A Year of Morning Thanks
And it's over
This Presidential sweepstakes has been, without question, the most memorable campaign in my lifetime. Why?
>The possible success of an African-American candidate, who is, for all intents and purposes, a political novice. Honestly, who would have thunk?
>A possible success of woman VP candidate. Not the first and not the brightest, but certainly the most attractive, most driven, most energetic. I'n't she somethin'?
>The near-nomination of a Mormon, the Republican governor of a Democratic state, whose wife and family are straight from central casting, but who never really caught on.
>An actor and former senator who was the front-runner until he threw his hat in the ring, at which point he fell like a rock on a reflecting pool.
>A man with a penchant for $400 haircuts, who cheated on his cancer-stricken wife, and, for a time at least, could well have been his party's candidate despite the fact that he was doodling a campaign worker.
>A much-derided "community organizer" whose community organizing may well earn him the election.
>The unlikely ascendency of an unemployed plumber from Ohio, a Mr. Clean who really wasn't but became, for a time, the most visible of any McCain surrogates and should have his first book out any day now--or better, if his publishers have any say.
>The death of a much-beloved grandma the day before the election, the woman who may well have done more to nurture Obama than anyone else in his eccentric, broken family.
>A proud Alaskan redneck kid with an embarrassing Facebooks account, a kid who got a VP candidate's 16-year-old daughter pregnant and swore to do the honorable thing and marry her.
>An African-American mega-church pastor whose denunciations of America never got enough air time for some conservatives, and who acted a madman when his heavy-handed rhetoric had been You-Tubed.
>A libertarian hero who attracted nearly as many young people and as the Democratic nominee, not to mention an incredible war chest, and then, strangely enough, decided to endorse anyone from any third or fourth party or fifth party.
>an economic disaster, mid-campaign, that, more than any other factor or event or even personality, may have doomed the Republican candidate.
>the virtual disappearance of a standing President, a full-fledged undesireable on the campaign trail.
>the virtual disappearance of a standing Vice-President, who had, for the most part, disappeared for most of the last eight years, but who came out, the weekend before the election, to endorse his party's candidate, a move joyfully heralded by the opposition.
>an ex-beauty queen, tough-as-nails VP nomination with a penchant for airhead answers, a woman who truly energized the Republican base and may well have saved McCain's candidacy, but in the end brought few others into the Republican fold, probably turned them away.
>huge crowds--five figures and more--for both candidates.
>the unexpected fall of the first family of Democratic politics--which doesn't mean they're gone.
>the most thoughtful speech on race in America in a long, long time.
>the most incredible price tag ever for an election.
>the marginalization of Christian conservatives, who rose to power by hitching their wagon to "a praying man," and likely went down with him. Much sound, much fury this round--but little real play.
>the oldest candidate for President in history.
>the least Republican candidate for President in a lifetime, the man who was actually courted to be the VP candidate of the last Democratic nominee.
>the worst handling of said candidate that anyone could imagine, handling that drove the man's sheer likeability--for years his strength--flat into the ground.
>a snowmobiling, part-Native, macho husband, who is a stay-at-home dad.
>language befitting the fifties--"socialist," even "communist," even though that candidate's closest economic advisors include the world's most prominent investor/capitalist, Warren Buffet.
>a campaign that was the longest and most expensive on record.
Please, add your own.
This morning's thanks is two-fold--first, for an incredible story that just wouldn't die, a campaign that will prompt millions to turn out today in numbers vastly beyond anything anyone has ever seen in this country.
And second, simply, that--hallelujah!--it's over.
Post-script: The Obama sign on my lawn is finally gone this morning, like the signs of everyone I know who had one. It was out there for a week, and I must admit thinking I was somehow a victim of discrimination. Anyway, it's gone. I can only hope it was a souvenir-hunter.