Brad Delong pointed to Matt Yglesias who pointed to a map the NY Times provided to illustrate where the events of the last 8 years caused an increase in Republican votes rather than the much more logical reverse. And as it was passed from link to link each writer made important observations about the meaning of such a map. Of course, it is not a pattern owing to the last 8 years or to the accomplishments of the Bush league but to the prospect of the alternative leadership that sprang up in response. I don't have to be worried about being fired from my writing job so let me spell out its significance in stark and few words: A large factor in McCain's loss is that N0. Nigrastan has shrunken. Palin may not know where Africa is and the benighted denizens of No. Nigrastan have voted their certainty that it could not produce the father of a man of presidential stature. When she comes back out of the woodwork in 2012, Palin should definitely run for president of this disgraceful and irrelevant new enclave.
Why would the Barbie Doll of necon fantasies go into the woodwork after such a bang up job on the Republican ticket? Nothing to wear. And those Republican lawyers were also looking for her integrity but they will just have to settle for the clothes.
I too thought this video was funny. After such a desperately needed victory, the wind naturally goes out of your sails a bit. My serious expectation is that MoveOn members will strive to be a conscience for the president Obama as much as they did to be supporters of candidate Obama. It does mean we will have less to do than under Bush.
There have been some good comments or perhaps self congratulating from quite a few bloggers that new media has made for a new kind of political campaign. I agree. It has gotten harder to make lies stick when anyone with google and a blog can rebut.
And lastly, some digs at a few of the pundits who write stuff I actually read.
Thom Friedman frequently says things I agree with and says them well:
And somewhere they also knew that after the abysmal performance of the Bush team, there had to be consequences for the Republican Party. Electing McCain now would have, in some way, meant rewarding incompetence. It would have made a mockery of accountability in government and unleashed a wave of cynicism in America that would have been deeply corrosive.
Bush & Co. did not believe that government could be an instrument of the common good. They neutered their cabinet secretaries and appointed hacks to big jobs. For them, pursuit of the common good was all about pursuit of individual self-interest.
My problem with Mr Friedman is when he says things. For a guy who purports to have his fingers on the pulse of our economic culture firmly enough to project its trends, I find it suspicious that he is only now saying things about the Bush League you could have read from Atrios, or Josh Marshall seven years ago. Turn around and watch where you are going Thom.
David Brooks is a different case. I give him good marks for consistency. He always says a few clued in things and then blunts his insight with some sort of conservative blinders that nothing will remove from in front of his vision. Today he claims to know the "meaning" of the election results and to know where the voters are coming from:
The administration of my dreams understands where the country is today. Its members know that, as Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center put it on “The NewsHour,” “This was an election where the middle asserted itself.” There was “no sign” of a “movement to the left.”
I fear he may have a reasonable fix on the center of gravity of the electorate's sentiments but in typical Brooks fashion, he proceeds to talk as if that is where they should be and bowing to their unenlightened views would be the right course. No, David, its not like that. We are so very fucked up because a 30 year reign of Republicans and a few Democrats thought they were governing as your essay dreams: a little to the right of the sacred cow of centrist appeasing. You are looking at a sacred cheeseburger right now. Your thinking grinds to a useless halt in a pit of vagueness when you approach the matter of how bad things really are right now:
Most of all, they’ll take significant action on the problems facing the country without causing a mass freak-out among voters to the right of Nancy Pelosi.Significant action but not enough new ideas to ruffle any one's feathers? Yeah, right. In the Obama administration of MY dreams, an inspirational message some how finally soaks in for each of us to take more responsible portions of the cost of paying our debts, living and governing within our environmental and economic means and admitting our place in the world is peer, not master. It will ruffle quite a few feathers if our sense of worry, pain and neediness, which has been used to convince us we need not share more with our neighbors, is flipped and shown to have grown upon us precisely because of how routinely disconnected and selfish we have been with our neighbors.
A far better essay from Mr Brooks was his previous NY Times piece. He said hard words about the broken promise and political underachievement of the spoiled generation we call the baby boom...the Not So Great Generation as I call them. In keeping with his need to mar every good thought he has, Brooks emphasizes the wealth of Obama's backers and ignores how much of his record breaking campaign fund came from nobodies like yours truly. I share Brook's dismay at the frittering away of the spiritual capital with which my generation seemed to roar in the 60's but which eventually climbed into an SUV and drove off to a McMansion in the suburbs where it only voted its fears and stood only for its entitlement to ignorance and uninvolvement.
But much as I agree with Brooks' dire words about how ill prepared this nation is to finally start paying for its necessary services just at a time when we have burnt all our surpluses, I think he is utterly clueless about what a "liberal" response to scarcity entails.
We’re probably entering a period, in other words, in which smart young liberals meet a stone-cold scarcity that they do not seem to recognize or have a plan for.
They say heaven and hell are identical: Infinite banquet tables where endless rows of souls sit facing each other across a sumptuous spread of food. And in both heaven and hell, the people are manacled in an interesting way that locks their arms straight at the elbows. Every motion is possible except bringing their hands to their mouths. In hell the sullen rows of people complain and starve. In heaven, they simply spoon food into each other's mouths. The difference between plenty and scarcity is as much about our willingness to share as it is about the amount of our provisions.