The Day After Election Day

Last night was indeed a long night, plus plenty of channel-changing to catch the coverage.

– I now know more than ever why I despise FOX News coverage; Shepard Smith, the anchor, is scary-looking to me. Just a gut reaction; no rationale really.

– Switched to NBC – thought it was sweet of John McCain to give Tom Brokaw a little “Thanks for the years of good work” farewell; Brokaw was almost blushing. Thought it was funny that NBC’s Tim Russert lost his voice so early in the night; he also ditched his dry-marker board of 2000 for a high-tech, cool looking PC tablet – very cool.

– Dan Rather on CBS went all weird with his Texan sayings and using a pencil as a pointer thingy rather early in the night too.

– Peter Jennings was his usual steady and safe stuff – he kept ABC steady – they didn’t call Ohio for Bush the longest (as opposed to, say, NBC and FOX – very surprised that NBC called it so early; the same with Florida – but then again, Florida wasn’t in the same scenario as it was four years ago – they really didn’t want to do that again in that state).

– PBS’ Jim Lehrer did okay, waiting it out to see how the networks and Associated Press called it before confirming – but he lacked the massive wall-to-wall coverage that the others did (it is PBS after all). I did go to bed, by the way, but feeling not very optimistic at all.

It was just before 1pm today, when I went on-line and there was the post on the website: John Kerry was conceding at 1pm, with his speech, and George W. Bush making his victory speech at 3pm.

So, I come home from work and watched the Lehrer Newshour to watch the speeches. Kerry was gracious – lovely, loquacious speech. Poignant – as the talking heads on the Lehrer Newshour noted that apparently, the 2000 and the 2004 Democratic candidates’ finest moments were their gracious concession speeches.

I’m certainly disappointed by the results in South Dakota, where Senator Tom Daschle’s public career has ended – which leave the Democrats in the Senate without a minority party leader. In fact, the Dems have lost more seats in the Senate.

Where do we go with all this? I’m not sure. Kerry’s right – we need a united country and it doesn’t quite look like we are united (putting aside that Pres. Bush has the popular vote – it’s not like he won it handedly). Michael Hirsh writes on Newsweek with “Let’s all Calm Down” – posing the possibility that, to establish a historical legacy a la Reagan, Bush will be more centrist in his second term – in a slow, evolutionary sort of way, in all likelihood.

Heck, Bush even promised to unite the country in his victory speech – but he made that same promise to be a uniter four years ago. Hmm. Or, more appropriately: hmmph. (ok, I’ll stop this before I start sounding like the disappointed Marge Simpson).

So, I visit, looking for some kind of explanation and solace. (Lehrer Newshour and Peter Jennings weren’t doing it – all that talk about how morals was the big issue and how that hurt Kerry – just about bummed me out).

– Dahlia Lithwick of notes how beneficent that “the legal nightmare [ ] never materialized”. She concludes:

The real reason Ohio didn’t become Florida isn’t just that Kerry lost the popular vote, unlike Gore four years ago, or that the margins were too close to beat. The reason was that much maligned lawyers all around the country did their jobs. There’s a reason we all talk trash about ambulance chasers, yet would never dream of buying a house, or writing a will, without an attorney: Lawyers are troubleshooters and problem-solvers, sherpas through ambiguous terrain. This election they did precisely what they were meant to do: learned from the last time, monitored the rough patches, interceded in the close cases, and backed off when it became irrelevant. The law, at its best, anticipates trouble and builds systems to protect against it. That is what John Kerry recognized…, and we are all better off for it.

So, Lithwick says that there’s hope for the legal profession. We’re not total losers after all, even if Kerry and Edwards (both lawyers) haven’t won it.

– William Saletan tries to explain why it hasn’t been easy to beat Bush, and posits that the only way that a Democrat can win the red states is to keep a simple message and show your values are everyone’s values – which is why Saletan feels that, if he can keep himself productively occupied for the next four years, John Edwards may have another shot at the White House. Well, I say it’s notable that Edwards’ own state didn’t go Democrat in its presidential or senatorial vote this year.

– Heck, I think that Chris Suellentrop of had the best line: “My take on the election: Vision without details beats details without vision.”

– Timothy Noah,’s Chatterbox, tries to explain what it means to be a Democrat – a question to ask because it seems that the Democrats’ attempt to go right (or become more centric) backfired; the attempt to more left didn’t work either; and doing nothing but wait it out until the country joins you – well, that’s not workable, now is it? There are no answers, just lots of questions.