John McCain apparently climbed out of the woodworks Tuesday to conduct an interview with Jay Leno for the “Tonight Show,” meanwhile, Sarah Palin has, after her running mate’s defeat, been all over the place. For instance, her recent interview with Matt Lauer, where she chatted with him (with hubby present at times in their Alaska home) about the race’s negative turn down the home stretch, the decisive Obama win and the supposed tensions between Palin and folks within the McCain camp.
A few highlights:
Lauer: When you did know it wouldn’t go well for you?
Palin: I — you know, I didn’t know until the — the…
Lauer: Right up through election night?
Palin: Absolutely. I had great faith that, you know, perhaps when that voter entered that voting booth and closed that curtain that what would kick in for them was, perhaps, a bold step that would have to be taken in casting a vote for us, but having to put a lot of faith in that commitment we tried to articulate, that we were the true change that would progress this nation. So again, the margin was pretty surprising to me.
She apparently had great faith in the Bradley Effect: “I had great faith that, you know, perhaps when that voter entered that voting booth and closed that curtain that what would kick in for them …” (she could have easily said:) that they were about to vote for a black man (half black) and that person’s whiteness would not allow that to happen. Thus, white people’s whiteness would, in secrecy, with only God watching, choose the familiar over, what some would call, a risky black vote. But with a 52.6 percent win in the Electoral College and a nearly 10 million vote advantage in the popular vote, we must conclude that would have been faulty reasoning, for the white And black vote were heard that day. Here is Palin’s full response:
I had great faith that, you know, perhaps when that voter entered that voting booth and closed that curtain that what would kick in for them was, perhaps, a bold step that would have to be taken in casting a vote for us, but having to put a lot of faith in that commitment we tried to articulate, that we were the true change that would progress this nation. So again, the margin was pretty surprising to me.
I can’t make sense of it either, and my version seems more comprehensible. Regardless …
Lauer: There is this feeling — and some of this comes from leaks and other just perception, people getting a gut — that there was increasing tension between you and Senator McCain in the final stretch of this campaign. Tell me what the relationship was like.
S. PALIN: We have a great relationship. Had from day one. Had the first time that I met him last year, he and his wife. I just have been great admirers of them, of their family, of all that Senator McCain has accomplished. Never once was there any inkling of tension between the two of us. Perhaps within the campaign there were campaign staffers who…
Lauer: Well, describe that for me. Who was butting heads?
S. PALIN: You know, I don’t even know. That inside baseball stuff regarding the way a campaign works on that level — I certainly didn’t get bogged down in any of the potential skirmishes or perceived problems.
When asked if she was disappointed that she wasn’t able (by staffers) to give the speech she wanted, she said,
A little bit because again — not — not for me personally to get to be up there on the stage and give one last speech, but to be able to say, “This is an American hero. Let us be thankful for what he just offered our nation. Now, let’s all work together to support the new president.
On this point, I believe her, and I believe her because she not only gives accolades to the loser, the “American hero,” McCain, but to their opponent. And I also believe that her and McCain have nearly always been quite candid and close with one another, and it was likely McCain’s campaign officials, not the man himself, who saw the damage Palin was doing (i.e. disasters interviews with Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson, to name a couple).
Lauer then brings up the wardrobe issue, and I don’t care. Next line of questioning.
Lauer appears at Palin’s home in Alaska and says,
While we were there, we had a chance to talk to Governor Palin about the highs and lows of the campaign and what the future holds for her.
Meanwhile, it is now 7:30 on a Tuesday morning, the 11th day of November 2008. I’m Matt Lauer reporting live from Anchorage, Alaska. Meredith is back in Studio 1A in New York City.
And, Meredith, do you think the producers would let me get away with calling this my ends of the earth trip?
VIEIRA: I don’t think so. Nice try, Matt. But, uh-uh. I don’t think so. You’re coming back and then going out again.
But I’m actually looking forward to dinner with the Palins.
What was your biggest surprise when you met the family?
