Election 2008

Best Reaction Of Them All

Sarah Palin tweet:

Palintwwet

Okay.  First of all, Obama gave his opinion that the mandate wasn't a tax — an opinion also held by such commies as Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Kennedy.  

Secondly, you can't "lie" about an opinion.  Your opinion might not prevail at the end of the day, but that doesn't mean you lie.  That's like saying "The coach said when the season started that we would win the World Series this year.  And we didn't.  He LIED."

Finally, when it comes to lies and national healthcare, Sarah wins the prize for her use of the phrase "death panels".  No, really — she literally wins the prize.  Her lie won LIE OF THE YEAR for 2009 by Politifact:

Of all the falsehoods and distortions in the political discourse this year, one stood out from the rest.

"Death panels."

The claim set political debate afire when it was made in August, raising issues from the role of government in health care to the bounds of acceptable political discussion. In a nod to the way technology has transformed politics, the statement wasn't made in an interview or a television ad. Sarah Palin posted it on her Facebook page.

Her assertion — that the government would set up boards to determine whether seniors and the disabled were worthy of care — spread through newscasts, talk shows, blogs and town hall meetings. Opponents of health care legislation said it revealed the real goals of the Democratic proposals. Advocates for health reform said it showed the depths to which their opponents would sink. Still others scratched their heads and said, "Death panels? Really ?"

The editors of PolitiFact.com, the fact-checking Web site of the St. Petersburg Times, have chosen it as our inaugural "Lie of the Year."

You would think even a slightly intelligent person would shut up about healthcare related lies.

John Edwards Indicted

Pretty sad, really.  How many of us thought he was different?

AP reports:

A federal grand jury indicted two-time presidential candidate John Edwards on Friday over $925,000 spent to keep his mistress and their baby in hiding during the peak of his 2008 campaign for the White House.

The case of USA v. Johnny Reid Edwards contains six counts, including conspiracy, four counts of illegal campaign contributions and one count of false statements.

He's got a court appearance at 2:30 today, literally one block from me.

UPDATE:  To be honest, having read the indictment (here), I'm not sure it is the strongest case.  The case seems to turn on whether the money used to hide the mistress/baby qualified as “contributions” to, or “expenditures” on behalf of, the Edwards campaign within the meaning of 2 U.S.C. §§ 431(8) & (9).  Edwards might be able to argue that the money was an "independant expenditure" which was not designed to influence the outcome of the election (as opposed to, say, advertising dollars).  He might be able to win on that argument.

Also, here's the strange story about how the controversy over Edwards' $400 haircut led to today's indictment.

Clinton Campaign Hostage Taker Guy: Fugitive

Remember Lee Eisenberger?  The guy who took several people hostage at the Clinton Campaign Headquarters in Rochester NH in 2007?  Well….

New Hampshire authorities say the man who took hostages at a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential campaign office in 2007 has cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet and is a fugitive.

Strafford County Attorney Thomas Velardi says Leeland Eisenberg cut off the bracelet Tuesday morning. That was a day after Verlardi says he was given a "last chance" at freedom by a judge who released him despite probation violations.

Velardi says Eisenberg is a danger to the public and should not be approached.

Leland spent about two years behind bars for the November 2007 siege at Clinton's campaign office in Rochester. He was released on probation last November. His first violation occurred soon after his release, when he failed to charge his monitoring bracelet.

ACORN Madness

Everyone is talking about this Public Policy Polling survey, and in particular, one particular chunk of data.

1,065 registered voters were asked:

Q5

Now… think about this.  One in four registered voters think that ACORN stole the 2008 election for Obama.  What accounts for this oddly high number?

Blog_ACORN_Election_0

Are you serious?!?

Half of all registered Republicans — that's about 40 million Republicans — are now convinced that ACORN somehow managed to steal an election that McCain lost by seven percentage points???  And another 20 million think they might have stolen it but aren't sure???

And what is the basis for this?  How was ACORN, which aided in registering 1.3 million voters in 2008 (a good portion of which were rejected), able to pull this off?

Look, in 2000, there was a legitimate dispute about who won the presidency, becausethe controversy was centralized on one very close swing state in a very close election.  We had chads, butterfly ballots, and all kinds of things which made it feasible that Bush didn't actually win (which, by the way, he didn't).  But even there, nobody claimed an orchestrated conspiracy conducted by some organization prior to voting.

Yet, that's just what 40 million Repubicans apparently believe now — that ACORN had the massive resources, means, desire, and capability to cause McCain to lose by over 5,000,000 votes.

The GOP rank-and-file is now officially in conspiracy theory, tin foil hat, territory.

RELATED:  Speaking of polls, you know how Fox News has been on a tear about Obama bowing to the Japanese emporer?  Well, Fox News went out conducted a poll to find out how Americans feel about Obama's bow.  And Americans answered overwhelmingly that it was fine: 67% to 26%.

Guess that meme didn't take….

RELATED:  Yet another poll showing the stupidity of most Americans….

60

With Coleman's concession, Al Franken finally becomes Senator Al Franken, Democrat from Minnesota.

Finally.

First Read writes:

Most significantly, yesterday’s developments resulted in Democrats obtaining a filibuster-proof majority — 60 votes — in the Senate, and Dems want to have him seated by as early as Monday. Having 60 votes will shift the balance of power from the Republican Maine-iacs (Collins and Snowe) to the Joe Liebermans, Ben Nelsons, and Mary Landrieus, meaning that the upcoming fights over health care and energy will be on Democratic turf.

I largely agree with Franken on this.  The magic "60" doesn't necessarily mean anything.  No matter what the issue, there are always a few Democrats who vote with the majority of Republicans, and a few Republicans who vote with the majority of Democrats.  Obviously, Franken's presence makes getting to a filibuster-proof majority easier, but that's about it.

Besides, I think this notion of "60" being the magic number is borderline unconstitutional.  It has always been majority wins in the Senate, which means 50 was, and should be the magic number.  Parliamentary tricks should not be able to supercede constitutional requirements.

UPDATE:  Kevin Drum agrees:

The corruption of the filibuster into a routine requirement for 60 votes in the Senate (an arguably unconstitutional evolution, IMHO) combined with the continuing presence of half a dozen non-liberals in the Democratic caucus combined with an almost iron self-discipline within the Republican caucus — well, all that combined means that liberals now have the illusion of control of Congress but not the reality.  In a way, it's almost the worst of all possible worlds.  Dem vs. Dem is now practically the only narrative that anyone will pay attention to, and since unanimous agreement is the only way for that narrative to play out well, this means it's almost always going to play out badly.

Still, that's a glass-half-empty point of view.  So let's be more positive: one more vote is one more vote. 

Also, TPM has a must-read about the gasket collectively thrown by the Murdoch media empire over the Frenken victory.  Of particular note is the bogus Wall Street Journal editorial, which "accuse[s) the Franken campaign of committing supposedly dirty maneuvers, without mentioning that the Coleman side was participating in the exact same activities just as fervently or even more so."  I also love this from the same editorial, printed without the slightest bit of irony:

The unfortunate lesson is that you don't need to win the vote on Election Day as long as your lawyers are creative enough to have enough new or disqualified ballots counted after the fact…. If the GOP hopes to avoid repeats, it should learn from Minnesota that modern elections don't end when voters cast their ballots. They only end after the lawyers count them.

Um…. that "lesson" was learned in 2000, guys.  Too late to complain about it when it works against you.

Franken Still Winning

From the Star Tribune:

After a trial spanning nearly three months, Norm Coleman’s attempt to reverse Al Franken’s lead in the recount of the U.S. Senate election was soundly rejected today by a three-judge panel that dismissed the Republican’s lawsuit.

The judges swept away Coleman’s argument that the election and its aftermath were fraught with systemic errors that made the results invalid.

Apparently Coleman has more fruitless appeals to make, so the seating of Al Franken can continue to be delayed.

But honestly… there should be a law where the person who gets the most votes in a Senate election gets to become a Senator.

Enough Is Enough

Six months after the November elections, we read this today:

This has to be a bit ironic: In the three-judge trial that Norm Coleman (R) asked for, it turns out that Al Franken's lead has grown, after the addition of some 350 absentee ballots to the count.

Coleman's camp, of course, wanted a larger number of absentee ballots to be considered than just those 350.

