Kevin Drum - November 2008

Hillary

| Wed Nov. 5, 2008 2:13 AM EST

HILLARY....Tonight has been both a great triumph for common sense and a final, emphatic rejection of the Texification of the Republican Party. Barack Obama's victory has been huge, and his coattails have proven to be everything Democrats could have hoped for, with pickups of at least five Senate seats and more than a dozen House seats. Conservatives will do their best to spin things otherwise, but there's little question that the country moved decisively from center right to center left tonight.

I'll have more to say about Obama tomorrow, but for now I want to end the night with a word about Hillary Clinton. She ran in one of the toughest Democratic primaries ever, against one of the party's most talented politicians in recent memory, and she took a lot of abuse during that primary — some of it deserved, most of it not. But in the end, despite what must have been a bitter and searing loss, she campaigned tirelessly and wholeheartedly for the man who beat her. This is something that a lot of people doubted she'd do, and frankly, we all owe her some recognition and gratitude for her role in tonight's victory. Hillary has always been unambiguously dedicated to the Democratic Party and the cause of liberalism, and I think she proved that in the most concrete way possible over the past two months.

Congratulations to Barack Obama for a tremendous victory — tremendous and life affirming. This is his night, and his promise is vast. I hope and pray that he fulfills it.

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11 PM Update

| Tue Nov. 4, 2008 11:00 PM EST

11 PM UPDATE....I figured CNN would call the election at 11:01 Eastern, but I was off by a minute. They called it at 11:00.

....I guess I should be feeling a sense of excitement, but what I mostly feel is an immense sense of relief. Just a complete, unmitigated, totally drained sense of relief that George Bush will finally be packed up and sent home to Crawford. For just this moment, I don't even care whether Barack Obama will be a great president. I'm just grateful that for the next four years our president will be at least minimally competent and grounded in reality. Thank God.

....CNN has called Florida for Obama.

....Colorado goes for Obama. Obama is up to 338 electoral votes so far.

10 PM Update

| Tue Nov. 4, 2008 10:00 PM EST

10 PM UPDATE....Apparently Mark Udall has won his senate race in Colorado. That's +5 for the Democrats.

....Fox and CNN have called Virginia for Obama.

....Obama wins Iowa.

9 PM Update

| Tue Nov. 4, 2008 9:00 PM EST

9 PM UPDATE....ABC says Tom Udall has won the senate seat in New Mexico. That's +4 in the senate for Dems.

Obama is ahead in the electoral college by about 174-76.

....Pretty much everyone seems to agree that Florida is looking very grim for John McCain. No official call yet, though.

....CNN says McConnell has retained his senate seat in Kentucky. Damn.

....Fox and NBC have called Ohio for Obama. That's the election at 9:25 pm EST.

....Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States. Our long national nightmare is (almost) over.

....NBC has called New Mexico for Obama.

Tom DeLay Blathers

| Tue Nov. 4, 2008 8:59 PM EST

TOM DeLAY BLATHERS....Tom DeLay just told Chris Matthews that Democrats would double the minimum wage within the next six months. That would really be something, wouldn't it? A minimum wage of 14 bucks an hour. It's good to see that DeLay is still as delusional as he was back when he was in office.

Also: Dems will destroy the economy. Leave it a smoking rubble. Etc. DeLay is not a man with a sense of irony, is he?

The Northeast Speaks

| Tue Nov. 4, 2008 8:11 PM EST

THE NORTHEAST SPEAKS....CNN says Obama is now ahead in the electoral vote 77-34. In addition, John King has as much as admitted that Obama has won Pennyslvania and Indiana too.

....ABC has called Pennsylvania for Obama.

....NBC says Jeanne Shaheen has beaten John Sununu in the New Hampshire senate race. That's +2 senate seats so far for the Democrats.

....Fox says Hagan has beaten Dole in North Carolina. That's +3 senate seats for the Democrats.

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"You're a Terrific Hologram"

| Tue Nov. 4, 2008 7:20 PM EST

"YOU'RE A TERRIFIC HOLOGRAM"....Wolf Blitzer is now talking to a holographic Jessica Yellen. "We've beamed you in," says Blitzer. "It's like I followed in the tradition of Princess Leia," replies Yellin, in an old school reference to R2D2's projection of Leia in the first Star Wars movie. And sure enough, the shimmering aura around Yellin really does look like that.

"You're a terrific hologram," says Blitzer when the segment ends. And with that she fades out.

Sheesh.

Good News for McCain!

| Tue Nov. 4, 2008 6:51 PM EST

GOOD NEWS FOR McCAIN!....CNN says that McCain is ahead so far, 8 electoral votes to 3. I predict that this will be his last lead of the evening.

Final Numbers

| Tue Nov. 4, 2008 6:51 PM EST

FINAL NUMBERS....Apropos of nothing in particular, here are the final pre-election approval ratings for George Bush from the Fox News poll. Hard to believe, eh? Even after the almost unimaginable incompetence and calamity of the Bush presidency, topped off by the biggest global financial crisis since the Great Depression, 63% of Republicans still think Bush has done a fine job. If he hadn't sold them down the river on immigration hardassery, I'll bet that number would be more like 80%. I don't really know what that means, but it can't be good for the immediate future of the party. Apparently you have to be even worse than George Bush to lose more than half the GOP rank and file. That's just plain scary.

Anyway, I feel like today, now that it's finally in its death throes, I should have some kind of summing up of the catastrophe that has been the recent Republican era in American politics. As always, though, I just can't do it. It's too big for me to get my hands around. For now, then, I'll satisfy myself with merely documenting those final throes as they happen. They start in just a few minutes.

Dirty Campaigns

| Tue Nov. 4, 2008 2:59 PM EST

DIRTY CAMPAIGNS....Brad DeLong comments on the 2008 campaign:

Yes, John McCain ran a dirty campaign. But it was a less dirty campaign than any Republican has run since... well, since the memory of man runneth (with the possible exception of Ford 1976). The difference this year was that — for some reason — this year a fraction of the mainstream press called them on it rather than ignoring it entirely.

I have my doubts that the media per se was the difference this year. For what it's worth, I think the difference is that in past presidential elections most of the really vile campaigning — not all, but most — was either kept under the radar or left to surrogates. Plausible deniability was maintained for the worst of it. This year, for some reason, the McCain campaign itself was willing to conduct a lot of its sleazy attacks publicly in its own name, and this opened them up to media criticism in a way that previous campaigns managed to avoid. I don't know why they did this. I'm not sure that Brad is right about the relative civility of McCain's campaign in any case, but there's not much question that McCain's eager public embrace of slime made his campaign seem worse than it had to. I don't really have a good theory to explain why they did this.

POSTSCRIPT: I should add that I don't mean to imply this is the whole story. It's true that the media liked Obama and treated him pretty easily. I imagine this was partly because so much of the anti-Obama stuff was so plainly crazy (he's a Muslim, he's a black nationalist, his birth certificate was forged, etc.) and partly because they were being extra careful not to buy into any criticism that seemed even arguably racially motivated. And they were probably harder on McCain than normal because they felt like their hero from 2000 had fallen to earth.

In the end, though, despite constant kvetching from conservatives, the media did report on Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers and Joe the Plumber and all that. And it just didn't stick. Who knows why? For whatever reason, the public just wasn't in the mood for this brand of BS this year.