Lauer: You know what, this is a very down-to-earth family. You know, over the last couple of months we got used to watching Sarah Palin on the road with the Secret Service around here and state troopers everywhere. None of the trappings of the campaign remain. She is someone who drives the 45 miles between Wasilla and Anchorage every day herself — no driver. And when she’s home, she is a working mom, cooking dinner, as I mentioned, for her family and for visitors. And so I think that it’s just that how down to earth she appears to be is what really surprised me most.
Here, with the “I’m actually looking forward to dinner with the Palins” Lauer inserts himself into his own story as one of its characters, which is precisely the opposite of what a journalist should do. I’m not suggesting Lauer was a journalist in the first place, just that he wears that badge.
VIEIRA: And her kids — those kids are so cute. Looking forward to it, Matt.
Here, Viera finds her way into the plot.
Lauer then begins talking about, perhaps, Palins’s shining moment, that of her speech before the Republican National Convention.
And, you know, I knew that it was an opportunity to be there representing the middle class, hard-working American families facing challenges that certainly my family faces.
The middle class! The Middle Class? Palin, Todd and the gang may be middle class in thought and expression (They appear to be down home enough) but appearance can be deceiving. Their combined salary would by far not qualify for Barack Obama’s proposed tax breaks for those making under $250,000. Not only do they not represent suburban America, they certainly don’t represent those who can’t even afford to live in suburbia.
Then, Lauer turned to asking Palin about personal attacks on her family, of which, I care nothing about that sensationalist stuff either. Next, talk segued to the economy.
S. PALIN: Well, I think the economic collapse had a heck of a lot more to do with a collapsed campaign effort than me, personally.
Palin, in my view, was the only element that gave McCain’s campaign life. Without her, his campaign was limping, if not six feet under. And that essence was this: her vibrance (Read: relative youthfulness), oratory ability and her appeal to the everyday person, whether deserved or not. But, what led to McCain’s loss were, in part, these factors, in this order:
- Obama’s eloquence, gift of oratory, gift to inspire, youthfulness, and most importantly, his message of change in the wake of a disastrous eight years;
- Palin’s lackluster performances at debates and wholly defunct interviews with Gibson and Couric; and
- McCain’s oldness (both physical and metaphorical) and his perceived (whether real or not) connection with the policies of George Bush.
And thinking about post-Election Day, why has McCain done less interviews, while Palin is seemingly everywhere? Again, her youthfulness, her beauty (Yes, this is a totally valid reason … We, as a people, naturally gravitate toward that which is pleasant and beautiful) and her apparent possibility in many people’s minds of being a potential presidential candidate the next go around. For McCain: Who knows whether he will be here in four years, much less as a presidential candidate (and to listen to his concession speech is to conclude that he has asked that question as well). For Palin, the door is wide open. Write any nonsensical blog and include the word “Palin” as a keyword and one will get hits because people identify with that very word. And that of itself, frightens me a bit. Frankly, the thought of her leading this great nation (in McCain’s absence) is one reason of many why my vote slid elsewhere. And here, we return to the interviews she has conducted. While Palin has said she can’t even think that far ahead (to the presidency in 2012), I can. Mark my words, this won’t be the last we hear of the governor from Alaska.
Referencing a WordPress blog post that I found today, here are three of the better political cartoons about Obama’s election posted on that site, or at least the better ones in my opinion.
Obama crosses the Delaware
Obviously, this cartoon is based on this famous image. Note: McCain floating on a George W. Bush inner tube, the black woman (replaced by a white woman from the original painting) and an erudite-looking white man rowing, the Capitol, the melted icebergs, Sarah Palin nearly out of the picture and Obama looking regal and dressed as a revolutionary. Appropriately, the river crossing and subsequent battles culminated in a new day of freedom for America.
The Dream materialized
This was the more subtle of the Martin Luther King Jr.-based cartoons from the post. Here, we see MLK’s famous Dream materialize. True, Obama is only half white, but he is also half black and carries within him a burden that has been carried by oppressed people for decades and centuries, as evidenced by his numerous references to King himself. Obama’s speech on race in Philadelphia, if it had been framed in the context of the racial strife, in a different era, in the context of segregation and a not-so-patient hope for a better today, would have went down as, arguably, the landmark speech in American history. It will still critically important and will be, and should be, studied in its strength in structure and rhetoric.
