Time of hope

by John Quiggin on November 5, 2008

With the networks calling Ohio for Obama, the only question remaining for today is the size of the win. I’m rushing to write a column (for the Australian Financial Review) but I thought I’d open up a post for anyone who wanted to comment.



Z 11.05.08 at 3:21 am

I am glad. That’s all I have to say for now.


Neil 11.05.08 at 3:30 am

The CNN website has McCain making a big move in the last 20 minutes (gaining about 50 electoral college votes). Is this just the red interior being confirmed for him, or is it something to worry about?


P O'Neill 11.05.08 at 3:31 am

The electoral college still sucks.


notsneaky 11.05.08 at 3:39 am

Obama’s got 206 right now plus pretty much guaranteed 55 from California and 4 from Hawaii so he just needs one state with 5.


Tyrone Slothrop 11.05.08 at 3:39 am

Somehow all of this is good news for the Republicans, but I’m still looking for the angle.


harry b 11.05.08 at 3:39 am

Just the red interior. There’s been nothing to worry about for weeks.


Thomas 11.05.08 at 3:43 am

Tyrone, if you’re looking for the good news for Republicans, this is it: people don’t vote policy, they vote their pocketbook, and the next 2 years, and possibly the next 4 years, are likely to be significantly worse than the last 2, last 4, and last 8. There will be excuses made, but, in the end, if incomes don’t rise and if unemployment doesn’t fall, it will be bad for Democrats.


Neil 11.05.08 at 4:04 am

CNN has called it. I fear Thomas might be right – the same thing is a threat here in Australia.


Nick Barnes 11.05.08 at 5:10 am

Now can I have my pony?


Dave Weeden 11.05.08 at 6:24 am

It’s almost perfect. The Senate is 56 for the Democrats (to 40 Republicans and 4 Independents? or don’t I understand this?). The GOP can’t complain about dictatorship; they have enough seats to filibuster. In other words, both parties are in this. And Obama, above all, has an unarguable mandate. High turnout (I heard 75% but I don’t know if that’s been confirmed) and a clear win.

McCain was very dignified in defeat. I don’t know what I think of him right now. Could Obama offer him some sort of job? Magnanimity is called for. Shame that the McCain crowd chose to cheer loudest for the Tina Fey lookalike.


Cryptic Ned 11.05.08 at 7:49 am

The Senate is 56 for the Democrats (to 40 Republicans and 4 Independents? or don’t I understand this?).

4 not yet determined. Alaska, Georgia, Oregon and Minnesota. Dems will probably win Oregon, maybe none of the others. That’s 57 for the Dems, INCLUDING the two independents, one of whom is Joe Lieberman so he probably shouldn’t be included, although the media thinks he’s still a Democrat.


Mary Kitt-Neel 11.05.08 at 8:02 am

I feel like I live in America again. Not only did the best man win, but my son got to vote in his very first election, and get this: his best friend drove an hour and a half from his place of work just so that he could vote, too. Hallelujah!


William 11.05.08 at 8:37 am

Congratulations America! Despite what looked at times like a creaking primitive election process, the votes did get cast and counted. Maybe time to invest in some better systems…


stostosto 11.05.08 at 8:50 am



Katherine 11.05.08 at 9:13 am

Thank fuck for that.


Nick 11.05.08 at 9:18 am

You’ve got your country back – deep joy & congratulations. My only worry is that’s just how I felt in May 1997, and look what happened . . .


John Quiggin 11.05.08 at 9:46 am

I think there’s a big difference between this and 97. America’s Blair was Clinton in 92. This time, there’s no suggestion of Bushism with a human face – people want something very different, even if they are not sure what.


Nick 11.05.08 at 9:49 am

John – fair point, and I really do hope that you’re right . . .


Scott McLemee 11.05.08 at 10:47 am

For six weeks, the word from the Republican party has been that a vote for Obama is a vote for Marxist redistribution. Let’s assume they were serious about that.

The people have spoken. As Lenin said in the early days of another November: “We shall now proceed to the construction of the socialist order.”

(This one’s for you, Free Republic. Go nuts with it!)


toby 11.05.08 at 10:59 am

I watched CNN until they called the election for Obama, after California and the West Coast polls closed.

Obama had clearly Virginia & Florida sewn up as well as Ohio & Pennsylvania at that point, with Indiana leaning his way. It was a forgone conclusion after Ohio.

Lots of discussion about Obama “veering left” or “tacking to the centre”. It is amazing that the USA, 28 years after Ronald Reagan’s first victory, have elected a black liberal as Chief Executive.

I think Obama will tend to tackle those issues first where he can get a cross-party consensus – he has people like Richard Lugar, Robert Gates and Chuck Hagel who might help him. I’d like to see him move quickly to examine and rescind all of Bush’s Executive Orders based on the Unitary Executive theory. He is a Professor of Constitutional Law, after all, so that should not be too hard for him!

Carter, Reagan and Clinton all stumbled in their first years in office – Carter never recovered. Obama needs to be better prepared, smarter and luckier than them.


Alan 11.05.08 at 11:04 am

What a relief. The idiot child-Emperor will soon be gone and an adult will move into the White House.

The bad news is that tomorrow the Tina Fey look-alike will start campaigning for 2012 and the next President might be someone who deliberately and enthusiastically chooses to be an ignorant religious nut – with lipstick. McCain’s concession was gracious, courageous and thoughtful but the cheers for Madam Mooseburger scared the #$%@ out of me.


