This election was tough. Hard hitting, loud, boisterous, negative, slanderous, and sometimes mean spirited. All of us have enjoyed and distressed over the emotional roller coaster. This was better than any Hitchcock thriller – if tense excitement is what you like. But the election is over and we are seeing the emotional aftermath. We can see who haas a mature understanding of election processes – and we can see who enjoy retribution.
Joe Leiberman is a pretty good example. His case is unique – a long time Democratic Senator from Connecticut – Leiberman was denied the Democratic nomination for reelection in 2008. Leiberman ran in the general election as an independent and won. To gain crucial votes the Democratic Senate leadership accepted Leiberman into their caucus – and granted Leiberman leadership roles on committees. But Leiberman was freed from his loyalties and supported Republican John McCain in the Presidential contest. As the McCain Campaign turned nasty, Leiberman went along, reinforcing thoughts about Obama being a Socialist, and perhaps even a Marxist.
Hillary Clinton gave Obama everything he could handle in her challenge for the Democratic Nomination. Clinton hit harder than John McCain and the lightweight Sarah Palin. Clinton pulled out all the big guns and fired everyone of them at least twice. Some say Clinton played the taboo race card – but certainly Clinton made a big deal about Obama’s associations. When the McCain Camp later went into this territory they were blasted for their nastiness.
So the election came and went – Obama won a strong victory – and the dust began to settle on Obama’s honeymoon. While Obama shifted gears from candidate to President-Elect, some of his supporters continued the battle. The Senate Chambers echoed screams in the night about Leiberman, ‘Kick him out of the Democratic Caucus.’ ‘Strip him of leadership positions.’ Obama had to intervene himself (as if he had nothing better to be doing). Obama forgave Leiberman and asked that he be restored to his former stature of respect. The Democratic Senators, salivating over opportunities for mean justice, acquiesced – Leiberman was restored.
Obama called Senator Clinton for consultation, and some say offered her the plum job of Secretary of State. Whoooeee – the scramble to assault Clinton for her Primary Election indiscretions was on. Many people are really enjoying the rehashing of Cinton’s Obama accusations. Some of the dissent came from top Obama Campaign staffers. They are still nursing their wounds from last spring.
While the rhetorical heat is rising, President Elect Obama seems to be the one certain focal point of mature stability. One of the accusations against Obama during the past 20-plus months has been around his inexperience. But the aftermath of the election would suggest that Obama is the most mature, if not most experienced, of the whole Washington bunch.
Obama called Senator McCain and invited McCain and his confidants to come to Chicago to talk about the future. Another mature and smart move by the President Elect.
Much of the annimosity comes from ‘anonymous sources.’ With Obama playing his cards close to his vest, the hungry media has to dine on scraps of anonymous grumbling. There are some who are taking advantage of the news void to harvest some free media time.
Sarah Palin has been in the news everyday – and she continues to give her pre-election stump speech, mixed with some disingenuious praise for Obama. Her schizophrenic statements merely serve to reinforce the idea that she is all personality with no substance. She says things like, I respect Obama for hanging out with domestic terrorists – well, something like that. Sarah Palin is trying to stay newsworthy for the 2012 election.
The real fun of the post election is watching the other Republicans beginning their quest for 2012. Mike Huckabee has published a book with heavy criticism for Mitt Romney. Romney responed in kind. Some of their frivolous nonsense is just an attempt to knowck Palin out of the spotlight, while discrediting other potential nominees.
Newt Gingrich has jumped into the fray – taking very public positions on culturally right wing issues.
So here is the deal from this writer. Those who continue the fray – like Sarah Palin who continues to harp on Obama associations – are fair game. Huckabee and Romney and Gingrich have stepped back into the ring – they should know by now that this means they will take as many shots as they give. They want to continue fighting and that is what they will get.
We offer full support for those who who are mature enough to let go of the election. Leiberman should not be attacked. Clinton should not be attacked. McCain should not be attacked. These folks acted in the heat of an election and mature political folllowers know the last bell has rung on this fight. It is time to get down to the business of governing by mature people. Clinton, Leiberman, McCain, and especially Obama, have all proved to be mature political wranglers.