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I Did It

Well, I did it. I broke my promise. I crossed party lines and voted for Obama this morning.

Back in 1992 I voted for Clinton. (Not that my vote counted, because all of Indiana’s electors went to Bush the First.) I was so disappointed with him, I felt I’d been cheated and deceived. I vowed never to vote Democratic again, at least not for the office of president.

And, gosh darn it, I could have kept my promise too, if the Democrats had stuck to their strategy of nominating dull, unappealing and slightly slimy candidates.

If the Democrats had nominated Hilary Clinton or John Edwards, I wouldn’t have been tempted.

But Obama was just too appealing to resist. Not that my vote will count, because all of Louisiana’s electors will likely go to McCain. Nevertheless it was cool to see the massive turnout at our polling place this morning. I was particularly impressed to see so many young people voting.

Despite the big turnout things were moving along. It only took me thirteen minutes to vote, from the moment I got in line until I cast my ballot.

I was a little disturbed that the poll worker seemed to be having trouble getting the booth ready for me. She was punching all sorts of buttons but they didn’t seem to be working as she expected. It made me wonder if the person before me was properly processed, or if her vote just vanished into the ether. Who knows? I find the whole electronic voting procedure highly suspect. We should get a paper receipt.

But then again we should do a lot of things. We should make like Maine and Nebraska and use the Congressional District Method for allocating electors. (Or better yet, a simple proportional allocation.) We should use Instant Runoff Voting so we don’t have go back to the polls in December to elect our Congressional Representative.

Obama’s promised to bring “the change we need.” And I do believe we need deep and fundamental change. I don’t believe the oldest and most powerful party in the world is capable of bringing that change. I still believe only an insurgent third party can do that. Our current system favors two powerful parties, so an insurgent third party would likely displace one of the two dominant parties.

That doesn’t appear to be happening in this election cycle. So here’s hoping the G.O.P. goes down in flames and thoroughly self-destructs. Here’s hoping the political landscape is completely reconfigured. I’m not holding my breath, but it’s a nice thought.

P.S.: The weather is beautiful, and it feels like a holiday.

Published inPolitix


  1. Kent Kent

    The GOP might go down in flames, if they continue to place their hopes in Sarah Palin.

    For the moment, let’s assume Obama wins.

    Obama’s “change we need” is to stop giving a free ride to big business and invest in infrastructure and the middle class. But in the end, he’s a moderate Democrat who believes in finding a common thread of agreement and building on it. His won’t be a new direction, except insofar as it is a combined direction. His policies on lots of issues will leave the left and right feeling shortchanged. I think he’ll pass a lot of legislation, perhaps as much as Reagan and Johnson passed. I don’t know if you view this as the “change we need” or not.

    My prediction in two years? We aren’t leaving the middle east anytime soon. We’re just moving next door, focusing on the Taliban and Afghanistan. The American people want to end our involvement in the middle east. So two years from now, when we are still mired in war, an impatient and angry electorate will show their discontent. The economic mess will require massive spending to fix, and the improvement will be slow to appear. We’ll have a much larger debt, high unemployment, and a lot of fear and desperation in two years.

    So, I fear, two years from now the Republicans will emerge from their hole and Obama will start dealing with a strongly Republican congress. During the second two years things will improve a lot! But any credit he deserves will be muddied by the midterm election results. So the Republicans, if they can get Palin out of their system, will make a go of it again.

    I, too, hope the GOP will “go down in flames.” But they may yet rise like the phoenix. Whatever happens, I hope to awake tomorrow with new hope for our future. Obama is, indeed, too appealing to resist. And I hope and believe he’ll be a great president. But his road is tough. And he takes responsibility for the problems he didn’t create, as it should be.

  2. Lee Lee

    I’m with you on that one B. It’s also very nice here (for November) it’s in the mid 70’s.

    I do believe global warming is to blame for this weather.

    Back to the point, let’s cross our fingers that the GOP goes down in flames.

  3. I was so disappointed with him, I felt I’d been cheated and deceived. I vowed never to vote Democratic again, at least not for the office of president.

    Same here. Haven’t voted Dem for Pres since 92. You did the right thing today, though, B.

  4. B, why were you “so disappointed” with Clinton? What did he do or fail to do that has hurt your feelings so much? Here in China we all think Clinton is a great president but then again we could be deceived,so would you explain?

    and by the way I also think you made a wise choice today.

  5. rickngentilly rickngentilly

    the greatest thing at my polling site in gentilly was how many people brought their kids into the booth with them on a school day.

    it warmed my heart in a way that the 30 min. wait felt like no time at all.

  6. PJ PJ

    I can’t wait for B’s post on Indiana! We did it, we turned the state in a new direction.

    And a word on the Katrina factor since it is timely and relevant here. Since the massive federal failure it is obvious to the whole country where the priorities of the Republican party lie. I’ve been thinking of a line from Sinead O’Connor’s song “Black Boys on Mopeds” as it relates to my son.

