[EDITOR’S NOTE: New and improved, with more content than ever!]
Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s Obama in the White House, the Democrats in control of Congress and the motherf*king Republicans down in flames. If this is a dream, we don’t wanna wake up. Join with us now as we stroll down the memory lane of our in-house commentary and analysis on the 2008 Presidential election (for our complete coverage CLICK HERE). Like Same Cooke prophesied in 1963, a change has come. Truly a once in a lifetime moment in this American life.
ENDORSEMENT: Why I Voted For Barack Obama
BY JONATHAN VALANIA
Because I don’t believe in politicians, but I believe in this man.
Because the rest of the world believes in this man, and contrary to what some would have you believe, that is a good thing. In fact, it’s crucial.
Because words matter and he is a man of his word.
Because he appealed to our best hopes instead of our worst fears.
Because he ran on the content of his character, not the color of his skin.
Because despite all that, he had to be twice as good.
Because he is neither black nor white and neither is the world we live in.
Because he never got off the high road.
Because he always did the right thing.
Because he never made a false move.
Because this is historic. This is noble. This is progress.
Because in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.
Because he IS a once in a lifetime candidate.
Because I never thought someone like him would come along again in my lifetime.
Because I thought they killed off his kind — the ones who came in the name of love — by 1968.
Because it turns out you can kill a man but you cannot kill the hope he represents. Just ask Jesus Christ.
Because sooner or later another one will come along.
Because this isn’t 1968. And it certainly isn’t 1963.
Because the modern Secret Service is like Men In Black without the aliens. So I don’t worry.
Because for the last 30 years we tried it their way, and look where it got us.
Because he was right about Iraq from the beginning.
Because he represents something that shakes the powers that be to their very core: Change.
Because power never surrenders without a dirty fight, they say that he is wrong or lying or dreaming or worse.
Because the last 19 months have proven he is none of these things.
Because it has all come true.
Because John McCain has voted with George Bush 95% of the time. During George Bush’s tenure, we have seen a major attack on our homeland, we have gotten bogged down in two no-exit wars, a major American city was taken offline by the bungled federal response to a hurricane, the housing market collapsed and Wall Street melted down, all of which triggered a deep stateside recession, a global financial crisis and the gloomiest economic outlook since the eve of the Great Depression, we started torturing people in secret prisons and using the government’s awesome surveillance powers to spy on American citizens, and we have managed to completely squander whatever goodwill, admiration and respect the rest of the globe once had for America. A vote for McCain, is a vote for four more years of George Bush. Is not the repetition of the same behavior over and over again with the expectation of a different outcome the very definition of insanity? It is, according to Albert Einstein. That is why the only sane choice is Barack Obama.
REMEMBER: Yes We Can
[Illustration by ALEX FINE]
ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS: WASILLA — Back in 1996, when she first became mayor, Sarah Palin asked the city librarian if she would be all right with censoring library books should she be asked to do so. According to news coverage at the time, the librarian said she would definitely not be all right with it. A few months later, the librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, got a letter from Palin telling her she was going to be fired. The censorship issue was not mentioned as a reason for the firing. The letter just said the new mayor felt Emmons didn’t fully support her and had to go. Emmons had been city librarian for seven years and was well liked. After a wave of public support for her, Palin relented and let Emmons keep her job. It all happened 12 years ago and the controversy long ago disappeared into musty files. Until this week. Under intense national scrutiny, the issue has returned to dog her. It has been mentioned in news stories in Time Magazine and The New York Times and is spreading like a virus through the blogosphere. MORE
BY JONATHAN VALANIA FOR ROLLING STONE: On Saturday, Bruce Springsteen kicked off three days of Vote For Change concerts on behalf of Barack Obama with a powerful acoustic set that drew estimated 50,000 to the Ben Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. Cutting a distinctly Woody Guthriesque profile in rolled up flannel, denim and a halo of tousled hair, The Boss stood atop a 30-foot high stage emblazoned with the word CHANGE and belted out a seven-song, 45 minute acoustic set as a gift for Obama volunteers and an inducement for the disengaged to register to vote. Some 21,000 new voters were registered on Saturday, according to the Obama campaign.
Following impressive opening performances by two hometown acts — bluesy folknik Amos Lee and alt-rapstress Nora Whitaker — and a rabble-rousing intro from Governor Ed Rendell, Springsteen ambled onstage and apologized. “I’m not Barack Obama, but I’ll do my best,” said Springsteen, before wheezing his harmonica like an angry freight train and launching into a tense, jingle-jangle reading of “The Promised Land,” his 1978 affirmation of faith in the American Idea in a time of dwindling opportunity and diminished expectations.
Four songs later — including a like-minded “The Ghost Of Tom Joad,” the obligatory “Thunder Road” and the rarely-heard “Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street” — The Boss laid out a convincing case for change. “I’ve spent most of my creative life measuring the distance between that American promise and American reality…The distance between that promise and that reality has never been greater or more painful. I believe Senator Obama has taken the measure of that distance in his own life and in his work…I believe as president, he would work to restore that promise to so many of our fellow citizens who have justifiably lost faith in its meaning.”
With a mournful, flag-at-half-mast rendition of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” The Boss sent the people back out onto the streets with marching orders to take their country back from “those who who would sell it down the river for a quick buck.” –JONATHAN VALANIA MORE
EDITORIAL: Why Whitey Can’t Vote
BY JONATHAN VALANIA FOR THE INQUIRER As a lifelong Caucasian, I am beginning to think the time has finally come to take the right to vote away from white people, at least until we come to our senses. Seriously, I just don’t think we can be trusted to exercise it responsibly anymore.
I give you Exhibit A: The last eight years.
In 2000, Bush-Cheney stole the election, got us attacked, and then got us into two no-exit wars. Four years later, white people reelected them. Is not the repetition of the same behavior over and over again with the expectation of a different outcome the very definition of insanity? (It is, I looked it up.)
Exhibit B is any given Sarah Palin rally.
Exhibit C would be Ed Rendell and John Murtha, who in separate moments of on-the-record candor they would come to regret, pointing out that there are plenty of people in Pennsylvania who just cannot bring themselves to pull the lever for a black man – no matter what they tell pollsters.
These people are ruining things for the rest of us white people who are ready to move on. Sure, they have their reasons, chimerical though they may be: He’s a Muslim. He’s a terrorist. He’s a Muslim terrorist. He’s going to fire all the white people and give their jobs to blacks.
But those are just the little white lies these people allow themselves to be told, a self-induced cognitive dissonance that lets them avoid saying the unsayable: I cannot pull the lever for a black man.
Hey, some people just aren’t ready yet, even the governor said so. Just like some people aren’t ready yet for computers or setting the clock on the VCR.
Or, to hear Murtha tell it, some people – specifically some people in Western Pennsylvania – will never be ready. But the fact is, if you did a statewide head count of racists, you’d find just as many in eastern Pennsylvania as you would in the western part of the state.
That’s why this ban on white people voting I’m proposing has got to be statewide. And I’m sorry to say, it’s going to have to include all white people, even those who would vote for Obama, because you can’t just let some white people vote. That would be unfair.
By this point, you either think I am joking or are calling me an elitist. I assure you I am neither. OK, maybe a little of both. But it wasn’t always like this. I come from the Coal Belt, from that Alabamian hinterland between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, as per James Carville’s famous formulation.
