Friday, November 07, 2008

A Thousand words

(Photo Credit: April Winchell. Final Obama rally in Manassas, VA, November 3, 2008)
[H/T Erza Klein]

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

We believed in change

And without Utah's help, Obama won by as much as 7 percent nationally (there are 3 million outstanding ballots in California alone, which could change the outcome in a congressional race and the gay marriage proposition) as well as an overwhelming majority of the electoral college.

My impressions of last night:
  1. When Obama was projected as the winner, and we saw shot after shot of people partying in the streets, beaming faces, teary happy faces, to me it looked like New Year's Eve parties in Times Square, and not an election. The country is ready for a change and eager to have Obama start.

  2. Every network rounded up their black correspondents and random black preachers, put them in front of the TV and asked them what Obama's victory meant for them and their family. Ironically, doing this was a wee bit racist ("You're black, right Frank? You must be proud!"). Some moments were moving though.

  3. In the end, the 1999-2002 McCain showed up to give his concession speech. It was a classy way to end his campaign that was so un-classy (especially his supporters who booed when McCain mentioned Obama's name). He genuinely seemed to want to help Obama be as legitimate a leader as possible and it almost appeared that he was contemplating caucusing with the Dems. The McCain redemption tour started last night 11:00 Eastern

  4. Joe Biden is damned lucky Obama picked him. Really, it wouldn't have mattered who Obama picked among the safe bets--AKA not a Sarah Palin equivalent--for his VP. Biden tried his hardest to screw it up for Obama by saying trademarked dumb things.

  5. If you thought your election watching party was lame, George W. Bush holled himself up in the White House to watch. That must have been less fun than a funeral.
I am going to try to get some sleep one these days, but boy that was fun to watch for a change.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

change begins with us

Mitt Romney said it about Republicans but think it applies to all Americans in all 50 states. Something like 80 percent of us think the country is on the wrong track. The promise of America and the idea of America have been sullied the last 8 years.

The reason millions of Americans are waiting in lines to vote today is because of that. This is the poem that popped into my head that really seems to fit the day:
Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!
--Langston Hughes

(Photo Credit: Jim Lo Scalzo for The New York Times)
"Voters lined up before dawn in Nottaway Park in Vienna, Va., to cast their ballots."

Monday, November 03, 2008

voting Dem will INCREASE Utah's clout

I know it sounds counter intuitive. One of the most Republican states in the union would be aided by Democrats gaining more votes in Congress (and the White House). But the scenario goes like this:
"The Democrats will be looking for a series of things they can do really quickly," says Ilir Zherka, executive director of DC Vote, the measure's biggest proponent. Party leaders will want to pass popular legislation that barely missed approval in the last Congress, he says.
"We've been trying to make the case that D.C. voting rights qualify across the board," says Zherka.
House leadership isn't ready to outline its agenda for the new Congress just yet, but House Leader Steny Hoyer's office says voting rights for the district are still a priority for Hoyer and he's in discussions on how best to proceed with the bill.
House passage seems a given since that body approved the legislation in 2007 by a large margin. The bill fell short on its way toward final passage by three votes in the Senate, but it is expected to gain supporters in the next session.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is a co-sponsor of the Senate legislation on the DC Voting Rights Act and supported the bill in the Senate. Despite earlier indications of his support, Republican presidential candidate John McCain voted against the bill.
Most estimates are that Democrats will pick up 7-8 seats in the Senate (and 9 if Georgia goes into a runoff and somehow Jim Martin pulls it out in December with the help of a President-elect Obama), and somewhere between 25 and 30 seats in the House. And since Obama was a co-sponsor of the bill, whereas McCain (in one of the few votes he showed up for) voted against it, it seems safe to assume that Obama would sign such a bill into law, while McCain would veto it.

To refresh your memory, the bill would give Utah a 4th seat and DC a vote in the House. Come 2012, Utah would keep its seat (and maybe pick up another one depending on the demographic trends). The Utah legislature has already voted on a map that would unite West Valley with Park City to create as safe a Democratic seat as possible in Utah. If I was advising Jim Matheson, I would suggest he let an up and comer take that seat and go for the jugular and run against Chaffetz (or Bishop) in 2010. With 4 seats, especially if two are held by Democrats--the party that looks to be in control for the foreseeable future, Utah will have more power in DC to get things done that the state wants (light rail funding for instance) as it rapidly grows in the next decade.

Only one more day until the election. I voted early and did NOT vote straight ticket, voting for the first time in my life for candidates from another party. There were some candidates that did not earn my vote and so I either voted for the other candidate or chose to abstain from that race. No matter who you support or where you live, make your voice be heard and VOTE. Then make sure your friends and family vote. In 2004, a guy raced around town shuttling his mom and sister to the polls to vote in Ohio, just getting mom in before the polls closed. While it didn't effect the outcome of federal races, a local judge won because of one guy's efforts. Your vote does count. Don't let anyone tell you differently.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Change IS coming to Utah, part drei

Can you feel it in the air? No it is not the freakish, man-made-climate-changed weather that I am talking about, but rather change.
A recent Mason-Dixon poll commissioned by The Salt Lake Tribune shows that 66 percent of likely voters had concerns about ethics violations on Utah's Capitol Hill. The same percentage said they support outlawing abortion, except in cases of rape, incest or to protect the mother's life or bodily function.
That's right serious ethics reform is as popular as banning abortion in this pro-life state. This statistic is yet another data point in support of my thesis that incumbents will fall on Tuesday in Utah.

Now I can't or won't predict which one it will be (Speaker Curtis? Senator Walker? Senator Buttars? Rep. Hughes? Rep. Monsen?) But there sure are ones that won't be missed.
Rendell, who is challenging Sen. Chris Buttars, tried to beat back a whisper campaign he said suggested the husband of 25 years and father is a stooge of the gay-rights crowd and might be gay himself.
"That's what he says I'm saying," said Buttars, who insists it's not true. "I do believe he has the total support of the gay community."
Seriously, Buttars has so many paranoid delusions that it is hard to keep track. Now for the party hacks predictions (totally non-biased I am sure):
Todd Taylor, executive director of the Utah Democratic Party, is predicting an eight-seat pickup in the Utah Legislature this year - the Senate seats held by Buttars and Sen. Carlene Walker, and six or more in the House, including the seats held by House Speaker Greg Curtis and Rep. Greg Hughes, head of the Conservative Caucus.
"We think it's a good year, between what's going on nationally and the local issues that have popped up," Taylor said. "I think it has to do mostly with the nature of the Republicans who are representing those areas [who] are arrogant and out of touch with Utah voters."
Utah Republican Party Chairman Stan Lockhart says he's confident Republicans represent the values of Utah voters and the GOP will do well at the ballot box.
You remember Mr. Lockhart? He's the guy who broke party rules to get his daughter seated as a delegate\. Of course, those two ideas pedaled in the article are not mutually exclusive. Given the number of races, the Dems could pick up 8 seats and the GOP would still obviously still do very well overall.