Oh, What a Night

Posted: November 4th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Politics | Tags: , | 4 Comments »

I voted for my first presidential winner today and though it wasn’t in a swing state, or even a swing district, I have to admit it felt pretty good. Unfortunately, being worry-prone, I’m already angsting about life after January 20th.

Barack Obama put his hyberbolic optimism on hold for 10 seconds tonight to remind supporters that just electing him isn’t “change,” [even if that’s more or less what his campaign has told us till now]. It’s just the opportunity to achieve change. In typical fashion, he left out the nasty realities of how such changes get made.

It being his victory night, and a rock concert of a rally, I’ll forgive him, and do some explaining myself: Actually passing new taxes or healthcare reform or an alternative energy agenda will depend on Obama’s ability to master all the backroom politicking he claims he doesn’t need.

Given Obama’s open distaste for such gritty negotiation (which he sees as cynical) and Joe Biden’s sloppy gaffe-prone history on the Hill, I’m beginning to think the success of the Obama administration will depend on the dealmaking powers of Congressional leaders: will Democrats and Republicans work with each other?

Paul Krugman had a great piece this week about the consequences for the country if an Obama victory leaves the Republicans clinging on to nothing but their most hardline members: no President would be able to operate effectively with a Congress 40%-composed of such intransigent radicals.

John McCain tonight urged his party, in name of national duty, to reject radical entrenchment, to work with Obama and the Dems to get things done. McCain has it in him to do this–he earned the admiration of many liberals and moderates, myself included, because he was able to bring Republican hardliners along on compromise legislation like the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance bill. If THIS John McCain goes to Washington in January (and not the angry, uncooperative McCain who crashed the bailout party in September), he will have a unique opportunity to bridge gridlock and broker compromises between his own party’s hardliners and the President who defeated him.

Indeed, John McCain–the old political hand and pragmatic public servant–may be more crucial to Obama’s “new politics” agenda than any of the rhetorical flourishes and youthful idealism that brought him to victory.

4 Comments on “Oh, What a Night”

  1. 1 The Chao said at 7:08 am on November 5th, 2008:

    As always, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Expect the worst, hope for the best.

    And you know, revel in the moment. Hopefully it won’t be the last time we pick a winner.

  2. 2 The Fast Talker said at 3:45 pm on November 5th, 2008:

    You do love your Billy Joel…

    If it doesn’t work out, come and get Brown re-elected 😉

  3. 3 rafigagum said at 5:19 pm on November 5th, 2008:

    maybe now is the time to recruit mccain to PGA?

  4. 4 Matt G. (mgcsinc) said at 9:41 pm on November 6th, 2008:

    Oh don’t be so angsty 😛 Let’s have a week of sheer joy before we go back to be worrisome democrats.

    Great seeing you, by the way! Come down to DC sometime!

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