Here's the AP's write-up: "Democrat Al Franken's lead in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race has grown to 312 votes after hundreds of absentee ballots were added to the race. Franken led by 225 votes going into Tuesday's count of the absentees. He gained more from the 351 absentees that the judges allowed than Coleman did. Other issues are still pending in Coleman's lawsuit, and he has said he will appeal to the state Supreme Court if he loses."

Crafty lawyers can keep this "disputed" election tied up in courts for years.  But with every court challenge Coleman makes, he loses.  It's time that Minnesotans had representation in the Senate.  This silliness has gone on long enough.  Soon, a court is going to have to step in and put an end to this charade.

The Royal Wedding Is Kaput

Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston have broken off their engagement.

When it was revealed that Sarah Palin's unmarried teenage daughter was pregnant, it was a tough time for family values folks.  But they were quick to point out that Bristol was doing the right thing by getting married because babies get their magic from having two parents (of the opposite sex, of course).

And then John McCain stood with the happy couple, while Levi felt the definite pressure of a rifle muzzle at his back.

The election came and went, and yet, no marriage.  That was somewhat understandable — Sarah was a little busy.

A few months pass, and the baby (Tripp) was born, and yet, still no marriage.  What was the hold-up?

If you ask me, they never intended to marry.  But of course, they couldn't say that at the time and alienate the religious right.

So I am shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you.

Now for some details:

Levi's sister Mercede Johnston says Bristol actually broke up with Levi more than a month ago, is not attending school and rarely lets her baby daddy see their young son. Mercede also says Bristol even told him that she hates him and, when she learned she was pregnant, wished the baby wasn't his.

That's interesting, because in an interview just last month with FOX's Gretta Van Susteren, Bristol said the 19-year-old Levi is a hands-on dad and that they planned on marrying after finishing their education.

Jerry Springer needs to book the Wasilla hillbillies as soon as possible, and bring some healing.

Was Condaleeza Rice Our First Black (and Woman) President?

Section 1 of the 20th Amendment:

The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

Okay.  So Bush and Cheney stopped being President and Vice-President at the stroke of noon.  But because things were running behind schedule, Obama had not taken the oath.  He wasn't sworn in until 12:03, because YoYo Ma & Friends were still fiddling around. 

But if Bush and Cheney weren't President, then was Obama automatically President during those minutes? 

It would seem so ("the terms of their successors shall then begin").

But wait. Article II, Section 1 states the following:

Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation:–"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

So there is  a gray area here.  Is the oath a pre-requisite to being President (along with the 12:00 noon requirement)?

One could argue that Obama became President at noon, but he could not execute the duties of that office until he took the oath.  In other words, he was a powerless leader for a prescious few minutes.

But there are other views.  Professor Ken Katkin, a constitutional law professor, makes an interesting argument, and comes to an interesting conclusion:

(1) The 20th Amendment provides that “[t]he terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January. . . . ”

(2) Art II., Sec. 1 Cl. 8 provides that “[b]efore he enter on the Execution of his Office, [The President] shall take the following oath. . . ”

(3) President Obama did not take the Oath of Office until about 12:03 pm today, after Vice President Biden took it at about 12:01 p.m.

(4) Therefore, there was a brief window (just after noon) when George Bush and Dick Cheney were no longer President and Vice President, but Barack Obama and Joe Biden also were not yet qualified to enter on the Execution of their offices.

(5) The Presidential Succession Act, 3 U.S.C. sec. 19(a)(1), provides: “If, by reason of . . . failure to qualify, there is neither a President nor Vice President to discharge the powers and duties of the office of President, then the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall, upon his resignation as Speaker and as Representative in Congress, act as President.” Section 19(b) states that the President Pro Tempore of the Senate shall act as President (under the same terms and conditions) if the Speaker of the House fails to qualify.

(6) Neither Nancy Pelosi nor Robert Byrd actually resigned their seats in the Congress. Thus, neither of them qualified to become Acting President under the Presidential Succession Act. Plus, interbranch appointments might be unconstitutional anyhow. See Akhil Reed Amar and Vikram David Amar, Is the Presidential Succession Law Constitutional?, 48 Stan. L. Rev. 113 (1995); but see Howard Wasserman, Structural Principles and Presidential Succession, 90 Ky. L.J. 345 (2002).

(7) Section 19(d)(1) of the Presidential Succession Act provides: “If, by reason of . . . failure to qualify, there is no President pro tempore to act as President under subsection (b) of this section, then the officer of the United States who is highest on the following list, and who is not under disability to discharge the powers and duties of the office of President shall act as President: Secretary of State . . . ”

(8) Notably, Section 19(d)(1) does not condition the Secretary of State’s assumption of the powers and duties of the office of President on resignation of her current office, nor does elevation of the Secretary of State raise any constitutional issue of interbranch appointment.

(9) The term of office of the Secretary of State does not automatically terminate at noon on the 20th day of January.

(10) On January 20, 2009, Condoleeza Rice was (and is) still the Secretary of State.

(11) Accordingly, from 12:00 noon until 12:01 p.m. (when Vice President Biden took the oath of office and became Vice President), Condoleeza Rice was momentarily the Acting President of the United States, our first African-American President.

Sadly, Katkin is wrong on his timing.  Biden was not sworn in at 12:01 p.m.; he was sworn in before noon (before Yoyo Ma and Perlman played).  So, presumably, Joe Biden was President for a few minutes under the Presidential Succession Act.

The academic issue gets thornier when you consider that President Obama did not take the presidential oath as written.  In giving the oath, Chief Justice Roberts misplaced the word "faithfully".  He corrected himself, but Obama repeated the words as Roberts initially said them, an an awkward crosstalk between the two.

The obvious solution to this minor problem is for the oath to be re-administered.  It takes 30 seconds, and can be done in private.  In fact, Charles Cooper, head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel under President Ronald Reagan, said that he would be surprised if the oath hadn't already been re-administered.

Assming that the oath has not been re-administered, then our President is Joe Biden.

But don't get your hopes up, conspiracy theorists.  Legal challenges to Obama's presidency won't survive.  Lyle Denniston explains why.

UPDATE:  Some believe that, as a matter of tradition, an incoming President takes the oath of office privately before the official ceremony.  There's no knowing if Obama did this.  If he did, then of course, everything in this post is moot.

Senator Franken — Finally?

TPM:

It's now official that Al Franken is ahead in the Minnesota recount by 50 votes, after the state canvassing board finally approved a spreadsheet of all the ballots that have been counted, recounted and examined again over this very long process. And while it now appears to be almost certain that Franken will defeat GOP Sen. Norm Coleman in the end, it's hardly over.

The board did some last-minute reviews and corrections this morning, sorting out complaints from both campaigns of clerical errors in the allocations of some of the challenged ballots. And so Al Franken, who entered the recount down by 215 votes, is currently ahead by a margin of 0.00171% out of over 2.9 million votes.

That's an astoundingly close election.

Of course, it's not the official final result yet, and there is still more haggling to be done about rejected absentee ballots, inevitably involving the courts again.

I’m Beginning To Think Of Alaska As Just One Large Trailer Park

Thank you, Sarah Palin, for educating me.

You all remember Levi Johnston?  The baby-daddy to Sarah Palin's pregnant teenage daughter?  [UPDATE:  The baby is due tomorrow, and the announced wedding strangely hasn't happened yet]. 

Well, Levi's mom is having some legal troubles:

A 42-year-old Wasilla woman was arrested Thursday at her home by Alaska State Troopers with a search warrant in an undercover drug investigation. Sherry L. Johnston was charged with six felony counts of misconduct involving a controlled substance.

Johnston is the mother of Levi Johnston, the Wasilla 18-year-old who received international attention in September when Gov. Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, announced their teenage daughter was pregnant and he was the father. Bristol Palin, 18, is due on Saturday, according to a recent interview with the governor's father, Chuck Heath.

Troopers served the warrant at Johnston's home at the "conclusion of an undercover narcotics investigation," said a statement issued Thursday by the troopers as part of the normal daily summary of activity around the state.

Troopers charged Johnston with second-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance — generally manufacturing or delivering drugs — as well as fourth-degree misconduct involving controlled substances, or possession.

I think the extended Palin family is due for a booking on Jerry Springer.

Minnesota Senate Seat Still Ridiculously Close

Norm Coleman's lead over Al Franken melted away during the Board of Canvassers' deliberations on Coleman-challenged ballots yesterday. According to the Star Tribune, it is down to five votes. According to the AP, it is down to two.

