Third Party & Independents Archives

Change? Not Exactly.

While we congratulate Barack Obama for his win for the office of President of the United States, I am hearing a lot about how this election has ushered in change. Unfortunately, as we look at the presidential and, more specifically, the rest of the elections that took place, I am not seeing as much change as one is led to believe.

Sure, the President is now a Democrat instead of a Republican. But for those of us who are neither it doesn't really mean much. The fact is that our laws and programs come from the Congress which was controlled by Democrats and still is. With only a few exceptions incumbents won the night again, last night. The same Congress that had lower approval ratings than President Bush has is still on control of our country. The same Congress that put into place programs and legislation that increased the instability of our markets, rejected calls for reform and continues to violate our individual liberties are still going to be controlling the laws and budgets that will be written in the next two years, at least. The same Congress that increased our debt every year for the past several decades will still be doing the same, reallocating funds that they don't have, spending the money that we work hard for, in order to keep their positions of power.

This is similar to 1977 and 1992 when a Democratic President retook the White House while their party controlled Congress. And both times the newly elected President was greeted with the sudden knowledge that it was Congress that runs Washington, not the President. After all, the reality is that most of Congress was there before the President was elected and most will still be there after he leaves.

And while President Elect Obama was able to win a hard fought election, the margin of victory was not what one would call a landslide. I hear about the record voting but looking at the numbers tells a different story. Granted, not all votes have been counted yet, but it appears at this time that fewer people voted in 2008 than in 2004. 121,068,604 people voted in 2004 and at this time in the counting it appears that only 118,459,171 people voted. A margin of 2,609,433 people. This is not insignificant. And Barack Obama won with just about 722 thousand more votes than George Bush received in 2004.

To me it appears that a lot of people just stayed home this year, contrary to the stories you hear on the news. While a lot of younger voters, especially college-age voters, came out to vote it seems that the middle age and older voters were turned off by the election all together. Neither candidate was speaking to their needs, hopes and desires. And in my opinion the election cycle is way too long. After two years of this election one thing is very clear, many of us are glad it is over regardless of the outcome.

The reality is that very little is going to actually change in the country. The same people who were running businesses will continue to run them. The same people who were running Congress will continue to run it. Foreign Policies will change a little and an attempt to reshape a Domestic Agenda will take place, but the American People are going to be wary of anything too out of the mainstream and will not stand much for sharp changes in how we are being governed, no matter what the hype has been.

The debt will still increase, the dollar will continue to be weak and the real hard choices that need to be made to save our government are going to not be made by the same people who refuse to make them now. Until we take a look at our Congress and what they are, and aren't, doing and attempt to change that there will be little that a newly elected President with a relatively slim margin of victory is going to be able to do about that. And with a President that supported the current Congress by voting with them 97% of the time, there seems little intent to deviate their agenda from the path they have been on.

If President Elect Obama truly wants change, and that change is the right kind of change, he will have to work harder than he has worked to get elected in order to move the mountains of stability that exist in the halls of Congress these days. He will have to fight hard with his fellow Democrats to reduce spending, which will mean hard cuts in programs and the curtailing of much of what he promised to do in order to win the election. Otherwise he will be doing very little different than the previous administrations that tried to accomplish so much and achieved so little. Our individual liberty is assaulted and eroded, our freedoms curtailed and allowing individuals to success by being able to fail is considered cruel. The things that made America great are no longer a fabric of our lives and unless focus is finally brought to bear on those harsh realities, all of the rhetoric, all of the empty promises, all of the hope for something better will become a bitter pill to swallow.

I wish Barack Obama all of best, I truly believe he will need it.

Posted by Rhinehold at November 5, 2008 10:48 AM
Comments
Comment #269522

Rhinehold:

It seems to be change of the predictable kind. We seem to be in these 16 year cycles as you point out above. With Senate rules being what they are, 45 Republican senators seems to be plenty to keep the dramatic change out of the picture.

If one goes back through the recent cycles it seems that within four years Republicans will either take back Congress or the Senate. There is some wisdom in our system that voters like us to take turns.

I was suprized (pleased) that Dem’s didn’t pick up more seats in Congress.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 5, 2008 11:00 AM
Comment #269530

“Until we take a look at our Congress and what they are, and aren’t, doing and attempt to change that there will be little that a newly elected President with a relatively slim margin of victory is going to be able to do about that.” Rhinehold

O.K.
It has been drilled into our heads over the past 26 mths+ that everything is the President’s fault.
Does this mean that everything will be Obama’s fault or will he be able to get the american people to realize that the president is NOT alone?
I expect to see him on television quite often. We may even get an Obama channel!!

How many in congress managed to get themselves re-elected by bragging about the pork they brought home?? Murtha comes to mind.

“The things that made America great are no longer a fabric of our lives and unless focus is finally brought to bear on those harsh realities, all of the rhetoric, all of the empty promises, all of the hope for something better will become a bitter pill to swallow.” Rhinehold

DITTO!!!!!!!!!!


Posted by: Dawn at November 5, 2008 11:22 AM
Comment #269533

The only change that’s happened is who’s in the White House and the Democrats have a few more seats in Congress.
Until the voters quit voting the duopoly there won’t be any change.

Posted by: Ron Brown at November 5, 2008 11:27 AM
Comment #269534

If you really want things to change, then work to make it happen
The reason we keep wishing for things to be different, but aren’t is exactly what we are seeing above
THEY (the politicians) just won’t change!!!
Well unless WE become much more involved and vocal with them, they won’t
WE have to do more work
WE have to make sure that WE want change in how things are done (not the policies, but how the business of Congress is conducted — which I think both sides (of the electorate) is dissastified with)

WE CAN make a change, and WE CAN prevent a return to the ‘status quo”
Lets do it!

Posted by: Russ at November 5, 2008 11:28 AM
Comment #269536

Rhinehold, like Barack Obama said, all that has happened here is to create the opportunity for change. It is up to all of us going forward to seize that opportunity and enact the changes necessary to meet the challenges facing our nation.

I know, he contradicted himself elsewhere in his speech by announcing change has arrived. But, later in the speech he clarified as I note above. The latter is the more accurate.

