With Obama’s inauguration ceremony less than a week away, I’m curious what everyone thinks of all the hype. I can’t turn a page on CNN, or walk down the street without seeing something about it. I guess I’m helping perpetuate that with this article as well. ;) With the economy in the most serious dire straits it has seen since the great depression, and more people out of work than I’ve ever seen in my lifetime, the grandstand parade and unthinkable amounts of money being spent on the inauguration party are a curious item of discussion.
No doubt, this inaguration is absolutely is a big deal! It’s our first African American president, and perhaps more importantly it’s the day the GWB loses power. Millions of people are there to celebrate one of these items or the other. It’s supposed to be the largest audience for an inaguration ever from what I hear. People are clearly electrified by the opportunity to be part of history.
I would love to hear thoughts on the matter. Is a huge celebration really in order, or would a more modest approach seem more appropriate given the state of the economy? I’m having flashbacks to the convention and the greek pillars (as the GOP called them).
Perhaps even more importantly, what is the world view of this. I can’t wait to see reactions from around the globe. I have my fingers crossed that it will be positive, but it may really all reside in the hands of how the media spins it.
p.s. For those on the ground in Washington for this party, I found the Inaguration Survival Guide online.
WASHINGTON — Spider-Man has a new sidekick: The president-elect.
Barack Obama collected Spider-Man comics as a child, so Marvel Comics wanted to give him a “shout-out back” by featuring him in a bonus story, said Joe Quesada, Marvel’s editor-in-chief.
“How great is that? The commander in chief to be is actually a nerd in chief,” Quesada said. “It was really, really cool to see that we had a geek in the White House. We’re all thrilled with that.”
The comic starts with Spider-Man’s alter-ego Peter Parker taking photographs at the inauguration, before spotting two identical Obamas.
Parker decides “the future president’s gonna need Spider-Man,” and springs into action, using basketball to determine the real Obama and punching out the impostor.
Obama thanks him with a fist-bump.
Marvel comics have featured most presidents, but generally in walk-on roles, Quesada said.
“I think President Nixon might have appeared on the cover, but not in a good way,” he said.
Obama has said that as a child, he collected Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comic books. His Senate Web site used to have a photo of him posing in front of a Superman statue.
The Obama story is a bonus in Marvel Comic’s Amazing Spider-Man #583, available in comic book shops nationwide on Jan. 14 for $3.99 and is expected to sell out, with half the covers devoted to Obama.
2008 was quite a year. I found myself glued to the news more-so than probably any previous year. Not because this race was terribly different form all those in the past, but because there was so much humor involved in this race. Also with the huge impact and participation of people on the internet, it made a tremendous difference because everyone had a voice.
VotesMustCount has a great collection of the best videos that came out of the 08 race. I think the younger, more diverse crowd that supported Obama had far more internet and technical prowess than the voters supporting McCain, and therefore there’s a clear bias in the quantity of funnies the Obama supporters produced vs the McCain ones.
If you find yourself with 10 minutes of spare time, and want a good laugh, head over and take a look at those videos.
It happens every year, and this Thanksgiving will be no exception. Someone in the family will start talking politics. (Given the historic, wacky, pervasive nature of the campaign just past, this time it may not even be your blowhard know-it-all uncle.) And since politics is a volatile subject and family gatherings are fraught with tension, the ensuing discussion will lead to discord.
If you want to avoid such conflict, you may want to inquire after the young ones, busy yourself with doing the dishes, or ask the host about his grill or golf swing—topics that will tie up conversation until daybreak. But if you can’t shake free of a political debate, you may find yourself embracing Loudon Wainwright’s Thanksgiving prayer: “If I argue with a loved one, Lord, please make me the winner.” In that case, here’s some help: Slate’s guide to this year’s political arguments.
Obama won: He played a great hand well. He was disciplined, focused, and turned the Internet into a fundraising and voter-organizing machine.
McCain lost: So long as it didn’t have an (R) after its name, a wooden post could have won this election. Bush was unpopular, the Iraq war was unpopular—and yet McCain was nearly even in the September polls. Despite the hype, Obama didn’t raise any more from regular folks who gave small donations than Bush did. If it hadn’t been for the financial crisis, McCain might have won.