I am, in fact, just two generations out of the coal mines that blackened the lungs of my grandfather, leaving him disabled, despondent and, finally, dead at the ripe old age of 54.
So, understand that I am saying all this for the good of the country and, in fact, for the good of those hard-working white people that Hillary used to pander to.
I know those people, I come from them. They are not some shameful abstract demographic to be brushed under the rug of euphemism by Wolf Blitzer and his ilk.
I have broken kielbasa with those people. I went to school with their children. I have gone to Sunday Mass with a deer-hunter hangover with those people. They are bitter with good reason, and they are armed because they are scared. They mean well, but they are easily spooked.
I fear for what is to become of them after the campaigns leave town for the last time, and Scranton and Allentown and Carlisle go back to being the long dark chicken dance of the national soul they were before the media showed up.
[The Guardian UK asks to reprint WHY WHITEY CAN’T VOTE]
Screen shot of Brit Hume reading WHY WHITEY CAN’T VOTE on Fox News
YouTube of Brit Hume reading WHY WHITEY CAN’T VOTE on Fox News
TOM CRUISE: Hardcore Hillary Supporter
The proxy war between the Clinton and Obama camp reached a new and shocking low today when Tom Cruise went on Oprah to declare his support for Hillary and then proceeded to kill the titular host — arguably Obama’s most high-profile supporter — with some kind of death ray that shoots out of his fingers. All of this happened on national television and was seen by millions. The fact that none of you have ANY recollection of this only proves just how powerful those Scientologist people really are. Just sayin’.
OSWALD & GHOSTS: Spamming Camelot
BY AMY Z. QUINN FOR MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS So why, in all of this talk about President Kennedy, can I not stop thinking about Michelle Obama? I can’t help but wonder what Mrs. Obama is thinking today, since she reportedly has no desire to star in any fairy tales. It’s important to remember, at moments like this, that Mrs. Obama is 43, like her husband too young to remember Kennedy’s much-fabled 1,000 Days. And while he seems to have grown up happily basking in the popular portrayal of the Kennedys as American royalty devoted to public service, her attitude seems to be much more akin to that of a GenX cynic like me, who hears “JFK” and thinks “Marilyn Monroe” before “Peace Corps,” or “advisers to Vietnam” as quickly as “ask what you can do for your country.”
Never one to mince words, the potential First Lady has displayed a distinctly post-Boomer tendency to reject the Kennedy mystique. In a USA Today article last year, she cautioned against turning Barack into a political messiah, saying it’s “important at this time for people to feel like they own this process and that they don’t turn it over to the next messiah, who’s going to fix it all, you know? . . . And then we’re surprised when people turn out not to be who we’ve envisioned them to be.”
“Camelot to me doesn’t work,” [Michelle Obama] says. “It was a fairy tale that turned out not to be completely true because no one can live up to that. And I don’t want to live like that.”
In so many words, the woman Caroline Kennedy just tapped to be the next Jackie is on record saying she’ll pass, thanks. Maybe it’s because we all know far more now about what JFK, his family, his sexual predilections, his mob ties, and the complications of his marriage than anyone did when the original Camelot was formed, or that she’s bought into that unfortunate, but ubiquitous, “no black man will make it to the White House” meme.
More likely, it’s because Michelle Obama isn’t so swayed by the misty water-colored memories of the way the Kennedys were that she forgets how Camelot ended: With a First Lady in a blood-stained pink suit, crawling crawling across the back of a limousine. Don’t let it be forgot. MORE
JOHN MCCAIN: March Of The Penguin
A long time ago, in a Clinton campaign far, far away, James Carville famously declared that Pennsylvania is Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and Alabama in between. Aw, yeah: Pennsyltucky. We know thee well. It’s sort of like the Dukes Of Hazzard after smoking kielbosa. Like sweat socks with a Sunday suit. Like the Deer Hunter costumed by Wal-Mart. It’s the long dark Chicken Dance of the national soul. Lord help us all. Anyway, with the national press are already converging on the Keystone state to get some local color on their laptops, we feel an obligation to Sherpa them up to the mountaintop electoral bellweathers that only a local nature boy would know. Every day, or close to it, from now until April 22nd we will be calling up some unsuspecting Pennsyltuckian picked randomly out of the phone book and ask them point blank: Hillary or Obama, bitch? Actually, we probably will substitute ‘Sir’ or ‘Madame’ for ‘Bitch’, but you get the picture. No doubt the bulk of these conversations will be us saying things like ‘No, not Phucker…FAW-KUR’ and ‘Yes, you CAN get the Internet on computer these days, no really.’ Invariably, these conversations will veer into questions about Obama’s Manchurian Candidacy and how ‘he doesn’t put his hand over his heart when he says the pledge of allegiance because his hand would burn with the fire of a thousand suns if he spoke the snaked-tongued oath of the Infidel!’ etc. Hopefully this will prove amusing, if not educational, as we attempt to speak fact to hysteria, but mostly it will give us something to do. Sometimes that enough.
BY JONATHAN VALANIA A long time ago, in a Clinton campaign far, far away, James Carville famously declared that Pennsylvania is Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and Alabama in between. Aw, yeah: Pennsyltucky. We know thee well. It’s sort of like watching the Dukes Of Hazzard after smoking too much kielbasa. Like sweat socks with a Sunday suit. Like the Deer Hunter costumed by Wal-Mart. It’s the long dark Chicken Dance of the national soul. Lord help us all. Anyway, with the national press are already converging on the Keystone state to get some local color on their laptops, we feel an obligation to Sherpa them up to the mountaintop electoral bellweathers that only a local nature boy would know. Every day, or close to it, from now until April 22nd we will be calling up some unsuspecting Pennsyltuckian picked randomly out of the phone book and ask them point blank: Hillary or Obama? Today we start with John Smith of Lancaster, PA!
PHAWKER: Hello, I am trying to reach John Smith of Lancaster…
JOHN SMITH: I’m John Smith…
PHAWKER: Great, my name is Jonathan Valania and I am calling from the Internet, where it’s always sunny. Can I ask you a couple quick questions about the upcoming presidential election? Are you planning to vote on April 22nd?
JOHN SMITH: I will if I can still reach the lever.
PHAWKER: Do you mind if I ask how old you are, Sir?
JOHN SMITH: I am 94 years old.
PHAWKER: Awesome! Who do you think you will vote for, assuming you can reach the lever?
JOHN SMITH: I don’t know.
PHAWKER: Do you know who the candidates are?
JOHN SMITH: Let’s see, there’s McClean…is that his name?
PHAWKER: It’s actually McCain, no L.
JOHN SMITH: And Hillary…and O….O…Obama?
PHAWKER: You are correct, Sir! So who are you leaning towards?
JOHN SMITH: I don’t know.
PHAWKER: Well, at 94 I wouldn’t wait too much longer.
JOHN SMITH: What? Can you repeat that?
PHAWKER: Oh, nothing. Well, thank you for your time. American democracy eagerly awaits your decision. Godspeed, man.