UPDATE:  Now we're hearing that Franken is, for the first time, ahead.  The Minnesota Star-Ledger has a real-time running (re)count.  As of 11:38 a.m., Franken is up by 166 votes.

About this data Coleman Franken Other/rejected
Challenged ballots awarded by board 262 616 230
Current vote count including awarded ballots 1,209,197 1,209,363

UPDATE:  Oh, look, a real-time widget:

Election ’08 Turnout

The Electoral College meets today to choose our next president.

Yeah, you thought we did that last month, didn't you?  But we didn't.  We just elected electors to the Electoral College who gather, and — oh, screw it.  It's arcane and stupid.  But it happens today.

And with that, the New York Times informs us that '08 turnout was the highest in 40 years.   

More than 131 million people voted this time around, the most ever for a Presidential election, compared to a little more than the 122 million who voted in 2004. Overall, 61.6% of the nation's eligible voters turned out to cast their ballots. That's the highest turnout rate since 1968, when Republican Richard M. Nixon defeated Democrat Hubert Humphrey and native son George Wallace.   Four years ago in the Bush-Kerry race, 60.1% of those eligible voted.

All told, the number of voters increased 7.4% in the United States in the 2008 Presidential election over 2004.

The state which saw the biggest increase in turnout compared to 2004?  North Carolina. We had competitive elections for president, governor and Senate, so we jumped from 57.8% in 2004 to 65.8% this year. Obama won North Carolina by 14,177 votes, out of more than 4.3 million cast.

Early voting also hit a new high, with about 41 million people — or more than 31 percent — voting before Election Day, either by mail or at designated sites, according to returns compiled by The Associated Press. Early voting accounted for 22 percent of the votes cast in 2004.

Rejected Obama Logos

I don't recall a presidential election logo as memorable as Obama's…

Obama08_ThumbLogo200

But then again, I don't recall logos ever playing much of a part in presidential elections.

I guess it just shows something new that the Obama campaign brought to the political scene.

However, there were rejected logos, and here are some of them:

Obama-08-logo-2
Obama-08-logo-4
I'm not crazy about the bottom one; the top one I like.

There were three finalists — one, of course, we already know.  The other two:

Obama-08-logo-7
Obama-08-logo-12
With the bottom one, other cartoon blurbs could be insered, like "change" or whatever.  Glad they didn't pick that.

Anyway, the full story is here (with other logo designs)….

SCOTUS Rejects Obama Birth Case

First Read reports:

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to take up a case that questioned whether President-elect Obama met the Constitution's requirement that only a natural-born citizen is eligible to be president.

As is the court's usual custom, the request to take up the case was denied with no explanation.

I blogged about the petition here.

David Horowitz is now urging his conservative brethren to "shut up about the birth certificate", but the Freepers are in a tizzy.  Apparen

It is CLEAR that the SCOTUS is more interested in politics, than it is upholding the LAW OF THE CONSTITUTION. We continue to enter a very sad time in American history whereby the example of the SCOTUS and Obama, et al, is encouraging the people to avoid and break the law to accomplish their objectives, good or bad.

A complete travesty of justice, if there really is any left in America.

***************

once again, judges decide whether or not to enforce law. in this case, constitutional law.

and anyone that thinks it makes sense for 0bama to go through all this trouble to avoid showing a simple birth certificate, really needs to stop drinking the kool-aid

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As said on another thread… country as we know it, is slowly coming to an end… how a fraud and empty suit like this gets all this way is beyond comprehension.

***************

I hope nobody here seriously thought the Supreme Court would uphold the Constitution in a case involving the black messiah! Goodness, what would you be thinking….

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I have to admit there was still some small part of me that believed truth would conquer lies, good would conquer evil, right would conquer wrong. I know… I know, I should have forgotten all those silly ideas when more than half our country voted for Obama, but there you go.

I guess, now, all a Presidential candidate has to do to prove they’re eligible is to say they’re eligible, act huffy, and lawyer up when asked to prove it by citizens (those puny little people who obviously no longer matter AT ALL in what used to be America). Of course, this only goes for Socialist, politically correct candidates. Republicans have to have lived spotless, blameless lives, documented to the Nth degree.

***************

The SCOTUS has just pulled the life support on our Republic.

The actual case that SCOTUS rejected has nothing to do with Obama's birth certificate, but a rather strange argument that Obama isn't a "natural born citizen" because his father was Kenyan — i.e., a British subject.

I especially enjoy the Freeper comments that deride Obama for "lawyering up", as if HE was the one who brought the lawsuit.

The bottom line is that Obama is a "natural born citizen" as that term has ALWAYS been defined.  He was born in America, and has produced a certified copy of his birth certificate.  He has no control over the original; that belongs to the State of Hawaii.  And the State of Hawaii has officially stated (three times, by my counting) that it has the original birth certificate.  It has shown it in pictures.

What more do these people want???

Minnesota Senate Race

It's hard to believe, but with hundreds of votes being cast, the difference between the two candidates (Al Franken, Democrat and Norm Coleman, Republican) is — well, maybe a couple dozen votes at best.  It's that close on recount.

And of course, given human error in counting and recounting, we may never know who truly won.  Each time you count, you're going to get a different number.  As explained in today's NYT:

This is not the state’s fault. In fact, Minnesota’s election laws, procedures and equipment are among the best in the country. The problem is that a voting system that is based on physically recounting chits of paper is inherently error-prone, and in a close election like this, the errors are too large for the process to determine a winner. Even though, at the end of the recount, it will seem as if one candidate has won by a hair, the outcome will really be a statistical tie.

And if it is a statistical tie, the op-ed explains, Minnesota law has a solution:

Drawing straws. 

Can you believe that?  That's a hell of a way to become a Senator.

But that's a hell of a way to not becoming a Senator, too.

And when you consider the slim Democratic majority in the Senate, the Minnesota senate election could have profound impact on many bills. 

In other words, the future of our country could, in many ways, depend on the drawing of straws.

Bizarre.

Challenge To Obama’s Presidency In The Supreme Court

This is wingnuttery at its wing-nuttiness.  Even most right wing blogs think this is stupid.

But it is out there.

I'm talking about the claim that Obama isn't qualified to be President, because he is not a U.S. citizen.  Some desparate people believe it, like Shiv Zieve, who writes a column entitled "Obama Too Important For The Supreme Court":

President-elect Barack Obama's refusal to produce an original and viable birth certificate indicating that he truly and indisputably is a natural born US citizen — as is required by the US Constitution — is continuing to take unusual tacks and turns. In fact, as it is appearing more and more that Barack Obama is not qualified for the US presidency, his and his minions' machinations may just take the country off course entirely. Now, not only is Mr. Obama refusing to provide proof that he is even eligible to be the President of the United States but, he has decided to thumb his nose at members of our highest court in the land.

Obama%20birth%20certificate This is how off-the-wall stupid this is:

First of all, nobody has their original birth certificate.  Nor do they have control over it.  The states possess the original.  So it's not like Obama has the original birth certificate in his hot little hands, and refuses to turn it over.

That said, Obama produced a certified copy of his Hawaii birth certificate.  It's at the right [click to embiggen].

And furthermore, Hawaiian officials have confirmed that he was born in Hawaii (why would they lie?)

But that wasn't good enough for the tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy theorist wingnuts like Shiv:

Note: The copy of the Hawaiian document (now sealed away from US citizens by the Governor of Hawaii) that appeared for a time on Obama's website was not a certified birth certificate. Instead, it was a "certificate of live birth" stating that Obama was born alive.

Uh, a "certificate of live birth" IS a "birth certificate", idiot.  What does she think?  They complete a certificate stating that a baby was born alive, and another document entitled "birth certificate" stating that a baby was born?

Even that document's authenticity has been debunked by multiple sources.

Yes.  The kerner's folly.

Obama's rise to fame — with no vetting from the media or the Democrat Party — is nothing less than phenomenal. It causes any thinking person — apparently not too many of those left — to wonder what forces are behind him.

Could it be….. Satan?

With regards to Donofrio v Wells — one of a growing number of lawsuits filed nationwide that question the eligibility of Barack Obama to be POTUS —…

Yes, and the other lawsuits, from other tinfoil hat wearing goofs, were all dismissed.  Five of those suits, by the way, were filed in Hawaii by a person who is currently suing the "Peoples Association of Human, Animals Conceived God/s and Religions, John McCain [and] USA Govt."  Shows you the kind of company Shiv keeps.

