ideology and ADHERE to it!!

  • plnelson

    Since this show originates in Massachusetts let’s ask this:

    HOW is it good for anyone that Massachusetts has now bcome essentially a one-party state? 85% of all statewide offices are now held by the Democrats. 100% of all US House and Senate seats are held by the Democrats. About half the Congressional districts in yesterday’s election – including Marty Meehan in my district – ran UN-OPPOSED!

    Would someone PLEASE explain to me what it actually MEANS to say I live in a democracy if I have a choice of ONE candidate for Congress? At least in the old USSR I could vote “da” or “nyet”.

  • nother

    You may think I’m crazy but I saw light in the Presidents demeanor today, I sensed a kind of liberation he may feel from his Republican base. I believe he is more concerned with his legacy, the “Bush” legacy, than the far Right base and he will act accordingly. He has a chance to redeem his legacy by working with the Democrats to work on things like Immigration and move this country forward.

    George W. Bush is finally free, will he seize the day?

  • I am happy that the Democrats won, but man, I’m looking forward to Republican wins in 2008 listening to the left-leaning primary guest 🙂 Talk about classless condescension (go Meagan!).

  • nother

    Whoa, what’s with the negativity?

    It was good for me! It was good and I’m going to lay here and smoke a cig (I don’t smoke) and smile.

    I feel sorry for those that had an earth shaking night last night and now want feel guilty for feeling good and want to be downers. It’s like some kind of Catholic guilt after great sex.

  • Potter

    Razib beautifully written ( and do read the whole post) but too gloomy or cynical for me as many of the posts on this thread, sadly. Thank you Steve aAmond.

  • nother

    Thank you for the show ROS, it was refreshing to hear comments from people other than the retread talking heads on the boob tube. Thank you also for reading my comment on the air, it’s a humbling honor to be given a small soapbox on the best program on radio. I mean that with all my heart.

    P.S. I do apologize for misspelling the word “expect” on my comment, spelling is certainly not my forte. I also apparently misspelled the word “ugh,” but ugh, who cares about the word ugh? Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! 🙂

  • miriama

    I feel like we couldn’t hold our head up and look the rest of the world in the eye until we roundly repudiated our head guy. And we did a pretty good job of that. A beginning, maybe, to repairing the damage. And funny how I’m a little more comfortable using the word “we.”

  • Sutter

    Recommended topic: “The 2006 Election Reading List.” Shortly after winning power in 2004, Speaker-elect Newt Gingrich publicly exhorted the incoming class of Republican Representatives to read a list of books reflecting his governing philosophy. The list included an odd mix of materials on or by the Founders (The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and James Flexner’s biography of George Washington), Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America,” and more recent post-industrial political/economic thinking (work by Drucker, Demming, and the Tofflers, as well as books with titles like “Working Without a Net” and “Leadership and the Computer”). One suspects that Nancy Pelosi will not be presenting her counter-list for 2006. But what would that list look like? Hopefully, it would go far deeper than books about the failure in Iraq, and would explore key issues: How will we accommodate globalization while maintaining American values? How will we protect the unprotected when even highly paid professionals feel less secure than ever? How can we forge consensus when the country is so badly fractured on critical moral and political issues not susceptible to easy reconciliation? And how will we address the grave threats posed by terrorism and failed states in an increasingly multipolar world?

    We don’t need to answer these questions right away, but what are the books (or articles or pamphlets or blogs or whatever) that best explain where the country will (or should) be going under a Democratic Congress? What is the 2006 Election’s reading list?

  • Sutter, I like this idea. Maybe a good show topic????

  • plnelson

    “What is the 2006 Election’s reading list?”

    Whatever it is, it will be all about election strategy, marketing, demographics, etc.

    That’s all both parties are about these days – the whole thing is just about winning and selling; it has nothing to do with any core vision of nations, history, the role of the state, society, individuals, or anything else that used to form the basis of political philosophy or ideology.

    One of the big problems with only having two political parties in the US is that each one has to be so BROAD in its appaeal that it cannot take the risk of articulating a clear point of view, for fear of alienating some group, which will then go to the other parrty because that’s their only other choice.

