checking the Huffington Post, fivethirtyeight.com, and yes
the Drudge Report for new polls, but there aren’t any. Our
favorite cable news anchors are saying things like, “Now it’s
time for the hard part—it’s time to govern,” and, “The American
people have spoken.” We still see this Palin woman on TV pleading
with reporters that she knows basic geography but . . . we
are getting the sinking feeling that this election season
is now—gasp!—over. And trust us, we are not ready to
let go yet.
two years of political drama, of obsessive tracking, speculating
and pontificating, of hoping, and cursing at talking heads,
Metroland staffers are trying to come to terms with
the end of what veteran Washington Post political reporter
David Broder called “the best campaign I’ve ever covered.”
CNN’s holograms and the “magic map.” We miss the uncertainty
in Keith Olbermann’s voice (the new gloating tone just makes
us nervous). We miss Saturday Night Live being relevant.
We miss Greek columns and grandiose speeches. We miss McCain’s
“My fellow prisoners” and “That one!” We miss the first-name-plus-profession-equals-political-gold
equation. We miss 3 AM phone calls and shopping sprees at
Neiman Marcus, and we have no idea how to get that thrill
back—that thrill delivered to us by watching Fox News anchors
crumble in mid-sentence.
to our readers a guide to the five-step grieving process that
Metrolanders have gone through in the wake of the finale
of this truly captivating election. From denial, anger, bargaining
and depression, through acceptance, Metroland staffers
will bare their struggle to come to terms with our loss, in
hopes that our readers will learn from our collective pain
and have speedy recoveries, so that they may return to productive
lives faster than any of us here at Metroland can ever
it’s not the results that have us reeling in shock—it’s simply
that the results are in, and we are still trying to figure
out how to move on.
of us in the media, and likely for much of the American population,
the two years leading to the election were like an expertly
executed, patient sales hook by the ubiquitous henchmen of
a savvy drug kingpin.
not talking about election results. We’re not talking about
Obama. We’re talking about our fiendish addiction to the campaigning
itself. The controversy, the sound bites, the polls, the gaffes.
Someone created this unquenchable thirst in us—this perfect
addiction. It started out easy, just a puff to hook us: a
McCain clip on Daily Kos, a college poll predicting the primary
voting patterns of cat owners, a late-night chuckle from Saturday
Night Live. Then, gradually, over two years of campaigning,
through primaries and debates, they upped the ante. They offered
up the hard stuff. The Drudge Report, fivethirty eight.com,
the Huffington Post. And in the final days, they sent us on
a reckless bender. We freebased the Stewart-Colbert Indecision
2008 live election night coverage. CNN, CBS, NBC. Click to
refresh your supply.
they cut us off.
were left trembling. Many a psychologist and Narconon counselor
has compared the loss that comes with overcoming addiction
to the grieving process for a lost loved one. In her landmark
book On Death And Dying, the late Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
defined the five stages of grief. “After the initial shock
has worn off,” she writes, “the next stage is usually one
of classic denial, where they pretend that the news has not
been given. They effectively close their eyes to any evidence
and pretend that nothing has happened.”
shining poster children for the psychological case studies
that we are, that is exactly what we did. We committed to
ignoring the facts and lingering in our sweet, opiate land
of perpetual elections. We dedicated ourselves to denial.
in. We checked the CNN live feed. We surfed over to the Huffington
Post. Click to refresh. Click to refresh. We shielded our
bloodshot eyes from the bright sting of results coverage.
While the nation watched, rewatched and dissected the victory
and concession speeches, on Nov. 5 we curled up our couches
in the dark and revisited a week’s worth of preelection Daily
Show indecision satire.
in to conservative talk radio to keep the controversy vital.
We clung to the angry ranting of Michael Savage and Sean Hannity.
We screamed back at them. “Wait till the votes roll in. You’ll
be trembling in your penny loafers . . .”
we’re trembling. Our façade is cracking. We log on
again, hungry for cabinet appointment predictions. Our old
standards are weighing in, and the prophecies wash through
us with a swell of relieving warmth. We watch the latest video
cliptastrophy from the world’s favorite entertainingly ignorant,
fashionista hockey mom.
day we take one step closer to saying goodbye to our illusions.
But we’re not ready to wean ourselves from the debate, the
passion, the energy, the conflict and hope of this truly historic
race. We’ll be watching, haze cleared, eyes wide open, and
ready for change on Jan. 20.
now, at least we still have the automatic recount in the Minnesota
race for state Senate to cling to. We snug up the tourniquet,
lean back, and cross our fingers for a Franken victory. Yeah,
that’s the ticket.
did everybody go? Why did the text messages stop? When the
phone rang before Nov. 4, it was likely to be a robocall from
an important elected official offering a gentle reminder to
vote the party line. When the cell vibrated, it vibrated with
Hope. Now, it’s sure to be a bill collector on the line, or
a week of post-election cold turkey, there’s plenty of free-floating
anger in the ether. Sarah Palin is serving up moose chili
to Fox News clowns, clearly pissed that her super-fun time
in the national headlights is over. MSNBC’s house conservative,
Joe Scarborough, said “fuck” live on the air this week, so
the cable net put Morning Joe on a seven-second “fuck” delay.
heart is in it. Hillary compared herself to a potted plant.
