November 4, 2008

Election Night

I voted, as always, and if you're an American, I hope you did, too. I'm going to an election party tonight with a politically mixed crowd of my closest friends. We are not going to yell at each other about politics, not even tonight. That's just not something we do.

This is a foreign correspondence blog, and I don't want to get bogged down in polarizing domestic American politics, at least not on the front page. But this election is important, so I'm starting an open thread in the comments.

Who did you vote, and why?

If you do leave a comment, please be nice to those who voted a different way than you did. And remember to feel relieved that we have peaceful transitions of power in this country. In some of the countries I visit and report from, that isn't always the case. Politics elsewhere is sometimes a question of who lives and who dies.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at November 4, 2008 6:08 PM
Comments

I did not vote, and do not as a matter of principal. I can't support the platform of either major party, and third parties have a notoriously difficult time getting on the ballot in Oklahoma due to the tough ballot-access laws.

I figure that the country is equally screwed no matter who wins, since the principle "primum non nocere" has never apparently occurred to any politician and any purported crisis will always result in bad, hastily crafted government policies as a result.

Posted by: John Jenkins Author Profile Page at November 4, 2008 6:36 PM

"Politics elsewhere is sometimes a question of who lives and who dies."

The difference is the system under which we have lived. The system is being changed...elections stolen by Acorn and thugs...a dysfunctional press/investigative function and an electorate that's been sold on unrealistic expectations.

We may yet find ourselves in the same situation that others have. We are not inherently better than they, and what can happen "there" can happen here as well.

Posted by: rascalfair Author Profile Page at November 4, 2008 6:37 PM

I've been a McCain fan for a long time (my second choice in the primary, but a close second), and voted for him. Of course, being from Oregon, I figure it cancels out a vote for Obama in Utah.

I'm... concerned... about the next four years. I do believe that Obama is a lot more leftist than he's claimed to be during the general election campaign, and with a Democrat controlled Congress, I can see a lot of real damage on the horizon.

BUT. I remember that in 1992, a lot of people said the same thing about Clinton, and he ended up being pretty moderate. To the left, but certainly nothing approaching a socialist. I hope this ends up being the same kind of situation. The country is a centrist country, when it comes right down to it (as it logically has to be), and that may be enough to hold any sense of hubris in check. If not, then you'll see a nasty snap back to the Republicans, like you saw in 1994.

As an aside, one interesting point made recently by Victor Davis Hanson was that effectively, the Democrats have conceded the campaign finance reform issue as non-essential, probably forever. In this election, money was surely a factor, but it wasn't on the Republican's side. Personally, I'm not sure if I think this is good or bad, but it'll be awfully difficult for any Democrat to really pursue this issue any time in the near future without looking like a fool. The Dems have made their deal with the dollar for this election.

The Republic, as it has for over 200 years, will stand. Still, I'm loading up on some Jameson tonight.

Posted by: jasonholliston Author Profile Page at November 4, 2008 7:36 PM

So now that Obama has won, isn’t it time it to ask ourselves the question:
“Maybe Bush wasn’t a fascist after all?” I mean, it’s a pretty darn milk-and-water sort of fascism that hands over power to its ideological opponents.

(I should note right now that this e-mail is not aimed at anyone in particular. Rather, it’s just me sharing my thoughts on this question with anyone—of whatever stripe—who takes an interest in politics)

But really, maybe it just means that Bush was simply a shitkicker Texas politician who a lot of us disagreed with about many issues—but who a lot more Americans agreed with in 2000 and 2008. That doesn't mean he didn’t make some really bad decisions. Clearly he did. But it does mean he didn’t subvert the democratic process, because if he had, Obama would not even have been nominated, much less won. (I know, I know, there’s still the theoretical possibility that something will “happen” between now and Inauguration Day to make me eat my words. But I’d be willing to bet very large sums of money, right now, that Obama will take the oath of office as scheduled. Any takers?)

If nothing else it’s a welcome reminder to all political aficionados, Left and Right, to beware of rhetorical excess. (Remember the 90s, when all the right-wing talk shows had “proof” that Bill and Hillary Clinton had murdered Vince Foster? Remember the 80s, when the Left knew of a certainty that Reagan was a lunatic who had already decided in favor of preemptive thermonuclear war?)

If we devalue the language of politics by excess, what words will remain with which to describe the for-real monsters, if and when they come along?

Posted by: miguelj Author Profile Page at November 4, 2008 7:54 PM

Felt McCain has no ideas on how to deal with the economy; and Obama has bad ones. Both pander to radical environmentalists, and illegal immigrants. Both accepted kickbacks from Fannie and Freddie and are hip deep in the Wall Street mess. Both essentially tried to buy the electorate with tax money.

I would not have voted at all except for Sarah Palin. I liked her policies and personality a lot.

Posted by: jaimeshawn Author Profile Page at November 4, 2008 9:30 PM

Obama. He is the President for our time. I pray with conservatives (who pray and who don't pray) and liberals, and all Americans, for safety and prosperity for ourselves and those who look to us for help and hope.

Posted by: TomEG Author Profile Page at November 4, 2008 9:43 PM

I enthusiastically and proudly voted for John McCain.

The reason: Character . When almost everyone else had cut and run, and the Democrats were trying to force our troops out of Iraq, and to abandon the Iraqi people to a genocidal war, John McCain stood his ground and fought for our troops and for the Iraqi people. This was a courageous and valorous act on the part of John McCain, as public opinion had sharply shifted against the war. John McCain had fought to stay the course and was quickly proven to be right.

On the other hand Obama made a name for himself with the extreme left wing of the Democratic party when he opposed the Iraq war during the early part of his successful run for the US Senate seat in Illinois. The extreme left saw in this man an opportunity to undermine GWB, who they intensely hated. Mr. Obama expertly exploited the situation and parleyed this into a Senate seat and ultimately into the nomination for President of the United States. I do not believe for a second that Mr. Obama had a principled stand against the Iraq war. He simply saw this as an opportunity and he took it.

Regarding the charge that he is a socialist, Mr. Obama has admitted on a number of occasions that he favors income redistribution. This of course is a key tenet of Marxism.

Fortunately for all of us, Mr. Obama will be constrained by the constitution, and will be unable to foist a socialist revolution upon us. Nonetheless, I have no doubt that he intends us much mischief.

Posted by: mcmill1599 Author Profile Page at November 4, 2008 10:33 PM

I feel a great sadness tonight. I don't give in to the anger I've been carrying anymore; it just eats away at me, to no good end. I'm guessing there are celebrations all over the world tonight, in places I wouldn't feel safe or welcome.

Time to cinch that seatbelt even tighter; heavy turbulence ahead.

Posted by: Paul S. Author Profile Page at November 4, 2008 10:56 PM

I voted for McCain here in Washington state (right across the river from you Michael). I am a Christian conservative and McCain was the only real choice left. I will be praying for our country tonight. Storms ahead.

Posted by: Jamon51 Author Profile Page at November 4, 2008 11:05 PM

I recall somewhat similar circumstances surrounding the election of JFK. His inexperience, his apparent softness in declining to support at critical moments the Bay of Pigs invasion in early 1961 (despite the fact he had ambivalently permitted it to proceed), his inexperience and apparent softness in meeting without preconditions Khrushchev in Vienna in June 1961 to negotiate the fate of divided Berlin and the end of the Cold War,led Khrushchev to risk loading Cuba with nuclear missiles as an offset to America's missiles in Turkey and elsewhere around the "contained" periphery of the then Soviet Union. In October 1962, Khrushchev backed off in the face of an inexperienced, unpredictable, and seemingly reckless American President who was willing to risk global nuclear war.