Michael Turner 11.05.08 at 12:06 pm

“McCain was very dignified in defeat.”

He seem so poised, calm, at peace about the whole thing, in his concession speech. The performance made me think he’d probably already seen the writing on the wall weeks before, and that he was now, if anything, relieved to be finally dismounting this creaky, broken juggernaut of a campaign, finally free to go back to being an estimable Senator (after some hosing down, anyway). After all, he and Obama had co-sponsored legislation back before all this. Oh how long ago it seems, but they did.


stostosto 11.05.08 at 12:11 pm

It was like McCain wasn’t addressing his own people at all but was rather a visitor from outside the cocoon patiently trying to send a message from reality – which wasn’t at all well received.


J Thomas 11.05.08 at 12:29 pm

The GOP has lost a major battle in their war against the USA, but they aren’t at all defeated yet.


A few weeks ago in Sunday School our teacher pointed out that many people confuse the church for a hospital. People come in to take care of their problems, share sympathies with like minded friends, etc. In fact, the church is part of an army on the front lines advancing against hell. Like any good army, there is a hospital component, but it’s all part of the army in the war.

Politics is the same way. At least I view it as such.

This war won’t be even mostly won until the GOP is a third party.


meter 11.05.08 at 12:31 pm

The best way to shut up Palin is for Obama to do as good a job as we intuit he can.


A. Y. Mous 11.05.08 at 1:13 pm

Any plausible indications of who will comprise his cabinet? More to the point, will he take up the opportunity to continue playing Lincoln?


a different chris 11.05.08 at 1:17 pm

>I think Obama will tend to tackle those issues first where he can get a cross-party consensus

That is no doubt a good and important observation.

For instance, although 52+ of the popular vote is actually quite a margin for America, it is dwarfed by the Electoral College results. This is similar to what BO did to Clinton in the primaries.

This makes me believe, which is why I highlight the above comment, that we are looking at a rare talent – one that is good at both tactics and strategy. This entire 2-year saga reminds me a little of Cesear’s “blogging” ;) of his campaign against the Gauls. An unendingly careful examination of the opponent, the fields of battle, himself, his troops, and just planning, planning, and more planning. And no big ups or downs regardless of the short-term results.

It must have sucked to be the Gauls. The feeling of being an anaconda’s dinner, I would think. At least the Republicans aren’t literally getting run thru with pikes.

I would never bet against the dude getting to anyplace he wants to go. Now for us to the left of the American political spectrum, we just have to hope he will learn to tack our way in his goals.


stuart 11.05.08 at 2:12 pm

The best way to shut up Palin is for Obama to do as good a job as we intuit he can.

Isn’t the problem that a couple of years in recession seems fairly likely at this point – if that happens you could easily see a midterm swing back towards the Republicans that allows them to carry on the current course. Obama vs Palin in 2012 could then conceivably be the breaking point for the religious right as if Obama wins against Palin running as a core “values” candidate rather than as backup to a ‘maverick’ that shared about as little ground as two Republicans can would be very hard to cognative dissonance away as the fault of something other than the core of their beliefs.


Picador 11.05.08 at 2:31 pm

Any thoughts on Obama’s acceptance speech? You remember it: an extended paean to the kingdom and the power and the glory of the One Great True Everlasting Republican Party, bastion of hope to the downtrodden and symbol of all that is good in our nation?

Personally, I’ll drink to President Obama the day the last American troop leaves Iraq and the last innocent cabdriver is released from the American torture chambers. Until then, I don’t see how Obama puts us anywhere left of George W. Bush circa 2003, and I’ll show him exactly the same amount of support.


Paul 11.05.08 at 3:04 pm

Obama wanted to be President. Once he is in office his legacy-good or bad-will be formulated by his actions as President. I hope that he is up to the challenge for it is a daunting one.


Cryptic Ned 11.05.08 at 3:14 pm

Yes, it’s amazing how disappointing the Obama administration has been. I agree with you Picador, and I only hope the next Democratic president does far better.


Lex 11.05.08 at 3:32 pm

@30, of course, with attitudes like #29’s doing the rounds, the next Dem president will be charged with clearing up the mess after two terms of President Palin…

Or maybe, even, the “election” of a “president” in 2016 will merely be a ruse by the Gideonites to flush out the ungodly, who can then be rounded up and disposed of according to the Almighty’s plan…

But let’s not worry about that now, shall we?


nick 11.05.08 at 4:09 pm

Picador, quite frankly, your summary of Obama’s speech is utter bullshit.

More generally: I think people who confuse a broadly bipartisan address to the American people, with a willingness to kowtow to the Republican party, are making a big mistake. In this respect, Obama is smarter than the “netroots”….


DC 11.05.08 at 4:14 pm

Re: “We shall now proceed to the construction of the socialist order.”

Just saw Fox News fulminating at a Soviet flag being brandished by the celebrating crowd outside the White House. On some level I do think that’s kinda wrong, but it’s also pretty funny, doubly so since the Fox people seemed genuinely innocent of the possibility that they were being mocked for the ridiculous red scare of the previous weeks…


novakant 11.05.08 at 7:09 pm

Just saw Fox News fulminating at a Soviet flag being brandished by the celebrating crowd outside the White House.

Cool, was it like in Reds?

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