Thank goodness it’s over!

That’s my first impression as I close the books on an almost two year long presidential campaign. I’m sure we will be swamped with post election coverage and stories; so I thought I would add my two cents worth before taking a break from writing about these sorts of things.

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I never thought I would see it much less experience it; but American voters just elected the first African American president in the history of this country. I’m sure this historic election will be well recorded in this country’s history books; but to be able to say that we voted in this historic election is a moment most of us who follow these things will not soon forget. And of course there will be others who will want to forget as soon as possible.

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My guess is that sooner or later John McCain will admit publicly that he made the wrong choice in selecting Sarah Palin as his running mate and blame her for his loss. Sometimes political convenience is not the smartest way to go. My bet is that had he chosen someone who had run against him in the Republican Primary as his running mate; he still may not have won; but the race would have been much closer.

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Sarah Palin will try and extend her 15 minutes in the spotlight into the 2012 election. And while she appeals to the right wing of the Republican Party; it will be very difficult for her to become a major player in her party. She will probably ride off into the Alaska sunset and will emerge again in a couple of years to try and regain her populist appeal with the right. There is no doubt that she liked the feel of the national spotlight and has been bitten by the “ego bug”.

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Having lived in Washington for close to 12 years; I think I have a pretty good grasp of the way Washington works. Unfortunately things do not change overnight and the change that President Elect Obama talked about will be much harder to achieve. One underlying fact is that it is money which makes Washington take notice. The big donors, the lobbyists, the large major corporations which in many cases are the ones writing legislation have so much influence and they will not easily let it go.

If the new president elect wants to accomplish his goal of bringing change to the way government works; he has his work cut out for him and he will have to fight lobbyists and corporate interests every inch of the way to do it.

Of course if its business as usual, we will know soon enough and then the 2012 presidential campaign positioning can begin.

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One of the most disturbing things is when news networks call the winners before polls in other parts of the country close. That is unfair to people who are still in the process of voting and frankly to the candidates too.

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There is no doubt that this city marches to the beat of a different drummer. While most other parts of the country were busy setting record turnout numbers, voter turnout here was less than anticipated by voting officials.

What happened? Just this past May, voter turnout in the Democratic Primary exceeded expectations. Is it possible that all those Hillary Clinton supporters just refused to vote for Barack Obama?

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Apparently, it is all about who raises the most money. Public campaign financing took a hit in this election. If nothing else, Obama’s campaign set a new bar for campaign fund raising and campaign spending and proved that the more money a candidate has, the better the chances of winning an election. In this case, money definitely made a difference for the Democrats which up until now usually have found themselves trailing Republicans in money raised.

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I wonder just what the election of an African American president will have on this country’s race relations. It’s not like Mr. Obama’s election will suddenly make racism disappear? Or will it?

Perhaps we have reached a point in our history where the Bradley effect no longer applies and voters responded truthfully to pollster’s questions?

Perhaps it is the beginning of something we can all build on to try and make things better for future generations.

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And finally…

“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer – President Elect Barack Obama

Email: acruztsc@aol.com