Well, don't we just love a winner. JFK is seen in the US as the heroic winner, but he only won a conflict which his own lackings caused to occur in the first place. Khrushchev was forced to choose the fate of mankind, not Kennedy. Kennedy is the one who threatened war after learning of the missiles being readied in Cuba, and thus made that risk real. Khrushchev chose not to take that risk when Kennedy raised the stakes. It makes for a great dramatic story to hypothesize that war was imminent and Kennedy refused to blink in its face, but it's only favorable to JFK if one ignores what caused the events to come to that point in the first place. This isn't news. Real International Relations professionals understand this. Khrushchev hadn't threatened global nuclear war when the Soviet Union was encircled with nuclear missiles. He rationally thought to offset and neutralize that encirclement by posting threatening missiles in Cuba as a tit for tat. You bet he did it secretly. Who wouldn't? But Kennedy made a case that sincerely persuaded him that America believed only the US could unilaterally threaten another nation state along its borders with nuclear missiles.

It's not particularly productive these days to debate the missile gap, but it is worth remembering that America posited a huge offensive imbalance in favor of the Soviets when there was in fact no such advantage. Military actions (not invasions) were taken that might not otherwise have been justified or accepted. It was a long time before anyone suggested this was a case of falsely claiming the existence of WMDs.

In the sense that Biden suggested, I fear that Obama's inexperience will lead to adventurism around the globe and will ignite the Middle East, not to mention that it might likely raise the risk of adventurism in each and every hot spot around the globe.

I don't fear a healthy difference of opinion. But that's not what we have. We're dramatically, severely, polarized. Just travel to a different region and try to discuss issues. It can't be done safely and courteously. If you are Republican and go to a Democratic state or are Democratic and go to a Republican state, your views will be so disrespected that you can not comfortably discuss them. Each separate region has a contagion of mono-philosophy that excludes the validity of any other view.

It's astounding and frightening to encounter this rabid divisiveness. The thing that has made America work smoothly in contrast to other "democracies" has been the notion of tolerance of simultaneous divergent views, not a rigid adherence to domination of a numerical minority by a numerical majority. But we have slipped from that state of tolerance, a state in which one holds a belief but recognizes fallibility and so recognizes the possibility that a different belief might also be correct, into one of antagonism in which only one's own belief can be correct and those holding other views are despicable lunatics. While not military civil war, this is surely civil schism. In American Political Science theory, this notion of divergent simultaneously tolerated opinions is referred to as "Pluralism." I think it's on its deathbed. That's a shame, because it is what distinguishes us from almost all other Democracies, and it is what makes our have the possible capacity to last for a very long time.

I voted for McCain, not because I think he is wonderful and all-knowing, and will never need to have a VP succeed him, but because I fear Obama is a target-rich opportunity that will entice our rivals to risk the world's safety by testing him in areas in which he has no experience and no sufficiently sound grounding principles.

I think this guy is clever gas, not solid, and that he's going to be exposed at our general expense, and possibly at great expense to the world as a whole. I think he will be a vindictive winner. I think he harbors far more anger than love, and can't wait to harm those with whom he disagrees.

I think we just sacrificed a lot of hard effort and lost a decade - and that's if we're lucky.

-Doug

Posted by: DougK Author Profile Page at November 5, 2008 1:07 AM

Doug's observations, "clever gas" and "a vindictive winner", square with what I've gotten from the psychiatric literature's descriptions of the dark side of the narcissistic personality; ingratiate to acquire the attention craved for, but with a cold, resentful rage lurking below fueled by a conviction of entitlement. Otto Kernberg's "Borderline Conditions and Pathological Narcissism" isn't scintillating bedtime reading, but it started my examination of this all too prevalent phenomenon---with the potential for poisonous consequences for others that it holds.

Paul S.

Posted by: Paul S. Author Profile Page at November 5, 2008 2:37 AM

Hi -

Voted for McCain. Absentee ballot from Michigan.

I've actually met the man when I lived in DC back in the late 1980s, through friends and invitations to DC events. We talked once for about 10 minutes on what happens after the Soviets collapse (this was 1988!).

I voted because it's a civic responsibility to do so. Not voting is not an option, as a vote can be as much against someone as for someone else: one of the key advantages to voting the way we do is that you can indeed vote someone out of office.

Of course, you may get someone that isn't any better, but in hindsight, that happens a lot anyway.

Why did I vote this way? I'm an economist and I live in Germany, which means that I've seen how things work in oh-so-wonderful Europe, the Europe that many in the US hold up as superior and better.

It ain't. No way no how and that six ways to Tuesday.

I voted against Obama's economic policies: how anyone can seriously propose the things he does (bankrupting anyone burning coal for one, but it doesn't stop there) and be honest is beyond me. Just like I can't understand how anyone in Germany can vote for the successor party to the thugs that ran East Germany (called Die Linke or "The Left" here). People do, though, and it's depressing.

I voted for McCain's character. Looking at Obama, I don't see anyone at home. There's no there, there.

No one is prepared for the White House and the pressures it brings: I'd rather have a man with a forthright and above all upright character than the smartest man on the playing field. Above all, a president has to do the right thing at the right time: as history has repeatedly empirically proven, being smart doesn't mean you make those decisions (and arguably leads you astray at the worst possible time).

But, as I say on my blog (click on my name to go there), he's my President and I will support him.

But I will not be blindly obedient.

Watching the nattering sycophants on CNN this morning, it seems that the view already is that bipartisan now means his way or the highway.

Oh, and I spent six years living on the South Side of Chicago and until the 4th grade I was the only white kid in my class. I found the argument that you were racist if you didn't support Obama to be profoundly disgusting. There has been a lot of political activity in this election that has brought back to me time and time again why I am no longer a Democrat.

Posted by: John F. Opie Author Profile Page at November 5, 2008 3:18 AM

I voted for Bob Barr, since my vote didn't matter here in New York, and he (or at least the Libertarian Party) was the closest thing to a small-government advocate on the ballot. Not that I agree with their absolutist position on Iraq, though.

The worse news for those of us here in New York is that the Democrats won a majority in the State Senate. Not that New York Republicans favored limited government, but the ratchet effect will be much faster with what is effectively one-party rule.

Posted by: Ted S., Catskills, NY Author Profile Page at November 5, 2008 4:29 AM

I voted for McCain because I like my job.

Posted by: RipRip Author Profile Page at November 5, 2008 4:55 AM

Barack Obama will become the 44th US President on 20 January, 2009 (Inauguration).

I had a nice lunch today, and it came up that for many blacks, the US election is proof that anybody can become president.
(You do have to born an American citizen – Arnold Schwarzenegger can be governor, but not president. My kids could.)

Here’s an interesting note on this, by a woman who’s 109. Daughter of a slave.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=96581933

I voted by absentee ballot for McCain.
I fear Iran getting a bomb, and Tel Aviv being nuked; I’m pro-life.

I’m glad America is such a great country – tho imperfect.
I’m also happy in Slovakia; after coming here in 1991 to support the Free Market.
(I root for Slovakia over the US in ice hockey)

I'd guess, Michael, that your wife was pretty happy to vote Obama. I sincerely hope my fears about the terrorist response to his victory don't come true.

Cheers,
Tom

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad Author Profile Page at November 5, 2008 7:55 AM

I voted for Obama, for a variety of reasons.

Because foreign armed intervention is occasionally neccessary but consistently overused and carrying poorly understood negative conseequences.

Because cross-national COIN sucessess are very rare and occupations prone to collapse, and we need to hand over power in Iraq, where we have already maximized what realistic gains could be achieved, which I will never feel were morally justified against the crushing tragedies that occured.

Because Afghanistan and Pakistan, despite the two prior points, are very dangerous situations, where an understanding needs to be reached, and Barack Obama is focused on the real danger spots, not on political symbolism.

Because income inequality in America has exploded and because yawning income inequality leads to social, political, and economic collapse as surely as the sun rises in the east. There's a reason why every first-world country on earth redistributes wealth.

Because free-markets are a useful engine of growth, but prone to catastrophic self-destruction, like most complex forms of social organization, and require aggressive regulation to survive, which the Republican party has never understood in the whole of its existence.

Because gay people should be free.

Because I don't like the ugly tools of anti-intellectualism, smear campaigns of anti-americanism, and so on.

Because guilt by association is inherently error-prone and therefore an immoral and vaccuous argument, on its own, failing to appreciate the complexity of the human psyche.

Because the US defense budget has reached insane excesses.