Now would be a good time for the likes of Bob Barr to seek a consulting and cooperative relationship with the Obama Administration, if the Libertarian Party has any interest in seeing our future improve over the next 4 to 8 years.

How likely is that? About as likely as the Evangelical Right Wing of the GOP reaching out to assist the Obama administration in succeeding to manage the nation’s challenges effectively and appropriately. That’s the problem with political parties. They serve themselves, not the nation or the people’s interests. They can only win of the incumbents fail. Insuring failure of the current government is their ticket to power.

This is true of all political parties, and one of the fundamental reasons America can’t get a handle on any problem requiring a solution lasting more than a 2 to 4 year election cycle.

This is also the silver lining in a one party government. A one party government has the potential of actually applying consistent problem solving strategies long enough to actually generate positive results. Of course, the downside is, if their prescription for solving a problem is wrong, there is no one to stop them from applying the wrong solution and covering up the negative results for awhile after it has failed. This is how the GOP imploded as a one party government.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 5, 2008 11:33 AM
Comment #269538

Rhinehold, you will be pleased to hear that I voted Libertarian for nearly every state office. There were no other third parties on our ballot for state offices and I wasn’t about to vote for a Republican incumbent or a Democrat outside of Noriega (with grave reservations) who had not even managed to make them self known to the public.

I did vote for one other Democrat, Daniel Boone, a relative to the original, as he clearly demonstrated policy initiatives to protect our rural property water sources and championed local control over development threatening so many resident’s hopes of remaining in their homes for years to come.

But, it was encouraging to see so very many Libertarians running for offices in the state of Texas. Nearly every one of them got my vote. Choice is a wonderful thing. The duopoly parties need a competitive pack of wolves baying at their heels.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 5, 2008 11:41 AM
Comment #269562

An Update: More votes are coming in as the remaining precincts report. It looks like we are going to be at nearly the same number as 2004, which is still a low number considering the high number of registrations and voter turnout.

It really does look like the conservatives just stayed home this year, never really sold on McCain. The margin of victory is a little larger now that most of these late precincts are in California, still hovering around 6%.

BTW, I hear that Obama is going to be looking to reach out to McCain voters attempting to stave off what happened to Clinton in 1992. It will be curious to see if this can happen, but the people it appears he needs to reach out to are disenfranchised conservative voters that I don’t think will see things his way.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 5, 2008 1:19 PM
Comment #269563

Of course there will be change. I think it’s useful to look at the previous 16 year cycles in politics. It seams every 16 years Democrats take control of the whole thing.

Here are the years:

1960 - Kennedy
1976 - Carter
1992 - Clinton
2008 - Obama

When I look at Congress 2008 most looks like 1992. Kennedy had 65 Democratic Senators and 283 Congressman.

Carter had 61 Senators and 291 congressman.

Obama is more likely to have about as much support as Clinton did. (Clinton had 56 Senators and 258 Congressman.

A good roadmap for what might happen next is to look at 1992-1994. Not so much as what proposals Obama might put forth, but simply what he might be able to get through Congress.

It looks like Obama may be able to get some modest change through at best. Certainly not the change that Kennedy/Johnson were able to accomplish.

Also, it brings hope to Republicans like myself that taking back congress in two years is well within reach.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 5, 2008 1:24 PM
Comment #269567

Rhinehold:

*** Highest turnout rate since ‘08 — 1908: Provided the number stands, the turnout rate for yesterday’s election was the highest in 100 years, according to the estimate from turnout guru Dr. Michael McDonald at George Mason University. Almost 137 million (136,631,825) went to the polls — 64.1% of the voting-eligible population. 1960 saw 63.7% of the populace go out to vote; In 1908, 65.7% voted. It was, of course, the most people ever to go to the polls topping 2004’s 122 million. That’s 12% increase from 2004. For those wondering why the current total vote in the presidential adds up to approximately 117 million, note that it’s going to climb. There is still a ton of vote missing on the West coast. [First Read - msnbc.com]

Presently, Washington has 44% of its vote still outstanding. Oregon has 34% of its vote outstanding. California has 5% of its vote outstanding. Colorado has 8% of its vote outstanding. South Carolina has 6% of its vote outstanding. New Hampshire has 13% of its vote outstanding. And so on; there are a lot of votes out there still to be counted, and projections indicate that totals well exceed those in 2004. We’re looking at the biggest percentage of voter turnout in 100 years.

Posted by: Jarandhel at November 5, 2008 1:48 PM
Comment #269569

Jarandhel,

Right now we are at about 119 million votes. Are you suggesting that there are another 18 million votes cast that we haven’t counted yet in a few remote counties in Washington and Oregon?

Dr. Michael McDonald appears to be wrong in his estimate. Or nearly 18 million people didn’t vote for the office of President, which is telling as well…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 5, 2008 1:58 PM
Comment #269586

No, I don’t think so. I don’t know where you voted at yesterday, but the Indiana Ballot gives you the clear option of not voting for people. Many people I suspect came in, chose Obama or McCain, and then turned in their ballot. I spent about 10 minutes reading the propositions and deciding on judges, representatives, etc. My wife voted straight Libertarian and then voted on the props, but as a result didn’t vote for some judges or a couple of other races that didn’t have a Libertarian running.

It’s just the nature of the beast and I am not a bit surprised by it.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 5, 2008 3:29 PM
Comment #269587

Rhinehold -

Things DO go in cycles. Karl Rove, for all his vaunted knowledge of history, should have borne that in mind when he was proposing the ‘permanent Republican majority’. But I wish you should investigate more closely just how far he and the Bush administration was willing to go to make that happen…and just how close we came to having something that more closely resembled what Vannevar Bush supported rather than what Bush 41 supported.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at November 5, 2008 3:30 PM
Comment #269592

Rhinehold:it appears at this time that fewer people voted in 2008 than in 2004. 121,068,604 people voted in 2004 and at this time in the counting it appears that only 118,459,171 people voted. A margin of 2,609,433 people. This is not insignificant. And Barack Obama won with just about 722 thousand more votes than George Bush received in 2004.

i didn’t your source for this statement but it appears that 2008 did surpass 2004 by quite a margin.