…the full US Supreme Court has agreed to conference on the suit 5 December 2008. Obama and the DNC (also named in the suit) were advised by the high court to respond to Donofrio v Wells by 1 December. To date, neither Mr. Obama nor the DNC have responded. With this lack of response, the president-elect has now flatly stated that he is above — if not beyond and outside of — the law and reports and is responsible only to himself. This is what — not who — was elected to the presidency of the United States.

According to Shiv, the Supreme Court "advised" Obama to respond. Not "order", but "advise".  Therefore, even under her own facts, he's not acting like he's "above the law".

But she's right" he doesn't have to respond.  In fact, there is nothing to respond to

You see, the person filing the suit is the "petitioner" and the person being sued is the "respondent".  But there is nothing on the Supreme Court docket which requires Obama to "respond" and/or produce his original birth certificate.  This is just an internet rumor from people who don't know what they are talking about.

The primary qualification for any US President is articulated in the US Constitution's Article II and reads: "No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States."

Yay!  She got something right!

Obama's paternal grandmother still maintains that her grandson — Barack Hussein Obama (AKA Barry Sotero) — was born in Kenya and that she attended his birth. Obama's half-brother and half-sister have confirmed the grandmother's statement.

Actually, granny is unsure, and the half-brother, half-sister "confirmation" is simply made up.  They THINK it was Obama.

Kenyan officials have worked tirelessly in their attempts to cover up Mr. Obama's true birthplace and even held Obama-critic Jerome Corsi, PhD in custody (jail) for visiting that country and working to elicit the truth.

"True" birthplace.  See, now it's no longer a question of where he was born.  It's an answer and a cover-up.  Here's why Kenya can't produce Kenyan documents — ready?  Because there aren't any.

And Corsi, the man behind "swiftboating"?  The 9/11 conspiracy nut?  He was never in "jail" in Kenya.  He was detained (briefly) and then deported because he was didn't have work papers.

Still, Obama was allowed and apparently continues to be allowed to refuse to produce a number of documents, including the one which would qualify or disqualify him to hold the office of President of the United States — his true and official birth certificate.

A number of documents?  Like what?

In an outstanding column from Joan Swirsky, "Obama the Trojan Horse," she cites legal Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr. as stating "America is facing potentially the gravest constitutional crisis in her history" and "If Obama fails to prove his citizenship but the voters, the Electors, or the Members of the House purport to "elect" him. He will be nothing but a usurper, because the Constitution defines him as such. And he can never become anything else, because a usurper cannot gain legitimacy if even all of the country aid, abets, accedes to, or acquiesces in his usurpation."

Another alleged by Swirsky in that article: "A graphic designer suggested that George Soros dipped into his billions and "treated" major media people to a cool $5 million each."  That's the kind of evidence we're talking about — "a guy on the Internet says…"

But now we get to the best part….

This may be the toughest test that our US Constitution has ever faced. If the qualifications for POTUS are suspended for Obama, the entire document will be null and void — as will, inevitably, our country.

Hmmmmm.  When the writ of habeus corpus (also in the Constitution) gets suspended, does the ENTIRE DOCUMENT become null and void?

And now, Mr. Obama has essentially told the United States Supreme Court to "go pound sand" — or worse.

"Go fuck themselves".  We get it.

If allowed to assume the presidency and he is NOT a natural born US citizen he will be emboldened to no longer respect — let alone follow — any law that he doesn't like. And his National Civilian Police Force (AKA "The American Gestapo") will — along with other democracy-busting programs — be quickly put into place. With all of these insanities being fomented by Democrats — including the worldwide economic crisis — I have to wonder how many actually realize how much jeopardy we and the country are in. The fact is that this current pending Constitutional crisis places all of us in the gravest of positions.

Cats and dogs marrying!  A rain of toads!  OMG!!!!1!!!!

Look, here's the bottom line.  This petition to the Supreme Court seeks to "stay" (legalese for "halt") the inauguration of Obama on the grounds that he is not a citizen.  Now, the Supreme Court is petitioned to stay something hundreds of times every term.  There are so many of these petitions that the judges divvy them up.  Individually, they reject most of them.  It's not a rejection on the merits of the case; it's just a rejection for considering the merits. 

Occasionally, a judge might pass a "stay" petition to the other judges to see what they think.  This case is just one of them.  The Supreme Court still hasn't decided to even hear the case, much less decide it. 

It should be noted that in the past eight years, 842 petitions seeking stays were distributed to the entire court.  782 were denied; only 60 were heard.  And most of those 60 weren't successful.

I have no doubt that the Supreme Court will decline to hear the case.  But I kind of wish they would hear it.  Have one of the justices fly to Hawaii, and look at the original birth certificate.  Then tell the wingnuts to shut up.

On Recounts

Minnesota Public Radio has a great photoessay/poll giving particular actual examples of the kind of issues faced by election judges when it comes to determining ballot results on hand recount.

Here's an example, called "The Arrow":

Arrow 

Who gets the vote?  Franken, Coleman, or nobody/indeterminable?

Of course, in the real world, one's decision would be governed by this Minnesota state statute as a guide to determine voter intent.  While it is helpful, it is, in many ways, not helpful enough.

Here's another, called "The Confusion":

Confusion 

MPR informs us:

The Coleman campaign kept this ballot from going into the 'Other' pile. They argued that while the voter filled in the bubble next to Dean Barkley, the voter had intended to vote for Coleman because of the small dot inside Coleman's bubble.

Hmmm.  I don't know about that.

Anyway, I don't envy these election judges.

Okay, NOW The Presidential Election Is Over

Although not "official" yet, Missouri has finally finished counting its ballots, all 2.9 million of them, and McCain has 3,632 more votes than Obama.

So make Missouri red.

Final EV count:  Obama 365, McCain 173.

Obama still "smucked" him, as we used to say on the playground.

Note:  Missouri has picked the victor 25 times out of the past 26 times, and every time since 1956.  But they picked the loser this time, so you can trash that canard "As Missouri goes, so goes the nation…"

Giving Up On God

There's been a few of these around, but conservative columnist Kathleen Parker's WaPo column on why the GOP should turn its back on the religious right is good reading:

As Republicans sort out the reasons for their defeat, they likely will overlook or dismiss the gorilla in the pulpit.

Three little letters, great big problem: G-O-D.

I'm bathing in holy water as I type.

To be more specific, the evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP is what ails the erstwhile conservative party and will continue to afflict and marginalize its constituents if reckoning doesn't soon cometh.

Simply put: Armband religion is killing the Republican Party. And, the truth — as long as we're setting ourselves free — is that if one were to eavesdrop on private conversations among the party intelligentsia, one would hear precisely that.

The choir has become absurdly off-key, and many Republicans know it….

…[T]he GOP has surrendered its high ground to its lowest brows. In the process, the party has alienated its non-base constituents, including other people of faith (those who prefer a more private approach to worship), as well as secularists and conservative-leaning Democrats who otherwise might be tempted to cross the aisle.

Here's the deal, 'pubbies: Howard Dean was right.

It isn't that culture doesn't matter. It does. But preaching to the choir produces no converts. And shifting demographics suggest that the Republican Party — and conservatism with it — eventually will die out unless religion is returned to the privacy of one's heart where it belongs…

Suffice it to say, the Republican Party is largely comprised of white, married Christians. Anyone watching the two conventions last summer can't have missed the stark differences: One party was brimming with energy, youth and diversity; the other felt like an annual Depends sales meeting.

Ouch.  That's gonna leave a mark.

She has some choice words for Palin too, praying to God that Palin, for the sake of the GOP future, falls off the political map.

As a Democrat, I hope Parker's prayers go unanswered.  Nothing would please me more than the Republican Party, headed by Palin, continuing to embrace the far (religious) right for the next several election cycles.

Naturally, the so-called "base" isn't happy with Kathleen Parker's editorial.  Over at Townhall, they starkly state "she's wrong", adding that:

John McCain and the Republicans didn't lose because of the religiosity of some of the party's base.  They lost because Barack Obama managed to lure millions of religious voters away from the GOP — in no small part by emphasizing his personal faith in God.

Curiously, the link they provide tends to support Parker's thesis.