    As a result, Americans have NO CONCEPT of the purpose of a political party, which is to advance a core set of interests or values. In other democracies you can have a GENUINE conservative party or green party or Christian party or socialist party or whatever, because they are not TRYING to be all things to all voters. Instead, they are trying to represent the interests of THEIR constituency. That’s the CORRECT way to do it because that way most voters can find SOME party or politician to speak for THEM. In America that’s almost impossible.

  • Sutter

    Sorry I was unclear. I did mean show topic (though I’d love to see it discussed here too).

    I suppose if we’re going to do some of this here, I have to put something up. So, on my final question (regarding how to find consensus amidst deep philosophical divides), I would recommend Michael Sandel’s recent collection (now in paperback) “Public Philosophy.” Sandel argues against some of the views I expressed in one of my posts this morning, but what he has to say on the prospects for (and value of) consensus is pretty essential stuff, and incoming Democrats could do worse than to understand these faultlines a lot better.

  • chilton1

    jdyer Says:

    “Just because the Demos won’t agree with this poster doesn’t mean that they have “no guts.”

    It means that their view of the world will be different from the poster or perhaps even from mine.

    Guts has nothing to do with it.”

    jdyer – I seem to have hit a nerve. Don’t you think politics corrupts many a “world view”

    but you are correct – my world view is certain to be different from the Democrats.

    However, I do hold them to their stated positions.

    -Not that I have any real right too — -not being a natural US citizen-

  • I’m down at the VCCA artists colony in Virginia, where we watched the election while downing sangria and tortilla chips. When we went to bed, people had pretty much resigned themselves to the idea that the Democrats had won the House but lost the Senate. Then today word spread that Rummy had resigned and the Senate race was still alive, hinging on Virginia. By dinner, we learned that Webb’s lead had widened to 7,000, that AP had called the Senate for the Democrats. Rumors have circulated that Allen will be conceding officially tomorrow.

    It’s amazing to be where the action is just by chance, especially since I’m leaving Friday. I attended Jerry Falwell’s church service Sunday, where he scoffed at a House of Representatives led by “San Francisco Pelosi.” (San Francisco apparently the modern day stand-in for Sodom and Gomorrah.) I’d love to hear what he’s going to say this coming Sunday. I wonder if my cable carrier in north Jersey even carries it…

    The dominant emotion is disbelief. It’s like Red Sox fans in 2004. Democrats of this generation are so used to losing that it’s part of their personality. Winning is disorientating. If the Democrats have Congress, then anything is possible. Maybe my novel will be optioned by Hollywood next.

    Debbie Galant

    http://www.baristanet.com

  • plnelson, I completely agree with you on the multi-party concept being the better way to have a representative democracy. how do we get there from here?

  • David Weinstein

    Having just listned to the show in the wee hours on the west coast, I wonder if my eleation will be let down by a democratic majority in Congress that plays to the middle. The only bright spot is, as Chris pointed out, that this middle is different this time around. There is a moral outrage across party lines about the corruption in Washington, that neo-con fantaises have badly damaged our image in the world and got into us a war that has hurt our security more than enhanced it, and needs to end.

    But is the American public in the mood to have a serious, adult dialogue about the huge problems that face this country? Global warming and energy independence is one such question. The healthcare crisis is another. Because I am one of those something “net” actvisits, I would add in the ugly truth that Katrina washed up, poverty in America.

    In the last seventy-two hours, I was making calls through MoveOn.org’s computer system all around the country (a marvel), button-holing citizens and handing out flyers in my town for Debra Bowen for secretary of state in California, and making calls in support of Jerry McNerney and against Richard Pombo, one of my career activist’s great pleasures and highlights I must say. I did feel a shift in the this country talking to folks, democrats fired up and reopublicans rethinking their leaders and positions.

    But will this enthusiasm and introspection last or is it onto Britney Spears and the lastest reality show craze? I don’t know. But I do know one thing for sure from all my years in the trenches. The democrats will squander any and all political capital and momentum if they play to the middle and lose the “vision thing.” Remmeber that other Bush who didn’t have the vision thing? And what happened to him after four years. Well the dems will end up the same way but in half the time, by 2008 if they do not offer leadership and vision to the American public.

