Wednesday, November 05, 2008


... or should that be post-vivification?

Or maybe I should say mid-mortem, as many of the races I care about are surprisingly too close to call. Still! This is a historic day, I'm feeling jazzed, and want to jot down my thoughts while I'm still somewhat in the moment.

I'm just delighted about the top of the ticket. As much as the victory, I am so encouraged by both candidates' speeches last night. I thought that McCain was incredibly gracious, and far better than the crowd which gathered to hear him. His sincere-sounding congratulations, and his exhortation for America to gather together for the good of the country, was a welcome change from the invective we're used to hearing spewed around. Similarly, I was delighted that near the capstone of his speech, Obama specifically praised the historic Republican party and the virtues it cherishes: individualism, freedom, and responsibility. Nearly five years ago, Obama captured my imagination through his unique ability to bring together disparate people, pay everyone respect and attention, and find common ground to make real improvements. It warms my heart to see that, after a bitter and partisan election that has run for nearly two years, that flame still burns brightly. We have a difficult journey ahead of us, but I am encouraged to know he will be the captain of our ship.

Moving down the ticket:

Exciting times in the Senate. The 60-seat supermajority was always a long shot, and I won't sneer at the big pickups. There are a few races that make me particularly happy. I hope that Senator Dole's defeat will spell the end of the vicious, hateful smear campaign strategy for the foreseeable future. For historical reasons, I'm happy to see Sununu go. I am on pins and needles over the Minnesota race - let no one doubt that every vote counts! I really hope that all my Minnesota friends voted, and I won't need to smack them. (Even if they voted for Barkley, that's fine.) It sounds like Stevens clung on to his seat, which is a major bummer; still, he's the kind of guy that I love to hate.

I am intrigued that so many of the tight races are in states where I lived for a while. Senate in Minnesota, President in Missouri.

And what about California? Well, Obama's huge margin here surprised nobody. Still, many of the most important ballot measures ended up being real squeakers.

I'm really happy that IA seems headed for victory. That's even more impressive given that almost every other bond measure on the ballot was voted down. This will be a huge project, one that is measured in decades instead of years, but could have a wonderful impact on the state's future.

A lot of the measures went different directions than I had hoped, but many of those are perfectly acceptable losses. I voted against Prop 2, but am not opposed to its passage... heck, I'm the guy who buys organic free-range eggs anyways. I'm still slightly opposed to spending public dollars on private hospitals, but still, Prop 3 can pass, that's fine.

After all the money T. Boone Pickens spent, I'm surprised (and pleased!) that his faux-renewable-energy prop did as poorly as it did.

Honestly, the biggest surprise of last night for me was Prop 8. Probably because I live in the Bay Area Bubble, and everyone I interact with regularly is opposed to it. More than that, while I haven't been following the polls super-closely, it was running behind for a while, and I was expecting that gap to widen as time went on, not narrow or reverse itself. Part of me also wonders if there may be a new form of Bradley Effect, repeating itself in the same state a generation later... once again, people may feel socially pressured to say one thing to a pollster, while they actually vote another way. I dunno. All in all I'm just really surprised by this, and wonder what the future will hold for California.

Tangent and mini-rant: I generally love California, but its political system can be insane. It blows my mind that it takes 50% + 1 vote to amend the Constitution, and a 2/3 vote to pass a budget or raise taxes. So, by a 52% to 48% vote the state could overturn the state Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage... but Santa Clara County can vote 66,23% for BART and still not get it.

Speaking of which, that's my final big local disappointment, though it's close and still a bit of a nail-biter. BART to San Jose is so right, so important, and so close... it was within our reach, and just a few hundred votes went the wrong way. Sigh. It almost makes me want to move to a county with fast, frequent, and reliable public transit...

And, to end on a positive note, it looks like #11 is in the bag. I'm cautiously optimistic. There's no guarantee that the new system will work; but frankly, after the disaster of the previous budget session, I don't think we can possibly do worse. I'll give it a few cycles and hope for the best. If it fails to help us elect grown-ups, then we can tinker with it and find a new system that does work.

For the curious - the one vote I would have changed in the three weeks since I cast my ballot was for Prop 12. I didn't understand it well enough, and thought that I was making a tough but valuable choice for fiscal responsibility when I was actually just being kind of a jerk. Fortunately for me, most Californians are smarter than me, and it is comfortably passing.

That's it for now, though there may be some more news as the final results trickle in. Meantime I'll be basking in the sunrise of a new era and eagerly awaiting the first Cabinet picks. Let's do some work!

No comments:

Post a Comment