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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election night update

It's 7 p.m. on Nov. 4, and I'm killing time between checking in with the Associated Press and calling them back with a local update on election results. I'm predicting the local sales tax measure for a new justice center will fail. We'll see whether I end up buying co-workers lunch on that wager. Following the national news, I'm reminded of 2000 and 2004. "We're calling Ohio for Obama. Wait, we're not calling Ohio?" Ultimately, it looks like Obama will win. Is that surprising? Not really. Do I feel some angst? Truthfully, no.
I thought about writing a blog earlier about how this is one of the least consequential general elections of my lifetime. (I resisted the urge so I wouldn't be accused of discouraging people from voting.) But let's take stock. The War in Iraq is winding down as a U.S. victory. The 2004 election was the pivot vote that really mattered in regard to Iraq. Now (thanks to our remarkable troops as well as Petraeus, McCain, Bush and a few other intrepid politicians), it's a fait accompli in our column. So a new president, no matter what the party or persuasion, can't do much to mess that up (let's hope). Sure, there are high stakes with federal spending (out of control already) and stacking the Supreme Court (seems inevitable), but as general elections go, this one isn't that important.


Anonymous Shari Otteman said...

I've heard a lot of opinions in these last weeks leading up to the election, but an evaluation of "least consequential" is truly unique. I haven't heard it from the liberals (no shock) and I haven't heard it from the conservatives. I've read George Will's speech to students at the University of Miami where he said:

“It doesn’t get any better than this and it may not be this good again for a long time.... Four talented candidates, serious differences, civil argument. It’s what democracy ought to look like.”

And I read an article Bill Kristol wrote back in September where he called this year refreshing. He saw in both McCain and Obama a bucking of the establishment:

"Is 2008 just a strange year, or is something big happening? Are we seeing one of America’s periodic political and cultural awakenings, one of our occasional, almost-convulsive democratic reactions to what is felt to be too great a distance between the people and their “establishments”? Such awakenings can be sudden and can come at once from different directions. They often have a theme in common, which is an indignant popular demand: “Stop speaking for us and start listening to us.”

I deeply hope that Iraq is well and truly on its own two feet. But the war in Iraq is not the end of "taking stock." From FoxNews to MSNBC, from The Washington Post, to The New York Times, from The New Yorker to The Weekly Standard, I've heard and read concerns over Afghanistan, Pakistan, Georgia and Russia, economic distress on Wall St., unemployment rates, health care, social security, abortion, marriage rights, etc....
But not until today had I heard anyone, anywhere, describe this election and the effect it will have on our world as inconsequential.
Now, that’s a maverick.

November 5, 2008 at 1:21 PM  
Blogger David Carkhuff said...

Not inconsequential, but not the election of our lifetime. I'm just tired of hearing, "This is the most important election in the last 50 years." Not every general election can rise to that standard. I would put 1996 in the same category.

November 5, 2008 at 2:08 PM  
Anonymous Becky said...

Thanks Shari - nicely put! It's good to know there is a least one thinking person in Buffalo!

November 6, 2008 at 9:15 AM  

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