The bitters, who blogged, hopefully, of an Obama collapse
and/or Palin surge, have mostly fallen silent. McCain is yucking
it up with Jay Leno. Those who really should be angry, aren’t.
you know what’s really aggravating? The only place in the
United States where the voting season continues is Georgia.
Georgia. Neither of the top two candidates for the U.S. Senate
got 50 percent of the vote, so there will be another round
of actual voting (in December) between incumbent Republican
Saxby Chambliss and Democratic challenger Jim Martin.
the tectonic political changes this year was that no candidate
on either national ticket was from the South. Previously,
the conventional wisdom was that the Democrats needed to nominate
a southerner for president (or at least vice president) because
the country wouldn’t elect a northern liberal. The Republicans
generally would nominate a southerner as a matter of course,
even if the “southerner” happened to be a Yankee carpetbagger
from Kennebunkport deploying his cowpoke accent with all the
cynicism and ignorance of a frat boy waving a Confederate
the South is old news—except for the “new” South (North Carolina,
Virginia), which is in the tank for President-elect Hopey.
And since this last U.S. Senate runoff is unlikely to affect
the balance of power, it probably will be much ado about nothing
as far as the Obama-intoxicated national media is concerned.
Why would they want to take a trip down memory lane—however
tantalizing—with Mittens, McSame and the Huckster when there’s
a new administration coming together at warp speed? Why listen
to hillbilly Huckabee pluck his bass and sad old gramps McCain
claim that Saxby Chambliss is a “maverick,” when the real
news is in following how Obama will handle our national economic
collapse and those two pesky far-away wars?
you couldn’t sell the dumbest hillbilly in Peanutville, Ga.,
on the idea that anyone named “Saxby” is a maverick. It’s
enough to piss off any political junkie.
just let us leave the Obama stickers on our cars for a few
more weeks. OK, just until the weekend. No, no—you’re right:
It’s clingy. We’ll take them off tomorrow, but please, give
us something to hang on to.
right. We couldn’t have imagined a better outcome. All the
polls were correct. He took Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Virginia,
North Carolina, and we can’t help but feel that we willed
this in some way. Yes we did! Compulsively calculate and recalculate
all the combinations of electoral votes he could win or lose
and still take the election? Yes we did! Check the papers,
TV news, liberal blogs, and right-wing radio around the clock
for the last TWO YEARS, trolling for talking points and gossip?
Yes we did! Hang posters, call swing states, post away-messages,
and convince our more radical friends that—shit, man—the political
process is alive and well? Yes we did! And yes, we do need
this whole thing to keep going because, no, we don’t know
what to do now that it’s all over.
us hijinks and skullduggery. We need indecision and controversy.
Keith Olbermann wants to rant and we want to watch him. What’s
Sarah Palin up to? She’s usually good fodder. Sure, she’s
bound to disappear into the annals of history eventually.
But so soon? SNL still sucks, but we’ll watch, we really
will, so long as everyone is talking about it on Monday. Republicans
have to be pointing fingers. We’ll watch The O’Reilly Factor,
but Stephen Colbert really needs to be there. Our Gmail accounts
just aren’t the same without daily reminders from Moveon.org
that this is the most important year ever. We’re addicted
to David Letterman and The View like Krispy Kreme doughnuts,
but we need a way to justify this. We’ll even watch Nancy
Grace, so long as some story of national import is protracted
into irrelevance. Most of all, we simply can’t wait until
December to know if Al Franken is going to Washington.
the deal: We’ll give you the election season (it’s over—fine)
so long as we can have John King’s Multi-Touch Collaboration
Wall. The possibilities with that thing are endless.
even start watching football if you give John Madden the wall,
beam in the every one of the Black Eyed Peas via hologram
for color commentary, and broadcast the whole thing on every
network simultaneously. Oh, and we want another OJ trial.
You strike a hard bargain, but you’re right. We’ll be big;
we can do this. We’ll swear off the media frenzy entirely.
It wasn’t about Obama. It wasn’t about the wall. It was about
democracy. We’ll be alright so long as we can be a part of
the process. That is, as long as we get to weigh in on everything.
We have no problem going to the senior center to cast our
ballots. Let’s make it a daily ritual. What color should the
drapes be in the oval office? We vote for Tuscan Sunrise.
