Crossing The Finish Line

Teh awsum way to cross teh finish line:

I liked this image a lot; it showed up in my feed back on Monday or Tuesday and was apparently taken at one of the last, or THE last, campaign appearances President-Elect Barack Obama made.

And yes, I cherish typing that phrase. But I’m not going to get all triumphalist about the win, the way GOP commentators and bloggers did back in 2000 and 2004. We got a clean, solid win and a number of formerly “Red” states were in the “Blue” column, purely because of a lot of hard work by Obama volunteers and due to the hunger for change (and competence) of a majority of voters (those who were not fooled by smears, frightened by push-poll robocalls, and blinkered, irrational religious fanaticism).

Yeah, I probably read more Huffington Post than I should, and soon enough the novelty of an Obama Administration will wear off and I’ll tire of reading “cheerleading” posts, but this item had to be shared: Gun Sales Soar On Obama Victory.

Really. Some people apparently think that a Constitutional lawyer is going to try to change the Constitution. So it’s a good idea to stock up on assault weapons? Right.

People, we’ve got bigger problems: a crap economy. If the thought of an Obama Presidency scares you, think of this: a McCain Presidency would at this moment be engaged in childish infighting, struggling to keep the conflict between Palin, campaign staffers, and McCain’s aides from becoming public knowledge. Newsweek’s article is just the tip of the iceberg:

NEWSWEEK has also learned that Palin’s shopping spree at high-end department stores was more extensive than previously reported. While publicly supporting Palin, McCain’s top advisers privately fumed at what they regarded as her outrageous profligacy. One senior aide said that Nicolle Wallace had told Palin to buy three suits for the convention and hire a stylist. But instead, the vice presidential nominee began buying for herself and her family—clothes and accessories from top stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. According to two knowledgeable sources, a vast majority of the clothes were bought by a wealthy donor, who was shocked when he got the bill. Palin also used low-level staffers to buy some of the clothes on their credit cards. The McCain campaign found out last week when the aides sought reimbursement. One aide estimated that she spent “tens of thousands” more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as “Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast,” and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books.

A Palin aide said: “Governor Palin was not directing staffers to put anything on their personal credit cards, and anything that staffers put on their credit cards has been reimbursed, like an expense. Nasty and false accusations following a defeat say more about the person who made them than they do about Governor Palin.”

McCain himself rarely spoke to Palin during the campaign, and aides kept him in the dark about the details of her spending on clothes because they were sure he would be offended. Palin asked to speak along with McCain at his Arizona concession speech Tuesday night, but campaign strategist Steve Schmidt vetoed the request.

I would love to know

  1. who was the wealthy donor that paid for more clothes?
  2. who are the staffers dishing the dirt?
  3. why some bloggers leave out Palin’s aide’s quote defending her
  4. what Palin is wearing right now. A towel? An Alaska sweatshirt?

Some of the second page of the Newsweek “now it can be told” article contain details I hadn’t previously seen in my blog/Googlenews feed. I’d seen the bit about the towel (at least Palin’s a hoopy frood) and Michelle Obama’s distress at the “spike” in threats against her husband and family. But I hadn’t seem some of these nuggets:

On the Sunday night before the last debate, McCain’s core group of advisers—Steve Schmidt, Rick Davis, adman Fred Davis, strategist Greg Strimple, pollster Bill McInturff and strategy director Sarah Simmons—met to decide whether to tell McCain that the race was effectively over, that he no longer had a chance to win. The consensus in the room was no, not yet, not while he still had “a pulse.”

I hadn’t heard this before – wow, what a revelation. Imagine if this news had leaked out on Monday morning… we’d have a much bigger Senate and House majority, the precise reason why all this stuff was deliberately kept “off the record” until after the election was final.

The Obama campaign’s New Media experts created a computer program that would allow a “flusher”—the term for a volunteer who rounds up nonvoters on Election Day—to know exactly who had, and had not, voted in real time. They dubbed it Project Houdini, because of the way names disappear off the list instantly once people are identified as they wait in line at their local polling station.

Interesting only to geeks, but I actually made calls on behalf of Kerry 4 years ago with my friend Jill, and we both had similar experiences: kept calling people who had already been called, but not removed from the “Democratic voter may not vote” lists. I didn’t volunteer this time, although I was given abundant opportunities via near-constant emails and text messages from the Obama campaign. We had the free time in October, but were working on the floor/painting project and trying to stay on track. Also, we didn’t feel like driving to Indiana or Missouri. Maybe we could have, but we didn’t We suck. But the third bedroom looks great, and we did our bit for the economy with our frequent trips to Lowe’s.

McCain also was reluctant to use Obama’s incendiary pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, as a campaign issue. The Republican had set firm boundaries: no Jeremiah Wright; no attacking Michelle Obama; no attacking Obama for not serving in the military. McCain balked at an ad using images of children that suggested that Obama might not protect them from terrorism. Schmidt vetoed ads suggesting that Obama was soft on crime (no Willie Hortons). And before word even got to McCain, Schmidt and Salter scuttled a “celebrity” ad of Obama dancing with talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres (the sight of a black man dancing with a lesbian was deemed too provocative).