GIVE ‘EM HECK, HILLARY: Clinton in Scranton, Monday, by VIC SUEDE
BY JONATHAN VALANIA So, I couldn’t get anyone on the line today for our Keystoned Cell Phone Poll — all four of the guys in Pennsylvania named John Doe must have day jobs or are still sleeping off last night, and likewise with the eight guys named Mike Hunt and the two Jane Does. Man, this polling is hard work! So instead, I sat in today on one of those Hillary campaign conference calls to reporters that you have no doubt read about or heard referenced by columnists or talking heads. That’s because these conference calls — wherein with Chief Strategist Mark Penn and communications director Howard Wolfson spout the latest pro-Hillary/anti-Obama talking points to deadline-addled reporters desperate for a new angle and a fresh soundbite — have a tremendous impact on the tenor of the campaign coverage and deserve the lion’s share of the blame for the horse-race handicapping mentality of most on-the-trail reportage. Today’s meme: Obama has turned his back on Pennsylvania. The Clinton campaign has seized on THIS memo from the Obama campaign as a sign that they have already conceded Pennsylvania to Hillary and are moving on.
First up, Mark Penn offered 50 ways to render every Obama advantage — in the popular vote, in earned delegates and in pledged super delegates — as somehow irrelevant, if not, in fact, a disadvantage in disguise. That ‘the road to 1600 Avenue runs right through Pennsylvania”, that you would have to go all the way back to 1948 to find a Democrat that took the White House without winning Pennsylvania, and if Obama doesn’t understand that, then he not only fails the Commander-and-Chief Test but he also fails the Keystone Test, etc. Then they brought on Gov. Ed Rendell and Mayor Nutter to underscore just how boneheaded and ill-advised they thought this screw-Pennsylvania-who-needs-it? attitude is.
Rendell said that back when he was head of the DNC
he told Gore not to put up a fight and concede to Bush and the rest is history he used to kill time by sketching out maps of the US and trying to puzzle out how a Democrat could win the White House without winning Pennsylvania and after an exhaustive vetting of EVERY electoral possibility known to man he came to the conclusion that “there are ZERO scenarios” that put a Democrat in the White House without winning Pennsylvania. And just to make sure that reporters got the point, he said he found this idea of Obama campaign giving up Pennsylvania without a fight to be “off-putting.” So, nice goin’ Obama, ‘America’s Mayor’ has been put off. Then Nutter took the floor and, well, completely ignored the city he now runs. He spoke about how much excitement about Hillary there was out in the suburbs (TRANSLATION: Philadelphia is a lost cause for Hillary, and lilly-white suburbs are her only hope) and then added that “if anyone on my staff wrote a memo like that I’d fire him.”
So, you got all that? You can’t win the White House without winning Pennsylvania and the Obama campaign just can’t be bothered to even try and man, is that dumb. As a Pennsylvania voter pulling for Obama, this all sounds rather discouraging and deeply disappointing. But then, a reporter from Pittsburgh got on the line and she said that in fact, the Obama people had opened offices weeks ago and the Hillary people just set up shop a couple of days ago. And likewise all the PA super delegates she talked have been courted by the Obama campaign for months and the Hillary people only started calling a few days ago. And it seems like the Obama campaign has already done a lot of the work that the Hillary campaign is just starting to do, so how can they say he is turning his back on PA when the facts on the ground prove otherwise? (In fact, Obama campaign spokesperson Leslie Miller told Phawker that the campaign will go from nine to twelve offices in Pennsylvania in the next 24 hours.)
Well, it just went downhill from there. The guy from Business Week wanted to know why they can’t just admit that Obama/Hillary ticket is much more unbeatable than a Hillary/Obama ticket. And then Ben Smith from The Politico wanted to know if the campaign was in fact “awash in filth” as Keith Olbermann suggested last night (”no, but just to be clear we like watching Keith Olbermann most every other night, just not last night”). And then Amy from the Wall Street Journal wanted to know why the Governor of Pennsylvania and the mayor of Philadelphia were so certain that Obama would lose Pennsylvania in the general election. And then they both backpedaled all over the carefully laid Obama-can’t-win-PA meme. “No, no, no,” tutted Rendell. “Nobody is saying that, absolutely not. We are certain that Obama would win PA in the fall. It’s just that we are much MORE certain that Hillary would win PA in the fall.”
This ran on PhillyGossip yesterday:
We thought we heard this, but we wanted to go back and listen to the clip of Sen. Barack Obama on 610 WIP this morning to be sure. 610 WIP host Angelo Cataldi asked Obama about his Tuesday morning speech on race at the National Constitution Center in which he referenced his own white grandmother and her prejudice. Obama told Cataldi that “The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity, but that she is a typical white person. If she sees somebody on the street that she doesn’t know – there’s a reaction in her that’s been bred into our experiences that don’t go away and sometimes come out in the wrong way and that’s just the nature of race in our society. We have to break through it. What makes me optimistic is you see each generation feeling less like that. And that’s pretty powerful stuff“. We doubt this story will have legs, but wonder if Hillary Clinton referred to a “typical black person,” would we ever hear the end of it?
EDITORIAL: Now, we like ourselves some Dan Gross. When we wanna know what anchorbabe is nailing which weatherman, or how much this or that C-list celeb tipped at Susanna Foo, we go to Dan Gross. But dude is WAY out of his element when he attempts to tackle the double-hazard of race and presidential politics. His find-the-cheap-sensationalism-at-all-costs approach to journalism serves him well as a tabloid gossipteer, and that’s all well and good for SHIT THAT DOES NOT MATTER. But this Obama thing? Well, the stakes are just too damn high for such cheap-ass foolishness. This week, Senator Obama has been speaking with painful honesty about race. He held out this frank discussion about race as an olive branch to end the war of words between black and white, instead of wielding the race card like just another stink bomb thrown at your political enemies (Willie Horton, John McCain’s tar baby). All he asked in exchange is that YOU be as honest about race as he is being. And Dan Gross responds with the same old useless ‘gotcha journalism’ he uses to hoist John Polaris by his own petard. Shame on you, Sir. Shame on you. – JONATHAN VALANIA
DAN RUBIN: Can We Handle The Truth?
BY JONATHAN VALANIA A long time ago, in a Clinton campaign far, far away, James Carville famously declared that Pennsylvania is Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and Alabama in between. Aw, yeah: Pennsyltucky. We know thee well. It’s sort of like watching the Dukes Of Hazzard after smoking too much kielbasa. Like sweat socks with a Sunday suit. Like the Deer Hunter costumed by Wal-Mart. It’s the long dark Chicken Dance of the national soul. Lord help us all. Anyway, with the national press are already converging on the Keystone state to get some local color on their laptops, we feel an obligation to Sherpa them up to the mountaintop electoral bellweathers that only a local nature boy would know. Every day, or close to it, from now until April 22nd we will be calling up some unsuspecting Pennsyltuckian picked randomly out of the phone book and ask them point blank: Hillary or Obama? Today we talked to Marie Uslin, from the great Northeast!
PHAWKER: Hello, my name is Jonathan Valania, I am calling from the Internet where there’s two girls for every guy! Can I ask you who you plan to vote for on April 22nd?
MARIE USLIN: Sure, you are the third person who called. I am for Hillary.
PHAWKER: What did you think of Obama’s speech about race?
MARIE USLIN: I didn’t like it, he had a weird smile.