Over at NRO's The Corner, increasingly becoming irrelevant in political discourse because of its embrace of the religious right, editor Katherine Lopez offers her retort, amounting to nothing more than "I love Kathleen, but she's stupid and possibly influence by her new boyfriend".

I suspect Kathleen Parker's email box will be flooded with religious right wing attacks, ironically proving her point.

Begich Beats Stevens

It's all but official now:

Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens lost his job to Mark Begich on Tuesday, putting an end to the era of "Uncle Ted" as the dominant force in Alaska politics.

Begich, the Democratic mayor of Anchorage, widened his lead to 3,724 votes in Tuesday's count of absentee and questioned ballots. The lead is insurmountable, as the only votes left to count are approximately 2,500 ballots from overseas.

Begich claimed victory, saying, "I am humbled and honored to serve Alaska in the U.S. Senate."

The loss came on Stevens' 85th birthday. The 40-year incumbent is the longest serving Republican in the history of the U.S. Senate.

By by count, that gives Democrats control of 58 seats in the Senate (if you include the two independents who caucus with the Democrats).

Results of Minnesota and Georgia are still up in the air.

The Cotton Belt

Fun with maps.

The top map shows the 2008 Presidential results.  Blue counties voted for Obama, red ones for McCain (darker hues representing larger majorities).

The bottom map dates from 1860 (i.e. the eve of the Civil War), and indicates where cotton was produced at that time, each dot representing 2,000 bales of the stuff.

2008-11-11-southvoting21

Obviously, there's a strong relationship going on.  Clearly, not a mere coincidence.

Let's superimpose the two maps, and you'll see the effect is more startling…

Strangemapsoverlay1

So what's going on?

Well, obviously… this has little to do with cotton, and more to do with the African-American population.  While there has been much migration to the north of the African-American community, large segments of the community have located not far from their cotton-picking slave ancestors in these communities.

And these communities voted overwhelmingly for Obama.

One interesting outlier was in southern Tennessee in Lawrence County.  I'm sure there's an explanation.  Perhaps a significant proportion of the black community migrated to nearby Nashville.

Begich Pulls Ahead

No, the election isn't over.  There's still afight for the Senate, with Dems trying to get as close to a filibuster-proof majority of 60 as possible.

For some inexplicable reason, Ted Stevens (R-Convicted Felon-AK) trounced his Democratic challenger in Alaska, but that was before they counted absentee and early ballots.

And Begich has pulled ahead.

Alaska Senate Race: It Ain’t Over, Folks

Maybe the convicted felon didn't win after all.

Right now, Stevens is up 106,351 votes to Begich's 102,998.  That's a gap of only 3,353 votes.

However, according to the Alaska Division of Elections, there are over 81,000 absentee, early vote, and questionable ballots to be counted.  (63,000 votes if you ignore all the questionable ballots).

Nate Silver chunked the data and determined that, of the early votes counted so far, Begich got 61% of them.  Looking at the districts where early votes and absentee ballots come from, and assuming voting patterns are the same, Silver predicts that Begich picks up a net 6,450 votes, which would make him the winner — assuming there is no cheating.

Democrats picked up a 57th Senator with the squeaker win in Oregon.

If Begich wins Alaska, that would make 58.

If Al Franken wins Minnesota on the recount, that would make 59.

And if Martin somehow upsets Chambliss in the Georgia run-off (because neither candidate got over 50%), which is possible, but a slight uphill battle, that would make 60.

I predicted 58 before the elections.  I still stand by that.

Memes That Doesn’t Hold Water

John KingLaura IngrahamCharles KrauthammerTom Brokaw, Karl Rove, Ruth Marcus  . . . they're all saying that America is still a "center-right" country.


Here's the thing: if that's true, then why didn't America elect the center-right candidate, which describes McCain to a tee???

We get an answer from a chorus of pundits who say, "Well, McCain wasn't conservative enough."  So he was — what?  To the left of center-right?  So where does that put Obama?

This memes simply don't make sense.  This election was, above all else, a repudiation of conservative governing, which showed itself in deregulation which lead to an economic crisis, invasions of foreign countries, Katrina non-response, turning a blind eye to global warming, and — perhaps the biggest gripe of all — the ever-increasing gap between the wealthiest in our country and the poorest.

Sure, most people didn't pull the Obama lever thinking, "He's a progressive and so am I."  But they pulled the lever thinking that he was offering something different — you know, "change" — and something better.   It was a repudiation of what was — and "what was" was called (rightly or wrongly) conservatism.

Just A Touch More Blue

Omaha, Nebraska (where I was born) was finally called for Obama, giving him one more EV.  It's also a flip from red to blue for that district.  The rest of Nebraska's electoral votes stayed red, which is what they have always been since 1964.

It looks like Missouri is going to go McCain when all is said and done, making the final score: 365-173

Response To “From 52 To 48”

Background here.  It's about the website expressing this sentiment in submitted pictures:

Dear48

The response from the 48?  Well, there's some positive, but sadly, I'm seeing a lot of this:

Dear 52,

Kiss my fat, white ass.

Farepoorly,

48

and this:

"I'm more inclined to dress my wounds, restring my bow, and plan my counterattack than I am to hold hands and sing Kumbaya."

You just can't sell hope and change to some people.

Change We Can Believe In

A photo montage of something that happened at Grant Park on the night of Obama's victory speech.

The photos were taken by a 17 year old who just happened to be there at the right time:

And there was this kid at the rally, I think he was about six years old. He was black, and sitting up on his dad’s shoulders. He had an Obama-Biden sign, and for what I swear was about 3 hours straight, he held the sign straight up, with the most determined look I had ever seen on a six-year-old’s face. And then this other kid appeared, a white kid, on his dad’s shoulders. And all of a sudden they were sharing the sign back and forth. And then, then they held it together. And…it was so simple, SO simple. Yet, at the same time, it was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen, and the great part was that they had no idea what they were doing. Everyone looked at them, people took pictures, but they were just holding a sign. “Little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls…” It was so simple."

Spontaneous and unintentionally symbolic…..

Kidsrally1

Something Rotten In The State Of Alaska

Alaska And it ain't fish.

Consider that this was the most polarizing election in modern American history.

Consider that most states saw incredibly — sometimes record — high voter turnout.

Consider that Alaska, for the first time in its history, had one of its own on the presidential ballot.

Consider that Alaska saw a 12.8% hike in the turnout for the August presidential primaries (before Palin was selected as a VP candidate).

Consider that Alaska also had a very high-profile Senate race involving Stevens (a convicted felon) and Begich.

Consider ALL that, and you would THINK that Alaskans would be energized and the state would have had a very high voter turnout.

But it didn't.  The turnout on November 4 was down 11% from 2004.

Why?  One could argue that it was because Obama's win was a foregone conclusion by the time Alaskans, being in a very west time zone, were able to vote.  (McCain conceded to Obama at 7:15 pm Alaskan time, well before polls closed there).

That may have played a factor, but then again — there was still the hot Stevens-Begich election.  Why didn't Alaskans turn out anyway, for that?

And on that note, it's even smellier.

While polls are not perfect, they were pretty good on all races this year, usually predicting the outcome with no more than a 4% error.

Rasmussen Reports, for example, accurately predicted every Senate race in the country within the margin of error in their most recent polls — except for Alaska.

In fact, ALL the polls prior to election day had Begich winning by an average of 10.3%.  Yet Stevens won by 1.3%.  That's a Republican shift of 11.8%. 

The same phenomenon happened with the Presidental race.  The polls were off by 10.8% (shifting Republican). 

And for the Alaska seat for the House, the polls were off by 16.5% (shfiting Republican).  The Democrat favored to win by about 4%, lost by about 12%.

It's just very odd that the voter turnout was so low, and two Republican lawmakers who were the subject of FBI corruption probes were re-elected – despite polls saying they would lose.

Did Democrats stay home that day?  Possibly.  Although, in every other state, Democrats were charged up and voted early.  Alaska, too, has early voting.  One wonders what happened to those ballots.

I'm not crying conspiracy here.  But Alaska is known for its political corruption, and, well…… hmmmmmm.

The Bullet We Dodged: Palin Thinks Africa Is A Country, Can’t Name All the Countries In North America

I was scared about Sarah Palin's lack of knowledge about, well, civics.  Many were. But now we are slowly learning that the McCain people were totally freaked by her breathtaking ignorance.  McCain staffers had told certain Palin stories to Fox News reporter Carl Cameron, but it was "off the record".


