Notes from Election Night

The Candidates as TrainsIt’s about 8 p.m. I’m exhausted from a brutally long flight from Athens last night, so I’m staying in and will to try to “journal” this election night. I won’t call this “live blogging” because a live blogger wouldn’t fall asleep around 8:30 p.m. during the most nerve-wracking part of the evening as I am about to do. Doh!

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For the past two weeks, I lectured on a cruise ship on the Aegean Sea and the only TV channel available on the ship was Fox News. I felt like the Manchurian candidate getting brainwashed by my Fox captors with Sarah Palin as the new Angela Lansbury. I tried to avoid looking into her googly hypno-winky eyes, but Sean Hannity kept telling me “resistance is futile.” The Medusa from Wasilla froze me like stone while Greta van Susteren whispered sweet “fair and balanced” nothings into my ear. I don’t remember anything after that, but now I have this irresistible urge to take a power drill to a baby doll. It’s as if there’s a voice in my head chanting “Drill the baby, drill the baby!” or something along those lines.

Still, how well do I really know about Barack Hussein Obama? John McCain is the real comeback kid (geezer) after all. I predict a Republican landslide tonight.

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Nearly 10 p.m. MSNBC just called Pennsylvania for Obama. I know this because I just woke up — and only then because a friend called me from Oregon. Jet lag is brutal. I should have taken the transoceanic train from Greece train. The new faster one.

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10:55 p.m. I wish I could have recorded what I just heard out of my window here at 16th and S Streets, NW. It began with an occasional shout, followed by some random hoots and cheers. Then some car horns gave a sporadic toot. Soon they all started to go at once and the 16th Street corridor started to roar like a surging tsunami of celebration! If this were Baghdad, there would be people shooting off guns in the air and I would be taking cover under the dinning room table. My kitten is staring intently out the bedroom window, unsure if people are celebrating or the end of the world is approaching.

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Midnight. I just saw another tsunami. It was waves of pink as far as the camera could see — the audience at McCain’s concession speech. That visual says it all. You’d think they would try to hire some underpaid undocumented immigrants to stand around for the cameras (preferably without holding trays of hors d’oeuvres). The Fox News cameras seem to be searching frantically for some close-up shots showing diversity, but it’s like trying to locate a grain of pepper in an ocean of salt.

The car horns are getting really loud at times. Every two or three minutes and another “wave” starts. A spontaneous crowd is assembling 10 blocks south of here at the White House to share the good cheer with Bush. Now people are blowing those New Year’s party horn noisemakers in the streets to accompany the car horns.

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Obama just began his acceptance speech by listing all the different kinds of Americans who made this possible — most of whom could not be seen at the McCain event. When McCain decided to play the Culture War card, he really painted the Republican party into a corner and now it really shows! He has rebranded the GOP as what Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) calls “a white, rural, regional party.” Some two-thirds of U.S. voters under thirty voted for Obama. Since brand loyalties are established at an early age, the Republicans may have just condemned themselves into political oblivion.

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I’m watching this on Fox News just to make it extra delicious. Now it’s payback time. This should really be on the Food TV channel: 50 ways to eat crow. Would you like crow fricassee, crow tartar, crow mousse (moose?), or crow with a side order of roasted scapegoat? Brit Hume looks like he’s been clobbered with a crowbar, Hanna-Barbera style. He’s rambling incoherently trying to put words together to explain how Obama won the election. There’s only one possible explanation: he dropped acid during a previous commercial break so that he could stay in his imaginary bubble world just a few hours longer. That grumbling baritone voice and his shaking jowls… if he had a five o’clock shadow, he could be channeling Nixon during the depths of Watergate: “I am not a shill! I was really more of a libertarian than a real Republican. I didn’t know about all that other stuff. I was a good German. Really. You must believe me!”

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12:45 a.m. Now it’s just deafening outside. And it’s constant. Every vehicle driving on 16th Street is honking. Some people are getting into their parked cars just to honk on their horns. Ginger, my kitten, is staring intently out the bedroom window unsure if people are celebrating or if the end of the world is approaching. This isn’t going to help my jetlag.

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1:00 a.m. I am elated by the victory, but I’m also dead-tired. It’s bringing out the inner John McCain in me: “You kids get off my lawn! And keep it down! People need to sleep.” Time to unleash that pitbull…

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1:45 a.m.
Both cats are now freaking out and hiding from the noise which went on for almost an hour.

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November 5 Postscript
This clip from Fox News is stunning: Sarah Palin didn’t know which countries were involved in NAFTA or that Africa was a continent and not a country. Now they tell us!

Sanho Tree is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, where he directs the Drug Policy project.