Tube City Almanac

November 04, 2008

Nobody Asked Me, But ...

Category: Politics, Rants a.k.a. Commentary || By

Deep thoughts from a shallow mind:

. . .

Republican candidate Monica Douglas was still running attack ads against incumbent state Rep. Dave Levdansky on Mon Valley cable TV systems more than an hour after the polls had closed.

If that's the kind of genius that Douglas would have brought to the state legislature, it's a good thing that Levdansky was re-elected.

No, it was obviously Comcast's foul-up. Heckuva job, Comcast!

It's a good thing people in the Mon-Yough area are paying like $50 a month for basic cable, because Comcast obviously needs that money to pay for highly skilled technical talent. ("Running election ads after the election? That's Comcastic!")

. . .

P.S.: I couldn't help but think of an old "Saturday Night Live" gag which had the winning candidate running attack ads against the loser after the election. ("You lost the election, Fred Peete. Now Mack North says, 'Eat Me!'")

. . .

Everyone has been talking about the "Bradley effect" --- the theory that white voters tell pollsters they're voting for a minority candidate, but actually vote for the white candidate.

Well, I voted on my lunch hour in my mostly white, mostly older precinct, and there was a line of people waiting to vote, all wearing Obama T-shirts. There was one person electioneering --- one of the borough's Democratic committee members, handing out Obama and Kortz slate cards. One of the election judges told me we'd had nearly 300 people vote before 1 p.m. We usually have about 200 all day.

Also, a quick ride around the Mon Valley indicated (at least to me) that the Obama-Biden yard signs came out in force on Monday night and Tuesday morning.

So, was there a "reverse Bradley effect" in the Mon-Yough area? Were white voters planning to vote for Obama, but afraid to say so for fear their neighbors would get upset?

. . .

Obama is going to owe organized labor big-time. Depending on how you feel about trade unionism, that might be a good thing or a bad thing. (Personally, after 30 years of declining union membership --- and a not-unrelated decline in wages and labor standards --- I don't think it would be a bad thing for the pendulum to swing back a little bit.)

Greene and Fayette counties are pretty conservative, rural areas, but Obama fought McCain to a virtual draw. I have to suspect that the vigorous support of the United Mine Workers union overcame many people's doubts.

And I came home last night to find a door hanger from the United Auto Workers (I'm a member) reminding me that the union had endorsed Obama and Biden, and urging me to vote.

. . .

Not to take anything away from Barack Obama, but John McCain ran a really lousy campaign.

And the reason --- in my uninformed opinion --- that McCain ran a really lousy campaign was because he was trying to appeal to right-wing reactionaries within the GOP, instead of the independents and conservative Democrats who have supported him the past.

It didn't help that McCain --- in an unsuccessful attempt to get Republicans on his side --- had spent the last four years aligning himself with one of the most unpopular presidents in a century. That was a little bit like tying your life raft to the Titanic.

Perhaps McCain would have had a legitimate chance if he had run as the elder statesman and the "voice of moderation" in the Republican Party.

What if McCain hadn't spent four years brown-nosing George Bush? And what if he'd run as a moderate Republican and picked someone like Mike Huckabee to be his running mate?

Huckabee would have appealed to the religious right, while McCain would have appealed to Democrats and independents, and maybe the election would have gone very differently.

. . .

Another question: Did the Republican smear campaign against Obama backfire?

I wasn't inclined to like Barack Obama, mainly because I have a knee-jerk reaction against anything that's trendy or new. But the more I saw and learned Obama, the more I liked him. I suspect I wasn't alone.

Millions of people watched the debates and saw Obama as a calm, dignified presence. (He was as cuke as a coolcumber, as a famous moose might say.)

But the Republican Party kept painting Obama as some kind of wild-eyed radical. I suspect those attacks harmed McCain's credibility more than Obama's.

. . .

And finally, I'll leave the last word to my 97-year-old grandmother, with whom I spent Monday afternoon.

"I'll be glad when this election is over," she said. "I'm sick of the commercials and the phone calls and all of the newspaper articles."

"Me too," I said.

"I think the black fellow is going to win," she said.

"I do, too," I said.

"I think he'll do an OK job," she said.

"Me too," I said.

"He couldn't be any worse than that man we have now," she said. "He's the worst president I've ever seen."

"Worse than Herbert Hoover?" I asked.

"Worse than Hoover, worse than Nixon," she said, "and I didn't like Clinton, either."

Your Comments are Welcome!

Always trust your grandma!

My long-time feeling is that McCain never really wanted the job to begin with. Let’s face it, last night’s concession speech was probably the best speech he’s given throughout this whole campaign. He seemed relaxed, but perhaps mildly disappointed. He picked a running mate who virtually nobody had ever heard of who, as it ended up, was more of a ratings winner for SNL and didn’t really offer much else. It just seemed that while he was physically in the race, his heart wasn’t.

I agree with you about Obama. It took time for him to win me over. However, I am looking forward to seeing what he can do.
Eric - November 05, 2008

I think McCain was pulled in two different directions. On the one hand, he had to move to the right to keep his “base” from just staying home. OTOH, by picking Palin, he was trying to have it both ways—A conservative “Queen Bee” with baby on hip almost half his age, trying to attract the independents and disappointed Hillary supporters. I think as much as anything the Republican attack machine just couldn’t make much of an inroad. There was really nothing about Obama that hadn’t already been vetted during the primaries. I’m hopeful for a much better four years up-coming. If Obama selects a good Cabinet, I think we’re going to be OK
ebtnut - November 06, 2008

To comment on any story at Tube City Almanac, email, send a tweet to, visit our Facebook page, or write to Tube City Almanac, P.O. Box 94, McKeesport, PA 15134.