    Even moderate or conservative democrats can agree about what basically needs to be done with global warming and energy independence. And they can find many rebublicans to join them in the cause starting with John McCain. The healthcare crisis will bankrupt our government and private sector is nothing is done about it. That is something republicans and democrats can agree upon. And since we are in a moral mood, forty-six million Americans without health insurance is a moral imperative to act. Now I think the answer to the healthcare crisis is in the quality it offers, coming from a health and healing perspective, keeping people healthy, off of prescription drugs and out of the hospital. This a bold answer but the only viable one I think. It will be up to the dems and thier allies across the aisle to make the case to the American people.

    Actually Americans like vision and passion in their leaders. Look at George W. The problem is that he lacked substance. So the answer is vision, passion, experience and wisdom in leading this country out of the malaise we are in. A lot to ask for from any politician. But America is actually waiting for this kind of leadership to emerge.

    Who will it be? Al Gore, Barack Obama or one or more of those fine candidates we just elected to office. Nancy Pelosi wake up! There is no middle road left to trod.

  • joel

    Why is America waiting for anything? Why is it not doing what it knows needs doing on its own without having to be told to by a “leader”? Why does it buy, pay for, what it doesn’t want?

  • joel

    When is the computer that posts these offerings going to go to Standard Time?

  • plnelson

    “Why is America waiting for anything? Why is it not doing what it knows needs doing on its own without having to be told to by a “leader”? Why does it buy, pay for, what it doesn’t want?”

    The answer is simple – there IS no “it”. There’s 300 million separate sets of choices , priorities, or needs.

  • Nother says ” He has a chance to redeem his legacy by working with the Democrats to work on things like Immigration and move this country forward… George W. Bush is finally free, will he seize the day?”

    Surely it is too late to redeem this disastrous legacy! The best he can do is make his overall presidential narrative more interesting…throw in a pinch of poignancy, that kind of thing.

    I came away from that press confernce thinking these things:

    (1) It really is ALL POLITICS for him. All decisions at all times are political (personal power) …rather than moral or learned or genuinely brave or timely.

    (2) So…Poppy’s guy is being brought in to help clean up Junior’s mess. I note that Maureen Dowd apparently saw the same thing – with this difference: she had an insider witness to confirm it – “Poppy Bush and James Baker gave Sonny the presidency to play with and he broke it. So now they’re taking it back.”

    (3) David Kuo, Paul O’Neill, even David Frum, and others have pointed out that GWB SAYS a lot of fine-sounding words, but doesn’t really mean them, never really delivers the behavior to back them up. So, we’ll just have to watch how this openess and bi-partisanship plays as in our real world. Narrative unfolding.

  • Ben

    Allision – I believe, if it is to happen, it will begin from a fracture on the right before there is a division of the left.

  • plnelson

    “(1) It really is ALL POLITICS for him. All decisions at all times are political (personal power) …rather than moral or learned or genuinely brave or timely.”

    But isn’t this true for most politicians?

    Anyway, one thing that many Democrats are forgetting as their party parties, is that the voters did not vote FOR them because they had any fresh, inspiring new ideas. The voters voted AGAINST the GOP because they made such a terrible mess of everything.

    Most of what I’ve been hearing from the Democrats is the same old rhetoric and the same old solutions. They have an opportunity here to do something that might make people want to actually vote FOR them 2 years from now, but do you think they’ll use it? I don’t.

  • Dora

    I have to comment on the Republican spin that the Democratic wins somehow consitite a conservative victory.

    This is spin, nothing more. This is neither a conservative nor a liberal victory. Rather, this is a pragmatists victory–and a victory for the notion that all politics is local. The Democrats have become pragmatic enough to realize that they need a big tent, and they’ve fostered an environment where, say, Catholics who believe in the Democratic party’s vision of economic justice but who are opposed to abortion can find a home alongside the party’s social liberals.

    The idea that an election in which Sherrod Brown and Bernie Sanders are elected to the Senate is a “conservative victory” is just conservatives trying to put a good face on the disaster that befell them.

    What we have now is a Democratic party that can accomodate gun owners from Montana as well as urbanites in New York. Still, that doesn’t mean that the party can’t come to a consensus on issues such as raising the minimum wage. I expect that the Democrats will focus on the economic issues at the federal level, and leave the social issues to the states.

