The End of an Election

A few concluding thoughts.

Already, Election Day seems so long ago.

It’s been less than a week since that night, when my wife and I bundled up our two little boys and went to go watch the election returns on CNN with some friends. After such a long slog of a campaign (two years!), the news came in quickly: Barack Obama’s triumphant march through the Electoral College had catapulted him into office, marking him to become the 44th President of the United States of America, and the first African-American ever to hold that office.

So much has already been said and written about that milestone — though the image of Jesse Jackson’s tears spoke volumes all by itself.

And now, we’ve moved on. Obama has already started naming top staffers and setting his immediate policy agenda. He’s survived his first news conference as president-elect with only one significant gaffe (an off-the-cuff quip about Nancy Reagan’s predilection for the supernatural, which came off kinda funny but also kinda insensitive; he’s already called the former first lady to apologize). Obama is scheduled to meet President Bush at the White House today, while his wife Michelle gets a tour of the place from Laura Bush and will, one imagines, literally start measuring the drapes.

The historians will get their say on this election soon enough, but before we turn it over to them, a few more final thoughts:

  • Regarless of how you feel about him or his campaign, Sen. John McCain showed some great humor and real class in the final days and hours of this election cycle.
  • As the Republican veep candidate, Sarah Palin managed to simultaneously win the adulation of millions of Republicans, alienate hundreds of thousands of independents, and remind people that Saturday Night Live is still on the air. Discuss.
  • Speaking of Gov. Palin, does anybody really expect her to stay in Alaska now? As Tina Fey put it, speaking for the governor: “If I’m not goin’ to the white house, I’m either runnin’ in 4 years or I’m gonna be a white Oprah. So, I’m good either way.”
  • Where’s Joe the Plumber these days? If he plays this right, I see a career as a Congressman in his future. (Or even — dare I say it? — Palin-Wurzelbacher 2012!)
  • Also, what are comedians going to do? McCain’s advanced age and erratic-ness, plus Palin’s looks and apparent mental swiftness, have launched millions of jokes. Meanwhile, there have been only a few effective gags at Obama’s expense. So for now, while the comedians feel around for the gaps in Obama’s polished exterior: Joseph Biden, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.
  • This has been a great season for political comedy — from JibJab to Paris Hilton, from Jon Stewart to the above-mentioned SNL. All this topical humor will seem awfully dated in a few more months, so go back and enjoy it now.
  • And while you’re at it, make sure you didn’t miss McCain and Obama’s hilarious attempts at comedy from just a few weeks ago, when they roasted each other at an event in New York.
    McCain, who’s honed his comedic timing over many years in the public eye, breathed life into some old chestnuts and turned in a great performance. In contrast, Obama had many of the better ideas for jokes, but his inexperience occasionally tripped him up.
    Let’s see how Obama grows into this over the next four years.
Article © 2008 by Michael Duck