    I don’t want him to be aware that there’s any such thing as grieiving. These are dangerous days, to say what you feel is to lay your own grave. Remember what I told you, if they hated me they will hate you.

    Recognizing that they don’t actually actively hate me, personally, it’s clear that what happened in NOLA could happen in any city across the counrty unlucky enough to have the wrong party in control if the Republicans are running the show. People are getting that message in Indianapolis and Indiana and sending a message of their own.

    That message last night was we want Obama for our President, plain and simple. I for one am ready to take a personal stake in what happens next,, confront bigotry and build a better future for my family, my city, state, and country. It’s a real sense of pride.

    I don’t want him to be aware that there’s any such thing as grieiving. These are dangerous days, to say what you feel is to lay your own grave. Remember what I told you,

  7. Dane, to answer your question fully would require a lengthy post. I will limit myself. Clinton’s first action, the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy for our military, was a cop-out. NAFTA was highly problematic and anti-democratic. And of course there was the whole sex scandal. I felt he lacked a moral center and watched the polls too much and was too conservative. I thought he was better than the Bushes before and after him, but that’s not saying much.

  8. loula loula

    in 20/20 hindsight do you still feel “cheated and disappointed” by Clinton? After 8 years of BUSH, you even CONSIDERED voting McCain/Palin? How can that be – after that idiot W, who let your city drown?

    Whatever your reason, I’m glad you crossed party lines. I grew up in a redneck republican town in Michigan where my grandfather was a member of the KKK, and I never saw a Democrat till I was 16. Now my former home state Michigan went for Obama. Amazing to me, just like Indiana is to you.

    Now I’m 57 and live far from Michigan and party lines don’t mean a thing to me. Candidates and their actions do. I’m glad Obama won, and I hope someday Louisiana becomes a blue state.

  9. Oh, hey, loula, thanks for stopping by.

    Alas, it seems you’ve missed me by a mile. I never considered voting for McCain/Palin. When I referred to crossing party lines, I was talking about the Green Party, not the Republicans.

    As for Louisiana, we used to be just about the only “blue” stronghold in the Deep South. Obviously those days are gone. And I just learned that this 2008 election is the first time our state hasn’t gone with the winner in over 40 years.

  10. loula loula

    Hi Bart –
    I did read back and see your posts about the Green party & McKinney. Green party is all very nice and I got to know and like McKinney during my years in Atlanta. I believe that ultimately a vote for the fringe parties is a vanity vote.

    My experience:
    when I lived in Berkeley as a college freshman in 1968, very anxious to be part of the political process, i believed it was worthwhile to vote for whatever alternative party most fit with my views (although was too young to vote until George McGovern in ’72)

    After voting for John Anderson in 1980, I realized that I had thrown my vote away when Reagan won by a landslide. I knew how awful RR was as California Governor. He increased tuition fees at California state universities and colleges, making it extremely difficult for lower middle class kids like me to stay in school – which was only one of RR’s many atrocities during the Vietnam protest years. And that doesn’t even include his “you’ve seen one redwood tree, you’ve seen ’em all” statement.

    In 2000, Spoiler Nader was partially responsible for the stolen election. I interviewed him recently and asked about that – and he’s full of narcissitic rationalizations and he ran again. He’s charming and right about a lot of things, but should stay out of running for office. I told him that too, and he laughed and kept talking. He’s very good at talking and talking and talking.

    my only point is – voting for an independent or fringe party candidate may make you feel good about yourself when you’re in the ballot booth, but very bad later. (for me, it was 12 years – 8 for Reagan and 4 for HW Bush).

    I’m just glad this country has come this far. Comparing our midwest upbringing and changes in our states, I was shocked to learn the county where I grew up in Michigan (very white and extremely right wing during the ’60 and ’64 elections when I lived there) went 51% for Obama, 46% for McCain. That’s a miracle in my lifetime and my head is spinning. I never even SAW an African American until I was 13 years old.

    I hope you feel happy about vote for President Obama in the years to come. I’ve been pleasantly shocked to see conservatives like Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Peggy Noonan and Condi Rice express enthusiasm for the outcome of the election.

    I love your blog – it helps me stay in touch with a city I love and I admire your committment to New Orleans. (I still want to live there before I die).

    All the best to you and your girls.

  11. Garvey Garvey

    “party lines don’t mean a thing to me. Candidates and their actions do…. I hope someday Louisiana becomes a blue state.”


  12. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, loula. It’s somewhat ironic: I had just been reflecting on how my Obama vote was really just a “feel good” vote. I mean, it didn’t help get him elected. All of Louisiana’s electoral votes went to McCain, because it’s winner-takes all. And McCain won by a wide margin — wasn’t even close. So I have no illusions that my vote for Obama meant much beyond making me feel good about myself in the booth. Hey, sometimes that’s enough. You can do the same at an adult book store but it gets messy.

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