Now that the election is over, we learn more about Palin:

Carl Cameron….  reveals that McCain aides were truly "shocked" at the "gaps in knowledge" Sarah Palin displayed once they were stuck with her.  He said that, in the most startling shortcoming, she actually didn't "understand that  Africa was not just a country, but a continent."  This led, among other things, to her asking how, in that case,  South Africa could be a separate country.  She also could not name all of the countries in North America, he said, not even the NAFTA partners.  And she did not know many of the basics of civics and local/state/national duties.  

But the "gaps" explain, Cameron said, why tensions erupted as McCain aides were truly alarmed by all of this –  yet Palin wanted to speak out freely.  So in the closing week or so, they reveal, she took to yelling and screaming at aides over her press clippings, even "tossing papers" around.  She was so out of touch she actually refused coaching before the Katie Couric interviews, then yelled at staffers for not preparing her better or warning her off the interviews.  "Temper tantrums," etc.  Then there were the clothes bills and greeting McCain aides in a bath towel….

Look To The Left

MSNBC noted today, "[i]t's hard not to look at the map … and not view the GOP as a regional party right now."

That remains to be seen, I suppose, but if you look different maps — the ones below — you'll see that the movement to the left is very pronounced.

Except for a small band within the southern states (let's call it the hillbilly part), the entire country voted more Democratic this year than in 2004.

Map1

Map2

The West Wing Season 7 Presidency

West Wing fans know that, at the show's inception, the character of Josh Lyman was modeled after Rahm Emanuel.

In Season 6, the new character Matt Santos (the Democratic presidential candidate, played by Jimmy Smits) was modeled after Barack Obama.  
In Season 7, Santos ran against an aging moderate Republican from a western state named Arnold Vinick (played by Alan Alda)
Santos won the fictional election, and made Josh Lyman his Chief of Staff.
So let's recap:

  • Josh Lyman is modeled after Rahm Emanuel.
  • Matt Santos is modeled after Barack Obama
  • Matt Santos wins the presidency by defeating a moderate Republican, and appoints Josh Lyman his Chief of Staff
  • Barack Obama wins the presidency by defeating a moderate Republican, and appoints Rahm his Chief of Staff.

The Stock Market And The Obama Win

It means nothing that the Dow dropped 300 points today.  If one is going to make the argument that it has something to do with the Obama win, then one needs to consider that the Dow went up 300 yesterday, a day when it was clear to everyone that no last minute "surprises" would thwart an Obama win.

The truth is that that Dow has been going up and down by hundreds of points MANY days over the past several weeks (mostly down) for reasons having nothing to do with the election and everything to do with the financial crisis/housing bubble burst/credit crisis.

Nobody reasonably argued that the election of Obama alone was supposed to solve Wall Street's woes.  So today's dip in the Dow doesn't refute that never-made argument.

What Is Obama Today?

He's been a socialist, a Marxist, a terrorist-loving radical liberal with the most liberal agenda that's so radically liberal that everyone can plainly see how really really radically liberal he is…

Of course, all that was before yesterday.

Today, we learn that the Obama won because he's center-right, and ran a center-right campaign.

Whatever.

Then again, that might be true if one accepts that the "center" of America is progressive.

From The “Not That It Matters Anymore” Dept.

Newsweek informs us of things we didn't know before the election:

(1)  Palin's $150,000 spending spree?  It was actually "tens of thousands of dollars" greater than that.  As Newsweek put it:

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.

(2)  At the GOP convention one night, McCain advisors Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter went to her hotel room to brief her. After a minute, Palin sailed into the room wearing nothing but a towel, with another on her wet hair. She told them to chat with her laconic husband, Todd. "I'll be just a minute," she said.

(3)  Hackers broke into both the McCain and Obama campaign computers.  Not by their opponents, but by foreign nationals.

And perhaps more disturbing….

(4)  There was, according to the Secret Service, a sharp and disturbing increase in threats to Obama in September and early October, at the same time that many crowds at Palin rallies became more frenzied.

The article also mentions this:

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.

I learned about Houdini last week, but was (for obvious reasons) sworn to secrecy.  I can't say whether it was a success on the whole; I was only one kog in the whole Houdini machine.  In case it's not clear, the whole point was to find out who had not voted so that they resources could be directed to reaching these non-voters (by phone, email) and trying to get them to the polls.

I suspect, however, that Houdini's utility was limited in my district, as well as most of North Carolina.  Most people voted early or were already planning to vote.  It may have coaxed a handful more into the ballot box, but I just don't think it would have been that many.

REALLY Local Election Results

The $62 million bond package to help Forsyth Technical Community College expand and allow Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools to move its administrative offices and to build a new Career Center… passed.

Statewide, Democrats won offices of Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Auditor, Secretary of State, Treasurer and Commissioner of Public Instruction.

Cherrie Berry (R) stays on as Secretary of Labor, barely winning out over her Denocratic challenger.  She ran a brilliant campaign, with her name and picture on the inside of every elevator in the state.  Also, her name rhymes and makes for a good rock song.

Obama Baby

Defined as:

A child conceived after Obama was proclaimed President by way of celebratory sex

P.S.  Can I just say something apropos of nothing but Obama-related kind of?

I don't like Oprah Winfrey.  I saw her being interviewed at the celebration in Grant Park last night, and there's just something about her demeanor that I just don't like.  There.  I've said it.

Fun Facts And Demographics (National Edition)

  • The other day, I predicted Obama would win 52.2% of the vote to McCain's 46.6%.  Obama got 52.4% and McCain got 46.4%.  So, you know, bow to me.  Or something.
  • 130 million voted, 64% of the electorate — the highest turnout in U.S. history
  • Barack Obama's 52.4% of the popular vote is the best Democratic performance in 40 years, and the best of any candidate in either party in 20 years.
  • And no non-incumbent has got 52.4% of the popular vote since 1952.
  • Obama won self-identified independents (52% to 44%), and self-identified moderates (60% to 39%). I guess maverick voters didn't like the maverick candidate.  That's meta-mavericky of them.
  • Obama narrowly won among men (49% to 48%), and won among women by a large margin (56% to 43%).
  • For all the talk about Obama being unable to win over Hispanic support, Hispanic voters backed Obama by more than a 2-to-1 margin. McCain's Hispanic support dropped 10 points from Bush's four years ago.
  • Obama won Roman Catholic voters, another group he was supposed to lose.
  • Obama got 43% of the white vote; Kerry got 41% in 2004.  But whites made up a small percentage of the electorate this year.  When you factor these together, you find that 31.57 percent of voters in 2004 were white people who voted for John Kerry in 2004. In 2008, the tally was very similar — 31.82 percent of voters were white people who voted for Barack Obama.
  • Youth (i.e. people under 30) was about 18% of the turnout yesterday.  That's an improvement over the last three national elections.  While onoe cannot say whether the young people gave Obama his victory, it's clear that young people and first-time voters helped.
  • Obama is the first constitutional law professor to be elected U.S. President.  I can't even begin to tell you what this means to me.

I hate post-mortems, but the Wall Street Journal has a nice piece on why McCain lost.  To be sure, the economic crisis didn't help him (nor his response), and the article focuses on that.  But it also touches on something else: sometime after June, five of McCain's top advisors got together to give focus to the campaign and answer the question "Why should we elect John McCain?"  None of them could agree on an answer, so the entire campain just went negative on Obama after that.  In my view, that failed meeting sealed McCain's losses.

And finally, analysis from The Onion:

Nation Finally Shitty Enough To Make Social Progress

"WASHINGTON — After emerging victorious from one of the most pivotal elections in history, president-elect Barack Obama will assume the role of commander in chief on Jan. 20, shattering a racial barrier the United States is, at long last, shitty enough to overcome.

Although polls going into the final weeks of October showed Sen. Obama in the lead, it remained unclear whether the failing economy, dilapidated housing market, crumbling national infrastructure, health care crisis, energy crisis, and five-year-long disastrous war in Iraq had made the nation crappy enough to rise above 300 years of racial prejudice and make lasting change.

'Today the American people have made their voices heard, and they have said, "Things are finally as terrible as we're willing to tolerate,"' said Obama, addressing a crowd of unemployed, uninsured, and debt-ridden supporters. 'To elect a black man, in this country, and at this time — these last eight years must have really broken you.'

Added Obama, 'It's a great day for our nation.'"