Because Barack Obama will protect social security and install a national health-insurance system that will protect millions of americans from stupid, avoidable, financial and medical tragedies.

Because a single additional republican supreme court justice ran the risk of validating genuinely dangerous legal theories of executive branch supremacy, theories that led to the worst human rights abuses and violations of law that occured under president bush. I am a Democrat who hopes that Barack Obama will roll back the power of the Presidency in certain key respects.

There's my list.

Posted by: glasnost Author Profile Page at November 5, 2008 8:37 AM

I proudly voted for John McCain. He has been my choice from the day he announced. He is by far the most courageous and finest patriot this country has produced. His life and his views have been transparent from the very beginning of his long and distinguished career. There is truly no comparison when you size him up against his opponent. Ask yourself, where has Obama been and what has he done? I have looked long and hard--and I can not find anything. What I did find, disturbed me. He popped up out of nowhere and started running for national offices. When asked about his liasons, or credentials or policies, the stock answer has been to accuse the inquisitor that they were trying to distract us all from the real issues. People who asked the hard questions were ostrasized. His less than transparent past has always been and will remain a deep concern for me. I never got the answers that I needed to trust this man. I feel like he may be that "Manchurian Candidate"--waiting for a signal to "change" our America as we know it. It is an intuitive feeling that I just can't seem to shake an my intuition has generally been spot on. I pray I am wrong--but I will not be blinded by some fancy rhetoric. Obama will not be "my president" until he earns my trust. America voted for "Change". well it is here folks-and I hope we don't regret it.

Posted by: Michele Eileen Author Profile Page at November 5, 2008 9:23 AM

Well, we non-Americans aren't allowed to vote in your elections, and we really should keep our big noses out of it. Except that you are the biggest dog on the block, and what you do affects us all, so there is a natural interest. As the late Pierre E. Trudeau said, "Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt."

What I see is a hell of a lot of excitement at the hope of a return of a truly great America under competent leadership once more, and a gratefulness that the first great democracy in the world has worked its magic yet again.

A good roundup of global reaction here. And in at least this corner of Canada, a lot of morning smiles and people whispering "President Obama".

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at November 5, 2008 9:56 AM

Re Bush:

I did not vote for Bush either election but looking back I just don't think he was as 'evil' or as dumb as he was portrayed. He has his vision of the world--agree or disagree--and I think he relies on advisers and decides major issues making him look like a dummy when details are presented. That style is not necessarily bad, they are 192 nations and USA has interests in more than half of them, and then there is the economy, crime etc etc. so no one person can know it all.

I think Iraq was a bad move, and so was the debt piling but then he probably thought Iraq was going to be easy and once in, you can't just leave.

As years go by I think his popularity will increase and he will be remembered as an idealist, maybe a misguided one but that he meant well. At home he was from a conservative so he did fool them with the "compassionate conservative" line.

Posted by: nameless-fool Author Profile Page at November 5, 2008 11:10 AM

I voted for McCain due to my place in the whole rapmant capitalist/mindless socialist axis. However, the beauty of our system is that elections are really less significant than they seem. In 4 years, we do this again. Unless Obama is really able (as too many of the right have been claiming) to institutionalize voter fraud, he will have to rest on his achievements. More power to him.

This election stood out for me for a very singular reason. I went to vote early in the morning, and found a massive line waiting for me. So I went ahead and went to work instead. During the work day, a cold rain began falling.

One of my coworkers was joking with me through the day. She supported Obama, and I was demanding tribute to not leave work and vote. (Specifically almond joy chocolate bars..)

I vote in Virginia... and she knows I'd vote for McCain. Still, she offered me candy if, instead of staying out of the rain, I actually went out, and voted for the "other" guy.

So, I went out, climed up a massive broken escalator at the local metro station, (I had heart surgery earlier this year) stood in the cold rain, and voted.

And when I came in to work this morning, she had a bag of candy waiting for me.

We'll be just fine. The things that unify us are greater than those that separate us.

Posted by: Kelley_309 Author Profile Page at November 5, 2008 11:55 AM

I have enjoyed the comments above and would like to add the following:

I voted for McCain and I voted for him for a variety of reasons and, frankly, many of those reasons have been well articulated above. However, I would like to add that I voted for him because he has faced failure, yes failure. It is in the crucible of failure we see our character, raw and unadulterated. McCain has faced and experienced failure many times and has come through it quite successfully.

Being the President of the United States gives one ample opportunity to fail and experience betrayal, even when they may not have been the cause of it. Obama is now our President elect and my concern is that his rise has been so rapid he has never had to taste the bitter brew that will become a daily staple of his day. Many of our Presidents have entered their term(s) with the fresh glow of hope only to age incredibly by the end.

There have been many "true believers" who have voted for Obama. They can become disillusioned very easily. Good luck sir, you have achieved your dream.

Posted by: Chris in Tulsa Author Profile Page at November 5, 2008 12:40 PM

This election was a great contrast to the last one. Instead of having to choose between two incompetent and insufferable candidates, I could choose between two candidates who were likable, competent and qualified.

Since our foreign policy is mostly determined by the entrenched, malign gargoyles of the state department, and since both the right and the left appease and use various terror-supporters, there were only two issues that mattered.

1. Who was capable of taking sensible actions to deal with Iran or Russia?

2. Whose policies could help us dismantle the outmoded oil economy and help develop new frontiers in tech?

Neither candidate had any good ideas about dealing with Iran and Russia, but most high-tech and alternate energy leaders seemed to agree that Obama's proposed policies would be better for them in the long run. The only way out of our current economic problems is to concentrate on our strengths, innovation and pragmatism. Since education is an important part of our future, Obama's proposed financial support of the 'no child left behind' program was also a plus.

So I changed from a 9/11 neocon into a T. Boone Pickens democrat (RINO to DINO?). But, no matter who is elected, the solution to our problems won't come from the Washington bureaucracy. They'll come from Seattle, Mojave and Silicon Valley. This election was such a success, it's time to use that as inspiration to concentrate on the important stuff.

Posted by: maryatexitzero Author Profile Page at November 5, 2008 1:23 PM

McCain, and very sad that we have elected a person that I believe is a Socalist.

DPU, I would prefer that you keep your Canadian opinion to yourself on this topic.

Posted by: rsnyder Author Profile Page at November 5, 2008 1:44 PM

DPU, I would prefer that you keep your Canadian opinion to yourself on this topic.

I could not care less what you would prefer or not prefer.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at November 5, 2008 3:15 PM
Regarding a discussion we had a few days back: I said -
I do believe that they enjoy portraying the US as a racist imperialist power though, and reap the benefits from those who buy into that portrait. An Obama presidency will put a dent in that, at least for a while.
This wasn't put well, and caused some other discussions. Today, FP Passport says essentially the same thing, but with better words:
Iran, as I mentioned yesterday, is holding its own presidential election next June. With Obama -- an African-American bearing the middle name Hussein who has spoken openly of his intention to negotiate -- in the White House, it will be far more difficult for extremists to demonize the United States, at least at first. This puts incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, already losing his grip on the Iranian parliament, at a clear disadvantage and may "breathe life into Iran's opposition reform camp," as former Iranian Vice President Mohammad Ali Abtahi hopes.
Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at November 5, 2008 3:29 PM

"DPU, I would prefer that you keep your Canadian opinion to yourself on this topic."

Give me a break. Or DPU, more specifically.

As Americans, we have one of the greatest neighbors in Canada. We have disagreements in social and foreign policy certainly, but they cover our politics with great enthusiasm while we barely acknowledge their elections in our media.

One of the most truly patriotic moments I've had was watching an NHL game north of the border, and finding myself singing the Canadian National Anthem with 19,000 other people, after very respectfully performing (and singing to, while perhaps not as loudly because our anthem is hard as hell to sing) ours right beforehand.

Posted by: jon r Author Profile Page at November 5, 2008 3:57 PM

...while perhaps not as loudly because our anthem is hard as hell to sing) ours right beforehand.

What's really weird is that I know all the words to the US anthem, and I don't know all the words to the Canadian one. Even all the English words.

I do know most of the words to the Molson's commercials though.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at November 5, 2008 4:11 PM

Very occasional poster here.