It looks like about 133.3 million people voted for president, based on preliminary results from the country’s precincts tallied and projections for absentee ballots, said Michael McDonald of George Mason University. Using his methods, that would give 2008 a 62.5 percent turnout rate
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081105/ap_on_el_ge/voter_turnout_5 Posted by: john trevisani at November 5, 2008 3:55 PM
Comment #269593

John,

My source was CNN’s results and I did caveat that ‘at this time’. The number has increased as final results from west coast precincts are coming in, but one person is estimating 137 million, another 133 million, however what we have now is only 119 million. I am hard pressed to think that another 14-15 million votes are still out there unprocessed in rural counties of Washington and Oregon.

Still, it may be a while before we know the final number, but I am going off of actual numbers, not estimates.


Posted by: Rhinehold at November 5, 2008 4:00 PM
Comment #269602
Rhinehold, why are you trying to lie about the turnout? Honestly, what’s the point?

I’m not lying about anything, I am stating facts.

while President Elect Obama was able to win a hard fought election, the margin of victory was not what one would call a landslide.
It was a landslide victory. Obama actually turned red states like Virginia and North Carolina BLUE.

I’m sorry Adrienne, that is not a landslide. Obama won by approximately 6% and swung a few states from red to blue by a percentage point or two. We are talking a few thousand people in many of these states. Nobody with any political knowledge is calling this a landslide, if you want to see what one looked like look at 1984, for example.

I hear about the record voting but looking at the numbers tells a different story.
Politico: 2008 turnout shatters all records

More than 130 million people turned out to vote Tuesday, the most ever to vote in a presidential election.

This is based on? So far I have heard 137, 133 and now 130 million. What is the real number? Right now the number is 119 and will rise based on some districts that have not reported, but those are mostly in Washington and Oregon right now according to CNN, do you think there over 10 million uncounted ballots sitting out there? I am not saying it isn’t possible, but until I get some concrete numbers there is little reasons to assume that more than 1 million is sitting out there uncounted based upon the number of precincts that have reported and where they are. Unfortunately, your link does not say where the 130 million number comes from, so it makes it hard to evaluate if it was another ‘guess’ or based on hard numbers.

MSNBC: Youth vote may have been key in Obama’s win Young voters had ‘record turnout,’ preferred Democrat by wide margin

Which I stated in my article. I also think that the failure of many in the Republican base to come out to vote helped Obama as well.

Still, it may be a while before we know the final number, but I am going off of actual numbers, not estimates.
You seem to be going off numbers you want to believe in order to prop up your transparently bogus argument. I for one, find it silly.

I’m going off of the numbers provided by CNN, I’m sorry if I want to believe those numbers that represent actually reported votes instead of estimates by people who can’t even agree on a number. I use that information in an attempt to do some analysis come to conclusions that I reported here.

As for what you find silly, that is your issue to deal with, not mine.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 5, 2008 4:55 PM
Comment #269607

Rhinehold:

Well, just counting all of the candidates for president rather than only the big two increases the current turnout from your count by 2,523,840.

http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/president/allcandidates/

Posted by: Jarandhel at November 5, 2008 5:31 PM
Comment #269608

Which, by the way, is more than 2004 by 455,236 votes. With 3% of precincts nationwide left to report.

Posted by: Jarandhel at November 5, 2008 5:33 PM
Comment #269610

One last thing: how many absentee and provisional ballots remain to be counted? According to Maryland’s website, they are not going to start counting absentee ballots until Thursday. Provisional ballots won’t get their shot until Monday. And the full count won’t finish until the 24th. And they estimate 175,301 absentee ballots have been received in their state alone, not including provisional ballots. That’s over 7 percent of the votes that were cast for president in Maryland. If other states have similar deadlines for absentee and provisional ballots, it’s entirely plausible that the remaining 9.5 million to reach 137 million are still out there.

Posted by: Jarandhel at November 5, 2008 5:44 PM
Comment #269616

OK fine.

It was a landslide, everyone can now be proud to be an American, biggest turnout ever. Now, finally, everyone can roll up their sleeves and work toward bettering the country.

Whatever the liberal babies need I guess. Better than the bitching and complaining your side perfected over the past 8 years. I’m wondering how you’ll fill all the free time you’ll now will have once “Bush sucks” is no longer part of your daily verbage.

Posted by: andy at November 5, 2008 6:40 PM
Comment #269618

Premature estimation and wishful projection?

It’s the most telling part of this piece.

“Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Dont stand in the doorway
Dont block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is raging.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changing.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you cant understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly aging.
Please get out of the new one
If you cant lend your hand
For the times they are a-changing’”

Posted by: googlumpugus at November 5, 2008 6:55 PM
Comment #269633

Jarandhel,

If what you say happens, and the numbers increase, then we will have a different narrative. It will be the right did come out for McCain in greater numbers than I have been giving them credit for. Obama will have gotten a couple million more votes than Bush did. I’m not sure it changes anything I’ve said other than that though.

Adrienne,

Let me get this straight…

You are saying that any win with over 60 percent of the electoral vote is a landslide and we should ignore the popular vote? You mean, the electoral college means something more than the popular vote? That is interesting… As I said before, this election has been nothing if not full of role reversals. The end of Public Financing, killed by the Democrats, the importance of the Electoral College over the popular vote, etc.

Obama didn’t win these states going away, most of them were hotly contested and in the end, with a couple of million more votes in the entire country more than McCain, Obama won a decisive victory. That is what it was, decisive. By the definition you use, there have been 31 landslide presidential elections and this one is the lowest to just meet your definitions. I disagree with the assessment, I think it cheapens real landslides of the past like:

Hoover v Smith 83% electoral
FDR v everyone 87-95% electoral
Eisenhower v Stevenson x2 ~88% electoral
Nixon v McGovern 98% electoral
Reagan v Carter 95% electoral
Reagan v Mondale 98% electoral

Those are landslides and don’t compare to this decisive but comparatively moderate win. And it was no landslide when looking at the popular vote at all.

