Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Jindal vs. Palin?

In this candid, and entertaining blog call Dynamist, a woman named Virginia writes:

Now I may have to go back to being a Republican, to gear up for the struggle between the Jindal-Daniels wing and the Palin-Huckabee wing of the party.

What a great quote, and what a fascinating race that would be to watch develop. A Jindal vs. Obama election would be epic, and truly fascinating to watch.

I would never join the Republicans, but I admit, it would be tempting to actively participate in the debates they will surely have in the next year or two.

Meanwhile, we can enjoy the infancy of Obama's presidency, and see if he can resist the tug-of-war with his own party to drag him far to the left. I predict Obama shows Democrats how to truly govern with wisdom, pragmatic tactics and careful consideration of all points of view.

A lesson the Clintons didn't learn at first, and suffered in congress shortly afterward because of it.


Rachel Maddow is Wrong

I know she's a liberal super-heroine, and the latest "talking head" on MSNBC to be worshipped by the partisan left, and although liberals often don't see the hypocrisy of denouncing FOX NEWS, but then subscribing to MSNBC, the rest of the country does.

If we must reject hacks like Kristol and O'Reilly, let us please slap Maddow with the same rejection of narrow-minded and partisan media "stars". Rachel, your sarcarstic rant today on your show, that Obama should not govern from the center, because Democrats won, which means your left-of-center philosophy is now vindicated and self-righteous, is the last kind of editorial we need right now.

If partisan Democrats are going to make the same arrogant mistakes George W. Bush did, and interpret an election victory, as a mandate for extremism, the American people will vote you out. You critisized Bush for that kind of thinking just a few years ago, now suddenly because the same argument is being offered by the left it is justified? Isn't that called hypocrisy, and isn't America so very, very tired of these partisan games?

We didn't vote for Obama to get "revenge" on Republicans, or to fire up a new chapter of the culture war that MSNBC and FOX news delight in stoking daily. We voted for Obama to solve difficult problems, not to ratify an agenda that narrowly clings to a single side of the spectrum.

Thankfully, Obama is more pragmatic, and less dogmatic than the cheerleaders at MSNBC.


Partisan Blogs Will Try to "Spin" Obama's Mandate

Watch what happens in the next few days.

To begin with, watch who Obama picks for his team. He’s made very strong overtures to the Democratic elite, in his first few picks. Guys like Emanuel are Washington insiders, and are as staunchly liberal and partisan as you get in the Democratic Party.

However there are rumors that Chuck Hagel, Colin Powell and possibly other Republicans will also be invited. Indeed, Doris Kearns Goodwin confirmed last night, that not only is Obama reading her book about the Lincoln cabinet (that was very bi-partisan), he also called her to ask her questions about it.

If you are like me, and believe the poisonous partisanship of the last twenty years is hurting this country, this is really welcomed news.

However, when you read the highly-partisan blogs the next few days, guard against their interpretation that their party alone truly represents the country as a whole.

Don’t let the left tell you they “own” Obama’s mandate, and don’t let the right tell you that Obama’s victory means nothing, that the country is still mostly on their side.

Remember, if you are an independent, or if you are a younger voter, *you* were the one that gave Obama his victory. Obama's legacy begins with listening and empowering all voices in America, not just one firmly entrenched in one political party or the other. If he has a clear mandate to do anything, it is simply to unite this country, rather than divide it.

America isn't liberal, it isn't conservative, rather it is the inclusion of all those philosophies, and many more. America is free to borrow from any political philosophy, and it defines itself in far broader, more cerebral terms than "left" or "right".


Post Baby-Boom Era

I recognize, as many have said, that my generation stands on the shoulders of the civil rights movement, and the modern industrial age that was carved out after the end of World War II. In other words, I owe much to the generations that came before me.

However, I think it is important to note, that there wasn’t just a racial barrier that was shattered today, we also broke a generational one. 25% more people under the age of 25 voted in this election than voted in the last one, and 13% more people in the 26-44 age bracket (which at 42, I fit into) also voted in this election that did not vote in 2004. Those two age-brackets were the only two that voted more for Obama than against him.

So the data is clear: we are now officially in a post-Baby Boomer electorate.

For the first time ever, we have a modern President that didn’t face the draft during Vietnam, or wasn’t a veteran of World War II. So in other words, we have elected a President that isn't trapped by the culture war that has dominated this country for decades.

We have elected a President that was a pioneer in using the internet in motivating and mobilizing an electorate, and was able to largely reject corporate donations in lieu of micro-payments from ordinary people. This in turn, ensured his campaign was boosted massively by young voters, who participated in democracy for their first time ever.

We have, my friends, elected the first true President of the 21st Century, elected largely by people who will now definitively shape the century ahead.

We now have a president, who understands how the world has changed since the end of the Cold War, that grew up in a true multi-cultural environment, (just like we did, but our parents didn't).

If you are like me, you never attended a school that wasn’t racially and culturally diverse in the classroom and you've yearned to see a government truly reflect the very environment we grew up in.

What will my generation and future generations bring to this world now that we are now fully empowered? What lessons did we learn, from history, and what lessons do we bring from our own unique experience?


This Close to History

Standing this close to a historical moment, can be a very humbling experience. I find myself wondering what it must have been like to read about Pearl Harbor, or to experience the surrender of the Nazi regime in London.

I have had few historical moments in my life that have come somewhat close to that magnitude. One was, I witnessed my home province of Quebec reject a referendum that would have begun the process of separation in Canada. Another was, I witnessed Nelson Mandela finally get released, and then take command of the South African government via the ballot box. I also witnessed the Berlin wall falling down, and watched Germany unify once more.

Today, once again, I feel connected to history. It is a very satisfying feeling. I will try and document my thoughts…

  • We saw the youth of this country participate in the democratic process at unprecedented levels. This is, in my opinion, is just as vital an accomplishment as the racial barrier that was broken last night. Indeed, it might just be the lasting legacy of this election. The race problems in America, will take another generation (or more) to fully resolve; Obama’s election was just a stepping stone to that arduous climb, but not the pinnacle. However, I think younger voters will continue to stay mobilized and invested in this country, because Obama showed us how you can include them in unprecedented numbers. Young people in America, take a bow. It doesn’t matter who you voted for, you came out in throngs, and invested in this country’s future, I am very proud of you.

  • I was particularly thrilled to see Obama’s acceptance speech underline the theme of unity. In other words, to establish an agenda of non-partisanship, to understand the importance of working with all people, of all persuasions and politics to solve the difficult problems ahead. It was the first real sign Obama will govern from the center, and that the election was not a mandate to return to “tax and spend” liberalism of decade's past. If Obama can somehow miraculously diminish the poisonous politics of the baby-boom generation, and embrace a competitive, spirited but respectful debate moving forward, I believe this will be a monumental achievement.

  • My favorite quote last night, from all the pundits, all the panels and all the analysis came from a French journalist on the Charlie Rose show. He quoted a voter he met in New York, who surmised my own feelings on the historic nature of this election so beautifully:

Rosa Parks sat, so that Martin Luther King could walk, so that Barack Obama could run, so that America could fly.

Amen. I feel like I could fly today, that’s how good this feels.