Fun Facts And Demographics (North Carolina Edition)

UPDATE:  North Carolina finally called…. for Obama!

Based on exit polls:

  • Men preferred McCain, 54 – 45 percent, while women preferred Obama, 55 – 45 percent.

  • The youth turnout in North Carolina was 17%, and they were HUGE in the Obama category.  Obama got 73% of the youth vote (defined as 18-29 years old)

  • Whites comprised 72% of the NC vote, and favored McCain over Obama 64-35%.

  • Blacks comprised 22% of the NC vote, and favored Obama over McCain 97-3%. (Black women, who made up 13% of the vote went 100% for Obama).

Here's the age and race breakdown

 
                               Obama            McCain          Other
 
White 18-29 (9%)
57%
43%
N/A
 
 
White 30-44 (21%)
31%
69%
N/A
 
 
White 45-64 (28%)
34%
66%
N/A
 
 
White 65 and Older (14%)
28%
70%
2%
 
 
Black 18-29 (6%)
100%
0%
N/A
 
 
Black 30-44 (6%)
99%
1%
N/A
 
 
Black 45-64 (8%)
93%
7%
N/A
 
 
Black 65 and Older (3%)
N/A
N/A
N/A
 
 
Latino 18-29 (1%)
N/A
N/A
N/A
 
 
Latino 30-44 (0%)
N/A
N/A
N/A
 
 
Latino 45-64 (1%)
N/A
N/A
N/A
 
 
Latino 65 and Older (0%)
N/A
N/A
N/A
 
 
All Others (2%)
N/A
N/A
N/A
 
 
  • 44% of NC voters considered themselves "moderate"; Of these moderates, Obama took 61% of their vote, compared to McCain's 38%
  • Obama won 57% if people who identify themselves as "independent" (rather than "Democrat" or Republican")
  • Obama also grabbed 24% of the white evangelical vote.  Cool.

Here's one of my favorites:

Obama did was favored by those with the least education (no high school degree, and high school degree but no college)

But among people with a college degree or "some college", McCain did better.

And the most educated people — those with postgraduate degrees — Obama did better.

It's one of those interesting bell curve deals, where Obama appealed to both the least and the most educated in North Carolina, while people in the middle went for McCain.

The same goes true for income.  Obama appealed more to NC voters making under $50,000, but he was also the favorite of those making over $200,000 by 55% to 45%.  Those in between favored McCain.

Some may wonder why those who made over $200,000, who would probably see tax increases under Obama, would favor Obama.  One can only guess — maybe they understand (or learned from the recent fiscal crisis) that if the bottom rungs of society suffer, we all eventually do.  In any event, it's not inconsistent with national exit polls, which showed that most people who believed their taxes would go up under Obama stil voted for him anyway.

A Night Of Sweet Victories, A Few Disappointments, And Too-Close-To-Calls

I was watching several races last night.  On the whole, I'm pretty happy.

As for ballot initiatives (bellwethers of the social climate of the country), pro-choice folks had a nice night, but the gays got screwed.  Details on that below.

Other ballot initiatives of note:  The State of Washington voted in favor of doctor-assisted suicide, Michigan allowed the use of medical marijuana and (in a separate initiative) stem-cell research, and Arizona rejected a number of laws designed to make it harder to hire illegal immigrants.

So again, liberal viewpoints prevailed, except on gay issues.

SWEET VICTORIES

Presidential – U.S.: Obama over McCain

Presidential – NC:  I predicted McCain would win this state.  And he still might (Obama leads McCain by only 112,000 votes, with all precincts counted, but then you've got provisional ballots and other issues, making it too close to call).  But win or lose, the fact that Obama made this red state become so much more blue, is enough to feel good.

Presidential – OH and FL:  Nice victories, but also by nice undisputable margins of 2% or more.

Senate – NC:  Hagan (D) trounces Dole (R) 53% to 44%.  Best rally cry was at Hagan headquarters last night: "Na-na-na-na Na-na-na-na Hey-Hagan, Goodbye!"

Senate – NH:  Jeanne Shaheen (D) overwhelms Sununu (R) 52% to 45%.  Another Dem pickup.

Senate – CO and NM:  Both states are Dem pickups in the Senate.  Udall (D) wins in both states.  That's right — both winners are named "Udall".  Yes, they're related (cousins), and one of them is the son of Mo Udall.

House – generally: Dems had a lead of 235-199 seats going into Election Day.  Dems have lost four of those (so far) but picked up 21 elsewhere (so far), for a net gain of 17 seats (so far).  Eleven seats are still up in the air, but it looks like Dems will end up with a lead of 251 seats to the GOP's 183.

Governor – NH:  My home state overwhelmingly re-elects Dem incumbent John Lynch (70-28%)

Governor – NC:  North Carolina gets its first women governor.  Bev Perdue (D) beats Patrick McCrory (R) 50% to 47%.

Human Life Begins At Conception – CO:  A pretty obvious attempt to restrict all abortions – by defining "human life" as beginning at contraception — gets soundly thumped in Colorado.  Had it won, then ALL abortions could be legally defined as "murder" and effectively outlawed.

Ban On All Abortions – SD:  No abortions except where health of mother at risk, or in cases where preganacy is due to rape or incest (BUT only during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy).  South Dakotans aborted this attempted ban in overwhlming numbers (55% to 45%)

DISAPPOINTMENTS

Senate – GA:  It looked for a while like Democrat challenger Martin might defeat GOP incumbent Chambliss.  Sadly, it was not to be.  No Dem pickup here. [UPDATE:  Because neither candidate got over 50%, the race, under Georgia law, goes to a run-off.  Theoretically, Martin could still win]

House – NC 05:  My home district.  Republican incumbant Virginia Foxx beat Carter badly.

House – MN 06:  That bitch Michelle Bachmann, who recently suggested that there should be Senate investigations against Obama and others for being "anti-American" barely beat out her Democratic challenger, 46% to 44%

Unmarried (read: "gay") Couples And Adoption – AR:  Unmarried couples will not be allowed to adopt children in Arkansas.  This applies to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples (but this was not-so-subtly directed at gay couples, who can't marry in Arkansas). 

Bans On Gay Marriage – AZ, CA, and FL:  Florida and Arizona have now amended their Constitution to state that "marriage" is defined as between one man and one women.  California's Prop 8 still hasn't been officially called, but it looks close to losing.

TOO CLOSE TO CALL

Presidential – IN:  Even closer than NC, as I write this (Obama has 1,352,356 votes; McCain has 1,329,370 votes, with 99% of precincts reporting).  But win or lose, it's nice to see the state get a little bluer

Senate – AK:  Stevens (R-Convicted Felon) is maintaining a marginal lead of only 3,500 votes, with 99% precincts reporting.  Obviously, every senator in the Dem column makes the Obama agenda flow much easier.  If Stevens wins, he'll probably have to step down anyway.  And then there will be a runoff.

Senate – MN:  The tighest race by far.  With 100% of the votes counted, comedian Al Franken (D) trails Norm Coleman by less than 600 votes (out of 2.5 million cast).  There will probably be a recount; maybe even court fights.

Parental Notification Of Minor's Abortion – CA:  California constitutional amendment requiring physicians to notify parents of a pregnant minor at least 48 hours before providing an abortion.  It does NOT require parental consent for the abortion.  If minor fears parental abuse, then notification can be provided to another family member besides parents.  Exception to notification in case of medical emergencies.  An interesting, but probably unworkable amendment.  As of now, Californians are rejecting it — barely — 52% to 48%, but all precincts are not in.

The Victory and Concession Speeches (and Related Thoughts)

PaHWAHHO89u04r0aDCnOtEdQ_500 I'm sure I'm not the only person who kind of tilted his head a little last night, when John McCain said this:

This is an historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African-Americans and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight.

The immediate question that came to my mind is: "Why can't *I*, as a white American, feel a 'special pride' that an African-American was elected President?"

Now, McCain's comment wasn't racist.  It wasn't mean.  It wasn't intentionally divisive.  It just shows where he and so many of his followers are coming from.

Or, as Obama would say, he "just doesn't 'get it'."

The sad undercurrent beneath McCain's comment is that there is an "us" and a "them"  It's like, there's the black "team" and the white "team".  And Obama's victory (implies McCain) has "special" significance only for the black team.

That's just so early 20th century, and I don't subscribe to it.