If you need to qualify it as a landslide for some reason, please feel free to do so, that is your opinion. But when comparing the decisive win to what I would consider a landslide (>= 60% popular vote, >= 75% electoral vote) I guess we will just have to differ.

BTW, whether the win was or wasn’t a ‘landslide’ was not the point of the post or even a major part of it. I am assuming then that you are in agreement with the rest or do you just throw it all out because you find something you disagree with? It is the progressive way…

As for your opinion of my analysis I’m sure you can imagine by this date and time what my concern about that would be.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 5, 2008 9:45 PM
Comment #269636

The sun will come up and we will survive

Posted by: m at November 5, 2008 9:56 PM
Comment #269655
Sadly, we never got that information.

Actually, we did, you just don’t like the answer.

Instead, we got the Supreme Court (unconstitutionally)

That would be impossible

deciding that those votes didn’t need counting

Using altered standards that none of the other voters had applied to their votes, violating the 14th amendment

and that they could simply appoint the candidate that the majority of the judges wanted to win the election.

Only they didn’t, they said the standards had to be equal and that the asked for selective recount with undefined unconstitutional standards was not allowed. The the person who won the initial count and the automatic recount was certified. At no time was Al Gore ever in the lead and afterwards we discovered that the attempt to count selective votes differently would not have made a difference.

But that’s just semantics, right?

To me it seems that the point of your post was to tear down Obama’s landslide win and claim that nothing had changed, even though plenty has changed because of this election.

No, I said that not much had changed. But you can put words in my mouth why saying I shouldn’t do the same to you, that’s pretty typical.

1. Obama has changed the electoral map by truly competing for every state. It was Howard Dean’s idea, but Obama made it a true reality with his historically amazing ground game. Incidentally, I happen to have a lot of friends in the South (both Democrat and Republican), and many of them have told me how much they appreciated how hard Obama worked to get their vote, and didn’t treat their states like a Democrat could never stand a chance of winning there. It was a show of real respect, and a change they can deeply appreciate.

Yes, he did a much better job than the previous candidates, I think his campaign manager should be commended. But do you think that didn’t have SOMETHING to do with Bush and frustration? You can selectively think that Obama won this whole thing without circumstance and outside assistance by a bad campaign by McCain and the albatross of Bush, but those things did play a part as well. With all of that going on, it was still much closer than I think it should have been, which tells me that, despite the spin, the people of the United States are not embracing progressivism. But that’s just my opinion from what I see and know, I’m sure you’ll discount it.

2. Obama showed the way a political candidate could fully integrate and use the internet to their advantage. That’s a big change.

That is true, again I think this was more his campaign manager than him, but it speaks to his ability to tap good management.

3. Obama’s victory showed the first time in American history that a candidate running on the theme of ending to a war while we are still fighting it, won an election. Huge change.

And the war became a non-issue in mid-summer after the majority if people in the US started to feel that the tide was turning in Iraq and we were winning the war. I’m not sure how big of a change this was or if it means anything.

4. Obama didn’t try to smear or deliver low blows to McCain and Palin no matter how thick and fast they threw their smears, or delivered low blows to Obama. In that process (which was at times very frustrating for me personally, I must admit), Obama showed how we can change the poisonous and divisive tone that has grown between Democrats and Republicans. A much needed and extremely classy change.

Except for the constant lies about McCain’s plans, his ads calling McCain old and ‘out of touch’ and putting out ads designed to make McCain look lost. Except for that. Of course, he had the luxury of playing from ahead. He didn’t avoid stooping down to smear Hillary when that race got close either.

5. Americas of every color imaginable came out in droves to vote for a black candidate, and he has won!!! That is an Enormous Change we can believe in. This entire nation made change and history last night, and it’s a proud and beautiful thing.

Well, the percentage of blacks that voted went up from 12% to 13%, the number of college kids went up 2% points, I think. Hispanics did come out and vote in quite large numbers, I will give you that though.

I’m not sure what change we can believe in occurred, perhaps I’m just not seeing it, but the America of today looks pretty much like the one of this weekend. Maybe I just don’t ‘get it’.

You know what I think is cheap? That your article seems to be nothing more than a rather small and petty attempt to scoff at Obama’s historic win and his real achievements, because you clearly don’t like him.

Of course it does to you. This article wasn’t meant for people who ignore things like facts and logic and instead cling to ‘hope’ and ‘emotion’. I have stated several things, you even say you agree with most of what I say, and then tell me I am being petty because I don’t share in the elation of the moment. I don’t have anything invested in the moment, which is probably part of the issue and I don’t assign all kinds of things to Obama that aren’t there, like many of his supporters. So in the article I congratulate Obama, I point out that the margin of victory was decisive but not overwhelming and does not give him the ability to do an end around as Bush had after 9/11. He does not have that kind of mandate and he faces harsh realities that are stark differences from what he promised and what he can deliver based on several things, including his own party, the reality of human nature and the fact that he is going to have a real curve to play against.

Does that ‘take away’ from the fact that he ran a good campaign and won decisively? No. But you would have people believe that even though that was not in the article at all.

I do not dislike Obama. I do not dislike McCain. I, in opposition to many on here, did not think that either one of them was evil, dangerous, fearful, etc. It think them both people who are trying to do what they think is right for the country and I commend them both for that. I didn’t vote for either one of them, however, because I disagree with their policies, not them as people.

What I find interesting, though, is that for all of the rhetoric that we will be uniting, it seems to me that there is a caveat applied to that. In order for that to happen, and it will, we must all put away our differences and think as one. That is not the kind of unity I think thinking people want or need. We didn’t need it when the Republicans were calling people who didn’t support Bush anti-americans and we didn’t need it when Democrats were calling people who didn’t support Obama racists.

I’ve been insulted by you several times and left it alone because I know that they were words coming from an emotional place, that you were fully invested in this election. I fear that you are a little too invested and anytime anyone questions or critiques President Elect Obama you will take it to heart. But I’m sure you don’t care that I care. If I remember right, I’m just an egotistical jackass after all.

