Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The wait is over and what did we learn...

---The Obama strategy of focusing on red areas in "battleground states", with the goal of cutting into the Republican margin of victory, worked. It could have been an expensive and time-consuming effort to lose states like Virginia by a respectable margin instead of by the usual ten percentage points. Instead a threshold was crossed and in North Carolina, Indiana, Ohio, Florida and Virginia the Obama campaign won. As a side note, until 2008 the biggest political news in my conservative hometown of Danville, Virginia in the last 5o years was when Senator John Warner brought his then wife Elizabeth Taylor to town in the early 1980's. This year Obama stopped for lunch at Short Sugars, Biden spoke at the Carrington Pavilion, and Tom Daschle held a forum as well. McCain still received almost 60% of the vote there(but not 70%) and neighboring Halifax County actually went for Obama.
---There will be a million post-mortems on the McCain campaign but one could hope that the takeaway would be that the Karl Rove/Lee Atwater campaign style is done with. McCain's hired guns that trained at the knee of Karl Rove turned the man we knew into somebody unrecognizable. They chose Sarah Palin, which turned out to be like drinking three Dr. Peppers in a row, great rush early but sluggish after that. From this perspective, McCain should have focused on the issues and demonstrated that he was above the ugly Republican political game. Then someone other than Sarah and himself might have called him a maverick. By the way, who actually calls himself a maverick, isn't that a third party observation.
---America is based on taking risks, on the optimism that there is the potential for better days, new discoveries, ideas that work. That had been true in its business entrepreneurship, in its image in the world as a place of opportunity and even at times in its politics. We've been through some lean years. With Obama, we to some extent step into the unknown, but that is in itself an affirmation of our spirit.


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