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04 November 2008


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I agree with your list completely. After eight years of blaming Bush for everything under the sun, all those groups have wildly optimistic mindsets on what Obama can and will do. Maybe they think they're electing a King? Expectations have been put so high that it will frankly be impossible for Obama (or any politician) to meet them.

I also agree Obama will do well and will probably win, but I think the race will be tighter than the polls predict. The recent disclosure of Obama's comments concerning the coal industry will not play well in several battleground states and could tip the balance to McCain in one or more.


Also destined to be disappointed - those who want to have President Bush, VP Cheney, and other senior folks hauled up to answer for their deeds. A President-elect Obama will develop a great respect for the Office of the President... and will impeded this from happening.


Colonel: How about your right wing types? Do you think any of them will feel disappointed tomorrow morning if your prediction comes true? Then again, since they always seemed happiest when they were in opposition, maybe they secretly won't be disappointed.

Anon AF

I tend to think elections do not to matter "too" much. The structure of "the system" - fragmented power between the two chambers of Congress, the judiciary, and the President, to say nothing of the states - means "change" is hard to effect. Beyond the government itself, the problems have their own built-in constituencies and actors to muddle things: take health care, where doctors, insurers, hospitals, nurses, retirees and others all have a stake. As Bismarck, said, you don't want to see sausage or legislation getting made.

Most people are always unhappy with the status quo and assume voting for someone new will make them happier. Change is hard to effect - just look at GW Bush's inability to get traction for his domestic policies. Even the most powerful person in the world faces considerable constraints.

The above notwithstanding, I do think this is a more important election than usual. I am not sure anyone has a good handle on the economic/financial crisis, or how to solve it. There are also myriad problems that need to be fixed: the most expensive and least efficient health care system in the developed world, declining infrastructure, poorly educated kids, immigration, to say nothing of at least two wars (and maybe more, depending on how widely you define the war on terror. I *do* think Obama will be more able than McCain to solve these issues - hence why I support him - but I think it's unrealistic to expect him to have too much of an impact. The problems don't get "solved;" they get managed. Too much is beyond the control of one man, even if he has a staff of 1500 or 2000 backing him up in the Executive Office of the President. These are complicated problems with a lot of actors, including built-in complications by design (i.e., the separation of powers).


I'm curious: why "Arabs and Muslims"?

I've always thought that one of the least addressed issues in this campaign is the degree to which the U.S. has tied its own hands geopolitically, between our reckless disregard of reality on the ground we're fighting on and our riches-to-rags fiscal irresponsibility, I suspect that we'll be struggling hard to hang on to what influence we have in another couple of years, much less the hegemonic fantasies of the Dougie Feith crowd. So we can't "stay", not in the long term, really.

But, on the other hand, we've augered hard into southwest Asia. To go anywhere in a hurry is to risk a withdrawl becoming a rout. So the status quo is gonna be the status quo for a long time. So we're not "going" anywhere anytime soon.

If there are common Middle Eastern fantasies of the disappearance of U.S. troops and a sudden reversal of the U.S.-Israel Co-Prosperity Sphere stemming from an Obama victory - and I have no real idea how common a notion this is - then, yep, there's gonna be some sad, sad Koran-wallopers out there. I'm guessing these are the "Arabs and Muslims" you're talking about.

The Kurds? Not so much, I think.


re: the disappointed. I agree. Despite the frothing rhetoric, Obama's just not much of a radical.

By the way, I think it will be closer than the polls suggest. Just a gut feeling.


Virginia voter suppression report is increasing...


Early reports indicate that Virginia may be the state plagued by voting issues this time around.

At one precinct in Richmond's north end, hundreds of people encircled a branch library by 6 a.m., the scheduled opening of the polls. But the line grew for another 25 minutes before the poll workers opened the doors. They said the librarian who had a key to the polling place had overslept. [...]

In Chesapeake, approximately 1,000 voters stood in line to vote, and some people reported malfunctioning machines.

Pollard said paper ballots were brought into one polling place in Henrico County, in suburban Richmond. In Petersburg, the wrong machines were delivered to a polling place.

Pollard said reports of optical scanning machines not recording votes were likely the result of the wet weather.

And it gets worse:

At George Mason University in Fairfax, Provost Peter N. Stevens wrote in a campus e-mail that a hacker had entered a message into the university system stating the Election Day had been rescheduled.


Matthews will be disappointed only if he thinks to be so will benefit his chances (however slim in reality they may or may not be) at winning a Senate seat.

If not...he will be Obama's biggest supporter.


Arabs and Muslims? Which ones? The Saudi wing or the Iran wing?

I would be extremely surprised if either side was stupid or naive enough to think that much will change. The walk may be made to seem softer but the big AIPAC moulded stick will still be there.



Aluminum foil alert!

There isn't any "vote suppression" going on so far in VA.