So continue ignoring the message that you believe has captured the whole country about ‘reaching across the table’ and insult and attack my views, that’s ok. I have had a lot longer to deal with that than most on here because I don’t support either major party. That pretty much leaves me defending myself against both sides whenever I attack either and never caught up in the emotion and elation that takes place when my candidate ‘wins’ because my candidate is never heard from or even given a chance to make a difference by a duopoly that dislikes interlopers and uses its powers to ensure that they stay outside of the system.

Besides, there’s a chance that I won’t be around much longer anyway I’m finding out, I guess we all have to go sometime. You start to learn that time is a much more precious commodity than you ever realized.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 6, 2008 1:08 AM
Comment #269659

What is truly interesting is that while Obama won the election handily, hopefully that’s a term we can all agree on, there is another story that speaks to the kind of political temperature in America.

Obama received some 95%+ of the black vote, surprise, surprise. Actually I think it’s great. The next time someone on the left calls this a fundamentally racist nation I can officially write off everything they say from that point on as coming from a lunatic. But back to the interesting story. The same massive percentage of blacks, also voted in three states to ban homosexual marriage.

So the liberal media, who successfully assisted Obama to get elected, don’t realize that “We can never go back to the way things were” is not something that is likely to stick, or be swallowed even by the people who voted Obama in.

What happened last night was a wake up call, a 16 year alarm clock if you will, and as sure as I sit here typing this, Obama will hijack the Democrat party and try to steer it away from basic democrat values, which will cost them control and swing things back to our side. Bush did the same thing to us conservatives when he and the wasps in checkered pants hijacked the Republican party.

This post was titled, “Change, Not Exactly” and I think it’s true. While we sent a message to conservative leaders by saying no thank you to McCain/Palin - that does not mean or insinuate that the Majority of this country want to make a hard left turn socially or economically. Thank God the democrats didn’t earn a supermajority in congress and the senate.

I will say one thing, I was proud to be a conservative when I saw so many conservative types actually act like gentlemen and take their whipping, and be humble. Unlike so many liberals who called for Bush to die when he was elected. At least conservatives have a little class when they lose.

A black president, regardless of party, is a great milestone for this country, and for the mouth shutting value on the far left and the slap in the face to Rush and his ilk on the far right, I say YAY for Obama. He’s not going to be able to make this a marxist nation. He’s only going to be able to try and sell us socialism and insodoing, open the door for a conservative leader who is young and articulate, like Obama, to rise to the surface and take back our nation in a term or two.

I don’t even have to worry about his outrageous tax plan. WHEW!

Posted by: Yukon Jake at November 6, 2008 2:23 AM
Comment #269660

Rhinehold your posts are some of the best on here for sure. It would be a shame if you had to stop posting your thoughts.

I seem to find myself drawn more and more toward the Libertarian platform. I’ve never thought of your take on not feeling the elation of “winning” like you said, but the early fight for relevance is, imo, the most important part. And trust me voting in a Repub lately hasn’t felt much like “winning”. The parts about your party I don’t like just don’t seem to outweigh what I do like. It just seems every year more rights are taken away and it seems none are ever refunded. So once they take a right away they move on to the next one they can erode and just keep on grabbing.

Btw, I’m from Indiana too (transfered a couple years ago) and saw they re-elected Mitch in a real “landslide”, good for Indiana. I always liked him.

Posted by: andy at November 6, 2008 2:30 AM
Comment #269661

Yukon I saw that too. What will the left do if they find out blacks are racist? Uh-Oh. Can’t worry about that though Obama will fix it. Prop 8 in Cali, by a liberal’s standard, would have been better off without Obama.

But hey thanks for Palin I wish she could have been given a fair shake. I hope you guys don’t think we are all complete A-holes down here, I’d love to see more of her in the future.

Posted by: andy at November 6, 2008 2:40 AM
Comment #269664

What will the left do if they find out blacks are racist?

The same thing that they always do…fight for reasonable and fair behavior, but what this informs anyone of, is another bigoted blanket indictment of a group of individuals.

Rinehold,
I want to share my sincere concern and empathy for your plight. I for one would miss your intelligent posts as well. We often don’t agree, including on this post, but I respect your opinions always. While I have no inklings of time lines for myself, I’m well past the days of youth and immortality.

Posted by: googlumpugus at November 6, 2008 5:14 AM
Comment #269675

Popular vote - 49 states reporting
Candidates % Votes
McCain (R) 46% 56,500,062
winnerObama (D) 52% 64,058,829
Barr (I) 0% 490,710
Nader (I) 1% 660,868
http://news.google.com/nwshp?tab=wn&ned=us&topic=el

Posted by: john trevisani at November 6, 2008 9:59 AM
Comment #269684

Rhinehold:

Jarandhel,

If what you say happens, and the numbers increase, then we will have a different narrative. It will be the right did come out for McCain in greater numbers than I have been giving them credit for. Obama will have gotten a couple million more votes than Bush did. I’m not sure it changes anything I’ve said other than that though.

Mainly it addresses the portion of your narrative that this election was just business as usual, and nothing has changed. If indeed we have had higher voter turnout than in 100 years, that itself is significant change. But allow me to address your other major points:

Sure, the President is now a Democrat instead of a Republican. But for those of us who are neither it doesn’t really mean much. The fact is that our laws and programs come from the Congress which was controlled by Democrats and still is. With only a few exceptions incumbents won the night again, last night. The same Congress that had lower approval ratings than President Bush has is still on control of our country. The same Congress that put into place programs and legislation that increased the instability of our markets, rejected calls for reform and continues to violate our individual liberties are still going to be controlling the laws and budgets that will be written in the next two years, at least. The same Congress that increased our debt every year for the past several decades will still be doing the same, reallocating funds that they don’t have, spending the money that we work hard for, in order to keep their positions of power.

