Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Before head hits pillow... 

I suppose I owe a post here. It's been a dizzying 36 hours, between some activities at work, grading and watching over some seniors beginning to take their first steps away from the classroom to implementing what they know, to the broadcast last night, to a wonderful church worship and praise band practice tonight that I really wanted to skip for sleep (3 in the last 40) but am so glad I didn't. Since this is a log, I want to log a few observations today before I finally cashier consciousness.
  1. Mitch had mentioned he always wanted to do an election night broadcast. I hadn't ever really thought about it -- I had been in a college radio station relaying the 1978 Sox-Yankee playoff game in my first three months on the air, and what could have topped that except Yaz scoring Burleson from third in the ninth? -- but the experience of processing information on short notice and analyzing numbers and trying to talk about them on the fly was intoxicating. I know that will sound weird, but some of us are wired that way. I hope that somehow I get to do this again. It was also a night sitting between Scott the Big Trunk and Captain Ed, Mitch in front of me and Chumley behind. You could not have asked for a better group to watch the returns with.
  2. Someone asked me how I could leave at 1:30am. At that point I thought we were going off at 2, and I was pretty sure nothing was happening in the last half-hour, and I thought I'd just get a jump. I'm not even to Mall of America when Hugh says he's staying on for an extra hour. (Side note: Hugh and Duane, please play more John Hiatt! Horribly underappreciated artist.) I thought about turning around, thinking Hugh knew something I didn't, but I was sure that was not right so I kept on going. When I lost the signal for the Patriot west of Monticello I switched to MPR. My God, people listen to that? Not good for a guy driving at 2:45am. Popped in the mix disc, up comes Dirty Water. Good karma.
  3. Slept three hours, dropped Littlest Scholar at school, went to the bagel shop. It's a mixed group, and while I thought it was over and Bush had won, it wasn't respectful for Republicans to gloat, and unfortunately I saw some of that. A couple of cross words were exchanged. Another true believer DFL partisan wrote me later that morning when I noted how gracious Kerry was in conceding, and she wasn't of a mood for it. I wrote this back to her:

It's hard to lose a campaign. I lost the first one I worked on back in 1978 for a congressional candidate (yes, a Republican, back in NH.) I think whichever party loses a race that close and that heated takes a long, hard look at itself and remakes itself better. I don't think the Democrats took that look after Gore because they thought they had won that election and just had to get the vote out. I think now they will do that. The question really is whether or not the Republicans will learn from the weaknesses exposed during this campaign, on taxes and on the Patriot Act for example. (I will disagree with you on the environment and health care -- I think on those the Republicans hold winning positions.) I actually think that if the Democrats would take people like {} -- a fiscal conservative and social liberal -- and make them marketable to the Michael Moores and Howard Deans of your party, you hold a winning hand in 2008. You also need to take seriously your muscular foreign policy members like Joe Lieberman or even Joe Biden. Just as Republicans have marginalized smart guys like Jack Kemp and Steve Forbes, your party has also marginalized some people who need to be heard, taken seriously, and integrated into your party's core principles.

Good luck, and I mean that: Our country deserves no less.

Some of this is my libertarian streak, but more of it is my belief that political competition makes for better ideas. Hugh mentioned tonight: this is not time to put salt in the wounds of the Left, but a time to encourage them to think again and respond to them. (Hugh mentioned Scoop Jackson, something I've been saying for years.) We should listen, not to sacrifice priniciples, but to hear how someone who doesn't think like you solves problems. Once in a while, you learn something.

4. And as David Strom notes tonight, Republicans have some learning to do, here in Minnesota. I saw two things that led the Republicans to lose here: the DFL did a great job suffocating the Nader campaign here and getting those voters to the polls for Kerry; and that local Republicans here have not supported the same tax-cutting principles that I believe helped the national ticket.

OK, there might be more to this or not, but it's 10:30 now and I have absolutely got to get some sleep. Back to more education and economics starting tomorrow. Promise.

P.S. Maybe much of points 3 and 4 are summed up by Jane's Law.