I voted for McCain. He's not as conservative as I'd like, but he was the best of the pack to choose from imo. I have disagreements with some of the things that he's done over the years, but sometimes you just have to hold your nose and vote - because the choice you're making doesn't seem to be as bad to you as the choice that you're not making.

There's a lot about Obama that seriously concerns and worries me. But at the same time we simply don't know much at all for certain about him. So it's time to withhold judgement until I can start to figure out what he plans to do and how he plans to go about achieving his goals.

And despite my concerns, there's no denying the fact that his win was a significant one from a racial point of view. In quite a few of the nations around the world (including many that we call friends), a member of a racial minority winning the highest office in the land through popular acclaim would simply be unthinkable. The fact that a man who is a member of what was a heavily oppressed minority forty years ago can win the highest office in the most powerful nation on Earth is a good thing.

I may have misgivings about the man, but at the same time I'm happy for the African-Americans in my country.

The other person of interest in this election is, of course, Sarah Palin. While I like her, I suspect that she had her debut too early. The story is that she was a last moment pick (when McCain almost too late realized that the conservative base would revolt if he picked Lieberman), and I think it shows. I think an extra couple of months of preparation would have made a huge difference in the way that she came across to the public. And I guess that she'll take a few years off (so to speak) running the state of Alaska. If she's interested in moving back onto the national stage, then she'll also spend that time picking up the things that she needs to know in order to effectively make the transition back to being a national contender. If and when she does return to the national stage, then she'll probably come across as someone much more forceful and effective than she did during this election cycle. I've seen comments from even those who disagree with her politically who think that she's someone worth watching who will be a very effective leader in the future if she chooses to be. It'll be interesting to see where her choices lead her.

And just because I've mentioned the other three...

Joe Biden. Good old Joe Biden. The guy who back in the vice presidential debates claimed (among many other fantastic and erroneous things) that the US and France kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon.

sigh

For Obama's sake, I hope the muzzle stays on good ol' Joe.

Posted by: junior Author Profile Page at November 5, 2008 5:20 PM

Jon R. -This post was started by MJT specifically asking Americans how they voted, and why. Not Canadians, though I would have bet a large sum that DPU would not be able to resist adding his comments.

Just sayin'.

Posted by: rsnyder Author Profile Page at November 5, 2008 6:04 PM

I don't mind at all if DPU wants to comment. He isn't a troll and is always welcome here. Yes, my question was directed toward Americans, but we all live on one planet, and our election affects most countries at least a little bit.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at November 5, 2008 6:53 PM

This post was started by MJT specifically asking Americans how they voted, and why. Not Canadians, though I would have bet a large sum that DPU would not be able to resist adding his comments.

I had no idea a Canadian expressing such interest in our politics, without being a total ass about it, was such a problem.

They stormed the beaches of Normandy with us, lost lives in Korea, Vietnam, and helped us in Afghanistan and Iraq. And of course, on the 49th parallel between WA and BC lies the peace arch reading "Children of a Common Mother".

If you don't like DPU, fine, I just found your post to contain a lot of vitriol towards our northern friend.

Posted by: jon r Author Profile Page at November 5, 2008 7:22 PM

If you don't like DPU, fine, I just found your post to contain a lot of vitriol towards our northern friend.

Ron's just a crabby guy who likes to try and kick people that he disagrees with in the groin. I'm wearing a cup, so I don't mind much. Thanks for the good word, Jon, and thanks for the support, Michael. I never object to outsiders commenting on Canadian politics, such as they are, and I can't imagine why anyone would object to the versa, as in this case.

For the record, I think the Republicans picked the best candidate (McCain) for the job. I've always admired him. Things got a bit rough in the campaign, but it was an uphill battle all the way for him, so I guess it was somewhat justifiable. I'm glad that he and Obama were both gracious about the outcome.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at November 5, 2008 10:27 PM

For everyone who is chewing on the same old canard about the experience/character of McCain, I have just two words...Sarah Palin. Obama, understanding that he was weak, or perceived as weak in the realm of foreign affairs, did the mature and rational thing and chose a seasoned veteran. McCain's appointment of Palin had all the maturity and wisdom of a college fraternity prank. He deserved to lose for that reason alone.

Living in Israel, I'd held out for McCain, for the rather primitivist reason that he would be the one to green light an attack on Iran. I switched because of growing disgust with the republican ticket, and also because I've become convinced that Israel's real existential threat now comes from within. But that's a discussion for another thread.

Posted by: MarkC Author Profile Page at November 5, 2008 10:50 PM

Late in the campaign I met people who assured me Obama would "Be a great President". Apparently based on his skin color. It really confused me, as what little we know about Obama seemed suspicious. They were all hyped up about it being "Historic". This is the code word for race these days.

Which means I didn't understand the campaign.

I do understand that Obama got 3 or 4 times as much money as McCain, and spent it on media. So the media did not complain about his fundraising, lest they lose their income.

The Middle East is hard for US Presidents to understand. Obama won't get it for several years. People who live in the Middle East have trouble understanding it. Now the Ayatollahs are going nuclear.

If the Ayatollahs want, they can start a nuclear war and Obama doesn't have the chops to stop them. I'd prefer to be wrong.

Posted by: Fred Author Profile Page at November 6, 2008 1:46 AM

Let's make this reeeel simple.

A candidate who withholds and seals EVERY single record or document about his past is up to no good.

An interesting question has occurred to me, that some genuine investigative reporter, should there be one left somewhere, could check easily:

Which of the Cabal, of Farrakhan, Wright, Ayers, Obama et al moved into that convenient Chicago neighborhood first, and invited the others to gather 'round (for coffee, birthday parties, and little chats)?

Posted by: Brian H Author Profile Page at November 6, 2008 1:51 AM

As far as doublepusugly goes, I'd like to apologize for his existence on behalf of all Canadians.

Posted by: Brian H Author Profile Page at November 6, 2008 1:56 AM

Fred: "If the Ayatollahs want, they can start a nuclear war and Obama doesn't have the chops to stop them. I'd prefer to be wrong."

Don't worry, mate. You are. Very.

Posted by: Microraptor Author Profile Page at November 6, 2008 2:23 AM

I voted for McCain. Never mind the reasons, election is over.

Today I hope Obama will be able to prove me wrong and if so I will give him my vote in 2012. It's a long shot, though.

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at November 6, 2008 5:06 AM

Heh, rather funny Brian.

Crabby, yeah, when my country votes for a man to be President that has, to the limited extent that we know the details of his life, exhibited behaviour that leads me to believe he will try to move our country to the extreme left.

Not to mention that it appears we have given the Democrat/Socialist party more power.

I am also quite aware of, and very much value, the friend that Canada is to our country. Heck, on of my first loves was a young lady from the UP of Michigan, and up there it is kind of being American, kind of being Canadian, at least from their perspective.

Come to think about it, I vaguely remember cheering for the Maple Leafs at a number of games in my youth before I had the great good sense to move to North Carolina!

I have no personal animosity towards DPU, though I disagree with many of his political persuasions and preferences.

For the Democratic Party, and the Old Guard media, BHO was The Chosen One and the facts did not matter.

Apologies for any who took offense at my comments.

Posted by: rsnyder Author Profile Page at November 6, 2008 5:34 AM

I voted for McCain not because he would be my first choice, but because he is not Obama. I think the great tragedy of this election is that Obama sold this country a bill of goods by promising to solve the world's problems, and most of America bought it. Unlike the last election when Democrats called those who voted for GWB, stupid, rednecks, etc., I will not reciprocate, but I will say that they were misled, and I can further say that it is easy to be misled when you don't perform any due diligence.

I will say that I hope that this world is kind to him, but history tells me that this is an unlikely outcome and that 'hope' is often a thin veil against reality. I have often asked people to read John Derbyshire's 2004 article, 'The Most Ancient Enemy' so that they understand that civilization has faced barbarism and tried diplomacy and appeasement before, and it has never worked.

http://www.nationalreview.com/derbyshire/derbyshire200405190902.asp

We have much at stake and I feel as though America has elected Mr. Obama to the office POTUS for the same reason you might elect him for president of the student council.

