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‘Change Has Come to America . . . This Is Your Victory’

Glory hallelujah! are the first two words that come to mind. After eight long years in the wilderness, it hardly seemed possible anymore that such a fine, worthy candidate could win in the United States, especially by such a large margin. And yet over the course of the past year we’ve felt the tide of history moving in a new, more hopeful direction. That new direction was celebrated last night in Grant Park, Chicago, and around the nation and the world.

Yes We Can Get Out the Vote

This weekend we drove in a carload of Obama volunteers from Brooklyn to North Philadelphia—to the Germantown section of North Philly, to be precise. (McCain is pushing hard to win Pennsylvania.) When we arrived, there were about 100 other volunteers from New York—where Obama’s victory is assured—being coached by a bright and energetic field organizer named Kimeka Campbell. Kimeka runs a tight ship in North Philly, and Obama-Biden’s is the most efficient operation we’ve ever seen.

Abnormal Psychology: Days of Rage in a Fact-Free Zone

Did he really say that? We had to play it back several times to be sure. (Check it here, on NBC Nightly News.) John McCain says he’s going to win the White House by fooling us? This comes just a week after his campaign aides acknowledged they couldn’t win by talking about the economy, and just days after an apparent Hanoi Hilton flashback in which he addressed a crowd as “my fellow prisoners.” • Even his fellow Republicans are alarmed about his grip on reality and the potential for violence. (See remarks by Gergen and Weaver below.)

The Credit Crisis and the Social Contract

It’s significant that the economic crisis threatening the U.S. and the global economy is a credit crisis, a collapse of confidence. The word “credit” derives from the Latin credere, to trust, believe. But how can financial institutions believe in each other when they’ve played Enron-like shell games to the point where no one knows what anything is worth anymore? How can anyone have confidence when regulations are legislated away and there is no adult supervision?

Scraping Away the Lipstick

The clever folks at TalkingPointsMemo.com designed this perky little porker, and now you can buy T-shirts from Zazzle.com by clicking here for women’s and for men’s.

Further Thoughts on Obama and New Orleans

A few days ago, prompted by an article by Naomi Klein in The Nation (“New Orleans: The City That Won’t Be Ignored”), we were asking, “Where was Obama while McCain was exploiting Gustav?” On further reflection, we should acknowledge that as the hurricane was approaching and two million were evacuating, fearing Katrina II, Obama said he did not want to get in the way of the emergency preparations. Also, it was easier for McCain to join his fellow Republicans, governors Barbour and Jindal, and with help from President Bush, all of whom had an interest in the GOP’s being seen as handling the emergency effectively.

Where Was Obama While McCain Was Exploiting Gustav?

In a powerful article in The Nation (9/22), Naomi Klein points out that “The City That Won’t Be Ignored” is being neglected by Obama—who blew it when he let McCain and Palin fly down to Mississippi to show their concern while he stayed away. Maybe McCain’s act was lame, but at least he came. Gustav didn’t inconvenience the Grand Old Party so badly after all. Maybe McCain’s visit was only setting the stage to demand new offshore drilling, as Bush did the very day after the storm, while more than half a million were without electricity and New Orleanians weren’t yet allowed to return home. Great: Republicans got credit for caring about storm victims.

Palin’ by Comparison: Miss Wasilla, a Heartbeat Away

We already knew John McCain was not serious about governing, but his choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate tells us he is not even serious about winning. This choice pleases the evangelical ‘base’ that had been cool to him, but McCain apparently doesn’t care in what contempt he is held by the more adultlike members of his own party, much less by the rest of the nation and the world. (How seriously would he be taken in foreign capitals after this show of poor judgment, cynicism, or desperation? Compare this.) What does this tell us about how he would choose a Supreme Court justice? (He has already said he would pick someone like Alito and Scalia.)

Rising Tide III in New Orleans Aug. 22–24: A Conference on the Future of New Orleans

The third annual Rising Tide conference of Katrina bloggers and activists will convene in New Orleans on the weekend of Aug. 22–24, the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina (8/29/05). The main event is Saturday at the Zeitgeist Arts Center at 1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. (504-827-5858).

Calm Down: First He Has to Win

In our last post we urged our readers to keep the pressure on Barack Obama about his commitment to ending the war. We don’t take that back, but we want everyone to read “Playing Down the Middle” by Bill Boyarsky, a former editor for the Los Angeles Times and a lecturer in journalism at USC. Like any Democratic candidate, no matter how special, Obama has to move to the center to win the White House. FDR’s liberal supporters were often disappointed by his playing the middle, but Roosevelt understood that “I cannot go any faster than the people will let me go,” as he once said to Upton Sinclair. And we’ve never met a Democrat who holds a grudge against FDR for having compromised when he had to. Read what Boyarsky has to say. Maybe, just maybe, Obama knows what he’s doing.

Get in Barack’s Face @ my.barackobama.com: Hold Firm on Iraq Withdrawal

We are confident that despite the media reports and rumors that Barack Obama is thinking of ‘refining’ his plan to end the war in Iraq, this does not mean he is retreating from his commitment. People are asking if Obama is backpedaling to the center, willing to relax his positions to win votes. (Arianna Huffington details “Seven Things Barack Obama Should Do to Keep from Blowing It” in a recent post on Huffington Post.) Incredibly, yet predictably, the McCain campaign claims that Obama is now coming around to McCain’s position on the war. Not bloody likely. The Republicans want to blur distinctions, but the candidates’ positions are starkly different.

In memoriam: Tim Russert, 1950–2008: A Father’s Day Tribute

We were dumbfounded and profoundly saddened to learn yesterday of the sudden and untimely death of Tim Russert, NBC’s Washington Bureau Chief and moderator of “Meet the Press.” The high professional esteem in which he was held by colleagues and public officials was inseparable from their personal affection for this dedicated and friendly journalist. He is praised for his command of the issues and keen analysis, and his nonpartisan, “equal opportunity” thoroughness in questioning guests of all political stripes. While he made his subjects sweat, he also exuded a genuine enthusiasm for politics.