The Financial Mess
Blame the Democrats: Robert Rubin started the deregulation that led to this mess. Bill Clinton supported and signed key banking deregulation, and Obama’s incoming economic adviser, Larry Summers, was also a big champion. Democrats were relentlessly blind to the dangers at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Blame the Republicans: Bush and the Republicans deregulated even more than Rubin did. Greenspan played a role, too, pushing the deregulation of derivatives. Their response has been indecisive at best and ineffective at worst.
Bonus argument: The party is clearly beholden to Wall Street.
The Detroit Bailout
Help ‘em: Sure, the auto companies screwed up, but the economy can’t afford to lose so many jobs right now. You can bail them out and make them restructure.
Screw ‘em: Did you see that the Big Three CEOs all flew private planes to testify in Washington? As for restructuring, it will happen only if they know they won’t get any help; as for the job losses, those workers will be better off in more viable industries. Did you see that the Big Three CEOs all flew private planes to testify in Washington?
Against it: Our deficit will go through the roof, which will make us beholden to foreign creditors. A stimulus plan will delay needed behavioral changes among both individuals and companies. We’re becoming a socialist country.
For it: Most economists say it’s essential. Yes, the deficit will grow, but the alternative is widespread business failure and job loss. Here’s the definition of socialism.
Yes, he does: He won the biggest share of the popular vote of any Democrat since LBJ. He won nine red states, four of which a Democrat hasn’t won since 1964. With seven new Democrats in the Senate and 24 in the House, it’s the largest partisan mandate since FDR.
Not so fast: They might have elected the man, but there’s no evidence people signed up for his policies. A lot of voters picked him because he wasn’t Bush. (See McCain lost, above.)
No change: It’s all Clinton people. The lobbying rules aren’t as restrictive as he promised. He’s hiring a replacement for Karl Rove.
He’s the change: Change comes from the leader. He’s picking competent people to execute change. His economic team is not excessively ideological, and he’s likely to keep current Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
Hillary at State
Great idea: She knows the issues, won’t be afraid to tell Obama what she thinks, and is the perfect embodiment of American ideals of opportunity and service.
New York Magazine’s John Heilemann is leading a panel at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco this morning on “The Web and Politics.” Joining him is San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Arianna Huffington and Joe Trippi.
The session jumped right off with Heilemann saying the Internet played a disruptive role in the 2008 election in the same way television played a disruptive role in the 1960 election of John F. Kennedy to president. Neither medium was new in the respective elections, but both “came of age” and swung the election towards the winning candidate. Kennedy, in particular, used television ads extensively in his campaign to reach the American voters directly, and embraced simple things like makeup:
The televised debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon was probably the most decisive event for the election of 1960. The growth of TV as a new medium, and declined use of radio marked a significant change in how campaigns are ran today. For the TV appearence, Nixon refused to wear make-up and therefore appeared unshaven, tired and sweaty under the lights. Kennedy, however, did wear the make-up and so appeared cooler and more composed than Nixon. Kennedy, before the debate, returned tan and attractive from vacation. Not only did Kennedy appear to be better groomed, and handsome, his suit was navy popping off the grey back drop. Nixon’s suit was grey, blending in to the curtain behind him. With these factors combined, Among TV viewers agreed, Kennedy won the debate. Richard Nixon’s deep, strong, radio appealing voice won over all radio listeners, they agreed Nixon won the debate. Nixon entered the race ahead of Kennedy. Television as a new medium changed presidential elections from this point on, marking the election of 1960 significant. Radio voice failed to prevail over now “candidate centered” television campaigns.
Huffington says flat out that if it wasn’t for the Internet, Obama would not be president. Trippi notes that Obama’s YouTube spots gathered an aggregate of 14.5 million viewing hours. The Internet was used by candidate previously, he said, noting the Howard Dean campaign, but Obama really leveraged it fully with online video, blogging, social networking and fundraising.
The panelists also note how mainstream media tends to fail in politics, simply reporting on what each candidate says without saying who’s right or wrong. The blogosphere, they say (particularly Trippi and Huffington), tends to call out factual inaccuracies better than mainstream media.
Howard Dean showed that the Internet could be used to raise lots of money online, say the panelists. But Newsom says social networking is significantly more powerful and allows for the creation of much more meaningful connections between the candidate and voters. “I’m addicted to Facebook,” he said.
Newsom also notes that “every single thing a candidate says, and how he says it,” is available online for people to review and judge. And he questions whether candidates today are more authentic or less authentic now that they have to be “on” all the time.