Posted by: Bailey Author Profile Page at November 6, 2008 6:21 AM

I voted for Bob Barr, the Libertarian. Our government is so wasteful and bloated that I can't take it anymore. It's turned into a huge business and service provider that has gotten away from actually governing, as witnessed in the financial collapse that was allowed to take place as well as the Katrina disaster.

However, I totally oppose the Libertarian's robotic, overly ideological view towards the Iraq situation. I think the commitment has already been made, like it or not, and we have to stablize the country. The irony is that Iraq has turned into a greater anti-Al Qaeda endeavor than the war in Afghanistan that was directly targeting them from the get-go!

One of the wrost aspects of this election IMO is how corrupt the bulk of the American media has become - it's definitely reached an all-time low now. Never in my life have I seen the media so openly cheerlead for a particular candidate (Obama). The man hasn't even decisively revealed his birth certificate to prove he was born in Hawaii but yet the media doesn't even question such things that should be very important. They are supposed to be the watchdogs helping keep an eye on politicians, but they're totally in the tank for the Democrats more than ever before. I am constantly bombarded with the idea of "diversity" throughout the business world, so I'd like to know when that concept is going to manifest itself in the American mainstream media.

If it were the other way around and the media were blind GOP supporters I'd feel the same way. It's bogus and we need a media revolution in this country.

I know this thread is about the election and the candidates, but one thing I've found truly fascinating is Bill Ayers. I was born in 1970 and never really heard of him until he became an issue in the media during the campaigning. I did some research on his history and am totally shocked and appalled by what I discovered.

How the hell is a guy like Ayers who unremorsefully committed wanton, naked acts of vandalism/terrorism employed at a prestigious institution like the University of Chicago, invited to serve on city boards, and heading community projects? Even if he couldn't be prosecuted for whatever reason, for all intensive purposes he should be virtually banned from holding any prominent position in society just as a convicted child molester would be.

I live in the Chicago area and am truly disgusted. My opinion of the University of Chicago is totally blown. They no longer have any credibility in my mind.

Posted by: Roast Chicken Author Profile Page at November 6, 2008 12:59 PM

Colin Powell summed up my reasons for voting for Barack Obama very well:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27265369/

With relevance to this blog, I also happen to think he has the intelligence and judgment to deal with our Mideast policies much more effectively than John McCain, who has proven reckless in many ways.

Posted by: DonS Author Profile Page at November 6, 2008 2:48 PM

I voted for Obama.

Initially, I was seriously considering McCain. Unfortunately, he picked Sarah Palin, and this forced me to change direction; putting a dangerously unqualified candidate (with a history of carrying out personal vendettas using the powers of her elected office) "a heartbeat away from the presidency" convinced me that McCain has horrible judgment.

My revised opinion was confirmed when McCain self-destructed during the financial meltdown - the man is incapable of managing in a crisis - and when I watched McCain fail to lead his own campaign, much less his party or the country, during the period that followed.

I still respect McCain for his individual heroism and his accomplishments, and I thought his concession speech was one of the classiest political speeches I have ever seen (where was THAT John McCain hiding in recent months?), but I feel no doubt whatsoever that I did the right thing.

Posted by: Or Yarok Author Profile Page at November 6, 2008 10:38 PM

I'm an Israeli that has been living in the US for the past ten years. I didn't vote because I still haven't gotten my citizen, but I supported Barack Obama. Despite what he said about Iran early on in his campaign and the way many Israelis perceive him, I believe Barack will actually be good for the situation in Israel/the Middle East because he's a pro-Jewish president with an Islamic name, though he is neither Jewish nor Muslim. I believe both sides would feel more comfortable with him as a mediator than any of the past presidents we've had. I also supported Barack on his healthcare, environmental, and taxing policies.

Posted by: beeaar Author Profile Page at November 6, 2008 11:07 PM

Glad that not just DPU and glasnost supported Obama here.
But this is not quite true:
"Because free-markets are a useful engine of growth, but prone to catastrophic self-destruction, like most complex forms of social organization, and require aggressive regulation to survive, which the Republican party has never understood in the whole of its existence."

Free Markets are prone to local, non-catastrophic, mis-investments. Like "too many houses" or "too many internet companies" or "too much $150/bbl oil". But just before the "too many", there was not enough, which increases both the price and the supply, while reducing the demand. And before the too many, nobody is sure how many will be too many.

All investors are speculators. When one invests in $150/bbl oil, just before it drops to below $70/bbl, one loses one's money. Or in dot.com companies, or in houses.
This is what Democrats don't understand.
Democrats say they want to avoid the mis-investments, thru regulation.
Republicans in power know about the market tendancy, and about the Dem desire to regulate.

So Reps talk about the dynamic advantages of the market, while accepting some Dem inspired regulation -- and then pervert the regulations to make it easier for the rich to stay rich, or for the taxpayers to pay for the mis-investment.

Fannie Mae, the Government Supported Enterprise was NOT free market. It's political cover, accepting sub-prime mortgages, was NOT free market.
And the taxpayer bailout is obviously not free market -- I at first supported slightly, but now strongly oppose the bailout for the Big Banks.

McCain's failure in the first debate to attack Obama's dishonest/ ignorant characterization of the financial mess as "free market" caused was extremely annoying to me.

Like newspapers, there are too many banks and bankers -- a 'depression' is coming in those industries. The bailout is now to be used to pay Big Bank bonuses (for bozos who bumbled).

A GREAT strength of the free market is the correct rewards for investment -- profit for good investment, loss for bad investment.

Reps in power want to accept the profit, but have the taxpayers pay for the loss.
(Dems want to avoid the loss -- by not allowing free investment.)

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad Author Profile Page at November 7, 2008 4:15 AM

Fannie Mae, the Government Supported Enterprise was NOT free market. It's political cover, accepting sub-prime mortgages, was NOT free market.

I have to wonder why there is so much focus of Fannie Mae's role in this crisis. Their role in the crisis is minimal, and most of the bad debt that contributed to their downfall was generated by an under-regulated free market. On top of that, Fannie Mae is not a government institution, it is an independent publicly-traded private-sector company.

I suspect that concentrating on one individual company with government connections fits partisan reasoning about free enterprise, but it also indicates a lack of understanding about the financial crisis.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at November 7, 2008 8:19 AM

Thanks for the forum, Michael. I voted for Sarah Palin. She was the only one in the race with executive experience. In the coming four years, they will do all they can do to destroy her, because she scares the living hell out of both the moderate GOP, and the liberal left! She is strong enough to defeat them, and they know it! She knows she's doing something right, because of the heat they're putting on her!

Posted by: DagneyT Author Profile Page at November 7, 2008 8:27 AM

A candidate who withholds and seals EVERY single record or document about his past is up to no good.

Yeah. Sarah Palin is up to no good. Meanwhile, you can't name a single fuc*ing piece of documentation regarding barack obama's prior career that he has voluntarily refused to disclose. You're a bullsh*t artist, or a person who reads them - they're hard to distinguish.

All investors are speculators. When one invests in $150/bbl oil, just before it drops to below $70/bbl, one loses one's money. Or in dot.com companies, or in houses.

Tom, the problem lies not merely in speculators who lose money, but the fact that the interdependency of organizations that participate in the economy. As we just finished watching in the last five months, the underregulation of certain irresponsible speculators threatened to not only destroy them, but also do destroy every institution that depended on them. Libertarians have two ways of dealing with the truth that the right individual failures at the wrong time can lead to widespread financial collapse - denial, or zen-like acceptance.

Between 1935 and 2005, the rate of increase of the ability of American citizens to accumulate wealth is massively ahead of where it was during the 1800's. Boom and bust effects beyond a certain degree of severity are not only extremely painful events to the people involved. They are also not efficient.

Posted by: glasnost Author Profile Page at November 7, 2008 8:48 AM

"You have to pinch yourself.
A Marxist radical, who all his life has been mentored by, sat at the feet of, worshiped with, befriended, endorsed the philosophy of, funded and been in turn funded, politically promoted and supported by a nexus comprising black-power, anti-white racists, Jew-haters, revolutionary Marxists, unrepentant former terrorists and Chicago mobsters, is the NEW President of the United States.
And apparently it's considered impolite to say so."