Where should the Obama’s go for vacation? Minsk. And we will
not rest until Sasha and Malia get a Labradoodle!
hear that that Billy Ray Cyrus invited Malia and Sasha Obama
to be on an episode of Hannah Montana? And that 34
percent of Missourians think that the Obamas should take that
hairless Peruvian pup, but 62 percent of New Yorkers . . .
say that a Dalmatian . . . would be more fitting of a presidential
. . . according to Campbell . . . ah, fuck it. Sorry. We can’t
do this anymore.
last week we craved insights into the inane aspects of the
lives of the candidates and their families and thrived on
the quantifications of polling data and the opinions of the
overly preened mainstream network press. We stayed up until
3 o’clock in the morning refreshing CNN.com, lived and breathed
the 24-hour news cycle, and sipped our morning coffees while
studying every data point lovingly defined by our new media
man-crush, Nate Silver. But the thrill is gone. The race is
over. There is nothing left. Nothing. And we are dead inside.
complain, though. We had a good run. The highs were so high,
and the lows so low. The triumphs so audacious and the failures
so satisfying. The easy myths and the demagoguery wrote our
sweet dreams, plots and schemes, and gave us an endless supply
of fascinating tidbits to discuss with our loathsome coworkers
and our tiresome friends and family. But not anymore. Now
we all stare at each other dumbfounded and miserable. It’s
like we’re stuck on a bad date at corporate restaurant, and
we know that it’s never going to end.
Maddow can’t save us now, not Sean Hannity, or Michael Savage,
or Jon Stewart. Not even that sassy Keith Olbermann can roil
our righteousness today. Not like he did. Those rumors of
Sarah Palin’s inability to name all the countries in NAFTA
now feel like a cheap imitation of the vapidity that we fell
in love with on that magical night in St. Paul oh so many
Alaskan moons ago. And Joe? You of the shiny bald head, Joe?
Where are you Joe? Where have you gone? Don’t tell us. Don’t
say it. Back to your insignificant workaday existence? Back
to unclogging toilets and ranting about the Marxist/Mexican
all Joe the Plumbers now, right? Sob. Right?!
McCain. Dear God, the saddest of all. Sweet, simple, adulterer,
John McCain. Whither to now, noble old warrior? To wandering
the woods at your Arizona ranch? How can it be the end for
such a mavericky maverick of change? It’s just all too depressing.
cruel world. We have the knife poised to stab the outlet.
The blow dryer is dangling above the bathtub, the car running
in the garage. The shotgun is tied to our toes, 33 Valium
cupped in our quivering hands, the tear-stained Portishead
disc spinning in the CD player, singing, “And it’s only you,
who can tell me apart.”
Axelrod, only you could turn our wooden hearts!
over. We have a new president and his name is Barack Obama.
The first African-American president will inherit a mess from
George W. Bush and hopefully turn Bush’s failings into opportunity
not only for himself but for the American people. It was exciting
while it lasted but now it is time for reconciliation, time
to focus on something not as bitter and divisive as presidential
politics. So that is it. We can all go home now. . . . Hold
on. Not so fast.
are thousands of motivated young voters and organizers who
participated in the Obama campaign across the Capital Region.
If the election of Barack Obama has taught us anything, it’s
that community organizing is a powerful tool—it seems that
working for change on a local level can turn into much bigger
Albany, while the presidential election raged, the foundation
was being laid for the 2009 mayoral race.
politicos met at the home of Albany Common Councilman Dominick
Calsolaro (Ward 1). They plotted which issues would matter
most in the coming mayoral race and who exactly they want
to run for mayor.
no mistake that Coalition for Change, the organization that
was extremely active in the local Obama campaign, is not dissolving
after Obama’s victory.
Anton Konev, of Coalition of Change, recently told Metroland
that, while the local Obama headquarters on Lexington Avenue
will close, the Coalition for Change will remain active to
support local candidates who are perceived to have qualities
incumbent Mayor Jerry Jennings has struggled to put together
an acceptable budget that has just enough money allocated
in it to pave a heaping helping of sidewalks. It looks like
someone wants to run again, despite promising during the last
mayoral race that it would be his final term.
actually dare to challenge Jennings? We have heard some pretty
exciting possibilities thrown about, and some that are admittedly
less exciting. But it is quite possible that Albanians will
be treated to a truly captivating knock-down, drag-out political
war for the mayor’s sash in 2009, and it is likely to start
we kidding? The race has already started, and in some ways
we have been chomping at the bit for the end of presidential
season to get this race officially under way.
the economic crisis brought the importance of the presidential
election home to voters across the nation, a number of citywide
problems might motivate a large turnout at the polls next
budget issues to abandoned buildings and gun violence, the
issues at the forefront of Albanians’ minds for the next seven
months will determine what kind of Democratic primary will
take place in July.
junkies hankering for intrigue, looking for replacement blogs
to fill their heads with insider politics and election indicators,
now is the time to get on board for the 2009 Albany Mayoral
race. Let Democracy in Albany replace your Huffington Post.
Instead of clicking on the Drudge Report, check out the Local
Politics blog at the Times Union’s Web site. And for
now, instead of political rallies, check out an Albany Common
Council meeting—no, seriously—this is where it all starts,
and all our indicators and impromptu polling tell us that
the 2009 race for Albany mayor is going to be a barn burner.