Things happen. Poll workers oversleep, etc. Breath slowly and deeply. You will be all right. pl


1) Obama will win and he is a smart guy so I assume that he will try to govern from the center.

2) Nancy is going to have her hands full with a whole bunch of new democrats from the past two elections who may think they earned their election on their own instead of due to the democratic party and opposition to Bush's failures. Result: Nancy will have to herd Cats not fully committed to making tough votes for the sake of party loyalty.

3)Redistricting after the 2010 census could lock democratic gains in the house for many years. So the 2010 midterm elections both at the state level and federal level in states like Virginia will be a matter of survival for the GOP.

m savoca

Yes Colonel Lang i agree. People will be surprised how "from the center" Obama will govern on many, (but not all) issues.

an interesting anecdotal story from his law school years says it all.

Having been elected president of the Harvard Law Review, Obama used his appointment powers to put three members of the campus chapter of the federalist society, on his governing board...persons with whom he had philosophical disagreements, but for whom he had tremendous intellectual respect.

A president Obama will be very unlike this current administration in that Obama will "argue with himself", and surround himself with capable advisers of various stripes, and promote policy debate.

This should not be a surprise from a guy who said he is willing to open up diplomatic channels with adversaries and even enemies.

The failure on the part of the bush administration to do this is no where more apparent than the disregard of the the Iranian initiative after the early days of the Iraq war where the, then, relatively moderate Iranian leadership offered to recognize Israel, help US efforts in Afghanistan and cease support for insurgents in Iraq.

the Bush administration not only failed to accept or counter this offer which was carried forth by swiss embasy officials, but to this day the Bushies fail to acknowledge the offer.

All i can say in closing is thank God Bush did for his party what he did for the USA. The Republicans who supported this incompetant are political toast and will get the spanking today they deserve.

In the long run one can hope that greatness will return to the Republican party because the country needs smart and honest debate from both sides of the aisle.

(example?, sure, Christie Todd Whitman, X gov of the state of NJ would have made an excellent running mate for John McCaine and with assistance in the area of foreign affairs, a fine presidential candidate in her own right.


List of things that Obama will be in difficult position immediately:

1. stabilizing the economy will be job number one. (nothing works without working economy. therefore, a lot of campaign promise will take second seat)

2. Budget. Massive $1T in the red and climbing. He has to do keynesian spending, but at the same time the deficit may be reaching what the world is willing to supply (eg. no more treasury buyers, interest will start climbing fast)

3. Israel. Neocon vs. get out of Iraq. This will be very complicated. Specially since war in Iraq is very profitable. (Including Pentagon three quarter of a trillion budget)

4. Corruption and high crime investigation gets bogged down. (senate refuse to cooperate, even with democratic majority. AIPAC wins)

5. Cheap oil prevent Obama doing his environmental agenda.

6. Unlimited government spying continues. (I hope this doesn't happen, because Obama will be out of office by first term. if he doesn't fix this.)


I believe people waiting for the disappointment will be the first to be disappointed. Or perhaps a few congressmen who underestimate him.

You are probably correct that Obama will not be able to achieve as much as his supporters hope. But I'm sure he will be able to sell his small accomplishments and his story and thus remain popular.

Btw is Maddow really far left, rather than slightly left of center? Shouldn't the far left label be kept for some Trotskyites or other left-wing equivalents of the neocons?

Dave of Maryland

The one thing that made me grudgingly okay with an Obama administration is that he seems to be coming with a large group of yahoos. Much like Reagan in 1981, or Andy Jackson long ago, for that matter. But then I thought, watch out for the yahoos.

First time I've ever seen a line to vote. We waited about 20 minutes.


I would find it hard to be disappointed in President Obama. I expect lots of grand rhetoric and gestures from Obama, but find it hard expect anything of substance.

My eyes will be on cabinet, administration and judicial appointments. Let's see who Obama will choose to surround himself.


from 538


Today's Polls and Final Election Projection: Obama 349, McCain 189

It's Tuesday, November 4th, 2008, Election Day in America. The last polls have straggled in, and show little sign of mercy for John McCain. Barack Obama appears poised for a decisive electoral victory.

Our model projects that Obama will win all states won by John Kerry in 2004, in addition to Iowa, New Mexico, Colorado, Ohio, Virginia, Nevada, Florida and North Carolina, while narrowly losing Missouri and Indiana. These states total 353 electoral votes. Our official projection, which looks at these outcomes probabilistically -- for instance, assigns North Carolina's 15 electoral votes to Obama 59 percent of the time -- comes up with an incrementally more conservative projection of 348.6 electoral votes.




1. The Far Left is always dissatisfied. And cannot be otherwise. (Listen to Democracy Now for evidence.)

2. Obama disappointed fellow black students on the Harvard Law Review by appointing three Federalist Society types to "mast head" positions on the Review, and only one black student. (He will be insufficently radical.)

