Election Reax

Rod Dreher:

1. The modern conservative movement began with the crushing defeat of Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential race. The modern conservative movement ends with the crushing defeat of Arizona Sen. John McCain -- who took Goldwater's Senate seat upon his retirement -- in the 2008 presidential race.

2. Modern liberalism began its implosion with riots in Chicago's Grant Park at the 1968 Democratic Convention. Tonight, modern liberalism is reborn at Chicago's Grant Park, where a black Chicago Democrat will celebrate winning the presidency.


It cannot be gainsaid; the enormity of this single cultural moment dwarfs almost any other in my lifetime. Its positive social impact is incalculable; it was only eight years ago that Al Gore traveled to Harlem to kiss Al Sharpton’s ring, which was only seven years after Sharpton had provoked a riot on 125th street that led to a fire that killed seven people. Sharpton was, at that point, by default the most important black politician in America. Obama’s ascension to the White House, if it does nothing else, may at last bring down the curtain on  race hucksters like Sharpton, whose power has always been rooted in the political alienation of inner-city blacks.

Jim Manzi:

There are about 1,460 days until the next Presidential election, and I assume that I will spend approximately the next 1,459 of them opposing Barack Obama. But I’m spending today proud abut what my country has overcome.

Mark Steyn:

I like this picture of Sarah Palin voting. Heavy on the Caribou, light on the Barbie. She didn't need to be dunked in RNC bling. And the more the campaign went on and the more she wiggled free of her minders, the better she sounded. If you've got organic style, you shouldn't be shoehorned into generic campaign issue. If the night goes the way it seems to be heading, the differences between the Governor and the campaign will be one of the most interesting parts of the GOP post-mortem.

Jennifer Rubin:

My take: in the end [Palin] helped prevent an utter blowout by energizing and turning out the base. In time she should pursue a national role she will have time to define her own appeal and demonstrate her newly improved proficiency on national issues. But the Republicans don’t have many “stars” let alone recongizable figures. They would do well to nurture and develop the most famous and beloved (at least by the base) one which they have.

Clive Davis:

As yet, I don't feel a sense of history in the making - it's been too long a day. It's more a question of sheer relief that the dismal McCain team has finally been put out of its misery. No more wild smears or go-go boots, at least for a while.

James Wolcott:

It amazes me how commentators, especially conservative commentators, can argue that (a) Obama is a socialistic avatar and a radical redistributionist and yet (b) that his election doesn't mean that the voters have been pulled to the left or bestowed a liberal mandatethat the U.S. is still (this week's reigning buzzphrase) "a center-right country."

Nick Gillespie:

I suspect that the toughest thing to figure out about this election is simply the fact that, with the possible exception of single-payer healthcare, virtually every scare scenario you can generate about Obama (many with good reason) has already been put into place by the current GOP administration, typically with the enthusiastic aid of Republicans in Congress. Whether we're talking about the Medicare prescription drug benefit or the war in the Iraq or the federalizing of education policy or the PATRIOT Act (which recycled Janet Reno's law enforcement wish list) or trade sanctions or regulatory overload or the freaking bailout, the Bush admin has been there and done that.


What freaks me out about this election is how oblivious to facts people have been. Everything about Obama's judgment and radicalism whether Sean Hannity or Stanley Kurtz or Andy McCarthy etc. is telling you about it was essentially deemed irrelevant (including largely by the McCain campaign, save for Palin eventually talking about Ayers). Abortion? Near no one outside a handful of conservatives were talking about his record on infanticide beyond abortion.

Jonah Goldberg:

I expect to be one of the most severe critics of the Obama administration and the Democrats generally in the years ahead (though I sincerely hope I won't find that necessary). But Obama ran a brilliant race and he should be congratulated for it. Moreover, during the debate over the financial crisis, Obama said that a president should be able to do more than one thing at a time. Well, I think we members of the loyal opposition should be able to make distinctions simultaneously. It is a wonderful thing to have the first African-American president. It is a wonderful thing that in a country where feelings are so intense that power can be transferred so peacefully. Let us hope that the Obama his most dedicated -- and most sensible! --  fans see turns out to be the real Obama.

Neil Stevens:

There's no need to start pointing fingers within the party. This election was on style, not substance. No faction's to blame, and no policy is at fault. We know this because Obama won. He ran on no ideas at all.

Ezra Klein:

Ackerman asks, "Remember in 2003 and 2004, when there was all this talk about how the Democrats were in danger of no longer being a national party?" I do remember that. I also remember how Democrats had to get religion if they ever wanted to be competitive again. I also remember how they had to appeal to the white heartland by nominating candidates more culturally recognizable to rural voters. Instead, they went in the opposite direction, running a candidate who was recognizable to the majority coalition Democrats hoped to have in 10 years. It seems to have worked out pretty well. It's almost as if pundits don't really know what they're talking about.

Quin Hillyer:

John McCain, personally, is responsible for the single worst Republican general election presidential campaign sinc 1964. Worse than the fair-to-middling Dole effort, and even worse than the execrable Bush 1992 campaign. I could, and probably will, write far more in coming days to flesh this out. I started writing this as a column two days ago, before the results were in, but various reasons precluded me from getting the column done in advance, for tomorrow, which would have been the only fair way to write it without being unduly affected by the results themselves. I do note, however, that I have written before that this was the worst campaign I have seen on the GOP side, so this isn’t just 20-20 hindsight. I will go farther: I think McCain acted dishonorably for the entire past year, in case after case.