Friday, November 28, 2008

Winners and Losers of 2008 campaign: Surprises

There's nothing like not being able to sleep at 3 a.m. with a kitty cat who wants to play. So you go to C-Span for something relevant. And a gathering of politicos last week at the University of Virginia produced some surprises concerning the winners and losers in the 2008 presidential and congressional races.

Let's go down the list:

Losers: Not GOP presidential nominee John McCain but far right pundits who used their cable TV and radio shows to focus on Bill Ayers and his terrorist past while American voters were losing their jobs, losing large chunks of their investments in the stock market and losing their cool over Congress passing bailouts of Wall Street fatcats. That's the assessment of GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway.

Losers: The news media with its partisan extremes in favoring one party over the other and journalists -- particularly women -- who targeted Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Gov. Sarah Palin with focus on the candidates' fashion and the b-word. More Americans knew about Palin's RNC shopping spree than Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama.

Winner: Michelle Obama, who did not change her image during the campaign but showed that she is just as brilliant and more compassionate than her husband.

Loser: George W. Bush, who was forced to disappear from the campaign trail despite McCain's promise earlier in the year to use the lame duck president in his appeal to voters.

Winner: Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson, who has taken over as president in the almost daily bailout out a big bank or Wall Street investment firm.

Winner: Sen. John McCain, who Republican pundits see as crossing the aisle the next two years to help President Obama pass critical legislation and secure a lasting legacy for himself. And for Rush Limbaugh and all the arch-conservatives who gave McCain so much shit, payback is going to be a bitch.

Winner: President Obama, if he uses his superior communication skills to explain to the American people why the economy will take time to improve and health care reform may not be immediately affordable. Ed Rollins says Obama could go down as one of the greatest White House communicators, joining Teddy Roosevelt, FDR and Ronald Reagan. JFK did not live long enough to realize his full potential.

Losers: The Democrats, upon Jan. 30, when their president presents his State of the Union address and the nation's problems become theirs in the eyes of voters. Do too much and there won't be the money for it. Do too little and people will lose patience. Pelosi and Reid are poison.

Losers: People who objected to Bush's attack on civil liberties and the Iraq War. Obama voted for the last surveillance bill. He is going to retain Defense Secretary Bill Gates who has run the war in Iraq and the parliament there just voted to approve an added U.S. presence for three more years. A report that Obama was going to close down the terrorist prison at Guantanamo was quickly quashed by his staff.

Losers: Those hoping for big change in the U.S. Supreme Court. Dahlia Lithwick of Slate magazine says only one liberal justice will leave, David Souter. That would leave the court at 4-4 on ideology with Justice Kennedy in the middle-right.

Loser: Karl Rove, Bush's chief strategist, who lured enough of the Hispanic vote in 2004 to win the election for his boss but then left Latinos hanging when it came to immigration reform and an anti-immigrant push in the GOP. So says Kiki McClean, Hillary Clinton strategist. Hispanics, however, also were losers at the UVA forum. There was not one Latino on the panel.

Losers: The American people, if they don't speak up and support their lawmakers in making the needed, tough decisions, McClean said.

Loser: The FDR Legacy. WWII ended the Great Depression, not the New Deal.

Loser: The Bush Legacy. BET reporter Jeff Johnson called W the "gangster president", who told the American people to agree with him or go to Hell. And the American people replied, "we are in Hell," Johnson said. Hurricane Katrina and Bush's failure to unite the American people and the world behind a more unifying effort undercut his presidency.

Winner: Humanity. Obama's victory signaled the need for America to put away the greed of the past 25 years and focus on people, said Daphne Maxwell Reid.

So that's what the so-called experts think. What do you believe?

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