PHAWKER: A weird smile?
MARIE USLIN: I am not prejudiced, but it just looked weird, like he was hiding something. I mean he is part Indian.
PHAWKER: I think you mean Indonesian. But the truth is he just lived there for a time when he was a child. He is actually 100% natural born American citizen. So, just to clarify: when you say he is hiding something and ‘he is part Indian’ you’re concerned that he is just acting like a nice guy who loves America but if he becomes President he would turn us over to our enemies or something?
MARIE USLIN: No, I don’t think that. I just think he’s too young. Hillary and McCain have experience.
PHAWKER: OK, but he IS 46 years old…
MARIE USLIN: Hey, I’m 49-years-young…
PHAWKER: That’s the spirit. But what about the argument that the people that have been in Washington for the last 20 years have brought the country to its current state — two wars, a recession — and maybe it is time for new people and new thinking.
MARIE USLIN: Yeah, yeah, yeah, change, change, change. That’s what all the kids say. Look, my son was over there, I don’t like it either. I think we should just bomb them and come home.
PHAWKER: Bomb who?
MARIE USLIN: Osama bin Laden.
PHAWKER: Right, but you do know he is not in Iraq? Right?
MARIE USLIN: My son was in Iraq and then he was in Afghanistan.
PHAWKER: Wow, well, my hat is off to him for his sacrifice. Can we mention him by name?
MARIE USLIN: I don’t have permission…
PHAWKER: OK, no biggie. Just wanted to give him a shoutout.
MARIE USLIN: Maybe he will start talking to me then. His name is Richard William Uslin.
PHAWKER: You and your son don’t speak?
MARIE USLIN: Yeah, but it’s personal. It’s not about the war.
BY JEFF DEENEY Chester is the archetypal once-thriving small American city left to die in the post-industrial flux of globalization. The steel industry, ship building and other manufacturing that used to fuel the local economy have long since evaporated, the city’s population halved since its 1950s heyday. Chester today is largely black and extremely poor. Its economic decline is readily apparent to even the casual surveyor of its housing stock; boarded up, abandoned buildings and vacant store fronts with faded marquees dot the downtown streets. Some homes were neglected for so long that their roofs eventually caved in, causing the floors below to collapse under their weight, leaving what look like demolition sites in the middle of a residential block.
Chester is 20 miles south of Philadelphia, but looks every bit as bad as the worst big city ghetto. Its woes have been compounded over the years by the presence of numerous toxic industrial waste sites and a failing school system. The Central Business District is little more than a collection of dollar stores, discount clothing shops, hair salons and corner take out joints; by 5pm the entire stretch is shuttered, its sidewalks barren and eerily quiet. The new waterfront casino that was one of the Chester’s few recent major economic developments is a nickel and dime slot parlor whose front doors overlook the razor wire surrounding the state prison facility across the street.
Considering Chester’s make up of primarily poor blacks, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Barack Obama has overwhelming support, here. There’s no shortage of Obama lawn signs, at least on blocks where the homes have lawns. What’s worth noting, though, is the local Obama supporters’ practice of affixing campaign signs to the facades of the city’s multitude of abandoned properties. Throughout Chester you’ll find them tacked to plywood boards that cover shattered windows and seal doorways to prevent squatters from converting the properties to drug houses. Block after block, the blue signs baring Obama’s name can be found framed by flaking paint, yards with high, weedy grass, and crumbling concrete stoops covered in broken bottle glass.
Flat rectangles of plywood like those used to board up an abandoned house are a logical place to slap any kind of sign. It might not be worth noting if there weren’t so many of them. But if you drive through Chester, circling from 9th Street to Seventh, from Seventh to Fifth, on up to Front Street where children gather, pitching pebbles at the rusting railcars that rumble along the CSX tracks just ten feet from their front steps, you start to realize that there is an intention behind the placement of these Obama signs. They hang from abandoned buildings at literally every turn. They are like figurative “X’s” marking the blighted spots of institutional failure, where the destitution of American dreams are most apparent. The signs seem to say, “Change this.”
BY JONATHAN VALANIA A long time ago, in a Clinton campaign far, far away, James Carville famously declared that Pennsylvania is Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and Alabama in between. Aw, yeah: Pennsyltucky. We know thee well. It’s sort of like watching the Dukes Of Hazzard after smoking too much kielbasa. Like sweat socks with a Sunday suit. Like the Deer Hunter costumed by Wal-Mart. It’s the long dark Chicken Dance of the national soul. Lord help us all. Anyway, with the national press are already converging on the Keystone state to get some local color on their laptops, we feel an obligation to Sherpa them up to the mountaintop electoral bellweathers that only a local nature boy would know. Every day, or close to it, from now until April 22nd we will be calling up some unsuspecting Pennsyltuckian picked randomly out of the phone book and ask them point blank: Hillary or Obama?
Today we called into a house party for undecided voters, arranged by the Obama campaign, and hosted by Matt and Kimberly Ahern of Dunmore, PA, just outside Scranton. Senator Christopher Dodd was the guest of honor and from the sound of things he closed the sale. At least that was the case with Carolyn Rose, a 41-year-old Clark Summit resident and insurance agency owner, who tells Phawker she is switching her party registration to vote for Senator Obama.
PHAWKER: So, you came here today ‘undecided,’ will you leave ‘undecided’?
CAROLYN ROSE: No, I have decided after hearing Senator Dodd speak that I will support Barack Obama. I have heard all the arguments about ‘experience,’ but the bottom line for me is ‘change.’ For the last 20 years I have been a registered Republican but I am switching parties. As the Senator pointed out, it will take crossover voters like me to put Obama over in the general election.
PHAWKER: Wow, so you are a lifelong Republican?
CAROLYN ROSE: Since I was 18.
PHAWKER: Do you feel like you have just stepped into the light?
CAROLYN: I do. I really do. I think Senator Obama can bring about the change we so badly need.
PHAWKER: Welcome aboard, be sure and tell all your little Republican friends. Thanks for your time, can you pass the phone to somebody else? […sound of phone being passed around] Hello? Who is this?
AMY FERGUSON: My name is Amy Ferguson, I am 35 and I live in Clark Summit…
PHAWKER: And what do you do for a living?
AMY FERGUSON: I’m an elementary school guidance counselor…
PHAWKER: That’s God’s work! I still remember my elementary school guidance counselor! She was a saint. Mrs. Metzger. She had this hand puppet named Do So and [private moment of pleasant childhood reverie] …sorry, getting back on topic. Have you made up your mind?
AMY FERGUSON: I have. I am definitely voting for Senator Obama. If it comes down to ‘experience’ vs. ‘judgement’ I go with ‘judgement’ and I trust Obama’s judgment. And I also think he is a unifier. Speaking as a lifelong democrat I have to say I think Hillary Clinton is a divisive candidate. And I think we have had enough of that and it is time for something new.
