THE ELECTION IS OVER!
November 5, 2008

And we can all move past the horrors of the past two years of campaigning, thank god.

More to the point, we have chosen a new president.  Granted, it’s not the guy I voted for, but hey, that’s life.  Congratulations to Senator Obama, I hope you govern wisely and well.  I expect I’ll spend at least the next four years in the opposition – but hey, Democrats have been in the opposition for the last eight years, and it didn’t kill them.  I think I’ll enjoy it.  So, without further adieu, I present “Five Reasons to be Happy the Guy I Didn’t Vote for Won”:

1. 1. The next time someone starts talking about the innate structural racism of American society, I will be able to just go out to a newsstand and point to a picture somewhere on the front page and say “O RLY?” This makes me happy because a) it really is cool and b) it will finally shut up all those annoying people who talk about the innate racism of Americans. And if they keep talking about it, I will use said newspaper to hit them in the face.  Seriously, this should make Ward Connerly very, very happy.

2. 2.  Nancy Pelosi will finally have to stop whining about those evil House Republicans. She’s got a majority in the House and she still can’t get anything done, but with a Democrat in the White House, at least she won’t be able to blame it on the veto.

3. 3.  As an economist, I look forward to any new administration – especially one which talks about the New Deal approvingly. I, too, hope to do as well as Amity Schaels.

4. 4. I think being in the loyal opposition will be quite fun.  Schadenfreude is a very satisfying emotion, don’t let anyone tell you differently.  For example, next time somone says “political money is bad”, I can point to our president as an example – although really, has that ever been in doubt?  I never liked McCain-Feingold, and I think Obama’s fundraising is proof that people vote with their dollars.  Why restrict that?

5. On a more serious note, Barack Obama can’t be as bad as Jimmy Carter. No one could be as bad as Jimmy Carter…

Anyway, enjoy the rest of the night, guys.  I can’t party because I can’t drink – but what the hell.  I’ll get the seniors to buy me a beer…

EDIT:  I feel I should make a note of this, since I didn’t, and it’s important.  This is the 44th time America has changed government peacefully.  It’s a record that most of the world can’t boast of – so enjoy, guys.  America truly is a great country.

EDIT 2:  OK, yes, I forgot 1860.  Sue me, it’s still a great record.

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I live in a bubble.
October 17, 2008

OK, the title is a lie.  I don’t live in a bubble.  I do live in Austin, though, which is almost as good in some ways.  I think it’s time for hilarious stories about my classmates and teachers!

As I mentioned before, we have three weeks to go before the election.  I had thought that the UT campus was suspiciously quiet this year, at least compared to primary season last spring, when it seemed like the campus became a giant hive-mind for Obamabots, Paulians, and a very small number of Huckabeeans (man, figuring out group names is hard!).  That pretty much sums up the political viewpoint of the school: liberals, big-L Libertarians, and evangelical Christians.  But I came back this year, and everything was quiet, even after Palin was chosen as McCain’s VP pick.  One one hand, I was thankful – I’m glad I don’t have to deal with “Palin is a C***” t-shirts, because it’s just wierd – but on the other, I was puzzled.  Where was all the energy?

Well, it’s started coming out.  In my fencing class, one girl spent every free moment talking about the wonderful world we would inhabit once that dreadful Bush-Cheney White House was gone.  OK, fine – a little irritating, but she’s essentially harmless.  No, the real explosion happened in my history class last night.  My professor is an older woman who has been part of the department for at least 20 years, and she is a proud part of the “Sarah Palin is an idiot” contingent.  In her defense, however, she think Adlai Stevenson should have won, so it’s not a specifically anti-Sarah Palin thing, more an anti-….well, I don’t know.  Anti-Republican?  Naw, Truman was a Democrat.  I guess it’s a cultural problem.  I’ve never actually met anyone who still supports Adlai Stevenson, but OK.  It takes all kinds, right?

So I walk into the class, and everyone is discussing the pre-debate polls.  Obama is 10% ahead!  What can that old man McCain do to derail him, huh?  The professor warns that McCain used to be pretty good back in the day, and another guy points out the dreaded “Bradley effect” – the people polled are secretly racist, you know.  I tried to point out that the polling methodology is wrong, but they weren’t listening, and then I (figuratively) smacked myself in the face.  Why was I outing myself as an idiotic non-Obama voter?