3. Arabs and Muslims will be totally disappointed because an independant, vibrant ME is not in any American president's interest, despite all the nonsense we hear on TV. With peace and prosperity, we have not reason to stay...and lose the best market for our Arms Manufacturers.

William R. Cumming

Like JFK people will keep hoping OBAMA will be an outstanding President throughout his first term. In reality the policy choices are so difficult--what the Public Administration types call "Wicked Problems" that mustering new directions will prove extremely frustrating. Again a President will turn to or events will turn him to international relations as the most fruitful arena for his skills. Since it also is badly in need of repair of the real substance of US Foreign Policy this will consume most of the first administration. Anything left over will be applied to the hard regulatory choices domestically unless the US just wants to adopt the EU regimes on Antitrust, Environmental regulation, and such arcane subjects as accounting. Perhaps some time will be spent on education but little on K-12 issues. Very disappointed in OBAMA will be those like me who believe the military-industrial-academic complex is the root of all evil for now in the US. The Israelies who believe that they have a new blank check from OBAMA. The Environmentalists who think a green revolution will be lead by OBAMA. The k-12 teachers (again). And the DEMS in general. The Republicans are going to be thrilled by OBAMA's policy choices and appointees unless of course they (the Republicans) speak and understand only "TEXAN." High on OBAMA will be Mexico and CANADA. OBAMA will lay the ground work for the admission of several new states, just as Jefferson took advantage of international events to sign the Louisiana Purchase thereby launching take-off for Robert Kagan's "Dangerous Nation." Below the horizon, some amazing changes will occur in public perceptions of what American life is all about under OBAMA. The Baby Boomers will regret that their representatives were Bill Clinton and George Bush in the White House. So be it, time to pass the generational Torch. Former Presidents will be listened to, treated with dignity and respect, but their advice will seldom be followed. Oh! And Pat Lang will be asked to help reform the Intelligence Community reform (I hope).

Ed Webb

Moderate Republicans will likely be disappointed as their party gets torn apart by the Palinites. On the other hand, they may seize the opportunity to reclaim their party, marginalizing the fundamentalists and rebuilding around fiscal conservatism, in which case it is the Palinites who will be disappointed. Who knows? Interesting times guaranteed, either way.

frank durkee

Two thoughts re: change. First the financial crisis [both Wall and main streets, plus some some direct actions to forstall foreclosures ] has already and/or will drastically change that enviornment. Add to that measures to alter the regulatory system. Second the new realism of Gen. Petraus and others in the higher echelons of the armed forces combined with the various local realities in the Middle East and west asia habe already begun to significantly alter the situations in that arena. While much will need to be done, more than we seem to recognise has or is happening. the odds are at least 50% that these landscapes will be very differnt by Inaguration Day than they were a year before that day.


Dear Sir, Rachel Madow is a far cry from far left.


Any chance that Obama will be able to continue the work of Reagan and actually retire some nuclear warheads? I do believe he has promised to work for nuclear disarmament rather than just against nuclear proliferation.

If he does disarm is there any chance that he could actually retire the missiles as well, with the retaliatory capacity sitting in storage rather than always being online? Or is it simply impossible to design such a storage so you can be confident enough that it will survive a surprise attack?

Yeah I guess I'm setting myself up to be one of the far left disappointed types (proud member of the Swedish green party).

This is perhaps not the most important issue for American voters. But it would sure be nice if you would elect people far-sighted enough to take care of this issue as well.


Col. Lang:

An Obama win strongly suggests that if the Republicans are to survive as a political party, they will have to do something about the seemingly irresolvable ideological conflict that divides it: Those voters whose politics are directed by a theology which divides the electorate into two groups; the believers and the non-believers, and which discriminates against those who do not believe, and those voters whose politics are based on non-sectarian principles more in keeping with the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence and for whom theology is something that occurs nowhere except on the country’s currency.

It will be interesting to look at the final poll results to see how many of the former group supported Senator McCain, where they are located and whether such variables as religious affiliation can reasonably be inferred to be the basis for their vote.

Whether an Obama win will be of sufficient magnitude to create the kind of political disaster that will obligate Republicans to reframe their thinking about how best to win elections is yet to be seen.

Nancy K

We live in a fairly conservative part of Southern Ca, so I'm not sure how people were voting. However, at
6:45 am there was a line of around 25 people and that it unheard of here. My daughter voted in Beverly Hills at 11:00 and said there were a few hundred in line. I'm 61 and there is an excitement about voting this time that I have not seen before.
Will I be disappointed in Obama, I think not. I will be so happy to be rid of Bush/Cheny/Neocons. I feel Obama, if he wins, will be a centrist and will have people from both sides of the aisle in his cabinet.
If he loses, God help us.

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