Tuesday, November 04, 2008

It Wasn't An Election, It Was An Intervention

Rest of the world, it's o.k., we're back on our meds. The prodigal nation has returned.

Random thoughts about the election:

Obama won in large part because he ran a different sort of campaign in so many ways:

(1) No drama. Discipline. The focus was always on Obama and never on the inside of the organization. Additionally, he was never dramatic in the debates, but rather cool and steady and that gave him his teflon against the "he's so scary" and "he's naive" attacks because he seemed incredibly in control and reasonable.

(2) His people included precious few of the standard issue D.C. insider consultants who only know how to effectively lose to Republicans. The Democratic party has been the Washington Generals of American politics for the last two decades. He used his own people and brought in a new mindset.

(3) He played smarter, not just harder. He beat McCain the same way he beat Clinton -- he figured out how to play the game according to the rules. His team figured out that if he did well in caucus states during the primaries, he could get an insurmountable lead. Similarly, that he could lock up a number of votes by working states the have early voting. These are people who are strategic.

But there are others who played a huge role. Obama could not have done what he did if it was not for Howard Dean. In his own run in 2004, Dean's supporters created the web infrastructure that Obama's people stepped in and supercharged. His run also galvanized the anti-institutional wing of the Democratic party which turned en masse against Hilary who represented the old (loser) guard of the Democratic party. Once he was made head of the Democratic National Committee, he turned the party from a 17 state party that only focused on safe very blue regions and sucked money from state parties into D.C. to only focus on top of the ticket national races into a 50 state party that send money from D.C. into places Democrats had never been seen in order to run for everything from dog catcher on up.

Hilary Clinton was another whose contributions can't be overlooked. Her campaigning may have done a little, but it is nothing compared to what her kitchen sink, refuse to die primary run did. It gave Obama all the calluses, used up all the negative attacks the GOP could have thrown, making them all old news. It allowed him to set up and test his ground game in all 50 states and gave him early databases full of ardent supporters who could then be tapped in the general to lead the get out the vote efforts. Hilary's never ending campaign worked as a tough practice scrimmage for the Obama organization, who could then look at all the parts and see what needed tweaking and what ran smoothly.

The contribution of Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, George W., and the religious right in general cannot be overlooked. Dover, Katrina, and the lack of WMDs in Iraq undd everything Rove worked so hard to do. Reagan and Clinton won by winning both their respective bases and the middle. Gore and Kerry tried to do the same, but Rove decided to simply eliminate the middle, forcing a complete split in the electorate with the idea that their half is more likely to vote. The country was intentionally and incredibly divided for the purpose of electing Republicans. The utter failure of Bush's reign which was predicated upon Rove's notion that you don't have to govern if you just continually campaign (and campaign negatively) undid the divide by making the center so disgusted by both the tone of the campaigning and the incompetence of the administration that they reappeared in a way that left them open to a great Democratic candidate.

Finally, there was also Steve Schmidt and John McCain who ran an incoherent campaign based on tricks and tactics. They did virtually nothing with the five weeks after his nomination while Obama and Clinton battled it out. That's not to mention the Palin selection. Aside from that, they ran the same exact campaign as Clinton did: experience, then experience to bring change, then I'm a fighter, then kitchen sink. It didn't work the first time and it didn't work the second time.

Other election issues:

Abortion ballot initiative aborted in South Dakota, but damned homophobic ballot measures pass, even in California. Culture War not pulling the troops out all together, but apparently putting reinforcements on bringing out Jim Crow's gay child, Jamie Crow.

Tim Mahoney, the adulterous lying scumbag that took Tom Foley's seat in Florida, lost big. That's a good thing.

Liddy Dole goes down. Thank God for Godless Americans.

Chris Shays, the last Republican representative in New England, is gone. Maybe now the GOP will see the wisdom of the Endangered Species Act.

Neo-McCarthyist Michelle Bachman looks to have destroyed El Tinklinberg's bid to become the first member of Congress to have a name that sounds like a Jewish-Mexican character from Peter Pan.

Got phone polled by one of the big pollsters last night during the returns. All the usual questions, except one: "How often do you shop at WalMart?" Very interesting.

Looking like Ted Stevens was re-elected AFTER his seven count felony conviction for corruption. Apparently salmon is not the only thing that gets smoked up there.