Obama won the electoral votes of the states of the Northeast (Virginia to Maine), of the Great Lakes and of the Pacific Coast, to which he added Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Florida and maybe North Carolina (lots of carpetbaggers there). His opponent got the rest of the South, Texas and the Plain States, the Mormon heartland, and his home state of Arizona.
Obama only just won Indiana, with Indianapolis, the Calumet and other northwestern counties, some other urban areas, and the three university cities dragging the rest of the state into his arms. Oddly, two counties along the Ohio River, a traditional trans-Kentuckian reserve, voted for Obama. The Republicans had to be content with winning the governor another term of office.
Yes, Obama is the first African-American president in history. And I mean African-American, not black: His father was a real African whose ancestors (as far as we know) were never slaves and who was never infected with the lesser labor-hating feudal culture of the South.
As for Obama himself, we could be looking at the American version of Henry Plantagenet: An exceptionally talented fellow who mixes with everyone, regardless of their history, to further his goals. He is also someone who does not put up with bullcrap from ministers, not even his own. The old fart at Obama’s church in Chicago should be thanking God he did not end up like Thomas à Beckett.
But, in the end, Obama’s victory matters only because we can get rid of Dick Cheney, his wooden dummy, his incompetent and venal minions and their corrupt policies once and for all. That is all that matters. And, knowing that an Obama victory will neither lessen the recession nor end speedily the war in Iraq nor free us from the national debt Cheney and his dummy have burdened us with nor restore our freedoms lost by the Law of October 24th nor free us from the tyranny of corporate power and its abuse of the legal system — despite all that, I am content.
The BBC article on why McCain lost made a long list of reasons why the senator from Arizona lost. At the top of the list is the ball and chain on his ankle: The ball is El Dubya, the links in the chain are Dick Cheney and his minions, and the fetter is McCain’s misplaced loyalty just because that loser happens to be President.
Let’s quote the first paragraphs in full.
Few in America did not know about his decades of service, his breath-taking heroism as a war hero in Vietnam, his foreign policy expertise and his ability to reach across the Congressional aisle.
Mr McCain’s opponent was largely untested, inexperienced and, initially at least, unknown; his race only added to his challenge.
Mr McCain’s opponent came out of the bloody-fist world of Chicago politics. Nobody has the right to say, after all that, that a Chicago politician is untested or inexperienced. But as this is an ignorant Brit writing this, I will let it pass.
A lot of people regard the phrases
John McCain and
war hero as oxymorons. You are not war hero if you spend most of a war in a prisoner-of-war camp, especially if you are the type to do anything to survive, while others refused to collaborate and still got out on their own two feet.
His service first in the House and then in the Senate was troubled. He was something of a leftist (probably the result of his time in Hanoi) in a deeply rightist state; and had to resort to chicanery to win the right to set up house in the left shoe of his predecessor, Barry Goldwater. His
reaching across the aisle was merely to other leftists.
And he did not well tolerate activists from his home state. As an example, here is his reaction to two rightist reporters who doggedly pursued him when he was a congressman back in the 1980’s.
The Congressman began to charge to the back of the hall, where I and associates sat, shook off one of his aides, losing his jacket in the process, and SCREAMED:You f*cking idiots! You’ve been following me around for weeks! Get outta here! Get out! I’m sick and tired of being followed around. Get the f*ck out of this hall!
That is why I call McCain the Orangutang.
And as far as foreign policy experience goes, he was a pigmy compared with Richard Lugar, whom Obama learned foreign policy from. McCain was too kissy-kissy with the Russians, anyway. And, in the end, as Lugar found out the hard way, Americans do not give a damn about experience in foreign policy in presidential campaigns.
But it does not matter now. He lost. He did not have enough money, even with party help. His anti-Obama campaign ads hit below the belt, losing him independent voters. His hostility to the influential civil religionists came back to haunt him. His choice of vice-presidential running mate exploded in his face as she turned out to be ignorant and, um, ethically challenged.
In the end, McCain was indeed
a man from America’s past. But it was not the past of the original United States. It was the past of the current United States, one built on a crumbling foundation, desparately strugging to reach for the top as he sank in the sand under his feet.