BY JONATHAN VALANIA A long time ago, in a Clinton campaign far, far away, James Carville famously declared that Pennsylvania is Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and Alabama in between. Aw, yeah: Pennsyltucky. We know thee well. It’s sort of like watching the Dukes Of Hazzard after smoking too much kielbasa. Like sweat socks with a Sunday suit. Like the Deer Hunter costumed by Wal-Mart. It’s the long dark Chicken Dance of the national soul. Lord help us all. Anyway, with the national press are already converging on the Keystone state to get some local color on their laptops, we feel an obligation to Sherpa them up to the mountaintop electoral bellweathers that only a local nature boy would know. Every day, or close to it, from now until April 22nd we will be calling up some unsuspecting Pennsyltuckian picked randomly out of the phone book and ask them point blank: Hillary or Obama? Today we talked to Tom Olewine, past president of the Ontelaunee Rod & Gun Club in New Tripoli, PA.
PHAWKER: Hello, my name is Jonathan Valania, I am calling from the Internet, where everyone is bitter and loaded for bear! Are you planning to vote in the upcoming PA primary?
PHAWKER: Are you registered Democrat or Republican?
PHAWKER: Interesting, who are you leaning towards?
TOM: Nobody right now.
PHAWKER: Still undecided? Let me ask you, have you been following the latest controversey over remarks made by Obama about how people in broke-dick small towns have become bitter and disillusioned with the political process? And will it impact the way you vote?
TOM: No. All the lies they tell, you can’t believe anything they say.
PHAWKER: I will take that as ‘yes you are’ and ‘no it won’t.’ Can I ask how old you are?
PHAWKER: So, was there ever a time when you weren’t cynical about the political process in this country?
TOM: It’s not a matter of being cynical. I am a registered Democrat, and that is how I have to vote in the primary. In the general election it’s another story. [lowers voice] Sometimes I cross party lines.
PHAWKER: Ah, a Reagan Democrat. So you will be pulling the lever for John McCain in the fall.
TOM: That is correct.
PHAWKER: What do you like about John McCain?
TOM: Well, he’s a veteran.
PHAWKER: Are you a veteran?
TOM: Yes. [talk about ‘Nam, the DMZ, 1969 and mortar fire ensues]
PHAWKER: Can I ask you, with all due respect, do you have any non-white members of the Ontelaunee Rod & Gun Club?
TOM: As a matter of fact we do. We have over 4,000 members and people come from all over the world to use our trap-shooting range, it’s one of the few Olympic-grade ranges on the East Coast.
PHAWKER: Glad to hear it! Thanks for you time, Tom.
[illustration by ALEX FINE]
BY JONATHAN VALANIA Talk about a confederacy of yutzes: Harris Wofford, bless his heart, has completely lost it, and I am not just talking about his voice, which was in short supply when he took the lectern to introduce the guy who would introduce the guy who would introduce Barack Obama; next up, Chaka Fattah is hands down the LEAST inspiring speaker I have ever had the displeasure of suffering through; and Bob Brady is a great party cheerleader, and the guy you want doling out the patronage goodies, able to keep a vast running ledger of favors owed and favors returned in that large, white-tufted skull of his — which makes him a distinctly 20th Century big city machine politico, and a fish out of water in the 21st Century, where they longer make replacement parts for big city political machines.
Fueled by an open bar, the room roared with the din of the fat, the corrupt and the contented as they sat around literally having their cake and eating it too while waiting for Obama, who was running nearly an hour behind schedule. The din only partly subsided when Obama finally took the stage and delivered a fiery and rousing greatest hits rendition of his stump speech. And still, people all around yammered all the way through Obama’s speech — TALKING LOUD and SAYING NOTHING — at times rendering the candidate inaudible, even though he was practically shouting into the microphone. As a result the crowd seemed to miss most of the obvious applause lines. It got to the point where I had to violate the prime directive of journalism — ‘thou shall not directly change the course of events on other planets’ — and tell the people around me (politely at first, then less so) to shut
the fuck up. Corrupt and contented, indeed. If only they had actually listened what Senator Obama had to say, they might have sobered up and realized that his very presence in this room — much like the election of Michael Nutter — means the SELL-BY date on their kind of Dem has expired. Enjoy yourselves, it’s later than you think.
BY JONATHAN VALANIA They are already calling it The Gotcha Debate. Lucky us! First up, we discuss how Obama is a latte-sipping, Volvo-driving, NPR-listening, America-hatin’ so-and-so and why that is so bad, and don’t you agree Hillary? Stephanopoulos just asked Obama if Reverend Wright loves America as much as he does. What next, loyalty oaths? Dude volunteered to go to Vietnam, George, where were you?
Now for a brief yet pointless detour into vox populi with a coupla questions from embittered Pennsyltuckians. Joe Stupid Sweater from Pittsburgh wants to know why Hillary lied about sniper fire in Bosnia and what she was gonna do to get his vote back. Wonder how his mortgage is doing? Wonder if his kids have heath care? Or will they ever be able to possibly pay for college? No matter, there will surely still be a need for fresh, warm bodies in Iraq, so it’s not like they won’t have any prospects. With all due respect, sir, you had ONE chance in your lifetime to ask what may well prove to be the next President of the United States just ONE question, and this is what you want to know? You deserve to live in Pittsburgh. Enjoy your recession.
Next up, Sally Apple Cheeks from Latrobe, PA, wants to know why Obama never wears a flag pin, and just to be clear, she is not — NOT — questioning his patriotism. Once again, I have to ask: You had ONE chance in your lifetime to ask what may well prove to be the next President of the United States just ONE question, and this is what you want to know? With all due respect, please shut up and sit down.
I must be high, because I swear I just heard Stephanopoulos ask if Obama is gonna apologize for the inflammatory comments of some professor that lives up the street who was a radical in the 60s. What are we retrying the Chicago 7 again? What in the hell does that have to do with why average Americans have been getting a raw deal for going on 30 years? I thought that was what all that blah, blah, blah about guns and bitterness was all about in the first place? This is so confusing — Hillary, bad; Obama, super-bad — I’ll probably just vote for McCain to be safe. He reminds me of my grandfather. He HATED hippies. Four more wars! Four more wars! Five minutes later I get an email from the Obama campaign pointing out that the Clintons actually pardoned all those traitors in the Weathermen. And… a commercial break.
Now they want to know if Hillary Clinton thinks she is smarter than General Petraeus. That’ll show her! Also, will she pledge — READ MY LIPS-stye — no new taxes? Who wrote these questions? Newt Gingrich? Seriously, this debate is a new low for the media. Didn’t Stephanopoulos used to work for the Clintons — work to get them elected? serve as their spokesman and trusted adviser? — how can he be the guy asking the questions now? Why not just get Carvile and Begala in here, too. And tell ‘em to bring beer,’cuz it’s gonna be a long night if we are gonna finally settle the 60’s.
Now they wanna know if the candidates are going to raise the Capital Gains Tax — hmmm, now THAT means a lot to those God, Guts & Guns voters that are so bitter. I can’t help but think they would be less bitter if we rolled back the Capital Gains tax that is so obviously keeping the workin’ man down. Isn’t it finally time we lifted this onerous boot off the neck of Joe Six Pack and Jane Lunchpail? (The problem with rolling back the Capital Taxes and letting the good times roll again, economically speaking, in all those dead-eyed, fucked-over smalltowns is that you wind up with nation of unarmed atheists. It’s robbing Peter to pay Paul, when you think about it.) Now they want to know why Obama wants to ban all handguns! Sweet Jesus. Why not just put a turban on him and bring in the cave backdrop? Then a brief respite from the gotcha, some quick questions on fluff like energy crisis and the health care crisis. Frankly, I think this debate has served nobody — not the candidates (though I would give the advantage to Hillary on this one) nor the American people — like it has served John McCain. Stop the Silly Season, Dr. Dean, I wanna get off. Enough debates already, let’s vote!
