The McCain Belt

Matthew Yglesias posts this map from the New York Times:

mccain belt

Andrew Sullivan adds this:

Ah, yes, Appalachia and Arkansas. Obviously concerned about marginal tax rates for those earning over $250,000 a year, I suppose.

A Third Thought

John McCain’s concession speech last night was gracious and classy.   If that were the John McCain who ran for president, might things have turned out differently?

A Second Thought

I’ve heard a few times CNN anchors saying people everywhere were gathered, cheering, and “celebrating like it was New Year’s Eve.”   In other words, celebrating an opportunity to start anew.

A Thought

Is it OK to say “it’s morning again in America“?

“This Is Our Moment”


After the tumultuous several years past, a new hope and a new promise is on the horizon. Not the hope and promise of a politician, but the hope and promise of a people dedicated to righting wrongs and committed to bettering a nation. America, the dream lives on.

Excerpts from President-Elect Obama’s election night speech in Chicago below. You can read the whole thing here.

It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It’s the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it’s been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America

Yes. We. Can.

(Photo: Daniel Schwen/Wikipedia Commons)


obama biden

A moment for our country, the world, and the ages.

One Day = Today

What This Election Is About

Rosa sat so Martin could walk.
Martin walked so Obama could run.
Obama is running so our children can fly.

(Nod: DemConWatch)

Make History Today

Barack ‘n’ Roll

Why I Support Barack Obama

obama rally

When President Bush stood atop a pile of rubble at Ground Zero and told the rescue volunteers the rest of the world would soon hear us, he had me.   When he went before Congress and the American people and spoke of either being with us or against us, he had me.   He had me feeling so patriotic, so American, that as I walked around my college campus I had an American flag sticking out of my book bag for months.   I supported the president.   I was patriotic.   I was proud to be an American.

But then the president threw it all away.   He lost me.   He lost me with the Iraq war and the false reasons for fighting, the poor planning and execution, and the lack of a responsible exit strategy.   He lost me with his government-sponsored torture programs and the indefinite detentions and lack of indictments of “enemy combatants.”   He lost me with his disastrous lack of a response and coherent leadership after Hurricane Katrina.   He lost me with his countless assaults on the environment and what is essentially his war on science.   He lost me with his warrantless wiretappings, his signing statements, and his trashing of the separation of powers with his unitary executive doctrine and his stonewalling of Congress and ignoring of subpoenas and contempt citations.   He lost me with his farcical war on terror and his failure to capture Osama bin Laden “dead or alive.”   He lost me with threatening a war with Iran after he had severely weakened U.S. armed forces by stretching them thin and not sending them into battle fully supported, prepared, and supplied.   He lost me with the deterioration of America’s image abroad.   He lost me with Alberto Gonzales, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney.   He lost me with Karl Rove and their tactics of divisive slash and burn politics.   President Bush lost me.   I lost my faith in the presidency, my faith in government, and my faith in America.

But then something changed that rather someone changed that.   On a cold February morning last year in Springfield, Illinois, a young, vivacious senator invited us to fight with him for change and to restore America’s greatness.   Barack Obama gave me hope, and he gave me inspiration, and that is why I support him to be the 44th President of the United States of America.

After so many years of disillusionment and cynicism toward government and politics, feeling inspired was a welcomed change for me.   Our leaders should inspire us.   They should inspire us to work for the common good of our country.   They should inspire us to see hope in ourselves and each other.   They should inspire us to fight for and work hard to achieve that good and that hope.   Our leaders should inspire us not to serve them but to serve each other.

Our leaders should inspire us to work for the much needed and much discussed change we need from securing our future by ridding our dependence on fossil fuels to investing in quality, affordable health care for all to strengthening our educational system and providing teachers and students with the tools and support they need for success to engaging in a responsible foreign policy that returns America to the respectable stature we once held.

