Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Sunday After

There are two types of Sunday columns responding to the Obama election. One is to marvel at it and what it means, as Frank Rich does. They're great, but they do remind me of a curious lack of closure hereabouts. People keep referring to celebrations, dancing in the streets everywhere, a new attitude in the everday world. Once again, this kind of thing passed me by. I detect a smile now and then in response to my Obama cap, but that's about it. If there was dancing in the street here, it was on some other street. But then, I've usually been in the wrong place at the victorious time for this sort of thing. Oh well.

The second type of column outlines the author's agenda for what Obama should or must do, and in what order. Some of these are worthwhile, like Al Gore's on the Climate Crisis and Paul Krugman on the economy. (Okay, that's a Friday column but you get the idea.) Others are the usual special pleadings based on a single issue or on the author's ego--sorry, I meant insights. These are predictable and generally speaking, ignorable.

There is a bit of ugliness in the post-election reaction to Prop 8 in California, which passed a ban on gay marriages (as did two other states.) The vote itself was pretty ugly, assuming it reflects the actual intent of the voters, which given California proposition history is not at all certain. Manipulating the "yes" and "no" has become a high art of the political marketeers who devise these things. But that a first impulse was to immediate blame of African Americans for how they voted was and remains ugly. It does no one credit. And it doesn't help.

On Friday the President-Elect had a brief press conference. A couple of things he said stand out, although I'm not sure that everyone else got the point. The first was that he would proceed with deliberate haste on cabinet appointments--in other words, not be rushed into making them. And in urging Congress to pass a stimulus package, he said that if they didn't in the lame duck session, he would do it immediately after taking office. He didn't say, he would send a stimulus bill to the Hill in January. He said he would get a stimulus package. Maybe the press didn't pick up on this, but I'm guessing that Congress did.

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