what’s a fellow to do…

Posted on Friday 31 October 2008

I feel like a cat on a hot tin roof waiting for this election to be over. I tried watching meaningless apocalyptic halloween movies on t.v. and reading up on Joseph McCarthy [below]. Tomorrow, a friend and I are bar-b-queing all day for a neighbor’s son’s eighteenth birthday. I’ve got a new cell phone with a gajillion features and a thick instruction book. And a friend returned a Tony Hillerman novel. I don’t recall the plot looking at the cover, so I might try reading it again. I had made a mistake in my mind. I thought we were going to be on a cruise down the west coast of Mexico the week before the election, but, alas, that was last week.

I thought about going on news restriction like I did for the last presidential election, but it’s of no avail, it’s running in my head without any stimulus at all. The way I had it planned, John McCain was going to be different, a different kind of Republican, so it wasn’t going to matter so much to me who won. But it didn’t work out that way. I actually really like Obama. And McCain turned out to be much worse than I could have imagined. And his sidekick? Who would have ever thought he would pick a tom-boy chick with a lip for his running mate? So, I guess I’ll just have to gut my way through it until Wednesday morning – moving from room to porch to room. What’s a fellow to do?.

But this post on FDL encouraged me. Remember when "liberal" implied caring about other people instead of what it’s meant for so many years, something like communist, or criminal, or predator, or leper, or idiot? The possibility that this election means that it might be something that it’s okay to be again hadn’t occurred to me:


Last week I was wondering what the story of the 2008 election would be, and worrying that it would be a reprise of 2006’s Glorious Victory For Centrism narrative. But as David Sirota has repeatedly reminded us, McCain and the GOP have made that impossible by repeatedly insisting that Barack Obama is The Most Liberal Senator Evar, a socialist, a (gasp) wealth-spreader.

By transforming Obama into Karl Marx, the Republicans have transformed his mandate into a socialist mandate, or at least a progressive one. If he wins big, it means words like "socialist" and "liberal" have lost their stigma. It means Americans want better healthcare, education, regulation, and infrastructure, and that they would rather "spread the wealth" than consolidate it. It means that America is a progressive nation, not a center-right one.
And I liked what Obama had to say today in Iowa:

"I expect we’re gonna see a lot more of that over the next four days. More of the ‘slash and burn’ ‘say-anything, do-anything’ politics; throw everything up at the refrigerator, see if anything sticks. A message that’s designed to divide and distract, to tear us apart instead of bringing us together. You know a couple of elections ago there was a presidential candidate who decried this kind of attacks and condemned these kind of tactics. And I admired him for it. He said ‘I will not take the low road to the highest office in the land.’ Those words were spoken eight years ago by my opponent John McCain. But the high road didn’t lead him to the White House then, so he’s decided to take a different route. I know campaigns are tough, because we have real differences about big issues. We care passionately about this country’s future. Make no mistake, we will respond swiftly and forcefully with the truth to whatever falsehoods they throw our way in these last four days. The stakes are too high to do anything less. But Iowa, at this moment, in this election, we have the chance to do more than just beat back this kind of politics short-term; we have a chance to end it once and for all. We have a chance to prove that one thing more powerful than the politics of anything goes, the one thing the cynics don’t count on, is the will of the American people. We have the chance to prove that we are more than a collection of red states and blue states, we are the United States of America. The voters are in a serious mood. they want to talk about the things that make a difference in people lives. That’s the type of campaign were gonna run and that’s how we’re gonna win on November 4th."

    October 31, 2008 | 9:56 PM

    Thanks for this optimistic reminder of why we are so engaged and care so much about the outcome. Because we do believe that something can be restored that has been badly damaged. That liberal and progressive can again mean finding ways to make life better for all Americans.

    November 1, 2008 | 4:15 PM

    Ralph, I really like your comments. People like you give me hope for the future

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