Tag Archives: election

Cold Turkey

The election is over, my friends, but they won’t set us free.  Gene Johnson reports for the AP that Sarah Palin is sorting her campaign trail wardrobe to return the clothes, and…


I would love to be the first to start a trend: I offer up my personal guarantee that from this post forward, soloshootsfirst.com will be entirely Palin-free!  The next time you will read her name is if by some ungodly chance she declares candidacy for president in 2012.

I see the GOP’s loss as the American people’s gain on this front.  I won’t let you down, and I encourage my readers with their own sites/blogs to do the same.   Oh yes, we can.

Back To It, I Suppose

So I was out of town for the rest of the week after election day, and then we had a birthday-riffic weekend to recognize Michelle’s 29th (good times were had by all, as far as I know).

I guess I just got a late jump on my post-election news hangover.  What are we going to follow every second of every day for the next few months?  Is there still a war in Iraq or anything?  There’s got to be something I can read about and analyze from 30 different angles, right?

Between the election season and the summer’s baseball season, I was constantly plugged into something, and the amount of information to consume on either topic was close to endless.  Maybe instead of combing the ‘tubes trying to fill my RSS reader back up, I should pull a Violator for a little while and enjoy the silence.

Have a good Monday…

I Don't Think You Were Listening

These are the last comments that I’m going to be making about Obama’s election for a while.  Yesterday, I made a point of watching a little Fox News, catching some of the daytime programming on WTMJ, and generally gathering a sense of the conservative reaction to the presidential election (which, if you were at or watched a McCain rally in the days leading up to November 4th, you may have expected would have included a military coup by this time).  It seems strange that my reasons for voting as I did really came into focus ON election day; at least now to the point where I feel I can easily verbalize them, and talk a little about what I expect or don’t expect from the incoming administration.

From what I watched or heard yesterday, there seems to be a sense among conservatives that people who voted for Obama think that he’s the second coming of Christ; that we think he’s going to walk into the Oval Office, lay hands on the desk and fix everything by January 21.  Obviously, I can’t speak for everyone, but in my case, this is not even remotely true.  And sure, I must grant that there are plenty of people who are going to not like the next president no matter what happens, or no matter what he does.  They’re not interested in hearing what he says or figuring out the sort of leader he will be.  For anyone else, let me highlight some of my reasoning:

  • Obama is a fresh voice on the national political stage that hasn’t had the time to be absorbed into the “establishment.” In my mind, that is a good thing.  Obama doesn’t owe anything to an interest group or a lobbyist, or even really to his party as he enters office.  People on both sides wanted to vote for “change” in this election, and Obama’s background is certainly that.  At the same time,
  • Obama is a genuinely intelligent, articulate, charismatic, and even-tempered person. I did not get that vibe from Senator McCain; and I never had that sense from him, even though, as I mentioned the other day, I hope we can get “the old McCain” back now that the campaign is finished.  The method with which I expect Obama to address the issues he’s presented on a daily basis is one of thoughful examination, careful consideration, and intelligent consultation.  These are opposed to the current administration, which seems much more pig-headed, single-minded, and easily influenced.  I think that the new president’s more intellectual or academic nature is going to be extremely beneficial, because
  • Obama has a number of ideas that I think are good, some that I think aren’t great, but he seems open to reasonable and logical argument. In his book, The Audacity of Hope, he discusses the policies and perspectives of It’s my hope that this quality will help him to wrest some control over the members of his party, many of whom I imagine want to get drunk on the power that they saw their political adversaries enjoying early in the Bush administration.  I think it’s been demonstrated that that’s the wrong way to serve one’s constituents, and a sure way to get voted out of office.  Moreover, I get the impression that Obama’s platform and the ideas that got him elected are not set in stone.  I don’t expect every promise to be fulfilled or every idea he put on the table to be picked up again.  But those ideas demonstrated to me that this was a candidate who thought our nation’s issues through and wants to do what’s needed to make things better.