-Melanie Phillips"

Truer words were never spoken!

Posted by: DagneyT Author Profile Page at November 7, 2008 8:58 AM

A Marxist radical, who all his life has been mentored by, sat at the feet of, worshiped with, befriended, endorsed the philosophy of, funded and been in turn funded, politically promoted and supported by a nexus comprising black-power, anti-white racists, Jew-haters, revolutionary Marxists, unrepentant former terrorists and Chicago mobsters, is the NEW President of the United States.

I've heard that he also drinks the blood of Christian babies.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at November 7, 2008 9:24 AM

"The bailout is now to be used to pay Big Bank bonuses (for bozos who bumbled)."

The sad part about this, Tom Gray, is that banks are being forced to take the bailout money, which means federal oversight! We have several banks here in Texas who refused to take the bailout money, but were told they had no choice in the matter. Socialism/government takeover is already beginning, and I am greatly concerned for my country! The only light on my horizon, Texas still has the option of seceding, and since we're self-sufficient, we can easily accomplish it. Texas has created half of all the jobs created in America over the passed 3 years. Of course, you'll have a tough time communicating; all satellites are controlled from Houston. ;-) We're living proof that conservatism works, everytime it's tried.

Posted by: DagneyT Author Profile Page at November 7, 2008 9:25 AM

...Jew-haters, ...

I wonder, then, about this.
For example, what does Abu Jayab, the young Palestinian in Gaza who was cold-calling Americans, imploring them to vote for Obama, think about the fact that the president-elect's first major appointment is a man who is being hailed by the Israeli press as "our man in the White House?"

Rahm's father Benjamin Emanuel served in the Irgun, a Jewish terrorist group that targeted British and Palestinian civilians -- most famously with the King David Hotel bombing and the Deir Yassin massacre -- to advance the goal of creating a Zionist state. This week, the elder Emanuel has not exactly assuaged doubts about his son's pedigree. "Obviously, he will influence the president to be pro-Israel," he told the Israel daily Maariv, "Why wouldn't he be? What is he, an Arab?"

All very confusing. Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at November 7, 2008 9:30 AM

DSU,
"I have to wonder why there is so much focus of Fannie Mae's role in this crisis. Their role in the crisis is minimal, and most of the bad debt that contributed to their downfall was generated by an under-regulated free market. On top of that, Fannie Mae is not a government institution, it is an independent publicly-traded private-sector company."

Au contrare, mon cher! Sorry, Michael, I couldn't resist a "teachable moment". Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae are both GCE's, "government created entity". They were created back in the 70's to encourage home ownership by minorities, by Jimmy Carter, & were expanded by Bill Clinton by lowering standards to sub-prime. Banks were forced to purchase loans made by both entities. I am going to assume that you, DSU know the definition of "sub-prime" as being a loan the mortgagee is unlikely to be able to repay. Many were made to illegal aliens. Unfortunately, Congress refused to exercise sufficient oversight, and as a result when Freddy Mac overstated their worth so that Franklin Raines and others (including Jamie Gorelick) could receive exhorbitant bonuses, it went undiscovered. That is until it was too late. John McCain warned this was going to happen in 2005. Further inaction by banking oversight committee chair Barney Franks (whose "spouse" worked for one of them, cannot remember which) brought about the current crisis. "Unrestrained free market" had nothing whatsoever to do with it, corruption in congress DID!

BTW, Franklin Raines, who received over 90 million in bonuses in six years at Freddy Mac, was Obama's "housing expert".

Posted by: DagneyT Author Profile Page at November 7, 2008 9:40 AM

"Between 1935 and 2005, the rate of increase of the ability of American citizens to accumulate wealth is massively ahead of where it was during the 1800's."

I never understand the left. What about that above statement is a bad thing? They complain that the middle class is shrinking. Stats show that the poor class is not rising, so where then is the middle class going, hmmmm? ;-)

Posted by: DagneyT Author Profile Page at November 7, 2008 9:46 AM

Michael, I couldn't resist a "teachable moment".

Always eager to learn something.

Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae are both GCE's, "government created entity". They were created back in the 70's to encourage home ownership by minorities, by Jimmy Carter...

Wait, I thought Fannie Mae was created in 1938. And wasn't Freddie Mac established by the Nixon administration? And what's this about minorities?

...& were expanded by Bill Clinton by lowering standards to sub-prime.

If you are referring to the low-income mortgage programs, someone as knowledgeable as yourself must surely know that the government-mandated low-income mortgage program was gutted by the Bush administration in 2005, and that loans of this type only make up a very small portion of the bad debt that caused this crisis, right?

John McCain warned this was going to happen in 2005.

Cite please? I know that McCain was the co-sponser of a bill to change oversight in 2003, but it never came to a vote. It was sent back to committee in order to provide MORE oversight, and the Republicans never brought it up for a vote.

You know, you have so much wrong here that I suspect that you may need to do more reading on this.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at November 7, 2008 9:55 AM

I voted Barr. The Libertarian Party is on the wrong side of the Iraq conflict, but that's pretty much a fait accompli at this point, and I agree with about 99% of their domestic/trade agenda.

And remember to feel relieved that we have peaceful transitions of power in this country.

Amen to that.

Regarding FNMA, there is no question Dems were the culprits there. They argued vehemently that social justice was more important than any additional risk being taken on, and blocked attempts to increase oversight. They were wrong, and we all paid the price.

Posted by: TallDave Author Profile Page at November 7, 2008 10:14 AM

Regarding FNMA, there is no question Dems were the culprits there.

Have you read the rest of the thread? FNMA is only a small part of the crisis, and were not the cause of the crisis.
The folks who want to place the entire crisis at FNM/FRE 's doorstep miss the point -- and let me hasten to add that I was never a fan of the company, and we were short FNM from over a year ago, at $42+ -- these people seem to miss all of the big picture issues, and are focsing on minor factor and outright irrelevancies. This was not a "social engineering" experiment, as the radical right has called it. This was extreme short sightedness.

Fannie Mae was not a government entity, they were an independent, publicly traded, private sector firm. They were allowed to borrow at better rates than banks as a GSE. They bought what they did in an attempt top grab share and profits. If they came under pressure from Congress -- or Angelo Mozilo, or hedge fund investors -- it was because they were trying to capture market share and profits and maintain an advantageous position in the marketplace.

Fannie has been around since 1938, Freddie since 1968, the CRA has been around since 1977 -- suddenly, all of housing goes to hell in 2005, and then credit collapses 2 years after -- and the best explanation some people can come up with is Fannie, Freddie and CRA? Gee, isn't that rather odd -- especially after 70 years?/blockquote>As Barry Ritholtz says in another post, those who parrot the talking point blame of Fannie Mae are sending out a clear signal that they don't know what they're talking about, which is at least a useful indicator. A bullshit detector, if you will.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at November 7, 2008 10:33 AM

Crap. Once more, with correct formatting.

=============

Regarding FNMA, there is no question Dems were the culprits there.

Have you read the rest of the thread? FNMA is only a small part of the crisis, and were not the cause of the crisis.
The folks who want to place the entire crisis at FNM/FRE 's doorstep miss the point -- and let me hasten to add that I was never a fan of the company, and we were short FNM from over a year ago, at $42+ -- these people seem to miss all of the big picture issues, and are focsing on minor factor and outright irrelevancies. This was not a "social engineering" experiment, as the radical right has called it. This was extreme short sightedness.

[...]

Fannie Mae was not a government entity, they were an independent, publicly traded, private sector firm. They were allowed to borrow at better rates than banks as a GSE. They bought what they did in an attempt top grab share and profits. If they came under pressure from Congress -- or Angelo Mozilo, or hedge fund investors -- it was because they were trying to capture market share and profits and maintain an advantageous position in the marketplace.

