I saw this before going to bed last night. When I woke up, it was still there. It really happened. Amazing.
Also, if you're looking at the map in the previous post, you'll notice that my state of North Carolina is still too close to call with 100% reporting, although Obama did take the popular vote by a thin margin. I can't escape the idea that Bob Barr (!) helped flip the Tarheel State for the first time since Carter, and although I've developed an annoying habit of saying "We've Been Here Before" (complete with Meaningful Capitals) whenever something bizarre/amazing/just plain different happens that causes people to run around like crazed animals...well, let's just say that we've never been here before. Not exactly.
And the John McCain we've seen over the past week, easy-rolling, self-kidding, and (especially in last night's concession) gracious...where the hell has this guy been for the past six months? If he had run a campaign to make his grandkids proud instead of going with whatever cynical garbage the ex-Bush 43 campaign team fed him, we might be having a different conversation today. Whether it would be about a different result? I leave that as an exercise for the reader...
This ridiculously overlong two year process is over. The polling, the whispering, the acid campaign messages. They were fun, but it's time to put those toys away. Now comes a very important part that's not terribly sexy but essential to keep the country working, as if the past eight years haven't taught you that: if the new president strays from his promised path, he needs (deserves, even) your feedback. Obama asked for your help, so I'm sure he wouldn't mind hearing your vision of where you want your country to be in the next four years. If you don't think he'll agree with you, you definitely need to let him know. Of course, your Senator or House rep will answer your letter faster, so get to know them, too. Engaging with the system shouldn't end on election day.
And if the Democratic party (the party I most closely identify with, if the picture at the top doesn't clue you in) demonstrates it hasn't learned a thing from the wrong turns of the past eight years, I won't be a bit surprised if we get a second "Gingrich revolution." That's a pretty harsh hammer to drop while we're still basking in the afterglow, but Pelosi and the lot need to remember not to be stupid. This isn't a blank check. The first lesson that we learned from Bush is that blank checks have grave consequences. This is a conditional loan. We're still paying attention.
The only other thing I can come up with right now is the same friendly warning I've always offered the GOP: bridge building doesn't mean making the other side build the bridge to you, then setting up a toll booth on your side and charging them a dollar a head to cross.
Here's the ball. Let's see what you can do.
And seriously, BOB BARR helped flip NC.
Go on. Admit I'm right.
(Edit @ 7:31pm: Henry Blodgett of Clusterstock made an interesting (and, in my mind, fairly realistic) short post about what the "real work" in "now the real work begins" is all about. Standard political blog disclaimer: read the comments at your own peril.)