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The candidates we sent to Washington.

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Nov. 9th, 2008 | 10:20 pm
mood: nervousStill obsessed
music: The Faint - How Could I Forget | Powered by Last.fm

And what they'll do there.

It's actually fortunate that I didn't have the time until now to write my wrap-up post from the election, because I have more to say, and in a more thoughtful light, than I would have on Wednesday, or earlier in the week. Also, more races have since been called and I can make this into an extremely unwieldy entry! As I did two years ago, I want to share my thoughts on new elected officials, ousted ones, and what they meant to me.

What we did know, of course, on Tuesday was that Barack Obama and Joe Biden will be going to the White House. It was largely expected in the two weeks prior to the election, but I continue to be surprised by what has followed their victory. It reaffirms my faith in this country that voter turnout was so high in so many places; 76% in my county! I was also struck by both Obama's victory speech and McCain's concession speech; here we have two senators that are obviously very well-qualified and who want to be President, and they were able after two years of campaigning to so eloquently state that we need to move forward. A third notable thing: Obama's transition effort is very sophisticated and decisive, and I like that. Doubtless that image has been carefully cultivated so that the U.S. looks strong abroad while we prepare for a new president, and so that everyone worried about our shaky economy keeps the faith that we have good leadership. But beyond that, the use of www.change.gov to chronicle progress and even attract job applicants is super notable; this both allows everyone to see for themselves what preparations are underway, and it reinforces the central importance of the net, too. Don't get me wrong, it was nice to go to www.whitehouse.gov to find all of W's gaffes in the transcripts of his speeches, but this is altogether more advanced and impressive.

One consequence of the transition is that Obama's and Biden's Senate seats will now be vacant. The governors of Illinois and Delaware will surely appoint Democrats, but the more important question is who they will be. Also, any sitting governors or Congressmen that are tapped to join their Cabinet will go through the same process. I'll keep blogging about this one.



Governor Janet Napolitano of Arizona, on Election Night. A potential Attorney General pick for President Obama



Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois, August 2008


Another race we knew about at Dan and Greg's election night party was the U.S. Senate seat from NC. Kay Hagan won more easily than I would have thought; she had to be on the defensive from the beginning of this year, first in the primary and then against Doo-Liddy. Many of the folks assembled at the party, including virga, worked on Jim Neal's campaign, and I can understand their disappointment at the situation; Neal would have been a pretty cool senator. Still, the Dole-Burr team did not make anywhere near an ideal delegation to the Senate for me, and I'm glad that's not what it'll look like in January. Elsewhere in the Senate, if you ever needed proof that one vote can count, go to Minnesota. Currently, Norm Coleman is leading Al Franken by 221 votes out of 2.9 million cast statewide; that will go to a recount, and Georgia's Senate race will require a runoff election. Even if the incumbents (whom I never had a big problem with, but they're still taking up seats I'd like to see filled by Democrats) win both of those, the Democrats still have 57 seats, including the fabulous Udall cousins coming up from the House, Jeanne Shaheen, and Jeff Merkley.



Tom Udall supporters in Albuquerque, July 2008


In the House, which was the highlight of the midterm elections for me, Democrats have gained 20 seats so far, on top of the gains made in 2006. It wasn't as universally good news this time, but I'm still excited to see some of the incumbent Republicans get shown the door by their constituents; Marilyn Musgrave and Jon Porter were pretty sad mouthpieces for the far right, and I won't miss them. Others that were voted out, like Chris Shays and Wayne Gilchrest (who lost his primary), weren't so bad and I guess their districts were energized through Obama for Democrats. I'm very happy to see Dina Titus win in Nevada; she ran two years ago for governor, and narrowly lost to Jim Gibbons, the man who quickly became the least popular governor in the country. Glad Nevadans reconsidered this time. :)



Dina Titus, August 2008


Also, Proposition 8 in California passed, along with similar measures in Arizona, Florida, and a bizarre ban on adoption by non-married couples in Arkansas. I'm disappointed by all of them, but especially the California one, as a state that already had marriage and a kind of cultural bellwether for the country. I know that there are many conservative folks and many mega-church members in the state. However, I didn't think there was any way to mobilize all of them to do something so hateful as invalidate 18,000 marriages stop the ability of some folks to get married, after 18,000 couples have already been married legally. Still, the one event beyond high voter turnout that has made me proud is the constant string of protests and rallies all over California and beyond. We aren't done with this fight, for sure.


Photos courtesy of Flickr users cobalt123 (Janet Napolitano), Taekwonweirdo (Rod Blagojevich), aflcio2008 (Udall supporters), and justj0000lie (Dina Titus) via Creative Commons licenses.
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Comments {7}

Urban Rebel

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from: urbanrebel
date: Nov. 10th, 2008 04:44 am (UTC)
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They didn't invalidate any of the 18,000 marriages. The attorney general says they're still valid and even Schwarzenegger said today on CNN they probably won't be nullified even if they're legally challenged. That will probably only become an issue if/when some employer or hospital tries to deny one of them spousal rights. The Govern-ator also said not to give up or stop until we get our equal rights and equated the struggle with what blacks went through. Pretty cool of him even if he is a little late and should have spoken up more BEFORE the election. Meanwhile, the protests have continued daily. There was one that drew about 10K people yesterday in San Diego and another one last night in LA that drew close to the same number of people by the end, then more today at a big Catholic church downtown, one in San Diego at the Mormon Temple there and one at Saddleback Church in Orange County where McCain and Obama spoke during the election. There was also one in Salt Lake City that drew about 4K people. I found myself sitting in the middle of Santa Monica Blvd. here in WeHo with a smaller group late last night after some from the big one in Silver Lake came here when that one ended.

Governor Rod Blagojevich needs a new hairstyle pronto. ;-)

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jonathan

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from: silverthief2
date: Nov. 10th, 2008 06:36 am (UTC)
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Doh! You're completely right. I had written that and came across the AG's comments while I continued to research, and made a mental note to change the wording, but I never did. Thanks for the correction.

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Urban Rebel

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from: urbanrebel
date: Nov. 10th, 2008 07:01 am (UTC)
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No problem. :-) It seems to be a common misconception though that at lot of people don't understand (even here in CA) so I wanted to make sure you did, but the AG and a lot of legal scholars have been saying this for a while - and I've mentioned it in previous journal entries. That's why there was such a big flood of marriages while it was still legal - including a few performed by yours truly. No guarantees, but most likely they'll stand.

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Brian

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from: bender772
date: Nov. 10th, 2008 05:17 am (UTC)
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I do like the idea of Napolitano as AG. But, I really don't like the idea of her leaving as Governor and leaving Arizona to total Republican control. Which would happen since Arizona doesn't have a Lt. Governor and her successor is from the GOP. The rumor here is that she really wants to leave and considering the budget mess I really can't blame her.

Edited at 2008-11-10 05:18 am (UTC)

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jonathan

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from: silverthief2
date: Nov. 10th, 2008 06:38 am (UTC)
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It does seem like she has one foot out the door of AZ, which I guess is a mixed blessing. Maybe AZ should borrow some Dems from New Mexico. :P As of January, both Senators, all 3 Congressmen, and the Governor will be Democratic! I didn't think all of the Dems running were going to win ...

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Rice

(no subject)

from: grubbybastard
date: Nov. 10th, 2008 04:59 pm (UTC)
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With Janet's teeth, I'm surprised she isn't a multi-winner in Olympic swimming. :)

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jonathan

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from: silverthief2
date: Nov. 10th, 2008 07:05 pm (UTC)
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Hey, it's not too late for her to start another career. :)

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