    Contrast this to the Republican party where the biggest wingnuts are given a bully pulpit and moderates are marginalized. Really, who was more qualified (in terms of actual knowledge and insight) to head the Senate Committee on the Environment–James Inhofe (who calls global warming a “hoax”) or Lincoln Chafee? Perhaps if the party had actually listened to Chafee occasionally and shown Rhode Islanders some respect, Chafee might have gotten re-elected and maintained the Republican majority.

  • rmlucas

    Please think twice before inviting Mr. Almond on the show again. What incredible scorn for anyone who doesn’t share his exact views! His attitude reinforces all of the worst stereotypes of “arrogant” liberals. His sharpened point of view may sell books, but in a forum like this I suspect it does more harm then good to the causes he and I support, and it made me want to turn off the program.

  • Pinelson, you ask “But isn’t this true for most politicians?”

    Two answers:

    There’s the “politics” that is merely pursuit of personal power. There are also politicians who want to serve, who want to make the world better. I hope it is not true that *most* politicians are in it for pure power over others; in fact, I don’t believe it is true.

    Your question reminds me of the interaction on the show about the difference between people who believe in good governance and those cynics who cast all of it off as something lesser than. Put me in the former camp.

  • It’s Friday morning (well, early afternoon) here in Tokyo and some of the political dust has settled on our well swept sidewalks and we find that the Democrats in the US have won back both houses.

    My head still rings from that boisterous election but I’m glad it’s over and the US public woke up long enough to boot the GOP elephant in its ass.

    That it took so long disturbs me.

    That it required so much corruption and folly frightens me.

    That there is too much elation and expectation worries me.

    That the democrats shifted further right to win perturbs me.

    That the problems seem so overwhelming and the solutions so limited terrifies me.

    That historical forgetting is built into the national DNA troubles me.

    That the whole thing will start up again soon for the next political show 2 year from now irritates me.

    America, don’t be too proud of your political process and your Start-me-up democracy.

    Where is that ice-bag.

  • nother

    Sidewalker, I know from your past posts you have a lot to say, so why are you so negative? Even if the perfect candidate in your imagination was elected there would still be problems in the world, so why are you so negative? There will always be cause for negativity; it’s a matter of how much you want to engage in that negativity. What would it take for you to write a positive post?

  • themountainviewguy

    Wow … what a great question. This is the kind of question that in the asking of it or conceiving of it cuts right to the heart of the differences in Democrat and Republican … and more, to the different styles of being inherent in human beings.

    Republicans see people as citizens, team members of a country that is competing in the world, in business, in war, in philosophy. Republicans want to solve real problems … or at least make money attempting to. Republicans seem to have, in their very nature a cohesiveness that makes them more uniform and focused.

    Republicans want to give boosts to other Republicans, they want to empower the system to act proactively.

    Democrats see people as individuals, socially. They can be interested in anything and connected outside the bounds of the country. They see people not as national beings, but as human beings. Democrats are less concerned with national issues, they are more focused on themselves or world issues. Democrats want to do good. They can be interested in many thing which makes them more diverse and less cohesive and focused. Democrats often only act when they are in a crisis and act reactively.

    The odd contradictions in these people types, and the natural assymetries that come about are what I think cause things like the last 6 years or total national division and stress and even debilitation are not good.

    What the last 6 years has done is to reward only a certain kind of thinking and behavior and to marginize the other point of view, create a schzism where at once only half the country can be activated at a time.

    The Republican idea of teambuilding seems to reward aggressive, unilateral

    bullying behavior at the fringe, and the suggestion in the leadership tone.

    What is the Democrats idea of teambuilding?

  • Roy Chardon

    Democrats, and just about everyone else need to stop using and tolerating logical fallacies. A number of books are available, but it is convenient to refer to http://www.fallacyfiles.org/taxonomy.html. Communications will be substantially improved if all polititions, news comentators, and other pundits stop using these fallacies.

    You may experience Some degree of perverse amusement in seeing how many of these fallacies are core to political discourse. At times it seems if it weren’t for fallacies and sports analogies, polititions wouldn’t be able to say anything

  • Please let me second what mlucas posted about Steve Almond. I suspect that my political views correspond closely with his, but I found him offensive: smugly dismissive, arrogant, uninterested in listening to contrary viewpoints, and thoroughly lacking in common courtesy. I commend Megan McArdle for remaining civil after he repeatedly cut her off. He embodies what tens of millions of Americans find offensive about the Left, and he hampers the Progressive cause. I nearly switched off the podcast I listened to this morning because I wanted no more of him.

