Whether you agreed or disagreed with the nation's choice of Barack Obama as our next president, there's no denying it was a landmark event in American history. Here are a few thoughts on the just-completed presidential race:
- A few reasons why Obama won: He appealed to people's better instincts and their hopes for the future; he never lost his focus during the long campaign (whereas McCain always seemed to be looking for a new strategy); George Bush; the economic meltdown.
- McCain made one classy concession speech Tuesday night. Had he taken that tone throughout the campaign, perhaps the outcome would have been different, or at least closer. And I don't make much of the people in his crowd booing Obama. They just went through a very tough campaign and a crushing setback.
- Sarah Palin, ultimately, was a drag on the Republican ticket. She's a person of average intelligence, limited knowledge and seemingly no intellectual curiousity. That's fine, but she shouldn't be one heartbeat away from the presidency.
- Making Joe the Plumber out to be some sort of American hero reeked of desperation by the McCain camp. The fact that Joe turned out to be a dolt didn't help.
- As the campaign wound down and the McCain and McCain-related ads became more and more off-issue and attacking, McCain increasingly came off as an angry old man.
- The world will look on us differently now that our "First Family" is a black family. And it will be nice to have little kids in the White House. It's the first time in my life that the president will be younger than me. It's the passing of a torch to a new generation in politics.
- I was sad that the forces of hate and intolerance carried the day on the California gay marriage-ban proposition. The actions by the religious right sure don't reflect what I think Jesus would do.
- People speak of Barack Obama as being nothing but a guy who looks good and makes great speeches. That's ridiculous. He's clearly a brilliant man, and sometimes, when our country is in deep trouble, we need a leader with charisma who can inspire people. See Jack Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.
- I turned on conservative talk radio in the car today, and the people calling in are still calling Obama a Muslim and a communist and claiming he was born in Kenya. There are lots of angry, stupid people in our country.
- The Republican Party has to decide which fork in the road to take if they want to reclaim power down the road. Do they continue to be held hostage by the religious right? I don't think that's the path to victory. They might do better by reclaiming the party from the fringe elements and reviving the concept of Rockefeller Republicanism; in other words, liberal to moderate on social issues and conservative on economics. Example: One of my favorite public servants, Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine. Another example: Tom Ridge.
- Finally, in the words of Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?" For those who supported Obama, this is not a time to gloat. For those who supported McCain, it's time to give the other guy your support and give him a chance to implement his policies. If they don't work, you get another chance to vote in 2012.