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Victory and its Aftermath


To a degree, I share Paul’s melancholy attitude about election night.

If McCain somehow wins, I guess it’s 50/50 whether I’ll react by squeezing all my rage, disappointment, and crushing depression into a tiny little ball that I’ll then release at a socially inappropriate time (“UK professor beats traffic cop to death”), or by launching into a 3-4 week bender of alcoholic dissipation. But really, it’s hard for me to even imagine how I’ll feel after a McCain victory; horrible, I guess.

If the much more likely Obama victory comes to pass, tonight’s victory will be a joyous occasion. I’m rather fond of America, and I get depressed when it has significant errors of judgment (the 2000 elections), and when it makes howlingly stupid mistakes (the 2004 election). This is a redemptive moment, not in the sense that Barack Obama is a redemptive figure, but rather in that the election will represent a rejection of George W. Bush, and all that for which he stands. It’s going to be like Christmas, except that in addition to getting lots of presents, we get to see presents taken away from the people we dislike the most.

I’ll be blogging tonight as long as I’m sober enough to manipulate the keys. I’m especially looking forward to writing a series of cruelly derisive posts about PUMAs, whose blogospheric movement has represented a previously unachieved nexus of the crazy and the stupid. It will also be entertaining to watch the Wingnutosphere pass through the five stages of grief, although I frankly doubt that we’ll get past Anger tonight.

But then on Wednesday it’s all over, and we’ll have President-elect Obama, and we’ll have bigger majorities in the House and Senate, and it’ll no longer be about beating down the wingnuts. Joe Lieberman will endure as a villain, but one of the central motivating concepts behind the progressive blogosphere will disappear. To be sure, there are some upsides…

  • I get to write more posts about international relations and defense policy, and fewer about the election.
  • I get to think about the world not in terms of electoral calculation, as in “I bet Obama’s grandmother dying is worth half a point in PA”.
  • I get so much of my time back from 538, Pollster, and a few other sites that I currently read obsessively (although I must say that I’m looking forward to 538 After Dark).

…but the downside is that the progressive blogosphere will never be the same; it will, to great extent, fragment across a variety of policy preferences and expectations about the performance of Obama and the Democrats in Congress. We’ll see lots of annoying demands for solidarity by centrist-progressives and left-progressives. All this is desirable and necessary, but it won’t be as much fun as it’s been thus far. And that’s kind of too bad; in an important sense, the progressive blogosphere will end tonight.

And so tomorrow I tear the Obama sticker off my phone, and take down the Obama sign in the yard, because it’s a bit creepy and wingnut-esque to carry out pictures of the President. And I’ll be kind of sad, because I’m guessing that getting there will be much more than half of the fun.

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