Wednesday, November 5, 2008

An Obama Presidency and Other Tidbits About Yesterday

When it was all said and done last night and Barack Obama was named President-Elect at the end of the night you had to feel some incredible pride about what had happened.

I've been hard on Obama because I feel that the Center and Center-Right have been over-represented the past 30 years and that it was time the liberals and progressives of this country get the same sort of creedence that the right gets. Somehow progressive values have been deemed as not mainstream, yet it turns out that Americans always end up coming back to the left. They came back to agree with the left on war, on the economy and regulation, on healthcare... in fact the only place the left hasn't completely won out is gay marriage and the more and more narrow votes on gay marriage bans make it apparent that we're closing in on the majority on that as well.

There's this tendency to listen to the pundits on TV bloviate about how this country is center-right and give it complete credibility despite the fact that it couldn't be further from the truth. The media loves this false narrative and pushes it hard and that's what makes it hard for some liberals like myself to let Obama off the hook with the whole, "he's just playing the center for the election" theory.

Still you have to have faith in Obama to do the right thing and give him that opportunity. He ran an excellent campaign and did what Kerry was somewhat prevented from doing in fighting back the smears at every turn.

I think the Obama campaign learned well from the 2004 debacle and were able to corner McCain on every mistake he made. It was definitely the most brilliantly run campaign I have ever seen and the 1992 Clinton Campaign was pretty darn impressive as well.

Last night I have never seen so many tears of wonderful joy. Obama provides hope in ways only Bobby and John F. Kennedy have in the past 50 years. African Americans and minorities everywhere felt a real sense of inclusion in their country's future for the first time and there just hasn't been a moment like last night in my lifetime.

Yesterday had some hiccups as well. There were still voting machine issues in Pennsylvania, Florida and many other places... only solidifying why we need to enforce a paper ballot over the touch screen garbage. Tim Robbins was purged from the voter rolls, oddly enough just a short time after talking about this very issue on Real Time with Bill Maher.

Nutcase Michele Bachmann narrowly won re-election which makes her district easily one of the craziest ones out there (right up there with Jean Schmidt's district in Ohio and Jim Sensenbrenner's district in Wisconsin). Al Franken still sits in limbo with a possible recount coming soon. Somehow it appears FELON Ted Stevens is going to retain his seat in Alaska. A fight will definitely happen to prevent him from serving. We didn't get the 60 Senate seats to make Obama's agenda filibuster proof... that could be costly down the road because Senate Republicans were record-breaking obstructionists the last two years even knowing Bush could veto... imagine what they will do when they have nothing but that filibuster to stop us.

All in all though you can't complain about the results.

Now it is our job as citizens and I mentioned this yesterday, to hold President Obama and his Administration accountable. Obama himself mentioned this in his speech, that he will listen to us even when we do not agree with him. The only way for a functioning democracy to work is for the electorate to hold their leaders accountable. To show them when we disapprove and enforce it with calls, letters, protests and our votes. It's the only way for this long-running American experiment to work.

So Congratulations are in order to President-Elect Obama and frankly for all Americans. We took our country back last night. As Benjamin Franklin once famously said we have, "A Republic, if you can keep it."

As it turns out we wanted to keep that Republic last night, despite the past four years of near Monarchy ruling us all.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

On The Cusp of History

Well here we are.

Soon to be awaiting the results that will surely mean history tonight. It would take a theft unlike the previous ones before in 2000 and 2004 to overtake this turnout. For the first time we will be watching results with the knowledge that an African American CAN be president in this country and that it's not some myth or fairy tale that African American parents have to tell their children out of blind inspiration.

I know I have not been as enthused as many. Obama has been true to the word he set out to not go after the hard right wingers who have taken this country into the nosedive we're in currently. As a liberal that is tired of being told I am unamerican, communist/socialist/marxist, wrong on everything, lazy because I am not rich, a baby murderer because I believe in choice, anti-troops because I am anti-war and quite frankly a traitor to my country if I dare say the President is bound to the laws of the Constitution... well I want revenge.

The media has helped this gang of thieves steal two elections with voter suppression and rigged machines and not reporting any of it. They spread right wing memes and no matter how crazy they are made them seem truthful. For Obama to not fight against all of that and still play the nice guy who wants to reach across the aisle to these assholes when they will not and have not done the same for us seemed unfathomable.

Rachel Maddow interviewed Obama and pretty much shared my frustration with him on this. After all the GOP has been lying through their teeth and calling Obama the "most liberal senator" even though Bernie Sanders is a Socialist and he's the Senator from Vermont.

But I concede that Obama's approach, should it be just to win this election is going to work and we're going to win tonight.

Yes I wasn't as enthused as I could be but I was still fully behind Obama and I am still very proud that he will be our President.

As a liberal I think that once the election is over and Democrats have overwhelming majorities in the House and the magic 60 in the Senate we need to act quickly to pull our government's policy back to the center. In the 6 years Bush had Republican rubber stamp rule, they jettisoned thousands of laws put in place by far more reasonable Administrations before them and we need to work fast to put these back in play. Banning Torture, banning illegal wiretapping, eliminating Signing Statements, establishing exactly which laws the Bush Administration was breaking and prosecuting them for all of it...

If we want to be a nation of law and order we need to defend the "goddamned piece of paper" (as Bush put it) that our country was built upon. Our Constitution needs restoration like nobody's business.

Then while we're here we need to use our majority to push through Healthcare before Republicans can fight it. Push through election reforms that prevent them from stealing it when it's close and demands a paper trail so we know who voted for whom. Push through changes to the tax code that shift the lions share of the burden back to the rich and provides relief to the poor and middle class. Bring troops home from Iraq and end our occupation there.

We need to move on this stuff so it is done in the first two years. It will prevent the GOP from stopping the most important stuff before they get another chance to slander and lie about Democrats again and prevent these changes from occurring.

If Obama goes in as President looking to give in to Republicans in the name of compromise, he'll find out that the only compromise is giving them their way. It's something the 2006 class of Democrats disgracefully executed and why they have such a low approval rating from voters.

We've given them their way enough and they messed everything up in the name of greed. Now with Democrats so close to all of the levers of control we must push through liberal/progressive legislation. The entire political spectrum and the policies behind it were tilted hard right. If we don't push back left we'll never get to the real center again.

Tonight when President-Elect Obama is named by all of the networks, history will be made. History for African-Americans. History for Voter Turnout. But we need to keep making history by staying on Obama to fight for the left. We're a bigger majority than the right and have had nobody fighting for us for decades.

Corporate America had their Presidents. It's our turn.

Congratulations to America. Here's hoping we finally have that President this time around.