Friday, November 10, 2006

Super Bowl for Nerds

So it's officially over and the Democrats have taken back both houses of Congress. I think I've had a big smile on my face for a few days now. At work we stood around and watched George Allen's concession speech with little plastic glasses of champagne. Good riddance - what a tool. Here are some random, unfiltered thoughts on the election bouncing around in my head:
  • Only a handful of dirty tricks that I heard of -- phony phone calls in Virginia claiming certain voters would be arrested if they tried to vote, or else telling them that their polling place had moved. Or the RNCC paying to harass independent voters in New Hampshire with dozens of robo-calls appearing to come from Democratic candidates. What sort of person thinks up this stuff? Hopefully the FBI tracks them down and makes them do a perp walk on the 10 o'clock news.
  • We now have a socialist in the Senate. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is a DSA member - or at least a 'fellow traveller'. Elsewhere: Daniel Ortega is supposedly no longer a Marxist, but he is once again President of Nicaragua, continuing the general leftward tilt in Latin America.
  • Even more exciting than taking back Congress are the giant gains made by the Dems at the state level: a majority of governorships and a control of a bunch of statehouses in all regions of the country. That bodes well for the '08 presidential election (having a strong presence in battle ground states like Ohio and Pennsylvania) and the future (setting up a Democratic farm team to generate good candidates). God, do we have to start thinking about the '08 election already? Ugh.
  • One blot on an otherwise great day: several gay marriage bans. The awful new Virginia law not only bans gay marriage, but civil unions too and even manages to take rights away from un-married straight couples. There's a small of me that finds a certain grim humor in the prospect of straight folks so eager to put the gays in their place that they manage to shoot themselves in the foot as well. But mostly it's not funny, just another bad law we'll work to overturn someday. I'm holding out hope (but not my breath) that this election will mark the end of gay-bashing as a Republican electoral strategy.
  • On a more positive note, Arizona voted down a similar marriage ban and South Dakota voters soundly rejected that state's blanket abortion ban.
  • The only election activism we had time for this year was a few hours with the call-4-change website on Monday night. I thought their online calling system was really well designed, and apparently these types of phone calls do actually have an impact in getting out the vote. We were calling voters for the Arizona Senate race, which didn't actually flip Dem, but hey, it was still kinda cool.
  • I spent most of election night at a party for environmental non-profits hosted by the Wilderness Society. Drinks, appetizers, big screen TVs tuned to CNN - think Super Bowl for politics nerds. Everyone in DC is unhealthily obsessed with the election and government politics (I confess I am infected as well) -- which makes sense I guess, but too often seems very narrowly focused on the horse-race aspect of politics. Party was fun though. Right after my last blog posting (around 1am) Webb passed Allen in the official vote count and I decided to head to bed.
  • I wonder what Pelosi, Reid et al. will do with their mandate? The voters have sent a message about the war, and now, in a lot of ways, it's the Democrats' responsibility to find a way out of this nightmare we're stuck in. This election is tremendous news for the world and the country, but its not the end of the struggle, either.
So once again, control of an entire branch of government comes down to a handful of votes (one of 'em mine!) in a contested state. I have to say its nice to be on the winning end of the coin flip for a change. It's a relief to think that this will (hopefully) put the brakes on the Iraq war and the whole messed-up Bush agenda.


Anonymous said...

Yes, well the election is over, but the worries are not. The Dems may have won, but if they don't roll back the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (which essentially gives the president "the powers of a monarch, allowing him to determine who might be an enemy combatant, to order harsh interrogation methods or to order a suspect confined indefinitely." source(
then this will be simply a scene from the Animal Farm by George Orwell.
Cut to a clip from last night's news of Nancy Pelosi riding around in a limo and lunching with the Pres. The actors have changed, but will the story remains the same???

Anonymous said...
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t said...

Yuck- comment spam.

Anonymous- I agree the Military Commissions Act is awful, and it doesn't sound like reviewing it will be a first priority for the Dems. Of course, the Dems will never find their backbone unless we hold them to it - that's true about a lot of things.

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