And beyond the political issues to change our futures come the inspirational issues to alter generations for young African-American children to have a role model in Barack Obama who isn’t a Hollywood celebrity, hip-hop musician, or sports superstar; for citizens of the world to see in Barack Obama a new face on America; and for us to see in Barack Obama not the color of his skin but the content of his character.

His character is his experience the experience of strong judgment, the experience of intellectual curiosity, the experience of sound vision, and the experience of a ferocious calmness in the face of crisis.

What Barack Obama has taught me inspired in me is that we have the power to effect our future, to break free of the partisan shackles that have bound us to bitter divisiveness.   We have the ability to shout to those who clamor for status quo that we are tired of more-of-the-same, that we are ready for something bold and something new.   We are ready not to be blindly led and told what someone else can do for us, but instead we are ready for what someone else can do with us; we are ready for what we can do for each other by joining together with Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

We can move past that which divides us to form a more perfect Union.

We can create a new birth of freedom in America.

We can ask what we can do for America.

We can fix what is wrong in America with what is right in America.

We can heal this nation and repair this world.

Yes, we can.

Yes, We Can

Worth watching one more time.


Please remember to vote tomorrow, no matter how busy you are, no matter how long the lines are.

(Nod: Patrick)

“And That’s… Not the Change We Need”

Probably not the endorsement John McCain wanted:

The Obama camp was quick to pounce:

Our Greatest Fear

Danny Elfman, veteran film score composer, has started a political action committee this election:   The mission?

The simple frightening fact we’re trying to get out now is this. If you factor in John McCain’s age and his continuing battle with cancer which can reoccur at any time, the probability of him not completing his term is higher then president in American history.   That would leave us a with true American nightmare, and our greatest fear… President Sarah Palin.

Huh.   I knew I liked Danny Elfman for a reason.   I thought it was for his music.   Now it’s more than that.   Who knew he was so political?

(Nod: Cinemusic)

Loans? What Loans?

Remember all that money Congress gave to the banking industry to jump start them giving out loans again?   Well it turns out the banks aren’t giving out loans with the money, they’re buying up other banks with it:

In point of fact, the dirty little secret of the banking industry is that it has no intention of using the money to make new loans. But this executive was the first insider who’s been indiscreet enough to say it within earshot of a journalist.

(He didn’t mean to, of course, but I obtained the call-in number and listened to a recording.)

“Twenty-five billion dollars is obviously going to help the folks who are struggling more than Chase,” he began. “What we do think it will help us do is perhaps be a little bit more active on the acquisition side or opportunistic side for some banks who are still struggling. And I would not assume that we are done on the acquisition side just because of the Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns mergers. I think there are going to be some great opportunities for us to grow in this environment, and I think we have an opportunity to use that $25 billion in that way and obviously depending on whether recession turns into depression or what happens in the future, you know, we have that as a backstop.”

Where’s the oversight on this?

(Nod: James Fallows)

Closing Ads

2008 Early Voting = Whoa?

Early voting statistics we’ve seen so far in some states are mind boggling.   As of this writing, in Colorado, 68.8% of the total number of votes cast in the 2004 presidential election have already been cast in early voting; in Georgia, it’s 53.5%; in Nevada, it’s 60.2%; in North Carolina, it’s 58.5%.   I think these incredible numbers so far point to one of two outcomes:

  1. The total voter participation on Tuesday is going to blow everyone away.   Anyone who has worried about voter turnout (me) will be forcibly silenced.   Could we see 80% turnout?   Can our polling places handle this kind of turnout?
  2. The high percentages are just voters taking advantage of early voting in their states.   Perhaps these numbers are comprised of a smaller block of new voters, say 30%, and the rest “normal” voters who fear excruciatingly long lines on Tuesday and want to get their voting out of the way.   In this scenario, turnout wouldn’t be much higher than 2004.