I’ve been hearing this a lot in the past few days; echoed statements that the Dems have been in charge of Congress and nothing has changed. But all of these statements, including yours, have consistently failed to take into account several factors. The first being the fact that Bush found his veto pen the day that the Dems took control in Congress. Since 2006, Bush has vetoed 11 bills and exercised a pocket veto of a 12th. Four have been popular enough with Republicans to be overridden despite the narrow margin by which the Democrats held power. And Bush has threatened to veto far more:

The Bush Administration has threatened to veto almost all appropriations bills that provide more funding than the President has requested, such as the bill funding the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education for fiscal year 2008, which starts October 1. The President has described congressional appropriations plans as “irresponsible” and “excessive,” declaring that he will “use my veto to stop … runaway spending…”[1] [The 2008 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Bill: Is the Threatened Veto Justified? , 7/18/07]
WASHINGTON (CNN) — The White House has threatened to veto a bill passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday that expands hate-crime laws to include attacks based on sexual orientation or gender.[White House threatens to veto hate-crimes bill - CNN.com]
According to the Office of Management and Budget figures, Bush has threatened to veto 40 bills, since taking office in 2001. So far the threat of a veto has been enough to achieve Bush’s political goals. In 2003 for example, two senators, a Democrat and a Republican, co-sponsored the SAFE Act that would have revoked much of the PATRIOT Act. But a Bush veto threat intervened and consequently, despite broad bipartisan support, the SAFE Act was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee and never came up for vote. But Bush’s veto-less record may be about to hit a speed bump.[Bush Has Threatened to Use the Veto 40 Times, but Never Has—What’s Up?]
WASHINGTON — President Bush sided with banks and mortgage lenders on Tuesday, threatening to veto a bill being offered by Senate Democrats that would give more bargaining power to homeowners who face foreclosure.[Bush Vows to Veto a Mortgage Relief Bill - New York Times]

These are just a few of the many examples of Bush threatening to veto bills passed by the Congress. And with their previous margin of power, it was fairly difficult for Democrats to override a veto without significant help from Republicans. Now that there is going to be a Democratic president, the Democratic majority in Congress can pass bills without the threat of the veto.

Unfortunately, there is still the threat of filibuster in the Senate, which has been used far more than ever in the past. There have been 137 cloture motions in this congress. The previous record since 1959 was 82 in the 104th congress. (1995-1996). But hopefully with a majority of at least 56 it will be easier to find four republicans willing to split with their party so that the business of government can actually be done.

Moving on to your next major point:

And while President Elect Obama was able to win a hard fought election, the margin of victory was not what one would call a landslide.

You have further clarified this in your comments:

So in the article I congratulate Obama, I point out that the margin of victory was decisive but not overwhelming and does not give him the ability to do an end around as Bush had after 9/11. He does not have that kind of mandate and he faces harsh realities that are stark differences from what he promised and what he can deliver based on several things, including his own party, the reality of human nature and the fact that he is going to have a real curve to play against.

This has been a common talking point since the election. Obama’s “slim margin of victory” does not afford him the mandate that Bush enjoyed. But the fact is, Bush enjoyed a 3 million vote margin of victory and claimed a mandate. Obama currently enjoys a 7,574,240 vote margin of victory, clearly far higher without even counting the broad gains in the electoral college. This gives him the eighth highest margin of victory by actual number of votes in US election history, narrowly edging out George H.W. Bush and Calvin Coolidge, and falling just short of Bill Clinton’s 8,201,370 and Ronald Reagan’s 8,423,115. I will, however, concede that he falls roughly in the middle for percentage of the popular vote received, though still six places higher than Ronald Reagan and seven higher than George W. Bush; and just short of Ulysses S. Grant.

And beyond all of this, you yourself have previously claimed that the winner in 2008 would have a mandate regarding issues like Iraq:

Or, if a Republican wins in 2008 but the House and Senate are still in Democratic control… That will be an interesting situation to say the least. If the new Republian president keeps us in Iraq would the Democrats THEN have the political will to rescind authorization and/or funding to get the troops home or will they keep on the course they are on now of rolling over, especially since the new Republican president would have a ‘mandate’ so to speak…[Third Party & Independents:: Bush: 58,196 U.S. Dead in Viet Nam Not Enough]

So are you really claiming now that there is no mandate for Obama but that there was one for Bush?

The rest of your post consists of predictions that nothing will change. Considering that you were predicting a Republican win as recently as August of last year, I’m not sure how much credence I should lend to your powers of prognostication. But since I have already addressed the premises that lead you to such predictions, I’ll just say: let’s wait and see, shall we?

I’ll just leave you with one final thought; it doesn’t take “much” change to lead to a drastically different result over time. Shifting a relatively small rudder a mere handful of degrees can take a large vessel hundreds of miles off course during a long journey, or bring it back on course again. As a former Naval officer, I’d think you can appreciate that fact.

Posted by: Jarandhel at November 6, 2008 11:00 AM
Comment #269690
I’m not sure it changes anything I’ve said other than that though.

Mainly it addresses the portion of your narrative that this election was just business as usual, and nothing has changed.

No, my narrative was not that NOTHING had changed, I even mention where change has and will occur, but that not that much had changed.

If indeed we have had higher voter turnout than in 100 years, that itself is significant change.

Yes, but that is not actually change, it is an event. The increase in the number that went to the polls was good to see, but not huge, just a few percentage points or a couple of million people more than last election. I am glad more people voted, but I think a lot more could and should have. As I mentioned elsewhere, the increase in the black vote went from 12 to 13 percent. While an increase, probably a record as well, that number actually surprised me. I, and I’m sure others, were SURE that that number would have increased by a lot more. If THIS election didn’t get black voters to the polls to take part in the democratic process, I’m not sure how else to motivate them to.

But allow me to address your other major points:
Sure, the President is now a Democrat instead of a Republican. But for those of us who are neither it doesn’t really mean much. The fact is that our laws and programs come from the Congress which was controlled by Democrats and still is. With only a few exceptions incumbents won the night again, last night. The same Congress that had lower approval ratings than President Bush has is still on control of our country. The same Congress that put into place programs and legislation that increased the instability of our markets, rejected calls for reform and continues to violate our individual liberties are still going to be controlling the laws and budgets that will be written in the next two years, at least. The same Congress that increased our debt every year for the past several decades will still be doing the same, reallocating funds that they don’t have, spending the money that we work hard for, in order to keep their positions of power.
I’ve been hearing this a lot in the past few days; echoed statements that the Dems have been in charge of Congress and nothing has changed. But all of these statements, including yours, have consistently failed to take into account several factors.