The Lincoln bump
Not since Abraham Lincoln has a American president (or president-elect) meant so much for the centuries-long battle for equal rights in this country. It’s unfortunate that it was only after the Black Codes, lynchings, segregation, the back of the bus and other atrocities that we can finally move forward in a real, tangible way. Sure, we have slowly moved forward as a nation and would have continued, with or without Obama. The Civil Rights movement spurred it on, time and the eventual shift in social conscious did the rest. But here, as Obama makes the leap of which many black folks have only dreamed, Lincoln, not the current president, passes the torch.
What is the nature of the myth? He hasn’t even taken office, and folks apparently think he can raise towers, raze others and raise people from the dead.
The truth is easily-swayed people will hop on the bandwagon of anyone who stirs their hearts. And I will be the first to admit, Barack Obama (even now, as I listen to R.E.M. perform a rendition of “I Believe”) has stirred my heart. But I am cognizant of the momentous task ahead of us. Fixing Iraq, extricating terrorists from Afghanistan, calming fears at home and repairing a tattered economic system that has necessitated a gigantic government bailout are on the minds of many. Getting elected and inspiring millions will not be enough.
Believe me, I recognize the fervor for this man and understand it, but in my view, even Obama himself would argue that someone should not support him purely on ideals, but on his hard-fast solutions to the problems that confound us.
In 2009, we will need real, hard-fast solutions to those issues, and the solutions’ success will be paramount to our next president’s success or failure in the annals of history. And of the fervor now? It is a moment in our history that should not be forgotten, for the election and inauguration of a black man (half black) to the highest office in the land is momentous. But the onus is on him to perform, meanwhile, the world watches.
This is quite a telling map. As we know, the U.S. Electoral College system awards the presidency, not based on state size, but on state population. Thus, relatively small states, like Massachusetts or Rhode Island can have more of a proportionally higher say-so in the election than some of the spatially largest states in the country (i.e. Alaska or Montana, which both carry three electoral votes). But, as Mark Newman from the University of Michigan notes, the electoral map we see on the news shows can be a bit misleading because, though a state may have been colored red, doesn’t mean every person in that state voted Republican. The same is true on the county level.
The above map shows the 2008 election county map, taking into account various levels of support for Obama or McCain. Magenta and other hews closer to red show counties with election percentages closer to McCain, while those with colors closer to blue leaned toward Obama.
This Web site shows some cartographs, which distort electoral map to account for the descrepancies between land contained within a state versus population of that state. Thus, making Montana tiny and New Jersey, Ohio and Florida quite large.
When I was young and full of grace and spirited, a rattlesnake.
When I was young and fever fell My spirit, I will not tell
You’re on your honor not to tell
I believe in coyotes and time as an abstract, Explain the change, the difference between
What you want and what you need, there’s the key, Your adventure for today, what do you do
Between the horns of the day?
I believe my shirt is wearing thin, And change is what I believe in
When I was young and give and take, And foolish said my fool awake
When I was young and fever fell, My spirit, I will not tell
You’re on your honor, on your honor
Trust in your calling, make sure your calling’s true, Think of others, the others think of you
Silly rule golden words make, practice, practice makes perfect,
Perfect is a fault, and fault lines change
I believe my humor’s wearing thin, And change is what I believe in
I believe my shirt is wearing thin, And change is what I believe in
When I was young and full of grace, As spirited a rattlesnake
When I was young and fever fell, My spirit, I will not tell
You’re on your honor, on your honor,
I believe in example, I believe my throat hurts
Example is the checker to the key
I believe my humor’s wearing thin, And I believe the poles are shifting
I believe my shirt is wearing thin, And change is what I believe in
Barack Obama — Chicago: 71 degrees and sunny as of 2 p.m.
Joe Biden — Wilmington, Del.: 59 and cloudy
John McCain — Phoenix, Ariz.: 72 and most cloudy
Sarah Palin — Wasilla, Alaska: 12 degrees and sunny.
