The Talking Dog

November 16, 2008, Times they're a changin'

Thus sayeth Tod Lindberg, in his WaPo piece "The Center-Right Nation Exits Stage Left." Mr. Lindberg, a former Washington Times journo, a Hoover Institution fellow and an advisor to the McCain campaign, just told us... wait for it... "elections have consequences." Well, more specifically, elections appear to have some significance as a reflection of how voters are actually thinking.

In short, a 52-46 presidential win, at least 57 Senators and a double-digit pickup in the House for the Democrats leads Mr. Lindberg (and anyone without their head up their ass, i.e., those not enmeshed in the Beltway kaffeefklatschkultur) actually means the country is leaning a wee bit liberal, i.e., while previously a "center-right" nation... we are now... wait for it... a "center-left" country. Amazing.

I readily acknowledge that the polity here is skewed in many ways to lean conservative, such as intrinsic regional biases that favor smaller, rural states in the senate (and hence the electoral college)... and hence, a Democratic win of this magnitude with a ticket headed by a Black man named Barack Hussein Obama, expresses something possibly emblematic of a huge swath of voter thinking... i.e., the national center of gravity has shifted.

We will see. I am trying to tell people to adjust their expectations about the kind of "change" we can expect from the Obama Administration, particularly as it appears to be staffing up, at least in its earlier stages, with those with prior experience in the somewhat "change-averse" Clinton Administration. My problem with the Clinton Administration, btw, was never with the rather competent professionals manning the vessel, so much as with the seemingly rudderless vessel itself, and a captain who was himself remarkably light on "the vision thing." Not to mention those personal "issues." So, Obama, who strikes me as suffering neither infirmity, seems well advised with staffing up with competent public servants.

It's just that the institutional set-up is not organized for radical change, unless it's bad and destructive change, as we received from the Bush II Administration. The kind of long-range constructive reforms we will need will take longer to implement, and longer to notice they are working. I believe that THE MANDATE that Obama and the Democrats received will allow Team Obama to get good things done... don't accept for a minute the pronouncements of immediate defeat that will be forthcoming from the corporate media when "enough" things don't happen during the meaningless "first hundred days." And this would include some of my own pet causes, like closing Guantanamo; good things will happen, but will not occur nearly as soon as I would like. Hey, the perfect is the enemy of the good. So...

What do we want? GRADUAL CHANGE! When do we want it? IN DUE COURSE. Times, they are a changin'...


I hope your optimism is justified. I'm telling myself the same kind of thing.
On another note, (from IOZ and UO)have you seen the NY Times article about the incoming administration worrying that we may actually have acquittals if we try those terrorists in Quatanamo?

Posted by Michael L at November 17, 2008 9:29 AM

To quote from the Times article:

The president-electís transition office would not comment on whether that idea was even under discussion.

Obama told everyone in his 60 Minutes interview that he intends to close GTMO; he is quite "on record" on the subject. What is speculated by others amidst the post-election "slow news month" is really of little concern. Note, for example, the asinine and ongoing obsession with all matters "Hillary" conveniently floated by Clintonista Stephanopolis (short answer to that one: nope). I take a similar view toward the anathema notion of preventive detentions (which really shouldn't be limited just to non-citizens, right? After all, AQ can recruit US citizens, and the Bush Admin has certainly argued that it has.)

I would say, watch what you have seen and take note: Obama has been quite judicious and disciplined in selecting causes he goes out in front for. He would greatly tarnish his own brand among his absolutely-indispensable-activist-base should he "go all Louis XIV" on us; that wouldn't exactly be "change" from the Bush II Admin, now would it?

I see "preventive detentions" like I see "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton"... I may well be wrong, but I just don't think it's going to happen.

Posted by the talking dog at November 17, 2008 11:40 AM

Zooooooo Weeeeeee.
The Boys Are Back In Town.

Posted by Roger Clinton & Hugh Rodham at November 18, 2008 7:36 PM

Zooooooo Weeeeeee.
The Boys Are Back In Town.

Posted by Roger Clinton & Hugh Rodham at November 18, 2008 7:38 PM

The times they ain't a changin' here. It's still takes you several days to post a new rant. Bored minds need something to look at. Maybe post some pics of that French President's babe?