I don’t think they failed to take them into account, just don’t give as much credence as you might.

The first being the fact that Bush found his veto pen the day that the Dems took control in Congress. Since 2006, Bush has vetoed 11 bills and exercised a pocket veto of a 12th. Four have been popular enough with Republicans to be overridden despite the narrow margin by which the Democrats held power.

I don’t think that is very much. 12 whole bills, 4 of them overriden? That seems a paltry sum. And you assume that Obama will never veto the Democratic congress. Do you really want to assert that? I thought that he was going to run from the center and try to bring the parties together, how is he going to do that if he lets Congress run roughshot? I think that is the hard spot that Obama is going to be in, I am curious to see how he reacts.

The Bush Administration has threatened to veto almost all appropriations bills that provide more funding than the President has requested

And this is a bad thing? Is Obama not going to keep spending in check? That is why most of us are upset with Bush and the Republican congress, I hope you are not asserting that it will be just like then for the next two years because if it is, I doubt the Democrats will like the 2010 elections very much.

These are just a few of the many examples of Bush threatening to veto bills passed by the Congress. And with their previous margin of power, it was fairly difficult for Democrats to override a veto without significant help from Republicans. Now that there is going to be a Democratic president, the Democratic majority in Congress can pass bills without the threat of the veto.

Yes, that will be interesting to watch, but as I mention in the article, that assumes that Obama is in lockstep with his party and runs his administration that way. Which is a departure from what he said he was going to do.

Unfortunately, there is still the threat of filibuster in the Senate

And I recommended to the Republicans to not use it, it only give the Democrats a place to point a finger. You mention threats, which I found sad, that the Democrats would allow the Republicans to THREATEN a filibuster and slink away instead of putting them to the test. But to be honest, the wailing that the Dems couldn’t get anything done, while in power, because of the Democrats who attributed all of this bad stuff to Republicans with roughly the same numbers when they were in power, is akin to a 7-11 basketball center complaining that he can’t dunk because there is a 6-9 guard standing in his way. Yeah, you can make the argument that the 6-9 guard was able to make it a little harder for them, but shouldn’t the center be able to use his power to overcome that? And aren’t you then giving more credit to the 6-9 guard than he most likely deserves?

Moving on to your next major point:
And while President Elect Obama was able to win a hard fought election, the margin of victory was not what one would call a landslide.

So in the article I congratulate Obama, I point out that the margin of victory was decisive but not overwhelming and does not give him the ability to do an end around as Bush had after 9/11. He does not have that kind of mandate and he faces harsh realities that are stark differences from what he promised and what he can deliver based on several things, including his own party, the reality of human nature and the fact that he is going to have a real curve to play against.

This has been a common talking point since the election. Obama’s “slim margin of victory” does not afford him the mandate that Bush enjoyed. But the fact is, Bush enjoyed a 3 million vote margin of victory and claimed a mandate.

And he was wrong to do so as well. Claiming a mandate and having one are two different things.

Obama currently enjoys a 7,574,240 vote margin of victory, clearly far higher without even counting the broad gains in the electoral college. This gives him the eighth highest margin of victory by actual number of votes in US election history, narrowly edging out George H.W. Bush and Calvin Coolidge, and falling just short of Bill Clinton’s 8,201,370 and Ronald Reagan’s 8,423,115. I will, however, concede that he falls roughly in the middle for percentage of the popular vote received, though still six places higher than Ronald Reagan and seven higher than George W. Bush; and just short of Ulysses S. Grant.

And beyond all of this, you yourself have previously claimed that the winner in 2008 would have a mandate regarding issues like Iraq:


Or, if a Republican wins in 2008 but the House and Senate are still in Democratic control… That will be an interesting situation to say the least. If the new Republian president keeps us in Iraq would the Democrats THEN have the political will to rescind authorization and/or funding to get the troops home or will they keep on the course they are on now of rolling over, especially since the new Republican president would have a ‘mandate’ so to speak…[Third Party & Independents:: Bush: 58,196 U.S. Dead in Viet Nam Not Enough]

So are you really claiming now that there is no mandate for Obama but that there was one for Bush?

I said ‘so to speak’ for a reason. It wasn’t really a mandate, but it was best work I thought of at the time. Directive or Charge might have been better words to use, perhaps. And that would be if the election were about the Iraq War and a Republican won after all of that. It was in regards to a special set of circumstances that hasn’t happened and aren’t replicated.

The rest of your post consists of predictions that nothing will change.

Again, you should reread what I wrote. Nothing and little are two different words for a reason and I point out in the article the places where I think there will be change.

Considering that you were predicting a Republican win as recently as August of last year, I’m not sure how much credence I should lend to your powers of prognostication.

Wow, August of 2007. Considering nothing at all changed during the past 14 months before the election I’m not sure HOW I could have gotten that one wrong. I have always said that I thought this election would be close, and it was. I thought it would be closer, not as decisive, and Obama gets credit with that, with an assist from Lehman Brothers, but pulling out a quote from over a year ago that posits what could happen over a year from then based on the information at the time… *shrug* I also see that you don’t have the quote where I predict a win by the Republican, I am pretty sure I never did that. I did posit what would happen *IF* a Republican won, but that is hardly the same thing, isn’t it? I would be curious to see where I predicted a Republican presidential win in 2008 even over a year ago.

But since I have already addressed the premises that lead you to such predictions, I’ll just say: let’s wait and see, shall we?

That’s really all we can do, isn’t it?

I’ll just leave you with one final thought; it doesn’t take “much” change to lead to a drastically different result over time. Shifting a relatively small rudder a mere handful of degrees can take a large vessel hundreds of miles off course during a long journey, or bring it back on course again. As a former Naval officer, I’d think you can appreciate that fact.