I saw the video of Obama dancing as he walked on the set of Ellen’s show. It’s cute, and he’s a great dancer. The embarassment of “OMG, a Presidential candidate might be making a fool of himself” was overcome by “OMG, he looks so cooooool dancing. I’d dance with him in a heartbeat.” But yeah, it could have played against him in a negative ad… but I expect a fair number of people would have liked his moves and nullify the ad.

Obama was never inclined to choose Sen. Hillary Clinton as his running mate, not so much because she had been his sometime bitter rival on the campaign trail, but because of her husband. Still, as Hillary’s name came up in veep discussions, and Obama’s advisers gave all the reasons why she should be kept off the ticket, Obama would stop and ask, “Are we sure?” He needed to be convinced one more time that the Clintons would do more harm than good. McCain, on the other hand, was relieved to face Sen. Joe Biden as the veep choice, and not Hillary Clinton, whom the McCain camp had truly feared.

It was because of Bill that I didn’t want Hillary as Veep, too. I did not want him moping around the hallways of his old home, I did not want him buttonholing people or trying to play “The Man” or get himself inserted into policy meetings. And I most definitely didn’t want him setting himself up as an easy target for the Right.

On the night she officially lost the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton enjoyed a long and friendly phone conversation with McCain. Clinton was actually on better terms with McCain than she was with Obama. Clinton and McCain had downed shots together on Senate junkets; they regarded each other as grizzled veterans of the political wars and shared a certain disdain for Obama as flashy and callow.

The debates unnerved both candidates. When he was preparing for them during the Democratic primaries, Obama was recorded saying, “I don’t consider this to be a good format for me, which makes me more cautious. I often find myself trapped by the questions and thinking to myself, ‘You know, this is a stupid question, but let me … answer it.’ So when Brian Williams is asking me about what’s a personal thing that you’ve done [that’s green], and I say, you know, ‘Well, I planted a bunch of trees.’ And he says, ‘I’m talking about personal.’ What I’m thinking in my head is, ‘Well, the truth is, Brian, we can’t solve global warming because I f—ing changed light bulbs in my house. It’s because of something collective’.”(emphasis added)

Holy Crap!! Obama dropped the F-bomb! Correctly! In a non-sexually-charged way that indicates massive irritation, and questions the intelligence of the questioner!

I LOVE this… why haven’t I seen this in my feed before? I apologize if this offends anyone, but I f—ing love this. And I do so agree with his thought “…this is a stupid question,” because so often the questions ARE stupid, insubstantial, and a waste of everybody’s time.

Meanwhile, one of John McCain’s last campaign appearances was in Grand Junction, Colorado – my home town. I was born under the shadow of the red sandstone cliffs of the Colorado National Monument. Mt. Jefferson, the gracefully eroded bluff on the far side of the Grand Valley, overlooks the area of the airport, and the airplane hangar where McCain’s speech took place. I can imagine that old Thomas Jefferson, the landmark’s namesake and a proto-lefty, did not look with favor on McCain’s presence practically at the feet of “his” mountain.

Local papers previously predicted that more than 10,000 people would show up for the rally at the airport; but on the last day of the campaign, while McCain pleaded for their help, 4,000 were there to hear him. He drew fewer people than Cheney did on a visit during the 2004 campaign

It sounds like the rally was less than peppy, and in fact rather bittersweet:

But Mr. McCain, in a race that he insisted was tight, went out for one final rally in Colorado.

As he got through his stump speech, complete with references about “Joe the Plumber” and “Joe the Biden,” some in the crowd wiped their eyes(emphasis added).

Chuck Oleska, a semi-retired man from Grand Junction, said he had a mix of energy and sadness(emphasis added).

“It’s exciting because of the possibility that he will win,” he said. “By the grace of God he will. I just wish he had started hitting Obama on the issues earlier.” .

WTF? Issues? McCain was dodging the real issues: the economy, immigration, and differentiating himself from the Bush Administration’s incompetence. This guy wanted to hear more about Wright, abortion, and Teh Gays.

Check out this image, a screenshot from a local TV station in Grand Junction. This is how McCain crosses the finish line:

KREX-TV McCain Live

KREX-TV McCain Live

This is how it ends: volunteers waving pom-poms, Cindy McCain cracking a smile for once (is she thinking “it’s almost over?”) and Sen. Joe Lieberman’s face obscured by the teleprompter stand. A woman with a terribly sad face is glimpsed in the background behind McCain’s right shoulder. And John McCain tries heroically to look like an energetic winner.

I’ll let the Grand Junction Free Press have the last word (ironic title, eh?).

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — At a Mesa County Democrats party at Mesa Theater & Club, Democrat Rich Alward was encouraged by an elbow-knocking packed crowd of people celebrating Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential win over Sen. John McCain.

“The excitement is just over the top,” he said. “Is it even legal to have this many Democrats in one place in Mesa County?”