The Morning After

Well, I’m surprised at the scope of the victory, but not that Obama won.  A few thoughts on why…

Obama: The new President brought out a lot of new voters.  I’m sure that the first-time and lapsed-voter vote went to Obama, by a wide margin.

Bush: McCain tied himself far too closely to what is perceived as a failed Bush administration.  One of his largest mistakes was to paint himself as running for Bush’s third term.  The now-infamous “I voted with Pres. Bush over 90% of the time” quote had to hurt.

The Definition Factor: Other than his ties to Bush, how did McCain actually define his views of America and his potential presidency?  All we ever got was that he wasn’t Obama.  Obama has a plan, he posted it on his website and talked about it in his commercials, and we were able to decide if it was a plan we agreed with.  What was McCain’s plan?

The Judgement Factor: I will say that I really didn’t agree with Joe Biden as Obama’s running mate, but at least choosing Biden was defensible.  What kind of judgement does it show for McCain to pick a sub-mediocrity like Sarah Palin as his running mate?  I am quite certain that McCain lost votes when he picked Politician Barbie — both because some people couldn’t cast a vote for her, and others wondered what kind of judgement McCain would have brought to the White House if *this* was how he handled the largest decision of his campaign.

The Change Factor: There seems to be an inherent self-correction in the political system.  Neither party gets a really long run in the White House, at least not in the last half-century.  After eight years of a Republican Presidency, there was a good chance of a swing back the other way.

The Presidential Image Factor: Who looked more Presidential?  Really.  Obama seemed to carry himself as a leader.  McCain came across as your doddering grandfather.  That couldn’t have helped McCain.

And look at the big picture – this was an across-the-board slap at the Republican party.  The Democrats have clear control of both houses of Congress.  They’ve gained governorships and state legislatures.  If the Republican Party doesn’t take a step back and learn something from this, they will continue to get slapped every couple of years.  The Republican Party is out of touch with a growing portion of the country.  They should try to grow the party — I expect they will retreat further to the radical right.

Good luck to President-elect Obama.  I hope he can change the atmosphere in Washington.  We need it.

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Author: Rob Hoffmann

Occasional blogger, full-time computer techie, radio producer (basketball, mostly), generally nice person (if you ask me).

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