A 1960s white civil rights worker once told a news reporter that, in his belief, his rights and freedoms as an American were very much tied to those of every other man.  Martin Luther King, in his speeches and writing, said the same thing.  Essentially, when you diminish one race, you diminish all of them.

The 14th Amendment, the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s, and so on were not victories for the "black team".  In fact, if you look at the text of those statutes, it makes no specific mention of any particular race.  They were, literally, victories for ALL races.

Yes, it's true: for the first time in history, black parents can look at their children and honestly say, "In America, a child can grow up to be anything they want." 

However, my point is, this is the first time parents of any color can say those words to their children.

So Obama's election wasn't a "special" victory FOR any particular race; it was a special victory because it TRANSCENDED race.  And that's something that everyone of every race can take a "special pride" in.

***************

Turning to Obama's victory speech, it was just as I expected: humble, and a call to arms.  No, we're done yet, he spoke.  And he's right.

What struck me in particular was his attempt to transcend color.  But not the colors of black and white so much as the colors of red and blue.

He reminded us that we are not a nation of "red states and blue states", but the "United States".  He used that same line in his 2004 speech to the Democratic National Convention.  And the fact that he was still on that same message warmed me.

Specifically, Obama's consistancy throughout the campaign warms me.  He started this campaign with promises of being non-devisive.  At that time, many — including me — despaired.  We remembered all too well how John Kerry "took the high road" and didn't counter the punches that Bush threw at him.  "Grow a pair", we pleaded to John.  He didn't; he lost.

Obama got the same advice from pundits, and probably from those within his campaign.  But he didn't take the bait.  When McCain, Palin, and their surrogates were coming at Obama with ridiculous charges and name-calling ("socialist", "terrorist-lover", etc.), you didn't see Obama or his surrogates calling McCain similar names.  They stayed on message, stayed the high road, and countered the attacks with a dismissive: "Yeah, whatever.  Here's what I'm going to do for the country…."

It's was a very disciplined and positive campaign, so much so that it not only defeated McCain, but it may have defeated, permenantly, the Rovian tactics of negative campaigning and mudslinging. 

That sort of positive discipline not only benefitted Obama, but also downticket races as well.  For example, Liddy Dole actually hurt herself with the "Hagen/atheism" attack.  Mudslinging LOST this year, big time, and that bodes well for future elections.

Whether Obama can govern with such discipline and positivity remains to be seen.  But I think he can.  At another point in his victory speech last night, Obama addressed those "whose support I have not yet won".  He told those people that he will listen to them, and be their President as well. 

That's pretty magnanimous.  After all, Bush, Cheney, and their supporters have been calling people like Obama and me "anti-American" for 8 years.  There have been members of the Bush Administration who have admitted that they never felt the need to govern all the people.  The mindset was "WE Republicans won; YOU guys lost; WE get to do what we want".  And as a result, I never felt that Bush was MY President (as I did with, say, Reagan, although I never voted for him either).  My government rejected ME these past eight years, and that pissed me off.

Now, I'm quite sure Obama is going to go forth with his agenda, and he will face opposition along the way.  But what will be different in an Obama Administration, as opposed to the Bush Administration, is that Obama's detractors will not be attacked at the highest level of government as being "unpatriotic" or "unAmerican".  As Obama himself said last night in his victory speech, that is the politics of "immaturity" and divisiveness, and I'm confident that will finally be put to death too.

A Seventh Sense Flashback

What I wrote on this blog on July 27, 2004 (the first day of the 2004 DNC convention):

For me though, the man to watch is keynote speaker, Baruch [sic] Obama. For many of you, this will be the first time you see him. Pay close attention — he will be your President one day.

And again on July 28, 2004 (after his DNC speech):

I tell you again — he's going to be your President someday, so you better warm up to him soon.

44

You know, it's not just the fact that my guy won.  I knew that would happen several weeks ago.

And, right now, it's not about the future of America that lifts me, although it should.
 
It's just that there are so few pivotal moments in American history that one can say "I was witness to that". 
I mean, for the first time, we have a black President.  
And even though I never really cared about race in this election, and I won't care about it once Obama's presidency starts, I find myself overwhelmed and a little bit emotional over at the hurdle that this young country has lept over.  
 
Two hundred years ago, a man like Obama was, by law, 3/5ths of a man; a man who could be bought and sold — legally — by other men.
Two hundred years from now, in the future, people will look back to 11:00 tonight as the precise moment, not when prejudice was erased from the hearts of man, but the moment when America finally and conclusively demonstrated, rather than merely promised, that it was a land of equal opportunity.
How magnificent to witness that moment.
Obama ran on a campaign of "change".  He's already brought it.
I can't wait to see what's next.

Good News All Around

Various networks have chimed in…. and while not all of them have called these races, at least one has called:

A win for Jeanne Shaheen (D) over Sununu (R) for Senate (NH)
A win for Hagan (D) over Dole (R) ifor Senate (NC)
…and Pennsylvania for Obama.
 
This last one was supposedly McCain's ace in the hole.  To win, under almost every scenario, he needed to "steal" a safe Obama state.  His campaign chose Pennsylvania to be that state.  He didn't get it.
That Obama took PA isn't a surprise, but the fact that it was quickly called for Obama indicates a blowout, and portends badly for McCain.
As I write this, Obama is leading in North Carolina (a state I predicted he would lose).  With 9% of the precincts in, Obama is up 55-44.  If this goes Obama in the next half hour, you can call it a night (see my "any Two" scenario below), because McCain would have to pick up EVERY key battleground state remaining (Ohio, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Indiana, in particular) to win.  
And it ain't lookin' good for him in Florida. 
9:00 pm  I'm looking at the county-by-county results for NC, where Obama leads 52-47 with 32% of the precincts reporting.  Apparently, that figure includes NO preciincts from Raleigh-Durham, and none from the Asheville area.  Only a small percentage from the Triad, and Charlotte.  Meanwhile, the hillybilly precincts in eastern NC are nearly done being counted.  So I REALLY feel good about NC.
9:30 pm  Ohio and New Mexico called for Obama.
So basically, what it boils down to is this.  Obama can now lose every battleground state not called (including Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Missouri and Indiana), but as long as he holds the states that Kerry had (that aren't battleground), he wins.
Or, look at it this way:  Obama now has 200 EVs.  Let's assume he wins California and Hawaii.  That puts him at 258.  He'll only need 12 more to hit 270.   Where does he get them?  Almost any combination of the states which are strongly Obama (not "leaning"):  Washington (11 EVs), Oregon (8 EVs), Iowa (7 EVs) or Colorado (9 EVs).  You can FORGET all the battleground states.  That's how close Obama is to winning now.
Time to start the post-mortems.

Poll Report: End Of Day

Not a lot happened at the polling station where I was the Democratic Observer.

I mean, it really was dull!
With the exception of the first hour, from 7:30 to 8:30 am, there were absolutely no lines.
I despaired, thinking that low voter turnout would be bad for Obama.
However, the precinct that I was monitoring broke turnout records.  You wouldn't have known to be there, though, because of early voting.
Basically, it breaks down this way:
Percentage of registered voters who voted:  70%
Percentage of registered voters who voted today: 43%
Percentage of registered voters who voted early:  27%
So, an easy day.
A couple of thoughts:
1.  You know, back in 2000, a lot of people (NOT me) mocked Florida voters who were confused by the butterfly ballot.
Well, you know, when you are elderly, or voting for the first time, it IS confusing.
The ballot at my monitored precinct was a simple optical scan ballot.  You fill in the bubble, just like the SATs, except with a pen instead of a No. 2 pencil.  Then you stick it in a machine.
Couldn't be simpler, right?
 
But if you've never done it before, it CAN be tough.  Some people didn't understand the straight ticket issue (which IS kind of weird in North Carolina).  Some people thought you HAD to vote in every single race on the ballot.
Okay, there were one or two who tried to puncture the ballot with the pen.  And of course, MOST people "got it".  But still, for others, it IS hard, if not intimidating.
Fortunately, we had some good poll workers.
2.  It was always nice to see parents bring their kids.  Many of them didn't want to fill their ballots out in the "booths" but preferred to sit at a long lunchroom table (my polling place was an elementary school), so that their kid could sit on their lap.  They would fill out the ballot together, as the parent explained. 
 
And the kid got an "I Voted" sticker (a popular item, since the words was out that both Starbucks and Krispy Kreme were giving out freebies to anyone with such a sticker).