I thought it was noteworthy that the weather in Chicago was the warmest it has been there on Election Day since 1964, which was obviously the year the Civil Rights Act was signed, the year Lyndon Johnson was re-elected, and the year Martin Luther King Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize.
So it is with Obama, who barely exerts himself and absorbs attack after attack, each of which, rather than wounding him, leaves him stronger. It’s rope-a-dope on a grand scale.
And McCain knows it. Last Wednesday, campaigning in New Hampshire, he spoke sneeringly about Obama’s campaign being “disciplined and careful.” That’s exactly right, and so far the combination of discipline and care — care not to get out too far in front of anything — along with a boatload of money is working just fine. Jesus is usually the political model for Republicans, but this time his brand of passive, patient leadership is being channeled by a Democrat. — Stanley Fish, Oct. 26, 2008
I don’t know at what point Fish became a columnist for The New York Times, but in college, I simply knew him as a literary critic. Lately, I’ve been enjoying some of the pieces he’s offered The Times. This one, I feel, is spot on.
We know John McCain, through various episodes, as a bit of a hot head (I reference this source, but by all means, google it for yourself.) His temper explosions are no secret. But against him, and in stark contrast, is Barack Obama, who, as Fish points out — or should I say, McCain — is “disciplined and careful” in his campaigning and has carried a more presidential demeanor along the way. I would argue that, as president, that discipline and carefulness will go along way in healing our fractured relationship with many of our now-Bush-weary detractors.
I will say this, and here is my argument about the election: McCain is an able leader. I don’t necessarily agree with the fundamental reasons for being in Iraq (and continuing to stay there), but McCain, at the least, could maintain this country and keep the boat afloat. But of his running mate, I can’t say the same, and Sarah Palin’s folksy approach to addressing some of the most confounding issues this country has seen literally in decades, with a wink and a smile, will simply not do. To vote for McCain as president (given his age and health) is to vote for Palin as president, and that’s not a jump I can, in good conscious, make. If McCain had made a smarter choice, and less politically fueled one (another reason to question that camp’s judgment … I think Giuliani would have been a decent VP pick — his efforts to help New York shake off the throws of the terrorist attack were noble) the choice might be more difficult.
Now, as Fish (I can only suspect his motives), I refuse to be a hack for anyone. I advertise for no one. But, I do supply my summation of how I see this election breaking down. Obama, in all his inspiration and yes, erudition, has taken all that McCain and political machines could throw at him (from Jeremiah Wright, to Bill Ayers, to ACORN), and while crossfiring with attacks of his own, has maintained in debates and on the stump, a presidential poise that will, in the end, win him the White House.
Universal manhood suffrage, by establishing an aristocracy of sex, imposes upon the women of this nation a more absolute and cruel despotism than monarchy; in that, woman finds a political master in her father, husband, brother, son. The aristocracies of the old world are based upon birth, wealth, refinement, education, nobility, brave deeds of chivalry; in this nation, on sex alone; exalting brute force above moral power, vice above virtue, ignorance above education, and the son above the mother who bore him. — Susan B. Anthony
What will Sen. Barack Obama’s (half white, half black) election mean for the black race? For the white race? For our country? And how will it implicate this country’s past spiral down into slavery, its civil rights upheaval of the 1960s and its future?
First, Obama’s election is hugely emblematic. For centuries, speaking as a white person, we have had no problem, in other time periods, letting blacks cook for us, farm for us, serve us food, watch our children, cart us around, even make babies for us (albeit often illegitimate ones in the eyes of the then-law), but white America seemingly has never been fully confident (in fact, wholly fearful) of giving a black man the keys to the kingdom. In a couple months, Obama will hold those keys.
But what’s at the heart of such anxiety? That a semi-black president will attempt to initiate legislation that will benefit only black people? That a supposed less experienced senator from Illinois will irresponsibly guide us out of Iraq, thus perhaps upping the level of concern for terrorism at home? That he will bumble dealings with Putin in Russia’s harsh dealings with peripheral countries and that country’s ever-leanings toward the old Russia? That he will sit across the table from guys Chavez and Ahmadinejad, without preconditions, and attempt to instill reason into unreasonable characters? That he will set up abortion clinics at every corner so as to lay waste to sexual responsibility in preference to social irresponsibility?That we ultimately don’t trust him?
