Wednesday, November 5

Dewy Defeats Grumpy

OKAY. I have no call to gloat, m'self, but it's nice to see people I admire being able to do so, or just bust out bawling. It beats the alternative. And even though the teevee blatherfesters didn't mention it one single time, the historic import of one Jimbo Riley finally casting a vote for President which counted, in only his tenth fucking attempt, has not been lost on everyone, mostly me.

Can we have direct election of the President now? After a decade of screwed-up elections, can we acknowledge we're no longer thirteen coastal communities trying to hoodwink each other into agreeing to the amount of federal control we imagine is best for us personally? Even if that is what we still are, minus the coastal bit? Interest in voting is at a post-war high, even if that's not exactly an impossibly high standard or anything; time to use that to overhaul the system.

This would, of course, have the attendant benefit of eliminating all the fucking Red State/Blue State crap, and none of us would have to look at the Great Red Wall of the Trans-Mississippi ever again. For one thing, if you take out all the major cities of the Republic of Texas, how many people live between there and Canada? Several hundred? I would also like to suggest that if your state is responsible for both the political career of the Worst President Ever Imaginable and his phony fucking hick accent, you should recuse yourself from national elections for a decent interval, say, until he dies.

Now then--and I think regular readers may have expected a now then--I resisted turning on the teevee or checking results until the polls closed here (truth to tell, I was busy not splashing muriatic acid on myself), and the first thing I hear is "Well, for once we can't call Indiana the minute the polls closed," which may in fact have been news to that .0001% of the audience which was just waking up from a coma, but simply announced to the rest of us that we could go ahead and buckle in for a night of empty platitudes and witless observations, which was not exactly an historical first. And the second thing I heard was one of the local "political" "reporters" asking the designated Democratic spokesman why Jill Long Thompson had tanked.

Jill Long Thompson was the semi-lifelike Democratic candidate for Governor. Meaning by 6PM she'd already lost to Mitch "Courage" Daniels. And the son of a bitch wound up with almost 60% of the vote.

Okay, so say what you will about Hoosiers; we're not exactly bright. And you can throw in the effects of money on politics: Daniels' war chest, curiously, was almost exactly the Clinton surplus plus the first two years of Bush deficits (when Mitch ran the OMB) combined. He's been running campaign ads continuously since April, 2005. He's an arrogant, snotty little career bureaucrat who little over a year ago was struggling to reach 45% approval, and he gets sixty fucking percent of the vote. (Trust me, the intersection of Arrogant and Snotty is not exactly a popular spot in Indiana.)

And he gets 60% of the vote and at his victory celebration announces a "sale" on the Ditch Mitch bumperstickers the clear-eyed and public-minded among our denizens have been sporting since the middle of 2004. Charming. Always nice to see an elected official demonstrating that it's all about the self-aggrandizement. (This was an interesting step back into character for Mitch, who, having always been a supernumerary before becoming governor, has had to learn politics--and the art of keeping his nasty little overcompensatory thoughts to himself--on the fly. In 2004 it was "my opponents are idiots"; by 2008 it was "oh, we've made a few mistakes along the way, sure", a statement I imagine they had to have dubbed into the ads after he choked every time he tried to read it. Daniels is such a Little Napoleon, marrow-deep, that they've taken to having him say nothing whatsoever during legislative sessions, since every time he opens his mouth he loses another two or three votes by offense.)

(And by the way, if you think this is just me mouthin' off, consider that the man is almost the singular example of Red State success in this Blue Year.  Coming soon to a Presidential primary near you.)

Every Indiana representative was re-elected by a wide margin, meaning we still send 5 Democrats to 4 Republicans to the House, but two of those Dems are Bluedogs, and all of the Republicans are Dan Burton. I'm still represented by an African-American and practicing Muslim. Stop trying to cheer me up.

None of this can be blamed on the Obama campaign, which--whatever else was wrong with it--fought for Indiana after thirty years of Democrats treating it as if the state line were marked in cobalt. They played electoral politics all the way, and in the end they were justified, once the economy collapsed on John McCain's head. Still, I remind you, nearly 56 million of your fellow citizens voted for McCain, and a sizable number of them were actually more excited about the prospect of Sarah Palin becoming Vice-President.

Not to harsh anyone's buzz, or worsen any hangovers; what else happens in the next four years, last night every American had the opportunity, just after the polls closed in the West, to see Bill Bennett look seasick on teevee. It's a memory I'll cherish forever.


heydave said...

Here in Iowa, nobody at the sports bar (where I was perhaps the only one following the election results and not the archived footage of Appalachian State playing Lipscombe College) understood my incredulous outbursts of Mitch Fucking Daniels?

Thinking of you, see?

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

I still can't figure out how that essobee managed to win...but thanks for giving it the old college try in attempting to explain it.

KathyR said...

I can't understand why Bill Bennett was ON my TV. Aren't disgraced people supposed to stay disgraced? Or at least have some kind of conversion experience before they emerge from disgrace? Or at least fucking acknowledge that their behavior has been disgraceful?

Brian said...

I'D love to be smug as an Ex-Hoosier, but my State devoted itself to queer-bashing this election. My County, I am "proud" to note, was the only one in the Bay Area that voted yes on Proposition 8.

arghous said...

Well, now your state is marked in cobalt blue. That's something, at least.

And you're 1 for 10? What, voted for Lester Maddox in '76?

James Stripes said...

Direct election? It's too much fun betting on elections with the Electoral College in place. You can bet the result or the spread in fifty states, break it down by regions, bet whether Missouri will call the winner again, and so on. It's a bookie's dream. Why would you want to mess with that?

map106 said...

You kids are too funny for me. But not to harsh on your harsh, Doghouse, but aren't you happy your state went Blue? A color change is good once in a while. Of course, your wife might want new furniture to match.

scott's agenda of rage said...

We here in Misery turned out to be a mirror image: We elected a Dem governor with 60% of the vote while informing our electors to vote for McPOW and Governor Gidget.

I dare Indiana to a sprint Misery to the Stoopidity Finish line. We'd beat you by a furlong at least.