So that’s what I thought about as I voted.  I also wanted to take this opportunity to diffuse some of the rhetoric I heard about what I, as an Obama supporter, am expecting, or what I (allegedly) believe about government:

Let me assure you, this was not a trick. What I heard yesterday from the conservative talking heads about “how this could have happened” focused on “the ways in which Obama supporters were tricked into voting for him.”  Not exactly in those words, but the discussion was framed in such a way that they could go over point-by-point: “Well, Obama said [X], which his supporters understood to mean [Y], and what they’re actually going to get is [Z].”  I didn’t hear any talk about what the Republican party needs to do or change or examine within itself to have the most appealing ideas and convey the best message.  For me, it wasn’t like I drank a potion and fell in love with this freshman senator; I considered his views and felt like they were aligned with mine.  You don’t win elections by tearing the other person down, you do it by building yourself up.

I am aware that Obama isn’t Jesus, and that this journey isn’t over. I don’t come in to the next presidential administration with the mistaken notion that every item Obama talked about is going to be pushed through Congress in the first hundred days or the first 4 years of his term.  I don’t doubt that there will be bumps along the way or unexpected detours.  Again, what is different about this man that made me vote for him is that he seems to see that, too, and he wants EVERYONE to have to a stake in where we’re headed.  Like it or not, we are all citizens of this country, and what we do affects one another.  I don’t think Obama wants to do for everyone; he wants us to WANT to do for each other, and to take pride in where we’re going together.  No matter how much you repeat a buzz word, this isn’t socialism; it is restoration of civic pride and responsibility.

And that sort of makes me think about how much of the advertising and commentary that I heard in the days leading up to the election focused on taxes.  Y’know, here is the truth: rolling back the tax code to the Clinton era is not going to make rich people stop getting rich.  If the rich are still making more money, and the poor are not being trampled as hard or as fast, what’s the problem with that?  If you have the notion, you might seriously want to consider reviewing what factcheck.org had to say about both candidates’ proposals.  Truth be told, neither is perfect, and no one’s ever is.

So I’ll leave it at that.  Listening to the commentary over the last couple days really made me feel that I needed to say something about my perspective on what happens next– now I just hope that we can more forward and reconcile.  One thing that the last administration taught me for certain: bullying your ideas through doesn’t endear anyone to you.  We can’t accomplish anything without each other.

Morning In America!

I am traveling to a conference today, but wanted to drop something here quickly before I leave.  Very exciting goings on in the presidential race last night– what a refreshing revelation about the power of individual citizens joined together in a common purpose.  And as for John McCain: a very gracious exit, and like I said to Michelle, “I hope the REAL Senator McCain goes back to Washington now.”  Because Presidential Candidate McCain was not a very appealing figure.

Count it down, folks.  January will be here before you know it.

Game Day

Chris Berman interviewed the presidential candidates on Monday Night Football last night.  If there was any doubt in your mind that the election season is too long, let that event serve to steel your opinion.

Meanwhile, the 2008 MLB rosters are now out on whatifsports.com.  I set myself up a 7-game series of the 82 Brewers against the 08 Brewers.  This year’s guys took the series 4-1.  I benched Rickie Weeks for all 5 games and let Prince DH with Mike Rivera at 1st in the games at County Stadium.  The 08 Crew’s only loss?  Game 2, with CC on the mound, against Pete Vuckovich.  Who woulda guessed?

Well, anyway, you’ll hear it over and over again, but make sure you vote today.  And if you live in the greater Milwaukee area, make sure you also collect your free beer (or other stuff) with ‘I Voted’ sticker.

Six Days to Go, Please Remain Calm

When we get down to the wire in important elections, I think it’s easy for people to lose their heads a bit.  After all, what do we love in America more than anything?  No, it’s not Dunkin Donuts.  We love confrontation.  We love the stories of us versus them.  We watch sports contests of one type or another 13 months of the year, and we produce endless droves of “reality TV” that pits one group of people in a contest against the other.  Why do we do it?  So we can know who the winner is.  We want to decide who is better.