What’s in a name?
According to this video: http://eyeblast.tv/public/video.aspx?v=Q4IrVrkU much is in a name. The name given to you by your parents, gauging by this account, relegates you to a life of obedience to the implications of his/her own name. So, if your name is David, is it assumed you will, for instance, slay a giant with a slingshot and take as your mistress the wife of another? If your name is Abraham, should we assume you are expected to nearly slay your son (but be called back in the end), symbolically father thousands and lead a nation. If your name happens to be Jesus, as is the case in many Hispanic families, does it follow that you will go on to heal the sick, feed thousands and raise your friends, notwithstanding, yourself, from the dead. If one of your names is Hussein, are you thus relegated to the Islamic faith, or worse, terrorism? We don’t expect people named Abraham, David or Jesus to do such things in modern times, thus, why should we expect Obama to follow a similar trend? It’s astonishing that smaller symbols combined to form more cohesive, more meaningful, larger symbols can raise so much ire in a man’s middle name. Yet, this is the absurdity some have been reduced to during this election.
Some reduced to much worse
Forty-plus years removed from the Civil Rights movement and from segregation, racism is still a real and terrifying current running through American society, so much so that a black man can’t even begin talking about positive, uplifting notions of unity and accord in this country without talks of assassination. Some 150 years from slavery, nearly a century (or less) from lynchings and cross burnings, we still have yet to come to grips with our own mutual humanness.
A minority of white people actually feel bad about that black, dark (even the words to us denotes a negative) era of American history, such that some are willing to consider reparations to make up for the sins of their white ancestors and to make up for the toil, sweat and blood shed by the enslaved, which still today creates in many black folks lingering feelings of anger and resentment that the ancestors of masters, or even the ancestors of poor white folks, can’t pretend to understand. Other whites, though admitting it was a tragic step in a subversive direction for the country, make no claims of guilt and let the past speak for itself. The present isn’t implicated by the past, some may say, and we should move forward and seek to make the reality facing us today a better one. Some, evidenced by the above article, clearly haven’t moved on and are still waging the Civil War and carrying the cloak of the KKK, albeit largely in secrecy.
So, what now? The choices before us today are ironic by every account. The Republican headliner, John McCain, an aging, white male, at times, playing second tier in the headlines to Gov. Sarah Palin, the surprising vice president female choice, a largely unknown from Alaska, who is far more fundamentally evangelical, at least publically, far less professionally qualified and arguably, less ethical than her running mate (See: Troopergate). The champion of women’s rights, Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, long since bowed out of the election. Next, Joe Biden, another aging, white male, is following, not leading, the first black man in the country to head a major party ticket.
And Obama: the greatest irony of them all. A half white, half black, Harvard-law educated, erudite man poised — and with seeming tireless poise — is hours away from making this, if it isn’t already, the most historic presidential election. Assuredly, some, black and white, will vote purely on racial grounds, regardless of who is best fit for the job, which would be an anachronistic way to approach the most important decision a person can make as a citizen. Others, I’m confident, will make informed choices.
Assuming the polls are correct and assuming McCain doesn’t make a large push down the home stretch, will an Obama win erase the legacy of slavery or Jim Crow or segregation? Certainly not. Will it move us closer to obtaining racial harmony? Time will tell, and the country’s reaction to the election, whether there will be racial scuffles, more assassination attempts, nothing at all, or positive steps toward the unity among races of which Obama so frequently speaks, will testify to the evolution, or not, of our racial character since 1964. It will, for sure, test us like nothing since that year. And in my innermost whiteness, the ironically dark lurker beneath that eggs me on to lock my car doors in urban neighborhoods, some form of underlying anxiety persists at times, one from which I can’t deny or shirk away. It seemingly runs in all of us, at the core, black and white. It is this: for blacks, a nagging resentment; for whites, an often mistrust for those of other hews, that follows us through history like a ghost. Regardless of whether we want it there or not, it’s embedded in many of our ancestries and seated firmly in the roots of our family trees. Our ability to come to grips with these feelings, channel them and find new ways to respect and dignify our fellow man will dictate how the next four years play out. After all, at the core, we exist as humans across, and independent from, racial lines. Blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians have family and friends they love. They have children they want to see succeed. They live with the same basic needs. At times in our history, these truths have often teetered just out of reach. We can only hope that in the near future, they will be more fully realized.
