Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

THE OBAMA PROJECT: Call For Submissions

Posted Dec 17, 2008 at 5:16 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack, New York, New Mexico

PollTrack has just come off a very successful campaign season, tracking the most exciting presidential election in a generation (along with more than 20 US Senate races). With more than 220,000 visitors in the first two-and-half months of our launch we had visitors from every state in the union and 108 nations. One feature of the site, VOICES ON THE GROUND, invited contributions from artists, writers, observers, scholars, students, and others who helped us track the election from the perspective of where it mattered the most: with voters on the ground.
 
As we approach the inauguration of President-Elect Obama, VOICES launches The Obama Project--an online forum for commentary, analysis, poetry, photographs, and YouTube content that explores the following questions: What Does The Election of Barack Obama Mean To You? And What Does it Mean for The Nation?
 
We ask you to submit texts (from a single line to 2,000 words), photographs, or content you've posted on YouTube. We will be uploading content on an ongoing basis through the inauguration and beyond. You are also welcome to submit materials that relate to Election 2008 but do not fall within the purview of The Obama Project.
 
To submit texts or images, go to the "Participate" tab on the yellow tool bar in the lower right of the VOICES page. You may also send texts (and photo attachments) directly to voices@polltrack.com. However you submit materials, PLEASE: include your full name and your city and state or location (if outside the US)
 
We very much look forward to hearing your voices on PollTrack.
 

An Open Letter From Roger Smith: Goodbye And Good Riddance

Posted Dec 01, 2008 at 3:29 AM
Roger Smith, New York, New York

An Open Letter From Roger Smith: Goodbye And Good Riddance: Dear Friends: After all my pre-election bombardments, I have spared you any post-election bragging in the form of "analysis."  (Oh, don't worry, something of that sort is in the works.)  But I urge all of my friends of similar views re George W. Bush to spend a few more weeks contemplating just how vast a landscape of wreckage Mr. Bush has left behind before we turn our thoughts to just how a President Obama can somehow clean up the mess.
 
Toward this end, I am indebted to a good friend (a man of normally quite sober demeanor who would, I am sure, prefer to remain anonymous) for alerting me to an article that appeared on the website of The American Prospect, written by one of their regulars, Paul Waldman.  The piece's combination of a fine anger with a solid sense of the facts makes me inclined to read Mr. Waldman's book, Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success--despite its rather turgid title. 
 
Back during Goerge W.'s first administration, I used to get people asking me WHY I had such an unreasoning, almost unbalanced hatred of George W. Bush.  I of course thought it both reasoned and balanced, but I allowed that little Georgie had, in abundance, personal qualities that literally drove me over the edge.  But along about the time of Katrina even my few remaining "righty" friends stopped asking.  (Well, one such friend still asks, but then he finds the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal the fount of wisdom and Rush Limbaugh a boon companion.)
 
Is the piece below over the top?  I don't think so--I just find it admirably exhaustive in its catalog of the high (and low) crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush administration.  What frightens me is that the American populace has NOT in fact turned against these policies and beliefs--just their wildly incompetent practice.  Had the Iraq War gone reasonably well (unlikely under the best of management practices, but possible) and had the results of their economic stewardship been less readily and horribly apparent, we could easily have seen a victory by a Republican who, unlike McCain, might have run on a promise to continue these benighted policies.
 
Life--and certainly politics--rarely offers clarity.  However, George Bush has provided it in abundance.  The years 2001-8 will be seen by historians--even ones writing in the very near future--as almost a laboratory test case of what happens when the Federal government of the United States was run by people who could not have done worse had that been their purpose.  And maybe it was.
 
Bush's belief that he will, like Harry Truman, be vindicated by history is just another pathetic fallacy of Mr. Bush.  Indeed, perhaps our pathetic fallacy is attributing human emotions to George W. Bush.  As Kurosawa titled one of his greatest--but least known--movies, "The Bad Sleep Well."
 
Dealing with the aftermath of this massive tidal wave of physical, social and fiscal destruction will take years--maybe decades--just to get us back to where we were in 2000, before the aptly-named Mayberry Machiavellis were let loose. 
 
I for one am not prepared to sweep these events under some enormous rug.  I think a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (like post-Apartheid South Africa's)  is needed to make sure that most Americans will understand the sheer magnitude of the folly brought about by those of us who elected this man--not once, but twice.  Seeing a few of the worst evildoers off to the hoosegow (while emotionally satisfying) will not be enough.  But more realistically, I suspect our team will have to settle for watching these miscreants eagerly accept the blanket pardons that will soon be emanating from the Oval Office.
 
For Paul Waldman's article from The American Prospect click here.  (If you find the piece as delightful as I did, you might want to check out Mr. Waldman's latest posting to the TAP blog  It examines the strange phenomenon of how the conservatives are already feeling themselves a miserably oppressed minority--indeed, they never stopped at the hieght of their power).

Roger Smith's analysis of the state-by-state racial breakdown of the 2008 presidential race is forthcoming on our Writing on the Wall page.