Wednesday, November 05, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama


We did it! Obama will be the next President. And it can't happen soon enough for my preferences. (See below for more on that.)

Digby used the phrase in her blog this week "people power", which was the slogan of the democratic revolutions in Eastern Europe that won 19 years ago. I think that a term that could "have legs", as the pundits say. And should.

Given the intense use of fear and the enormous resources of the national security state by the Cheney-Bush administration these past eight years, along with the amazing partisanship in the administration of the Justice Department, the fact that a Democrat could be elected President took an upsurge of people power. Tuesday we had one of what Jerry Brown calls a "democratic moment".


Now we have to make the moment last. For a long time. It usually takes longer to build up constructive programs and policies than to rip them apart the way the outgoing administration has done. And will keep doing as long as they are in office.

The Democratic base already has plenty of things to be concerned about going forward. And I'll be posting about some of those very soon.

But it's important to celebrate what has happened here. The people have rejected the worst, absolutely the worst Presidential administration in American history. And did it by elected an African-American man as President.

Our spaced-out press corps has been obsessing about race throughout the Presidential campaign. And rarely had anything worthwhile to say about it, because like always they were repeating their favorite pod-people scripts and ignoring real life.

But it is significant, and is perceived as significant around the world. The Spanish newspaper El Mundo ran a huge banner headline online that says, "Obama changes the color of history."

Having just visited in Austria during this campaign, I'm particularly aware that Europeans not only badly wanted a change in the type of government in Washington. They were also pleasantly surprised, astonished even, that an African-American man could be a major candidate for the Presidency. And his election will do more to recommend the democratic values of America - the real, Jacksonian democratic values of America - than 100 years of pompous Republican speeches like Bush's about how superior our values are.

But more important is that Obama represents a strong movement for democracy and a return to the rule of law. I do believe that, at least for the "democratic moment", that this is bigger than Obama or the Democratic Party. And we may find that the moment winds up demanding even greater reforms than Obama himself currently envisions.

And on the can't-wait part, Sandy Levinson at the Balkinization blog in "Fasttracking the New President" 10/15/08 walks through the Constitutional mechanics of how Bush and Cheney could resign and Obama could take office early. They will be too busy writing Presidential pardons to ever agree to it. But it's a very nice thought. They could just leave and go off to Paraguay or wherever they're planning to hide out and let Obama take office in December. Before they can start a new war, or cause a new financial crisis or something.

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