Fannie has been around since 1938, Freddie since 1968, the CRA has been around since 1977 -- suddenly, all of housing goes to hell in 2005, and then credit collapses 2 years after -- and the best explanation some people can come up with is Fannie, Freddie and CRA? Gee, isn't that rather odd -- especially after 70 years?

As Barry Ritholtz says in another post, those who parrot the talking point blame of Fannie Mae are sending out a clear signal that they don't know what they're talking about, which is at least a useful indicator. A bullshit detector, if you will. Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at November 7, 2008 10:36 AM

What I said was Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae were GCE's. Fannie mae was created before Freddie Mac which was established circa 1970. You laughably cite a blog as your "source".

As for McCain's proposals, because it is too easy to google, I daresay that you are hoping you can bluff your way to proof that it does not exist. My husband is a retired banker, and I am a retired entrepreneurial trainer, so I would advise you to do a bit more of your own homework before you attempt to debate me. You can begin here:

http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2008/10/20/freddie_mac_paid_2m_to_thwart_regulation/

Posted by: DagneyT Author Profile Page at November 7, 2008 10:43 AM

What I said was Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae were GCE's.

First of all, it's GSE, not GCE.

Secondly, you also state: They were created back in the 70's to encourage home ownership by minorities, by Jimmy Carter...

Fannie Mae, not created in the seventies, not created by Jimmy Carter.

Freddie Mac, not created in the 70's, not created by Carter.

Please try to get something right.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at November 7, 2008 10:56 AM

The religion of Change is getting scarier.

http://www.change.gov
http://change.gov/americaserves/

Posted by: popcontest Author Profile Page at November 7, 2008 12:00 PM

I'm going to break one rule of this thread by not disclosing who I voted for. I live outside the US and I'm very diligent about voting as I feel if you don't vote you forfeit your right to criticize. And I want to criticize the government whether I voted for them or not. In fact I want to criticize especially if I voted for them.

However you voted I respect you and I commend you for voting.

I've felt comfortable since McCain clinched the GOP nomination, as I felt any one of the three still in the race at that point would make a better President than G. W. Bush. Bush and his party have blundered in many ways in my view and they have now been held to account for it. I respect John McCain a lot and actually feel he would have made a good President but 2008 was a bad year to try to run as a Republican.

McCain erred in a number of ways. The Sarah Palin pick was part of it. I don't buy that she's stupid, a redneck, etc. but she is far to the Right on a number issues so that she was unlikely to capture centrist voters who are "liberal" on social issues like abortion. This is especially true of (IMHO) Hillary Clinton supporters who may have been disaffected by the shabby way the Democratic Party treated Hillary but still couldn't stomach someone who wasn't basically pro-choice.

THe GOP should have looked at some of the other women in the party for the VP pick - I think of Chistine Whitman and Susan Collins as just two examples of smart, experienced centrist Republicans who would have captured more of the "PUMA" vote.

Obama is clearly a smart, well-spoken politician though he has elevated vagueness and ambiguity to an art form. One of the best orators we've seen since Bill Clinton, but when you try to figure out what he's actually said it's difficult.

I'm proud to see the election of Obama even though I know I will disagree with some of his policies. Partly, yes, it's great to see a black person make it to the White House. But mainly it's seeing the American democratic process in action, and its ability to shift gears and self-correct from a political direction preceived to be a wrong one. In four years we may decide Obama was the wrong decision too, but again we will have the ability to change it. Remember it was only four years ago that Dubya was re-elected and the GOP's majority in Congress was increased. Two years after that the correction began with a shift to Democratic majority in the House.

I've heard comments about how America isn't "racist" any more, and now AMerican's can be "proud." Well I didn't think America was "racist" before. We've had two black Sec'ys of State and a black Chairman of the Joint Chiefs (appointed by the supposedly "racist" Republicans), black Supreme Court justices. Yes there are racists in America, but America is not "racist."

On the "pride" issue, I've always been proud of being an American and proud of America. My sense of pride however is not a function of who happens to occupy the White House or what party is in chare of Congress.

I am not necessarily always proud of everything America does, but when I disagree I say so, and maintain my faith in democracy's ability to correct.

Posted by: WHoward Author Profile Page at November 7, 2008 12:20 PM

For those who say that Palin scared away moderates...

One thing to keep in mind is that McCain himself "scared" ("disenthused" is probably a more accurate word) a lot of conservatives. McCain has a well-established track record of ditching his fellow conservatives to join in on something that's of interest to those on the other side of the aisle (and given what he's worked on, it's highly ironic that campaign finance rules was one of the things that hurt his campaign). There were a lot of conservatives who were simply so underwhelmed by McCain that they'd decided that they were going to stay home that night.

Smart? No. But there were apparently a number of people feeling that way.

Like Palin or not, she fired up the conservative base in a way that McCain could never have done and guaranteed that there would be a higher turnout of conservative voters than McCain would have otherwise received. And since we don't know (and will probably never know) whether more conservatives were attracted than independents were lost, I think it's safe to say that her effect in that regard is one that simply can't be quantified. We don't know, and there's no real way to know for certain. What we do know is that if the majority of conservative voters had stayed home, McCain would have lost no matter who he'd picked as his VP.

What can be identified are the likely reasons that McCain picked her in the first place. And in that case, I think it's fair to say that she was picked because she's someone who was willing to take on corruption in her own party in her home state of Alaska. In Alaska, she chose principle over party. That's the sort of thing that would appeal to McCain, and I suspect that it's an important part of the reason why he chose her as his running mate.

Posted by: junior Author Profile Page at November 7, 2008 12:56 PM

Have you read the rest of the thread? FNMA is only a small part of the crisis, and were not the cause of the crisis.

True, but they certainly made the crisis much worse -- and unlike the wider real estate and stock market downturn, taxpayers are directly on the hook for them.

Your cite is just some guy's opinion and doesn't prove anything.

Better policy could averted this part of the crisis, and Dems are to blame. Your link is entirely wrong about it not being a social experiment -- Dems very explicitly argued otherwise, and I can only conclude your author is dishonest or ignorant in that respect.

Here they are in their own words:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exxVZTKq1vA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QBRIsCkGQ0

Rahm Emanuel, btw, sat on Freddie's board.

Posted by: TallDave Author Profile Page at November 7, 2008 4:31 PM

popcontest,

You have to love the irony of the first black President bringing back slave labor. It's sort of an "only Nixon could go to China" moment I guess.

Posted by: TallDave Author Profile Page at November 7, 2008 4:35 PM

Your cite is just some guy's opinion and doesn't prove anything.

(a) If you think that Barry Ritholtz is "just some guy" then you don't read a lot of stock analysis.

(b) Can you cite something authoritative indicating that FM is a major contributing factore to the crisis? Please make sure that it isn't just some guy.

Oh, wait. You're just some guy as well.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at November 7, 2008 4:39 PM

If you think that Barry Ritholtz is "just some guy" then you don't read a lot of stock analysis.

I'm somewhat familiar with the area and I've never heard of him. Yawn, another stock analyst. I'm not accepting his word as gospel; every trade has aomeone on the other side who thinks he's wrong. And clearly this guy's not even familiar with the basic facts of the situation.

Yes, I'm just some guy as well, which is why I'm not making arguments on authority. I cited an acutal fact -- Dems argued for loose lending for social reasons. It was a social experiment.

Can you cite something authoritative indicating that FM is a major contributing factore to the crisis?

You mean besides the billions of dollars involved?

Posted by: TallDave Author Profile Page at November 7, 2008 6:03 PM

I'm somewhat familiar with the area and I've never heard of him. Yawn, another stock analyst.

Well, that's the end of that discussion.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at November 7, 2008 10:46 PM

I voted for McCain, as it was the only option against Obama.

The Democrats have farmed the U.S.system via populist hack tropes and victim group management for decades, but now they done fucked up and elected Che.

Sweet. See you in two years. If we have elections.

Posted by: TmjUtah Author Profile Page at November 8, 2008 1:05 PM

Obama.