And like the 4th quarter of a playoff game, this last week is more tense the any time earlier in the race.  We’ve chosen sides, we’ve decided who to root for, and we desperately want to see our team win.  At the same time, we’ve been building up a callus of hatred for The Other Guy.  This is what we need to be wary of, and we really should just let it go.

Hopefully we’ve all had time to reasonably think through the issues, and we’ve made an informed choice.  That’s the sensible thing to do.  It’s a little bit insane to actually and truthfully be gripped by tangible fear at the prospect of our candidate coming in second.  We have a good system in place here.  We have checks and balances built into our system of government (for the most part) that keeps an undue amount of power out of any one person’s hands.

To think that Your Candidate will solve all the problems he’s proposed to solve is naive, but so is the notion that The Other Guy is going to single-handedly flush our democracy down the toilet.  The world continues to evolve and the status quo continues to change, but it is much bigger than one man in one office in one American city.  Moreover, the rhetoric of a political campaign is generally a lot sharper than actual policy.

Make no mistake, this is an important election; there is a lot at stake, and the President of the United States continues to be a key international figure.  But regardless of the outcome next week, it’s not worth jumping overboard if things don’t go the way you’d like.


Watching the 2nd presidential debate right now.  I feel sorry for Tom Brokaw– he’s trying to keep both these candidates within the time constraints they agreed to, and it’s virtually impossible.  Not that it matters much, as neither one is doing much to address the actual quesitons that are being asked (by my non-scientific count, in the first hour I’ve seen Obama give what could be considered a direct answer twice, and McCain twice once-and-a-half).

You know what I would like to see in the next presidential election cycle?  ACTUAL DEBATES.  These charades are basically just 120-minute ads with the candidates bickering and shouldering each other for the most time.  If you’ve taken the time to read up on the candidates, done some independent research, you can totally skip these things.

OK, now next question.  Next QUESTION.  NEXT QUESTION!!!!!!

Voting Catholic

I don’t think it’s a simple matter to reconcile one’s Catholic faith with the issues in the presidential election.  The issues are at least as complex as the Church’s teachings, and it leaves a lot for a person to think (and pray) about.

I picked up this article in the New York Times on Wednesday, and it talks about these very struggles for Catholics in Pennsylvania.  The writer basically divides the faithful into one of two camps– those that will vote exclusively on the issue of abortion, and those that apply a more comprehensive-Church-doctrine lens when examining the candidates.  It’s an interesting read.

I would put myself in the second camp, but I am also inclined to resist yet another divisive label (and within the same church, for that matter).  I really do feel like voting exclusively on the issue of abortion (or exclusive on ANY one issue) is a cop-out.  If you want to say “I will only vote for the pro-life candidate,” that’s OK, but remember that this year’s “pro-life” candidate is the same one that is willing to prolong the Iraq War as far as necessary and has a hair-trigger on finding an excuse to invade Iran (and who knows where else).

Outlawing abortion isn’t going to make it go away.  I think that choosing abortion is a sad choice, but I also DON’T think that working to protect life should stop at the moment of birth.

Worth Reiterating

I mentioned yesterday that I needed to catch up on the Internet and the blogosphere a little after my fall-startup-hiatus.

I have to credit Petters for linking to a NY Times article about Obama’s economic attitudes and policies.  It’s not the lightest article ever, but my link will point you specifically to part five, which discusses his tax proposals in detail.  There is no doubt that the wealthiest Americans are going to be paying more in taxes if Obama is elected.  However, most of us are NOT the wealthiest Americans, and in fact would enjoy a decrease in taxes with Barack in the White House (and a larger one than McCain would bring).

In my experience, it’s hard for some to get passed the idea that a Democrat automatically will “tax and spend,” as if the behavior is etched into a liberal’s DNA, like a salmon returning to its birthplace to spawn.  The article did a great job of explaining the underlying philosophies behind the Obama economic plan.