POSTSCRIPT: I know I promised an update on the size of Howard Fineman’s ass, but I got distracted by Mo Dowd,
who’s got a MUCH better ass than Howard Fineman.
A CHANGE HAS COME: Obama, Independence Mall, April 17th [Photos by JONATHAN VALANIA]
BY JONATHAN VALANIA A long time ago, in a Clinton campaign far, far away, James Carville famously declared that Pennsylvania is Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and Alabama in between. Aw, yeah: Pennsyltucky. We know thee well. It’s sort of like watching the Dukes Of Hazzard after smoking too much kielbasa. Like sweat socks with a Sunday suit. Like the Deer Hunter costumed by Wal-Mart. It’s the long dark Chicken Dance of the national soul. Lord help us all. Anyway, with the national press are already converging on the Keystone state to get some local color on their laptops, we feel an obligation to Sherpa them up to the mountaintop electoral bellweathers that only a local nature boy would know. Every day, or close to it, from now until April 22nd we will be calling up some unsuspecting Pennsyltuckian picked randomly out of the phone book and ask them point blank: Hillary or Obama? Today is, sad to say, the last installment of our Pennsyltucky phone poll. But, dear reader, we go out with a bang, because today we talked to Barbara Valania, aka Ma Phawker, of Allentown, Pennsylvania.
ME: Hi mom! It’s me, your son.
BABS: Which one are you again?
ME: The blonde one? Used to leave the toilet seat up?
BABS: Oh, yes, I remember you now.
ME: So, we are gonna go vote tomorrow right? Vote for change?
BABS: That is going to be difficult this year. I am in Florida, me and [her friend] Mary got sent to a nursing conference on bi-polar patients. But I left you some coldcuts to make a sandwich.
ME: You’re WHERE? But…but we have voted together in every presidential election since 1988! Remember when we voted for Dukakis, and he lost?
ME: And we voted for Clinton and they impeached him?
ME: And then we voted for Gore, and Supreme Court staged a coup d’ tat and installed Bush against the will of the people?
BABS: Oh yes, that’s right. I remember that.
ME: And then we voted for Kerry and they stole the election in Ohio?
BABS: Did they really?
ME: YES, we have discussed this already!
BABS: Maybe I should have done one of those ‘absentee’ thingees. Are you going to make yourself a sandwich? Just make sure you clean up after yourself.
ME: What if Obama loses by just ONE vote?
BABS: Then he should have campaigned harder.
ME: You are tough, Babs.
BABS: Just remember, Joy Boy, I brought you into this world and I can take you out. Now, are you going to make a sandwich?
ME: Yes, mom.
MAD, HOT BALLROOM: Hillary Clinton Party, Grand Ballroom of the Bellevue, moments ago.
BITTER PILL: Obama Victory Party, The Waterworks Lounge By The Schuylkill, 9:15 [Photo by TIFFANY YOON]
BY NICK POWELL Is that all there is to a fire? I was still in line at the buffet when when Keith Olbermann broke the news that Senator Clinton had taken Pennsylvania. I couldn’t really hear what he was saying but the chorus of boos and wails of despair said it all. The night began with an air of excitement as a hundred or so supporters, staff, and media partied with a large “Obama: Change We Can Believe In” banner serving as the backdrop. Several Obama staffers discussed the stress of this Election Day, with one describing his annoyance at having a news camera shoved in his face while working at his desk. Another expressed her bewilderment at seeing an Obama ad on the tube for the first time since she “hasn’t watched TV in months.” Congressman Chaka Fattah represented the celebrity contingent at the party, speaking mostly with the media, and discussing the encouraging turnout of today’s election, especially as far as the youth vote is concerned. Even those deeply disappointed at the projected outcome remained steadfast in their belief that Obama would still come away as the nominee.
[Image via HUFFINGTON POST]
Dear Doctor Dean,
You and I go way back to Iowa 2002. Hell, I had a front row seat for The Scream, and then watched in slack-jawed horror as the media sliced you into a sound byte and fed you into the echo chamber and turned you into the Incredible Hulk. I am starting to get that bad feeling again, which is why I am writing to ask you a small favor: Make it stop. Who’s brilliant idea was it to park the campaign in PA for five weeks? That’s like parking Katrina over New Orleans for five weeks! We could have finished out the primaries in those five weeks, and had we done that the nominee would confronting John McCain’s weasel words head-on, instead of this sleazy menage a trois in which we currently find ourselves entangled. So, heckuva job on that, Brownie. How long until the candidates are giving away free fill-ups in exchange for your vote? Oh, right, they are already doing that. Can’t we just have the Supreme Court install Obama in the White House and get on with it already? Hillary can be head of ATF. And John McCain can take a much-needed 100-year vacation in Sunni Triangle. I hear it’s a lot like Arizona, but louder and with more death. Just a thought.
your old pal,
“You know something people, I’m not black but there’s a whole lotsa times I wish I could say I’m not white.” — Frank Zappa, 1966
BY JONATHAN VALANIA As I write this, Hillary Clinton is exit-polling ahead of Barack Obama in West Virginia by a fairly astonishing margin of 40 points. Which is why I am thinking the time has come to take the right to vote away from white people, at least until they come to their senses. Seriously, I just don’t think they can be trusted to exercise it responsibly anymore. I give you Exhibit A: The last eight years. In 2000, Bush-Cheney stole the election, got us attacked and then got us into two no-exit wars. Four years later, white people re-elected them. Is not the repetition of the same behavior over and over again with the expectation of a different outcome the very definition of insanity? (It is, I looked it up)
By this point you either think I am joking or are calling me ‘elitist.’ I assure you I am neither. Not that I can hear you, what with the deafening hiss of the espresso machine on the dashboard of my Volvo and the NPR set for ‘deaf.’ But understand that I am saying this for the good of the country and, in fact, for the good of white people. Because I fear for what is to become of them when I read depressingly dead-on stories like this one in the Financial Times, where a buncha slack-jawed yokels from Cow’s Ass, West Virginia, all lifelong registered Democrats, adamantly tell a British journalist that under no circumstances could they vote for Obama for president, and if it came to it, would vote for McCain because, well, nobody is dumb enough to come out and say it but THEY WOULD VOTE FOR MCCAIN JUST BECAUSE HE IS WHITE. Just like their daddy did, and his daddy did before him, and so on.
And what do they have to show for it: soul-sucking inter-generational poverty, pervasive ignorance about the basic scientific facts of their own reality, a fundamental misunderstanding of the causality of their economic indeterminacy and a disproportionately high number of people living in mobile homes — in short, analog minds ill-equipped to thrive in the digital future. Broke, dumb and emphysemic is no way to go through life, son. As of this year, West Virginia has both the lowest college graduation rate and the lowest median household income in the nation. And when they get one tiny sliver of a chance to change this situation, i.e. an election, what is their game plan? Voting for the white guy. Why? Because, to paraphrase Ed Rendell, some people in this state just aren’t ready to vote for a black man. That’s just childish, like saying ‘I don’t like broccoli.’ Grow the fuck up. And get a clue: the day poor, under-educated white and black people finally figure out that what truly divides us isn’t race but in fact class is the day the Republican party goes out of business.