I've always been a Democrat and relatively liberal in most ways, though I'm partial to John McCain. Joe Lieberman I like even better. Both are centrists who support the war. Both believe in progress through compromise. I would have voted for McCain/Lieberman. I liked them both on nuclear energy, global warming, anti-terrorism, Iraq, Israel, anti-lobbyist positions and support of science. The thing I can't deal with is all the socially conservative Republicans McCain would drag along with him. If they had actually supported the real McCain, maybe I could have too. Palin and her husband were the final straw.

Posted by: jj Author Profile Page at November 8, 2008 6:48 PM

I voted for Mac, not because I thought he was great (I would have preferred Giuliani as the nominee) but because I don't care for Barry's politics or his personality. Also I liked Sarah, who is a lot smarter than most of the dumb butt Big Media air heads who put the knife in her. Particularly that smarmy clod Gibson. But now that Barry is the prez, I can deal with it. I suspect he will have enough trouble getting his own party to go along with what he wants and trying to talk them out of doing what he doesn't want. Who knows, once he gets the full briefing, he may turn into a neocon. I know. I know.

Posted by: Dick Stanley Author Profile Page at November 9, 2008 8:06 PM

Dick Stanley's comment reminded me of where my interest in election '08 began: the candidacy of Rudy Giuliani.

Not that my profile matters, but this independent conservative atheist was quite impressed with Governor Palin and wishes her well. I chuckle to think that media members who think they matter realize she couldn't care less what they think.

Posted by: Paul S. Author Profile Page at November 9, 2008 11:20 PM

This is the last U.S. election I plan to participate in. I feel burned by U.S. politics. And I feel the media tells the people who they will vote for. For several years now the media continues to throw the kitchen sink at the Republican Party. There is no debate about the principles of each party but rather simply attacks against Republicans and glamour stories about Democrats. I see NO end to this. The U.S. people are infatuated with Democrats. MOREOVER, negativity continues to win. In 2006, the Democrats latched on to any bad news they could find in Iraq to win. In 2008, the Democrats latched on to any bad economic news to win. Democrats gleefully through around terms like "Great Depression" to secure more and more votes. This DISGUSTS me. I don't understand why American voters reward the pessimistic party. Our saviors have arrived. Fortunately for them, if things don't turn around the media will be there to point the finger at the evil Republicans... for what? I guess just existing now, since they have ZERO power in Washington. PESSIMISM WINS IN AMERICA.

Posted by: mbviews Author Profile Page at November 10, 2008 6:30 AM

The U.S. people MUST have their Democrats. The media tells us so.

Posted by: mbviews Author Profile Page at November 10, 2008 6:33 AM

I voted for Obama, but after seeing this video clip I realized what a big mistake it was. I should have listened to my Republican friends....

http://www.236.com/video/2008/get_your_war_on_new_world_orde_10121.php

Posted by: KolyaV Author Profile Page at November 10, 2008 9:33 PM

Who did you vote, and why?

Nationally? McCain. I figured he'd be more inclined to curb the excesses of the Democratic Senate and Democratic House than a Democratic President would be, and I have no confidence at all in the competence of the current congress.

This election was very much a 'where would you like to be shot' kind of thing... but I had to vote, because IMO if you don't get off your ass and register your opinion on election day, you forfeit your right to be taken seriously when you bitch about the outcome.

Locally? About a 50/50 split between R's and D's, none of whom mean anything outside of WA, and against a couple of kind of stupid initiatives ($600m to do something that could be accomplished by just telling cops to not ticket solos in the carpool land off-peak? WTF?).

Posted by: rosignol Author Profile Page at November 11, 2008 4:42 AM

I did vote and it was for McCain/Palin. He wasn't my choice in the Republican primary. I was with you Michael and would have prefered Rudi Guilani. He at the very least would've fought the Obama tooth and nail.

The MSM stream was so invested in an Obama victory they've completely loss their objectivity this election cycle. Now our representative democracy is truly an oligarchy. Extreme leftist will control the congress, judical and executive branchs at the federal level. Who will now be the watchdog of the government? Not the MSM...

There are two groups eager to see the Obama ascend to his throne; big government liberals and the terrorists.

Posted by: PeteDawg Author Profile Page at November 11, 2008 12:02 PM

I was going to vote for McCain until he made his VP selection. The person he chose was so ridiculously under-qualified, I was unable, as a patriotic American, to vote for the Republican national ticket. I did vote for all the Republicans at the state level, of course.

I'm reasonably confident that if McCain had it to do all over again, he would make a better choice, but he doesn't. I'm quite happy with Obama winning the election, as he has a conservative temperament and a high-quality brain.

Posted by: Richard Bennett Author Profile Page at November 11, 2008 8:01 PM

PeteDawg: Who will now be the watchdog of the government?

I've put in my application.

Posted by: Edgar Author Profile Page at November 12, 2008 7:07 AM

Edgar it's been a while. I been going thru a rough patch that's still not over. I could say that I was a victim of Democrat energy policies, but I don't like having a victim mentality. So, I'll just that I was collateral damage. LOL1

I did miss your "one liners", though. They made me laugh. If you need a reference to be "Offical Watchdog of the Government", you got my recommendation.

Posted by: PeteDawg Author Profile Page at November 12, 2008 8:51 AM

I'm quite happy with Obama winning the election, as he has a conservative temperament and a high-quality brain.

Richard Bennett

Are you joking??? Because I don't see a punchline. The Obama sat in a pew and heard his preacher spout Black Liberation Theology for 20 years. He believes it himself. He just says it in a calm and nice way. The Obama wants to "spread the wealth" and he didn't think the Warren court was radical enough because it didn't award "reparations". Yeah, the Obama sounds like a stout conservative to me. Give me a freakin break!!!

Posted by: PeteDawg Author Profile Page at November 12, 2008 9:52 AM

PeteDawg: I could say that I was a victim of Democrat energy policies, but I don't like having a victim mentality.

Personally, I was worried about becoming a victim of Republican energy policies because I live offshore.

Posted by: Edgar Author Profile Page at November 12, 2008 10:44 AM

Personally, I was worried about becoming a victim of Republican energy policies because I live offshore.

Edgar

I'm intriqued because I didn't know the Republicans had an energy policy. In my opinion I thought their policy was where ever the democrats and environuts led them.

Posted by: PeteDawg Author Profile Page at November 12, 2008 11:34 PM

I voted for McCain reluctantly (I was a McCain volunteer in 2000) and Palin with enthusiasm. I went on the National Review post election cruise and just got back. There was a lot of enthusiasm for her there, especially from John O'Sullivan who compares her to the young Margaret Thatcher.

As Barry Ritholtz says in another post, those who parrot the talking point blame of Fannie Mae are sending out a clear signal that they don't know what they're talking about, which is at least a useful indicator. A bullshit detector, if you will. Posted by: double-plus-ungood

I can certainly see why you are disliked here by some. The story of the housing bubble was the pace set by Fannie and Freddie plus the driving of the market by the Democrats who fought every effort, some by McCain, to rein in the reckless lenders before it was too late. Bush shares some blame for allowing Bernanke to keep money too cheap for too long.

It's not the whole story since the problems in Europe are even worse. The Mexican bailout during the Clinton administration probably set this train running out of control. The similarity to 1929 is very sobering. I would recommend Amity Schlaes book about the Depression and the House of Morgan as reading material. I think we are in for a long session and McCain may well have been lucky to be out of office for the next four years. I don't see Obama doing anything useful; Keynesian economics are pretty well discredited, and he may end up a goat for the severe economic times we have ahead.

Posted by: Mike K Author Profile Page at November 17, 2008 1:01 PM
Post a comment









Remember personal info?




Winner, The 2008 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Read my blog on Kindle



blogads-blog-button.png


Recommended Reading




Warning: include(): http:// wrapper is disabled in the server configuration by allow_url_include=0 in /home/mjt001/public_html/archives/2008/11/election-night.php on line 1115

Warning: include(http://michaeltotten.com/mt_essays.php): failed to open stream: no suitable wrapper could be found in /home/mjt001/public_html/archives/2008/11/election-night.php on line 1115

Warning: include(): Failed opening 'http://michaeltotten.com/mt_essays.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/lib/php:/usr/local/lib/php') in /home/mjt001/public_html/archives/2008/11/election-night.php on line 1115