Anyway, after a few minutes, we moved back onto the the class subject, thank god.  But halfway into the class, the sound a car-chase interrupted us – what was that?  Well, as one of my brilliant classmates said, maybe McCain had died during the debate.  This, of course, set off a long discussion of what would happen, considering early voting had already started.  In their defense, they were very worried about this.  Would that woman take over?  Would the GOP have to do another convention?  It was all a bit morbid.  Finally, I pointed out that unless McCain grew a giant talking mole during the debate, he probably wasn’t dead, so maybe we could get back to, you know, the Crusades?  Of course, we had to continue talking a bit more, so I waited the discussion out and tried to avoid rolling my eyes.  I think it’s interesting how my classmates think McCain is so frail and on-the-edge – he’s had cancer, you know!  On the other hand, I’m pretty blase about the whole thing.  If McCain had had lung cancer or something like that, I guess I’d be more worried, but I know the rates for melanoma relapse and melanoma survival, and it’s not exactly terrifying.  Oh well.  They’re history majors, no one ever said they had to know science!  Or economics, either – remember, kids, those Golden Parachutes are to blame for the mortgage meltdown, not bad government regulation and political corruption!  Now, let’s get back to planning those wage and price controls!

Anyway, it was doubly weird, because we’re reading Robert of Clari’s chronicle of the fourth crusade, and the professor loves him, because he’s Everyman of the Crusades!  But at the same time, she castigates people who vote for McCain as idiots – why don’t ordinary middle-class voters understand how stupid they are?  Very strange.  I admit, I’ll never understand the persuasion tactic of “insult someone until they understand how stupid they are and how right I am”.  The same sort of people whinge about how horrible this country is, and how they’re going to move to Canada where all the smart people are.  I guess Canadians are like Pratchett’s trolls, and the cold makes their brains run better, although people who want to move to Canada for that reason that don’t seem to know anything about Canada, or they’d know a conservative government is in power.

Anyway, class ended, everyone gathered around the teacher to talk about Obama’s inaugeration, and I made my escape.  I’m not very good at faking enthusiasm for Obama, and although I don’t think my classmates or teacher are rabidly anti-Republican/liberatarian/conservative, the teacher is pretty forthright that stupid people don’t get good grades, and people who vote for McCain are stupid.  I’d like her to grade my paper (70% of my grade) thinking of me as the eager-beaver sophomore, not as that idiot Republican.

I feel like a coward, but I don’t want to waste the money on this course.  I’d like to at least pass and get rid of another requirement to graduation.  On the other hand, this is the third class in the liberal arts that I’ve taken, and the second I’ve seriously regretted.  A trend to watch, or just bad luck?  You decide.

On the upside, I really want to see McCain win now.  I have class on November 5, and I have the feeling it will be hilarious if Obama loses.

The last month is always the worst part, supposedly…
October 15, 2008

So, the election is in three weeks.  I keep telling myself to soldier on, I’ve survived two years of this crap, I can survive another three weeks, can’t I?  Don’t be wuss, Elena!  But it seems so far away…and this campaign is so incredibly boring

On the other hand, quite a few conservative pundits are jumping ship for the Obama-boat.  Impressive, guys, impressive.  You know, one of the things I’ve always loved about the conservative movement is how diverse it is – in terms of ideology, anyway.  Free trade is good – but should we be for reciprocal free-trade, or single-way treaties?  What about taxes – should we just lower it across-the-board, or lower just corporate taxes, or maybe instead of lowering taxes, just reform the tax system?  Same argument on foreign policy, welfare reform, etc, etc.  I like that about the conservative movement – I like that we can argue and still be conservative.

With that said, I’m not very happy with the people jumping ship.  Ooh, McCain – he’s not articulate or charismatic or conservative enough to be president, so let’s support Obama instead!  LAME.  How is this news, conservative punditry?   McCain’s many, many flaws as a candidate have been well known since, like, forever.  Charismatic?  Not our guy – he got where he was by outlasting everyone else, and in fact, being the majority second choice of the republican party.  Articulate – well, he’s better than Bush on that count, but his campaign is floundering like a hooked fish.  Not sure what’s going on there except the knowledge that whatever stand the campaign makes, McCain will be called a racist.  Now, personally, I don’t care, but I realize that I was born far, far after the Civil Rights movement, so being called a racist has no effect on someone like me.  McCain is probably different, being older and all.  Not conservative enough?  Well, whoop-de-doo.  Really?  So voting for Obama is any better?  I’m not really sure how that makes any sense, considering that Obama is pretty liberal…

Of course, if other conservative pundits point that out, we’re hopeless McCainiacs, which is rather annoying.  McCain wasn’t my first choice, but I’ve lined up behind the guy because I think Obama will be worse – for the economy, at least, if not foreign policy.  I guess that makes me an anti-intellectual racist far-right ideologue that likes to (wait for it!) eat children.

Well, good luck guys, that’s all I can say.  I’m not sure how endorsing the liberal candidate is conservative, but hey, it’s a free country!  Anyway, that’s my political post for today.  I guess I’ll go do some actual work – like, you know calculus.  Korean.  Harassing my history teacher.  Whoops, did I say that out loud?