Seriously, West Virginny coal-crackers voting for a Republican is like the turkeys voting for Thanksgiving. Letting these people vote is like putting a loaded shotgun in the baby’s crib and hoping for the best. I don’t know about you, but I am against putting a loaded gun in the baby’s crib and hoping for the best. Having said all that, The Trailer Park Effect is only part of the problem with letting white people vote. Here are some other problem areas:
The Angry Male Voter
This voter is mad as hell and not going to take it anymore, goddamnit. He votes in a blind rage, growling and spinning tornado-like in the voting booth like the Tasmanian Devil himself. What is he is so mad about? What ISN’T he mad about? The price of this, the cost of that, illegal immigrants this, homosexual weddings that. And so who does the Angry Voter pull the lever for? Someone who is the man he always wanted to be: A rich S.O.B. with a botoxed blonde trophy wife who will quietly, and with a smile, my friend, fuck over guys like the Angry Voter to give the very richest some much needed tax relief.
The Scared Voter
These include, but are not limited to, the so-called Security Moms. Just like a conservative is a liberal that’s been mugged, the Security Mom is a Soccer Mom that’s been 9/11-ed. Their vote is guided by a little Casper the Scaredy Cat Ghost voice inside that says: Islam’s weird and trying to kill me. They all voted for George Bush because he was the one that would keep them safe, because he was President when the 9/11 attacks happened and despite being given ample warning about the gravity of the threat…HEY, WAIT A MINUTE. Too late, the lever has already been pulled. Heh-heh, suckers.
The Greedhead Voter
These guys, with their power ties and their Comcast Towers, don’t so much vote in the election as they underwrite the results, to the tune of untold millions in campaign contributions, soft money and lobbying fees. Their motivation: Keep the game rigged for maximum profit, and maintain the steady migration of prosperity out of the hands of the middle class and into the arms of the highest tax brackets. A high tide can’t lift all boats when you have drilled large holes in the bottom of the middle class. Don’t believe me, read Screwed: Undeclared War On America’s Middle Class.
The Ralph Nader Voter
racist hillbillies hard working white Americans of West Virginny, the Ralph Nader voter is also like the turkey voting for Thanksgiving. They want change, they want progressive initiatives, greater corporate accountability, peace, prosperity and social justice for all, bless their bleeding tie-dyed hearts. And so they get on board any high-minded Cinderella third party candidacy that comes along promising all the above. These candidacies promise more symbolic value than any substantive electoral impact, so what’s the harm, right? Two words: Florida 2000. George W. Bush beat Al Gore by just 543 votes. The lesson learned (please God, I don’t ask for much but LET THIS LESSON BE LEARNED) is that while every vote may not be counted, every vote counts.
The Values Voter/The Flag Pin Voter
The God, Guts & Guns crowd. These are people who vote every four years solely to beat back the ever-encroaching homosexual menace. It’s a dirty job keepin’ the fags down — the nastier side of doing the Lord’s work — but somebody’s gotta do it. Many of these voters have serious doubts about Obama’s patriotism. You would think that jumping through the flaming hoops of the Dem primaries for 14 months despite almost daily death threats against him and his family just because he thinks he could make America a better place would mean more than 10 million pledges of allegiances, hand over your heart — but you would be wrong. No, that crap doesn’t matter. These voters always know which guy to vote for, he’s the one wearing the flag pin — that means he loves America more than you and me put together. As Sinclair Lewis so famously said, “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.” Enough said.
The Undecided Voter
Their vote is like throwing stones in a pond on a moonless night. You hear the splash but you don’t know where it went in. Anybody who tells a pollster on the eve of an election that they are still — STILL, after endless debates, 24-7 media coverage and non-stop dueling campaign ads on TV — undecided is either stupid or lying, and probably both. After being reminded that a LOT of people died to ensure their right to vote and the very LEAST you could do is make up your fucking mind, these people should be slapped across the forehead with a wet mackerel until they leave the polling place.
THE BEATLES: The End
[Dir. by SCOTT COLAN]
NEW YORK TIMES: Senator Barack Obama secured the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday evening, prevailing through an epic battle with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in a primary campaign that inspired millions of voters from every corner of America to demand change in Washington.
[Illustration by ALEX FINE]
BY JONATHAN VALANIA Let me first say I am reluctant to lend further credence to what I am certain is a small sliver of the spectrum of opinion among Democrats, but in a slow news week — and make no mistake, this will be a slow news week because if all goes according to plan, the Democratic Convention will be a show, not a news event — the PUMAS will surely be getting their share of face time from bored talking heads looking to stir the pot. What’s that you say? What is/who are the PUMAS, you ask? Well, for starters it’s an acronym for the indelicate rallying cry of Hillarycrat dead-enders: Party Unity My Ass. And their basic premise is this: Come November the only Democrat they will vote for is Hillary Clinton, and absent that they will pull the lever for John McCain. As a group they remind mr of nothing so much as the Japanese soldiers stranded in caves on the far-flung micro-islands of the Pacific having never gotten the message that the World War II was in fact over and their side lost.Now, some faction of the DNC hierarchy has surely been tasked with bringing the PUMAS back into the party fold and is no doubt kissing their saggy middle-age lady asses as I write this. Not me. My message to you PUMAS — assuming you are real and not just some Freeper web-based astroturf mirage created by RNC chaos gurus — is this: Shame on you.
At worst you come across as shrill, self-defeating dykes and at best you come across as clueless and or INCREDIBLY selfish whiners incapable of accepting objective reality. This is what you sound like to anybody outside the Give Me Hillary Or Give Me Death bunker: Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! What about ME and what I wanted to happen? Now, I have been patient. I know it was a heartbreaking loss. I figured by the end of the summer you would be able to step back and look at the bigger picture and see that the stakes are too damn high for internecine party warfare at this late date. But I was wrong. Apparently, your endgame strategy is this: The election didn’t go the way I wanted it, so I am going to do my best to fuck it up. Well, for starters if you ever were a true Democrat, you would agree the point of this campaign was to put a Dem in the White House, not just YOUR Dem but the one that had the most delegates at the end of the voting, as per the party rules. This year, that turned out to be Barack Obama. The rest of us on planet Earth came to accept this way back in June when it became AN INDISPUTABLE FACT based upon observable reality and hard math.
Now before we go any further, let me say, yes, Hillary Clinton ran a
lowball historic campaign and without a doubt she singlehandedly moved the needle from MAYBE to DEFINITELY on the question of if a women will ever become President of the United States. Your daughters will forever be in her debt. We should salute her. But the sad, simple fact remains: SHE LOST. Get over it. And more importantly, get over yourselves. So much of this Obama-denial strikes me as not even really being about Hillary but about YOU and what YOU want. And frankly, it just comes across as desperation borne of denial. Let’s weasel out of the party rules on Michigan and Florida because that way Hillary might win! Let’s set up web sites calling Obama a socialist and worse, because then Hillary might win! Let’s vote for McCain, then Hillary might win!
Some say this is political suicide. I say it’s political baby talk.