Posted by Dedicated Reader at November 19, 2008 12:01 PM

That's change, Mofo.

Posted by Rahm Emanuel at November 19, 2008 1:24 PM

Get your change, here.

Posted by John Podesta at November 19, 2008 1:25 PM

I got some change for you, Biatch.

Posted by Hillary Clinton at November 19, 2008 1:25 PM

Change this, Habeus Corpus Breath.

Posted by Eric Holder at November 19, 2008 1:27 PM

That's not change, that's more of the same.

Posted by Joe Biden at November 19, 2008 1:28 PM

Hey, that clown stole that from me.

Posted by Neil Pinnock at November 19, 2008 1:28 PM

All this change is making me sick.

Posted by Tom Daschle at November 19, 2008 1:29 PM

Could you spare some change?

Posted by Paul Volcker at November 19, 2008 1:33 PM

Do we have to change the payee on this check?

Posted by Bill Clinton at November 19, 2008 1:34 PM

The only change is kicking my sorry ass out? AAAAAAAAAAAyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeee.

Posted by Howard Dean at November 19, 2008 1:35 PM

Umm, should I change my dress first?

Posted by Monica Lewinsky at November 19, 2008 1:36 PM

It's 1995.

Posted by Marty McFly at November 19, 2008 1:49 PM

Tonight we're gonna party like it's 1999.

Posted by Prince, before he was formerly known as at November 19, 2008 1:51 PM

So do we fax or mail our resume?

Posted by Madeleine Albright at November 19, 2008 3:35 PM

E-mail, baby.
The internet got us back in.

Posted by William Cohen at November 19, 2008 3:36 PM

I just brought a copy to our meeting.

Posted by Robert Reich at November 19, 2008 3:37 PM

Outta the way, bitches.

Posted by Janet Reno at November 19, 2008 3:37 PM

I'm back, Baby.

Posted by George Costanza at November 19, 2008 3:38 PM

You do realize that it's not really the 90's?

Posted by Jerry Seinfeld at November 19, 2008 3:40 PM

It's not a lie if you believe it yourself.

Posted by Jerry Seinfeld at November 19, 2008 3:41 PM

Hey you're stealing my lines. Who are you, Joe Biden?

Posted by George Costanza at November 19, 2008 3:42 PM

Hey. This Obama. He has a sense of humor, right? Come on, I was doing an improv......Friggin cell phones.

Posted by Cosmo Kramer & Michael Richards at November 19, 2008 3:44 PM

So does this mean that I'm Mayor again? I was getting much better tail back then.

Posted by America's Mayor Giuliani at November 19, 2008 3:48 PM

I predict the Dow Jones will hit 8,000.
Hey, that works in either decade.

Posted by The Amazing Kreskin at November 19, 2008 3:57 PM

Are you taking any old Democrat Cabinet members, or just from the Clintons?

Posted by Zbigniew Brezinski at November 19, 2008 4:00 PM

Excuse me, can I find any relevance here? Anyone? Anyone?

Posted by Madonna at November 19, 2008 4:04 PM

Do what I do. Every four years, I just shill for a candidate.

Posted by Bruce Springsteen at November 19, 2008 4:06 PM

The 90's? Not interested.

Posted by Fred Wilpon at November 19, 2008 4:07 PM

Hey. How you doing?

Posted by Joey Buttafuco at November 19, 2008 5:27 PM

We're going to be big.

Posted by Dexy's Midnight Runners at November 19, 2008 5:27 PM

Do I have any messages?

Posted by Vince Foster at November 19, 2008 5:29 PM

B.O. Just kidding about cutting off your.....well, you know.

Posted by Rev. Jesse Jackson at November 19, 2008 5:31 PM

I never heard of me, either. I was just named the first Asian American manager in MLB history. But, it's the Seattle Frigging Mariners! Help me Obama. Don't you need a courier to bring nuclear secrets to Clinton's friends in China, or something? Fine, I know my name does not sound Chinese, but work with me.

Posted by Don Wakamatsu at November 19, 2008 5:38 PM

Hi Barack. I know that you have nothing for me. But listen, I will be in Washington in January, and I know a great place to party. Call me.

Posted by Eliot Spitzer at November 19, 2008 5:49 PM