Wednesday, February 6, 2008

super duper fat tsunami tuesday

I watched the election returns come in last night with deepening interest. I'm an election junkie and I have been from earliest childhood; my first memory of truly taking sides in a Presidential election was the 1968 Nixon-Humphrey campaign. I was 11. I think I can definitely say that HHH won the coveted 11-year-old demographic that year, since I doubt there was anyone else my age who was even paying attention, but I wasn't even new to politics: I had been paying attention since I was six, when I was plunged into the grownup world of Presidents and gamesmanship in the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination, which is my first complete, unimpeachable memory. I didn't know who Kennedy was, I'm sure, until he was dead, but I watched the news that weekend and read the papers--which I still have--and I began a lifelong obsession with...

I was about to say "a lifelong obsession with politics," but I realized that it was not entirely true. I'm not a political junkie, but an election junkie. And I think that my obsession has been truly about finding a politician who can, finally, replace the man who was lost on the day that started me on all of this. I know that over the years I've looked for that candidate. I thought I saw him when I was fifteen, but Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. In the 35 years since, I've glimpsed bits of him in Jimmy Carter, in Bill Clinton, in Gerald Ford, and in other, lesser candidates, but they always proved to be mere fragments, mere illusions. Kennedy did not reside there, and frankly by this election cycle I had utterly forgotten I was even looking, shrugging my shoulders as did so many others every four years wondering why we could never find, in this great country, a candidate who was really worth voting for, why we had to settle for such impoverished choices so often, and why this country deserved to end up with leaders such as the one who is being allowed to retire rather than (as he deserves) be impeached this year.

Surely, I now realize, this is why I am so taken with Barack Obama. Even before Caroline Kennedy's endorsement, it was easy to see that he is the single Presidential candidate since her uncle who could come close to being what her father was. And that's what I've been waiting for pretty much all of my life.

So I watched the returns and listened to the pundits. Pundits are a silly group, as a whole. Chris Matthews on MSNBC started out the night informing us that Clinton was expected to win California and Massachusetts. As the night wore on and she did, in fact, do so, he began interviewing her operatives (an even sillier group: the spin doctors) who claimed that her victories in those states were unexpected upsets. At first, Matthews argued with them, even calling one shill's words "flackery" (which I assume means "the ravings of some flack"). But as he heard it repeated more and more, even Matthews began to say that Clinton had "upset" Obama in Massachusetts, repeating the "flackery" he had denounced earlier.

Pundits. At least they are entertaining. Hey, what's more entertaining than watching Pat Buchanan force himself to say nice things about Hillary Clinton?

But I digress. I found the election returns utterly fascinating, and here's why: after over 14.6 million votes were cast, Clinton and Obama were separated by less than 0.4%, a mere 55,000 votes. After all of those delegates were parceled out, Clinton received 540 and Obama 539, only one delegate fewer. A full day after polls closed, the state of New Mexico still has not been called, and the two candidates (who will each pick up half of the state's delegates) are separated by fifty votes. When was a primary election ever this close? And what's even more remarkable is this: polls reveal that over 70% of Democratic voters would be happy to support the other candidate if he or she became the party's nominee. There are two candidates here who have 70% approval ratings within the party! No wonder there is a sense that something really is happening!

Voters are turning out in record numbers. Young people are being stimulated to become involved like never before. There is an energy among the electorate that defies the American record of voter apathy. This historic election--in which either a black man or a woman will be a major party nominee--seems to have fired our collective imaginations. We are seeing the possibilities, seeing what this country can be, maybe for the first time in a long time. It's not all Obama; some of this is clearly Clinton too. It's a shame that the two of them have arrived simultaneously and that one has to lose. Either is far superior to anything the GOP has to offer, and even the GOP seems to know it, as their in-fighting in a futile attempt to find a candidate acceptable to even a bare majority of the party attests.

John McCain is a good man, but this is a year for making history, and his time is past for that. And as I watched the returns on this fattest of all Fat Tuesdays, with more primaries than had ever been held on one day before, it became more and more obvious to this election junkie: This is a Democratic year, and this is a Presidential campaign for the ages.


K said...

Haha, very funny comment on my blog...but please don't drink the drano, things are looking up now that we're in an election year. : )

I might even be inspired to write something more light-hearted for my next post...

M said...

I rarely miss my job in TV news but there are moments, and this is one of them. I definitely relate to your inner “election junkie.” I’ve had the good fortune to cover many campaigns over the years, but none as exciting as what this current political landscape is serving up.
We are witnessing history and each one of us can be apart of it if we choose to be.
Yes we can.


it's your hair that i notice first
streaked with morning
it frames your face
you lying there eyes closed
soft breath not quite there
i follow its path as it bends the sheet
and i can touch you there
touch what i feel is you
in the spark of daylight
you'll rise
pull on the wrinkled shirt from last night
say something you think is beautiful
drink some coffee
from behind my paper
and drive away,
leaving a kiss on my lips
and a hole in my heart
where a fire ought to be

Favorite Films

  • The Wizard Of Oz
  • Amelie
  • The Princess Bride
  • Casablanca
  • Annie Hall
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • All That Jazz
  • Citizen Kane
  • Love Actually
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Big Fish
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Almost Famous
  • Bull Durham
  • Notting Hill
  • Apocalypse Now (Redux)
  • Magnolia

All-Time Favorite TV Shows

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Gilmore Girls
  • M*A*S*H
  • The West Wing
  • The X-Files
  • The Daily Show
  • Ally McBeal
  • Picket Fences
  • All In The Family
  • Seinfeld
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  • Star Trek
  • Firefly
  • Wonderfalls
  • Northern Exposure
  • Get Smart
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show
  • Twin Peaks
  • The Larry Sanders Show
  • Monk
  • Felicity
  • St. Elsewhere

Current TV Shows I Enjoy (in no particular order)

  • Perception
  • Major Crimes
  • American Horror Story
  • Louie
  • Suits
  • The Newsroom
  • Falling Skies
  • Franklin and Bash
  • Veep
  • Scandal
  • Fairly Legal
  • Girls
  • Don't Trust the B---
  • Justified
  • Portlandia
  • Psych
  • The Middle
  • Person of Interest
  • Happy Endings
  • Hart of Dixie
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
  • Nikita
  • Raising Hope
  • Castle
  • Drop Dead Diva
  • Covert Affairs
  • Elementary
  • Rizzoli and Isles
  • Revolution
  • The Last Resort
  • Alphas
  • SNL
  • Revenge
  • Community
  • Suburgatory
  • New Girl
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Grimm
  • Nashville
  • Downton Abbey
  • Smash
  • Homeland
  • Fringe
  • Glee
  • Haven
  • Community
  • Warehouse 13
  • Modern Family
  • Vampire Diaries
  • The Daily Show
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • The Colbert Report
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Leverage
  • Rachel Maddow Show

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