By far the most bizarre element of this election. It trumps the lipstick and pig thing, the Palin interviews with Couric and Gibson and that Barney Frank impression from Saturday Night Live:
Bear found dumped at WCU with Obama signs
from the Asheville Citizen-Times
CULLOWHEE – A dead bear was found dumped this morning on the Western Carolina University campus, draped with a pair of Obama campaign signs, university police said.
Maintenance workers reported about 7:45 a.m. finding a 75-pound bear cub dumped at the roundabout near the Catamount statute at the entrance to campus, said Tom Johnson, chief of university police.
“It looked like it had been shot in the head as best we can tell. A couple of Obama campaign signs had been stapled together and stuck over its head,” Johnson said.
University police called in N.C. Wildlife Resources officials to remove the body and help in the investigation. Bear season is currently under way in Western North Carolina.
“This is certainly unacceptable,” Johnson said. “Someone was wanting to draw attention to the election. If we find out who they are, we’ll make sure they’ll get some attention themselves.”
“Western Carolina University deplores the inappropriate behavior that led to this troubling incident,” said Leila Tvedt, associate vice chancellor “We cannot speculate on the motives of the people involved, nor who those people might be. Campus police are cooperating with authorities to investigate this matter.”
Sarah Palinsays she’s just “your average hockey mom.” But she sure doesn’t dress like one.
Seems the RNC coughed up a whopping $150,000 to outfit/accessorize Palin and her family for the campaign trail.
The tally included included a $75,062.63 visit to Neiman Marcus and two Saks Fifth Avenue pit shops totaling $49,425.74, according to Jeanne Cummings at Politico. That’s a lot more than the $1,874 spent by average Americans, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Click here to see how Sarah’s clothing has changed since her VP nomination.
According to our intrepid political reporters at Top of the Ticket, the RNC’s financial disclosure records for September and October show that the RNC did charge those purchases as “campaign accessories.”
Charged were Bloomingdale’s ($5,102.71), Barney’s ($789.72), Atelier men’s boutique ($4,902.45) and two baby clothing and accessory stores.
Apparently, it’s totally legal — albeit not normal — for campaigns to buy duds for their candidates. Politico checked records for Barack Obama’s campaign and the Democratic party: No similar fashion expenditures. …
And these gems from the Hugh Hewitt Show (I don’t know who he is either, but Palin interviewed with him in late September):
HH: Governor, you mentioned the people who are struggling right now. Have you and your husband, Todd, ever faced tough economic times where you had to sit around a kitchen table and make tough choices?
SP: Oh my goodness, yes, Hugh. I know what Americans are going through. Todd and I, heck, we’re going through that right now even as we speak, which may put me again kind of on the outs of those Washington elite who don’t like the idea of just an everyday working class American running for such an office. But yeah, there’s been a lot of times that Todd and I have had to figure out how we were going to pay for health insurance. We’ve gone through periods of our life here with paying out of pocket for health coverage until Todd and I both landed a couple of good union jobs. Early on in our marriage, we didn’t have health insurance, and we had to either make the choice of paying out of pocket for catastrophic coverage or just crossing our fingers, hoping that nobody would get hurt, nobody would get sick. So I know what Americans are going through there. And you know, even today, Todd and I are looking at what’s going on in the stock market, the relatively low number of investments that we have, looking at the hit that we’re taking, probably $20,000 dollars last week in his 401K plan that was hit. I’m thinking geez, the rest of America, they’re facing the exact same thing that we are. We understand what the problems are. It’s why I have all the faith in the world that John McCain is the right top of any ticket at this point to get us through these challenges. It’s a good balanced ticket where he’s got the experience, and he’s got the bipartisan approach that it’s going to take to get us through these challenges. And I have the acknowledgement and the experience of going through what America is going through.