Sunday, February 01, 2009

The RINO in Winter

I snapped this picture a few days ago, and then realized it would make the perfect accompaniment for this post, which I've been meaning to write for a while.

As any of you who still stop by this blog occasionally have certainly noticed, the radio silence of late has been deafening. Part of that stems from political burnout: during the post-election period I joined many others in taking a much-needed break from electoral obsession. That continues, to some degree, but that alone doesn't fully explain why I've stayed quiet. I'm also quite busy with other projects, and I also happen to think that the country is, for the first time since even before I began writing here, on the right track.

President Obama has created an administration of bright, talented managers who are beginning the process of getting the ship of state back on a steady course after a much-too-long detour. And I'm content, for the time being, to let them do that. There will be missteps, almost certainly, and there very well may be times when I decide to chime in and comment on specific issues of the day. I will do so as events warrant, continuing to cry foul when things go awry and, hopefully, to cheer when things go right. But I will not be devoting the same kind of time to those musings than I used to do, simply because there are not enough hours in the day.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

See? Daylight Saving Time is Dumb

Another nail in the coffin of Daylight Saving Time in today's NYTimes. Sooner or later we'll get rid of this thing for good.

And yes, my gripes about DST have now passed the three year mark.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

First Thoughts

You'd have thought the Red Sox had won another World Series, or New Year's Eve had come early through some strange fluke of the calendar. At 11 p.m. last night, I opened my apartment's windows to take in the sounds of firecrackers, car horns, cheering and whistling from around the neighborhood. Local t.v. showed a crowd of people making their way into Copley Square and from there to Christian Science Plaza, where many jumped into the reflecting pool and splashed around. But the happy throngs weren't just celebrating in Boston. Similar spontaneous public demonstrations sprang up in cities and towns not just across the country, but around the world, at all times of day and night.

And they weren't just celebrating a sports win, or a calendrical anomaly. They were cheering an event that just a few short months ago seemed unlikely, if not impossible. Barack Obama's decisive win, cemented as it was by the votes of a remarkably broad and deep coalition of voters from every region of the country, was a victory not only for Obama and his supporters, but for all the people of the world who understand that America can be, once again, a source of inspiration and positive leadership.

Over the course of the day yesterday, as I read some of the anecdotes that people were posting about their voting experiences - like this one - as I finally allowed myself to think that the polls might actually be right (they were, on average, very accurate this time), I knew things were looking good. But I also remember all too well the dashed euphoria of the last two presidential election nights, and I wasn't about to give my exuberance free rein. I knew I'd be twitchy for a while longer.

Last night was simply amazing; it's hard to even put it into words. I clapped and jumped around a bit when Ohio was called, and then, knowing what that meant (that McCain's path to potential victory had narrowed to the point of nothingness), I sat and cried for a while as the impact of what we had been able to do began to sink in. There are moments in your life that even as you live them you know you'll remember forever. Most of them, unfortunately, are bad moments. Last night's was one of the rare good moments, and I will treasure it always.

But, as Obama likes to say, we have more work to do. In fact our work hasn't even started. We now - all of us, whether we supported Obama before yesterday or not - must stand with him to change the country and change the world. He's not going to be able to do it himself; he'll need every single one of us at his back. I hope that unlike our current president he will ask for our help, and ask for it in meaningful ways. The way forward is not smooth, or easy, or painless. But we can get there, together.

For now, let us just enjoy the moment awhile longer. It's been a long time coming, and boy does it feel good.

Monday, November 03, 2008

One Day More

Tomorrow's it, folks. It's all come down to this.

Now is our chance. Now is the time when we can either turn the page on the last eight years and start a new chapter, or we can continue listening to the same old song.

Back in February when I made my endorsements in the primaries, I wrote that I would be happy with either McCain or Obama in the White House (making clear that Obama was my preference). I could no longer make that statement and mean it. The John McCain who's been on the campaign trail these last few months isn't the John McCain who got me excited about politics nine years ago. He's allowed this campaign to change him, and not for the better. On the other hand, Barack Obama has exhibited a steadfastness throughout the campaign which should serve to reassure anyone with lingering doubts about his preparedness to lead this country.

While it's probably impolitic to apply a Goldwater-esque slogan to a Democratic candidate, I think it's fair to say that this election really does offer "a choice, not an echo."

Whatever candidate you support, I hope that you'll go vote tomorrow (if you haven't already done so). It's the least you can do.

And now I'm going to go be a twitchy mess for the next day-plus-a-few-hours.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Eagleburger: Palin's Unprepared

Former Secretary of State Larry Eagleburger (and a McCain supporter) was on NPR's "Talk of the Nation" yesterday (audio here), and was asked about Sarah Palin's preparedness to be commander in chief.

Here's how Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post blogs his response (I agree with his characterization of Eagleburger's answer):

"'It is a very good question,' he said. He paused, and then added: 'I'm being facetious here. Look, I don't think -- of course not.

'I don't think at the moment she is prepared to take over the reins of the presidency,' he continued. 'I can name for you any number of other vice presidents who were not particularly up to it either. So the question, I think, is, can she learn and would she be tough enough under the circumstances if she were asked to become president, heaven forbid that that ever takes place?'

Give her some time in the office and I think the answer would be, she will be' -- Eagleburger paused here, searching for the right word -- 'adequate. I can't say that she would be a genius in the job. But I think she would be enough to get us through a four year -- well, I hope not -- get us through whatever period.'" He added "And I devoutly hope that it would never be tested."

McCain, asked about Eagleburger's comments this morning on "GMA," reportedly "smiled and chuckled," then said "I love Larry Eagleburger. Larry has never had a chance to meet Sarah."

I haven't met her either, but I know she's unqualified too.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Today's Recommended Read

Senator Chuck Hagel is one of the most sensible, thoughtful people left in today's Republican party. Connie Bruck's profile of him in this week's New Yorker is a must-read. His reservations with what John McCain has come to represent in this campaign are serious, deep, and well-considered; they should be enough to give anyone pause before casting their ballot next week (or today, if you live in one of those early-voting states).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Yes We Can!

(From the Boston Pumpkin Festival, 18 October 2008)