  • thecatspajamas

    To answer the question: Yes, it was good for me…One thing has been missing for far too long: BALANCE.

    The new majority needs to behave in a respectful and responsible matter. (To do anything else would be strategically stupid, amongst other things). The desire for political revenge, by some, should be tempered. Also, cynicism is not effective, in my opinion, because there is too much at stake.

  • plnelson

    “There’s the “politics” that is merely pursuit of personal power. There are also politicians who want to serve, who want to make the world better. I hope it is not true that *most* politicians are in it for pure power over others; in fact, I don’t believe it is true.”

    I’d like to make a subtle distinction. I’m sure you’re right that AT SOME LEVEL most politicians are in it to make the world a better place as they understand the term. But I’m talking about something a little different.

    What I’M saying is that these same politicians see playing the “getting elected” game as the price they have to pay for even having a shot at improving the world. And it is such an all-consuming game that it ends up becoming the point itself. With only two political parties any voter you alienate is liable to represent a vote for the other side, so you have to talk out of both sides of your mouth. And with the cost of even a US House campaign so astronomical you have no CHOICE but to put yourself in the pocket of special interests.

    So while I agree that rookie politicians may get into this with the best of intentions, but they will quickly discover that if they do not have a fanatically single-minded dedication to WINNING, their opponent, who DOES have sich dedication, will beat them and their good intentions wiill never see the light of day. it’s a devil’s bargain but there you have it.

  • Thanks for your question Nother, though your choice of terms to describe my sentiment and thinking is too, how shall I say, black & white. Why need you label feelings of worry and trepidation combined with a skeptical or critical perspective as “negative”? Isn’t it the general suspension of critical thought and irrational fear by Republicans, Democrats and others that has plunged the US into war, more than once?

    You have to understand that people outside the US have to live with each tidal change or, worse, tsunami sent out from your shores. For a personal example, because of all the anti-immigrant and terrorist rhetoric and the numerous visits of the US security adviser to Tokyo, the government here will now demand I be fingerprinted each time I go through immigration. This, despite my 17 years in the country and permanent resident status. Still, mine is an insignificant case. I don’t fear bombs dropping from the sky or marines busting down my door. And at least for now, my job is safe from Wal-mart style globalization.

    It is not that I don’t wish and hope for something better from your nation. I think I join with people all around the world who long for the US to actually follow its ideals towards more socially just action. Just we aren’t holding our breathes because of one election and more rhetoric.

    So, please, grant me my more cautious, grey perspective and let’s hope a slightly brighter political climate might better nourish the seeds of grass-roots social movements. After all, this is where change occurs.

  • nother

    Thank you sidewalker, I should have appreciated the nuance in your post. I guess I was reacting to some of the negativity I was hearing elsewhere, and I put it all on you. I genuinely have hope for this country, soon our diverse populace will start voting their numbers and things will change. The old white guys will have to make room at the table.

    Thanks again, see ya on another thread.

  • joel

    plnelson Says:

    November 9th, 2006 at 1:52 pm

    “Why is America waiting for anything? Why is it not doing what it knows needs doing on its own without having to be told to by a “leader”? Why does it buy, pay for, what it doesn’t want?”

    The answer is simple – there IS no “it”. There’s 300 million separate sets of choices , priorities, or needs.

    So, since a reasonable number of the 300 million can’t figure out how to act in a good, effective, reasonable and proper way, all they need is a dictator, eh. One would think they could at least learn to boycott not good and improper ways of acting.

    Cheers.

  • plnelson

    “So, since a reasonable number of the 300 million can’t figure out how to act in a good, effective, reasonable and proper way, all they need is a dictator, eh. One would think they could at least learn to boycott not good and improper ways of acting.”

    No, you’re not getting my point. With 300 million different and diverse people they don’t all agree what constitutes a “good and improper ways of acting”. You have your ideas, other people have theirs.

  • chilton1

    300 million different and diverse people…really?

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