But that is not what is being presented, Jarandhel. And I was more distressed about the fact that we still have a HUGE re-election rate in an organization that has single-digit approval ratings. It’s like we hate them but we keep voting for them? Obama is going to do some things, limited to the fact that he doesn’t write laws, only approve and enforce them. But the real power of Washington is still the same group of people it was, and by and large was before 2006. There were some changes in the House in 2006, but not THAT many. The Senate is not that different either. Who is in control changed, but the players are for the most part the same, some retiring, some getting voted out, but most being re-elected. And that is the bugaboo that we are finding ourselves in and an issue that Obama is going to have to face up to. He promises change, but what change and does he really have the power to enact it like people are expecting?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 6, 2008 11:42 AM
Comment #269691

BTW, I forgot to include in my reply that I never said that Bush had a mandate because of his election. If you re-read what I wrote and you emphasized in bold, he received a mandate because of 9/11 where a lot of people did put aside politics for a while and let Bush have much more leeway than he had previously or since.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 6, 2008 11:45 AM
Comment #269701

yukon and andy,
We had this thing going for us….instinct, a strong hunch, or maybe just a good nose…that Sarah Palin was no good. Not for McCain, and most certainly, the office she would claim if they reached victory. So at this time, it seems that our reasons were valid and there are enough things shaking out that will keep her dancing around looking for explanations for a while.
You won’t have to look too hard to find the stories, because Fox was one of the first ones to release some of them…as has been posted elsewhere on here.

Posted by: janedoe at November 6, 2008 12:52 PM
Comment #269719

Rhinehold,

Cheney/Bush did not have a mandate, he just claimed one…it wasn’t his fault that Congress and the American people bought into it. But, he did get away with it, and that means that no matter how you count it…Obama has a mandate…actually he did win it by six or so percent of the popular vote and achieved over fifty percent…then went and got more than twice his opponent’s electoral count…maybe it IS a mandate???

Okay, I’m not gonna get squirrely about it…Obama did good, and packs some pretty powerful six-guns into fray. I’ll let you have your whine about him not getting a mandate…

Posted by: Marysdude at November 6, 2008 2:23 PM
Comment #269732

rhinehold

“Besides, there’s a chance that I won’t be around much longer anyway I’m finding out, I guess we all have to go sometime. You start to learn that time is a much more precious commodity than you ever realized.”

i’m sorry to hear that. i found out what a precious thing time was when i lost my father last year from cancer at the age of 64. the thing was i put off work and a lot of things i felt were’nt nearly as important, and was glad i did. we lost him 4 days before we were to spend what we thought would be our last christmas with him. i always enjoy reading your posts, and i’ll say a prayer for you. i think you’ve said you’re an athiest, but i’ll say one anyway. sorry to getting off topic.

Posted by: dbs at November 6, 2008 4:11 PM
Comment #269746

The oddest thing that I’ve seen in the election results is the number of voters in some of the hotly contested states, especially NC and FL. 8 million voters in FL? Can that number be real?

Rhinehold, try to keep your mind as active as you can.

Posted by: ohrealy at November 6, 2008 5:43 PM
Comment #269757

I’m sorry for your troubles…that being said, I wonder when the last time you were attacked by someone on the right????

Posted by: Marysdude at November 6, 2008 6:59 PM
Comment #269773

There is change.
But is it enough?
What sort of change can we expect?

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at November 6, 2008 8:18 PM
Comment #269831

You could conclude that this was a race-driven victory if not for the fact that blacks historically vote almost exclusively for the Democrat. In 2000, 90% cast their vote for Gore and in 2004, 88% went for Kerry. The 95% is higher, yes, but that margin can easily be attributed to the fact that people tend to vote for those who are more like them. I’ll bet Italian-Americans would have voted in higher numbers for the Republican ticket had Rudy Giuliani been on it.

Yukon Jake also wrote, “I will say one thing, I was proud to be a conservative when I saw so many conservative types actually act like gentlemen and take their whipping, and be humble. Unlike so many liberals who called for Bush to die when he was elected. At least conservatives have a little class when they lose.”

Have you been to the comment section at any of the right-wing sites lately? The fact you choose to ignore is that both sides have their reasonable people and their rabid ideologues who go far over the top. In my view, neither side has a monopoly on the classy or the lunatics.

Posted by: Sam McD at November 7, 2008 10:33 AM
Comment #269832


As we should all know by now, the kind of change and the amount of change will be determined not by Obama or by Congress. It will be determined by the wealthy and their corporations.

Posted by: jlw at November 7, 2008 10:50 AM
Comment #269844

jlw, hopefully the reverse will be true and we can wring our democracy back from the corporations and their lobbyist. The thing about Obama is he understands this. Dems controlling the Congress and the White House gives me a little hope that people can be heard again in the process. That is the change I am looking forward to with the election now over.

Obama has said it will be up to the people of this country to accomplish this as our elected representatives will not be able to do it alone. Only a battle has been won the war is just starting.

Posted by: j2t2 at November 7, 2008 11:24 AM
Comment #270127

Since 92% (or more) of incumbent politicians in Congress are still there, it is very unlikely that those same incumbent politicians are now going to suddenly become transparent, accountable, and responsible.

Especially when those incumbent politicians are repeatedly rewarded for being corrupt, FOR-SALE, irresponsible, incompetent, and unaccountable.

Government won’t become more responsible and accountable until the voters do first, and most voters just failed to do that this election (again), by rewarding incumbent politicians with 92% re-election rates, despite the voters giving Congress dismal 9%-to-18% approval ratings.

Voters also re-elected Ted Stevens (convicted of 7 felonies) and William Jefferson (who the FBI filmed accepting $100K in a brief case, of which $90K was later found hidden in his freezer).
The problem isn’t only corrupt incumbent politicians, but the voters too, who reward incumbent politicians for being corrupt and irresponsible.

The painful consequences for that failure will now become more painful.
It is good that Bush’s administration will be gone soon, but voters sabotaged the next administration with 92% (up from 85%) of the same corrupt, irresponsible, FOR-SALE, incompetent incumbent politicians.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at November 11, 2008 7:41 AM
Post a comment