We’ll have to wait until Tuesday to find out.   For the states, though, who have invested in early voting programs, kudos to you.   By spreading out the amount of time people can vote, you’re encouraging more participation and minimizing Election Day problems.   Meanwhile, Connecticut doesn’t have an early voting program, so I have to brave the (hopefully-not-too-long) lines Tuesday.

Generation We

I’m one.

(Nod: The Daily Dish)

Colin Powell’s Endorsement

Worth another watch:

Yes We Carve

The grassroots movement spreads to the pumpkin patch.

Obama Pumpkins

(Nod: The Daily Dish)

Let’s Debate! (Part 4)

Yes, the last “debate.”   Although, perhaps for tonight’s rendition, I can actually drop the quotes.   I thought this was by far the closest any of the debates have come to an actual debate.   Both candidates were directly engaging and responding to one another, and Bob Schieffer did well in making sure they did exactly that.

As I noted last month, Rick Davis, John McCain’s campaign manager said:

This election is not about issues.   This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates.

Well, Mr. Davis.   This third debate confirmed what we should take away from John McCain: that he is an angry old man.   The obvious display of contempt toward Obama, the fidgeting, the rolling of his eyes, the sneering, the sarcasm, etc. all add up to McCain having an anger problem.   As David Gergen on CNN noted, McCain “looked angry. It was an exercise in anger management up there.”   In the tough times we face, we don’t need a leader who cannot control his emotions; we need someone who can calm us and reassure us.   John McCain cannot do either.

The best line from John McCain in all three debates came tonight.   McCain said:

Sen. Obama, I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago.

A good line, one I’m surprised he waited until 19 days before the election to use.   The line, though, has a problem.   While McCain is technically not Bush, voting for his policies 90% of the time gets you pretty close to being him, no?

And apparently Barack Obama is at fault for the McCain campaign being so sleazy.   McCain said this:

And I know from my experience in many campaigns that, if Sen. Obama had asked responded to my urgent request to sit down, and do town hall meetings, and come before the American people, we could have done at least 10 of them by now. […] So I think the tone of this campaign could have been very different.

President Bush is a Republican leader who is incapable of accepting blame for his actions.   John McCain is a Republican leader who is incapable of accepting blame for his actions.   But just remember, John McCain is not George Bush.

In the same exchange as the quote above, McCain said this:

And of course, I’ve been talking about the economy. Of course, I’ve talked to people like Joe the plumber and tell him that I’m not going to spread his wealth around. I’m going to let him keep his wealth. And of course, we’re talking about positive plan of action to restore this economy and restore jobs in America.

That’s what my campaign is all about and that’s what it’ll continue to be all about.

Is John McCain in denial?   Does he not see the ads his campaign puts out?   That 100% of them recently were negative?

Finally, Sarah Palin introduced us to Joe Six-Pack.   Tonight, McCain introduced us to Joe the Plumber.   Now, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I like the name Joe.   But why does the McCain campaign have this infatuation with Joes?!   As an average Joe speaking for Joe Public, knock it off.

Final verdict: again, McCain needed a game-changer.   Didn’t happen.

Betty White Makes Me Laugh

Nothing about St. Olaf here:

(Nod: Ben Smith)

Free the Debate!

A consortium of left and right activists have called on the Obama and McCain campaigns to drop the rules for this coming Wednesday’s debate to allow for actual debate.   At minimum, they request the host, Bob Schieffer, be allowed to ask follow-up questions “so the public can be fully informed about specific positions.”

Today at work, I was talking with a coworker, and he mentioned he could only stomach watching about twenty minutes of the debate this past Tuesday because neither candidate actually answered the question they were given.   My coworker, I’m sure, is not the only one who feels this way, and this likely plays into the disillusionment that many voters have toward politics.   Candidates can do themselves a favor while doing the voters and American democracy a favor by allowing for actual debate.   Time to lose the rules that lose voters from the process.

Politics and Pumpkins

In case you’re looking for some political pumpkin-carving ideas, the AP has you covered.