Others may beg you to change your mind. Not me. Ladies, be my guest. If John McCain is your man, have at him. Want the same pay as a man earns for doing your job? John McCain is your…no wait, he’s not. Need to terminate an unwanted pregnancy? He’s your man…no wait, he’s not. Want health insurance companies that pay for Viagra to pay for contraception for women? John McCain is your…no wait, he’s not. Wanna get married to your partner? John McCain is your…no wait, he’s not. You and your partner wanna adopt? John McCain is your…no wait, he’s not. Well, we’ll always have Martin Luther King Day, right? No John McCain voted against that too. So you go then, run to him. Quick like a bunny. Good riddance, and take Joe Lieberman with you.
NEW YORK TIMES: Senator Barack Obama stood on the brink of an historic victory Tuesday after he appeared to have won enough electoral votes to defeat Senator John McCain for president and to become the first African-American to serve as the nation’s chief executive. CNN and ABC projected at 11 p.m. Eastern time that Mr. Obama had won the election. MORE
YES WE DID: South Broad St. 10:57 PM Last Night
[Hat tip to JOHN REFANO]
NEW VISION, UGANDA’S LEADING WEB SITE: THOUSANDS of youth and parents on Tuesday night poured onto the streets of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, after Democrat Barack Obama was pronounced the winner in the US presidential elections. Pennsylvania, with 21 electoral votes, was critical to the elections and saw the rival candidates come back and forth to campaign there. Famous for being one of the battle states, Obama won the state by 55% to 45%. The city has a big concentration of African Americans. After Obama’s victory speech, the residents in the city, which was the capital of USA before Washington, jumped onto roads, honking their cars, while others trumpeted through their windows. They marched for over three kilometres, praising Obama. Public transport taxis, buses and private vehicles joined in the celebrations, honking and dancing from car windows. They held Obama campaign placards, with his running mate Senator Joe Biden. The placards carried messages like ‘Yes We can’, ‘Yes we Did’ and ‘Pennsylvania for Obama Biden’ and ‘We have Overcome’. MORE
NEW YORK TIMES: Senator Barack Obama, Democrat of Illinois, opened an early lead in electoral-college votes on Tuesday night, and won the crucial state of Pennsylvania, which Senator John McCain had made central to his election strategy, according to preliminary voting returns. Mr. McCain’s loss in Pennsylvania, along with a defeat in New Hampshire, another key Democratic state he had hoped to win, significantly narrowed his potential path to victory, and made it all the more vital for him to carry the states that President Bush won four years ago. But all the television networks called the state of Ohio for Mr. Obama, delivering him a key swing state — with 20 electoral votes — that President Bush carried in both 2004 and 2000. A loss there would deal a fatal blow to Mr. McCain’s hopes. MORE
BREAKING: McCain Concedes!
[photo by TIFFANY YOON]
THE BEATLES: The End
[Dir. by SCOTT COLAN]
HOT DOCUMENT: Letter From The President
I’m about to head to Grant Park to talk to everyone gathered there, but I wanted to write to you first.
We just made history.
And I don’t want you to forget how we did it.
You made history every single day during this campaign — every day you knocked on doors, made a donation, or talked to your family, friends, and neighbors about why you believe it’s time for change.
I want to thank all of you who gave your time, talent, and passion to this campaign.
We have a lot of work to do to get our country back on track, and I’ll be in touch soon about what comes next.
But I want to be very clear about one thing…
All of this happened because of you.
BY JEFF DEENEY I was gassing up early yesterday evening at the mega-Wawa on Edgemont Avenue in Brookhaven, a town in heavily Republican southern Delaware County. Brookhaven and the surrounding towns near the Delaware border have been fairly well covered in McCain lawn signs for the past couple months; I would characterize the area economically as middle-to-working-class depending on which township you’re in. While much of Delaware County strongly supported Obama there are still very substantial clusters of stalwart Republicans here, especially in the towns surrounding Brookhaven like Aston, Concord and Edgmont. These old school Republican Delco towns went for McCain in the election and have resisted the County’s relatively recent political shift to the blue. They’re filled with aging veterans, staunchly conservative Christians and blue collar JoeSixpacks who long for the days of Reagan when Delco was as red as Idaho.
I heard a man at the end of the checkout line say to the woman in front of him, “I gotta tell you this joke.” He paused before continuing, looking over his shoulder and asking in a raised voice, “Are there any black people around? You see any black people?” He turned around and scoped out the deli counter. I guess in his mind that’s where black people should be, behind counters fixing sandwiches for guys like him. He was your standard issue loudmouthed middle aged Delco d-bag. He was salt and pepper gray wearing an unzipped track jacket over a golf shirt that was tucked into ill-fitting, faded dad-denim. He looked vaguely Italian and sounded maybe a little drunk. He had on brand new all white basketball shoes, a crucifix on a gold chain around his neck, the whole nine. When he was certain that he was in safely unmixed company he began,
“Did you hear the one about Obama and the economy?”
He was already chuckling at his own impending punchline and nudging the diminutive, grey haired older woman in front of him, as if to say, “get a load of this one.” The older woman wore a cheap, powder blue wind breaker and looked like the kind of K-Mart shopper who dresses on a tight budget. She smiled slyly, but was also clearly self-conscious as the rest of the line turned to look at the man. The man continued his joke loudly, building steam now that he felt he had an audience, “They asked Obama if he was qualified to fix the economy. Obama said, ‘I don’t know I’m qualified to fix it, but I sure am qualified to nigger-rig it!’”
The man chortled so hard he had to bend at the waist and lean on the counter top for a moment. Then he reached around the older woman to grab the guy in front of her by the arm and give him a shake.
“Laugh goddamn it! It’s funny. It’s just humor. It’s a joke; you laugh at it, don’t be so uptight.”
The grabbed man didn’t laugh; he looked straight ahead as he got jostled, clearly pained and embarrassed at being drawn into the spectacle.
The joker looked beyond the others in line and saw me staring at him. I held his eye contact; I wasn’t smiling.
“It’s a fucking joke, Jesus Christ, it’s a joke, it’s funny.”
I looked away long enough to key my PIN number into the debit machine and take my receipt. I stared at him as I walked towards the door; the longer we looked at each other the more I sensed how defeated and miserable he was under his clown facade. He was one of those sore loser Republicans like the ones that booed McCain’s conciliatory concession speech on election night. He was one of the old school Delco types who are baffled and enraged at the prospect that a black man could be President. Their worldview has been shaken to its core and they fear nothing less than the complete collapse of the country now that their beloved political party has been decisively rousted from power.
I actually felt sorry for the guy for a brief moment despite his racism; it must be hard to acknowledge that you and the political party you’re so heavily invested in are so out of touch with the rest of the country. I had a sense that it’s been a hard week for the old guard Delco Republicans, who have watched the last vestiges of their lengthy stay in power steadily evaporate over the past few years. Rather than point out to the guy that I thought he was an ignorant asshole, I decided to let it go. Emotions have been running high for weeks now, we’ve all been emotionally spread a little thin and honestly I’m too out of political gas myself to argue over the election with a random jerk-off in the line at Wawa.
“Hey buddy,” I said with deep satisfaction, smiling as I passed him on my way out the door, “better luck next time.”
[photo by VIC SUEDE]