It may surprise you that, on the eve of the most important election of our lives, I have little further to add... that is, little having to do with the election itself. Of course, some of you still have a long 24 hours ahead of you, stepping up and finding ways to be useful during a day when America will decide whether or not to save itself.
I urge you all to contemplate finding something helpful to do, if only calling your friends and relatives in battleground states and expressing your willingness to talk, if they have any doubts at all.
Oh, one amusing thing you can share: endorsements of Obama by Eisenhower, Nixon, Goldwater and Reagan. (What, no Bush?)
Having said all that, there's little to add except - God bless us one and all.
And so, our attention turns to the aftermath.
Last time, I alluded to what will happen if Obama loses, an event that can only seem possible if attributed to blatant and outrageous/desperate cheating. An outcome that - frankly - I cannot imagine any truly prescient Republican wishing for.
Why? Well, let me offer a parallel in cosmic-level shortsightedness and stunning stupidity -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad expressing a wish and determination to wipe Israel off the map. And the failure of anyone, in the press or at any level, to ask of him - or any other fanatical Middle Eastern leader - the following question. "What do you think will happen to your nation, if you ever succeed in accomplishing this goal -- turning all the world's remaining Jews, including tens of thousands of the planet's finest scientists and engineers, into enraged revenge-seekers with little or nothing left to lose? Do you honestly convince yourself that those biologists and physicists and chemists and engineers will simply leave your cities alone? Or, indeed, any villages at all?"
Was there ever a more utterly clear example of the expression: "be careful what you wish for"?
Likewise, one has to ask those Republicans and redstaters -- and especially the cabal-masters who may be thinking of performing massive electoral cheating: do you really want the America you will then have to rule? Are you so convinced that Blue America will simply lie down and accept it, this time?
Ah, but I reiterate my previous posting and it is time to move on. We'll just see.
What interests me now is the more likely scenario: what happens after Obama wins?
I mean, other than hoping that Obama and Biden never again occupy the same room or come closer then a mile to each other, communicating only by visiphone or whatever.
First: Cabinet choices...
BHO has already made it clear that he plans to reach out to all reasonable and talented people, including Republicans. POLITICO - is out with its predictions for Obama's cabinet and other key staff and the initial list is fascinating. (Those of you still looking for "ostrich bait" could do little better than showing this list, which demolishes all thought of "socialist fanaticism" and supports the image of a fiercely determined pragmatist.)
Still there may be an unexpected side effect of bringing so many moderate Republicans into an Obama Administration -- to hollow out the Realist Wing of the GOP, just when it is about to be plunged into civil war over the heart of the Republican Party. That civil war may be the biggest news of 09. And I will offer more about it, soon.
Second: the reaction on the street and around the world...
It has been said that the Superbowl and World Series are actually contests over which cities will go up in flames, the night the championship is decided. Likewise, is it a nobrainer to expect some smoke Tuesday night, no matter who wins the election? Sure, the reaction will be far more dangerous if people feel Obama lost to cheating. But even if he wins, I'll not be surprised if there are some unfortunate excesses -- even joyful ones -- that end in some tears.
What will amaze Americans even more is the demonstrative spirit we'll see in many foreign locales. Never before has so much passionate interest in an American election consumed the world. Expect some colorful footage. And some re-reaction proclaiming "F### the rest of the world."
Third: The Pardon Tsunami, the whistle-blow tornado, and the rise (at last) of the civil servants
I have spoken often (and almost alone) of the likelihood that President George W. Bush has promised a veritable heap of pardons, in order to buy silence till after the election. I have no evidence, but even if it's true, there's no guarantee he'll keep most of the promises, knowing that too long a list could make life very uncomfortable for him here in the States. If he keeps the list short, then what other options will your typical henchman have, except to hurry and make a deal with the other source of clemency, Representative Henry Waxman. Of course, the quickest to spill his or her guts will get the best bargain.
Will we also see the too-long delayed rise of civil servants who have been squelched by GOP hatchetman political appointees? The paucity of courage has been disappointing, but after BHO is President Elect, there really won't be much that any agency head or enforcer can do to bureaucrats who have kept careful files of a long list of crimes. We'll see if this model pans out... or if the bureaucrats really are as useless as the Republicans have been saying, all along.
Fourth: The recriminations and implosion of the Republican Party.
>>Jacob Weisberg is all over the media blaming libertarians for both the Wall Street collapse and the coming election results (this one is in Slate and Newsweek both). Of course the Goldwater conservatives are the injured ones with a real grievance. The only issue is whether the moderates and libertarians will have the guts to make a major play. If they gather their fortitude and make a real fight of it --
--then does anybody see a scenario under which the GOP survives, as-is? Can the Rovean Coalition really hold together? It certainly would seem more likely that the mods and libs will stalk off to form a new party, leaving the Palintropes in charge of a rump GOP... or else the moderates+libertarians will get the rump and the Palinesques will form the new one. Either way, the lunacy of know-nothing worship will suffer a deadly blow and Culture War might finally ease....
That is... it SEEMS the most likely scenario. Because this Frankenstein monster should never have survived its internal contradictions in the first place...
...which is exactly why I am betting against self-demolition of the Republican Party. Because monsters have a way of surviving, awful stitchwork and all. After all, the key element is already there, an AIDS-like suppression of any immune system against delusion.
Like the delusions of the Libertarian Party itself. Had they done any better, this year, they might have offered an alluring home for the mods and libs thinking of fleeing the GOP. But the LP started off with a reputation for doctrinaire, impractical craziness, utterly contemptuous of compromise or incrementalism. Then they added that piece of work, Bob Barr. The crux? The LP has turned itself into an object lesson against ever trying to form a third party.
So no... the moderates and (quasi) sane Republicans will swallow their pride -- along with all standards of intellectual honesty and decency -- and they'll rejoin a GOP led by the Palin wing. They'll dive into rationalizations and pass up the historic moment. The chance to end Culture War and spare us the REAL crisis... the election of 2012, when Robert Heinlein forecast the arrival of Nechemia -- or Naomi? -- Scudder.