Lessons Learned

Reporters secretly hate election day. Or, more appropriately, they hate the waiting on Election Day. It may have been somewhat exciting in 2000 or 2004, when the fate of the election dragged endlessly on, and people on both ideological sides waited with eager anticipation as to the outcome. This year, of course, the outcome was pretty much known when Ohio was called for Obama (hell, it was known in October), but since most decision-makers refused to grow a pair after being momentarily embarrassed by the 2000 election, they refused to take any official stance in calling the election until well past the point of obviousness. This had two unfortunate effects. The first was that newscasters had to think of something—anything—to talk about for about four hours, so there were a lot of absurd statements such as “Well, if McCain wins Oregon and Washington and one of the congressional districts in Maine, he’ll have a 50/50 shot of winning the presidency. Assuming that he also wins California. And Mars.” The second effect is that they got to play around with holograms and big floaty maps and fluorescent colors and county-by-county results and inconsequential state senate races and breaking down the voter turnout of Hispanic-Asian vegetarians over the age of 35 and anything besides declaring the quite obvious result of an Obama presidency. This must have been insufferable not only to the 200 million voters getting drunk either out of celebration or dismay, but also to the newscasters wishing they could do the same.

The elected official who calls his constituents racist rednecks can still win as long as he dumps shovelfuls of cold cash in his district. I’m not a bang-the-drum scream-from-the-mountaintops throw-the-bums-out kinda guy. I am of the opinion that the voters get the government they deserve, even if that means sending the same condescending jackass back to Congress even though he called his constituents racists and rednecks. Perhaps people in Western Pennsylvania missed that part. Jack Murtha called his constituents racists and rednecks and still was re-elected with 58% of the vote—most likely because Murtha rivals neighbor Robert Byrd in arranging the logistics of a convoy of trucks to dump dollar bills in giant flaming sinkholes all around the Johnstown area. This would register quite a bit of outrage amongst the people and the pundits if it didn’t happen in approximately 434 other House races every year.

Foreigners know as much about us as we do about them. Americans have long been painted as arrogant self-interested bullies, unconcerned about the cultures of other countries and frightfully unsympathetic to what effects our actions have on others in this world, such as the War in Iraq and the continuing existence of America’s Next Top Model. But while many Americans hold onto vague, largely inaccurate stereotypes of foreigners—such as the French being elitist, non-productive perennial objectors or the Germans being belligerent, sausage-eating awesome car manufacturers—foreigners also have inaccurate caricatures of America; George Bush being a bible-thumping cowboy, for example, or Arnold Schwarzenegger being an Austrian. Any European who visited this country would be shocked at what they find. Sure, Americans may be rich, arrogant, and woefully indifferent to the lives of others, but at least our food doesn’t taste like animal organs and raw vegetables ground together in a paste and served with subpar wine. I’m just sayin’.

The people of Minnesota are borderline insane. Now, far be it for me to be judgmental about the good people of the land of a thousand lakes, but, c’mon. Ten years ago you elect a former pro wrestler to the governor’s mansion, and as of last count you were within a few hundred votes of electing Al Franken, whose only reasonable qualification for belonging to the esteemed Senate chamber is that he is an insufferable prick. An automatic recount is triggered in Minnesota, where incumbent Norm Coleman is slightly ahead; however, as we’ve seen in the past, counting votes is negotiable when the result means sending a vaguely washed-up comedian to go make policy. Also, for the prosecution, in the case of insanity for Minnesotans: the continued popularity of Garrison Keillor.

Saturday Night Live needs to figure out what to do for the other three years every four years. Saturday Night Live has been spot-on in the election, much like they usually are every election. However, they’ve also been largely not funny the remaining three years, and I even include the seasons in which Will Ferrell was not involved as a cast member, leaving it to others to pick up his gaping void of hamming it up, mugging shamelessly on camera, and not even trying anymore. So unless Sarah Palin stars in a reality show of some sort—which, sadly, is not necessarily out of the realm of possibility—it looks like three more years of fake game shows and twelve-minute sketches about some social meme that played itself out eight months ago. This will give them plenty of time to find a cast member able to do a decent Mitt Romney or, possibly, a black cast member to do Obama.

The people want change, whatever that means. Certainly, the citizens wanted change in the sense that they were sick of the spendthrift, clumsy way in which the Bush administration handled the economy, the war, hurricanes, science, international relations, and pretty much everything except for the approximately four months after September 11th. And while this is a wildly legitimate idea, one suspects that pretty much anyone—from Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani to Kim Jong Il and the decomposing remains of Richard Nixon—could have campaigned on change and still came in at least second in New Hampshire. This is not to minimize Obama’s electoral success, but the mere combination of hope, change, non-Bushness, and ethanol subsidies is enough to propel you to the White House with remarkably little effort.

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2 Responses to Lessons Learned

  1. Quinlan says:

    Thanks for nice post.

  2. Sova says:

    Digging this site,Just signed up for your rss feed. Looks like a cool place to hangout! Don’t Tell Too Many People about this.

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