Well, the day has finally arrived. The millions of Americans who haven't already voted in advance polls are today casting their ballots after a long two years of debates, party coronations, political conventions, primaries, and the comings and goings of umpteen wannabe Presidents of the United States.
The significance of this election is great. The hugely unpopular administration of George W. Bush draws to a close after having to preside over a late second term crisis which saw the unravelling of the sub prime mortgage crisis, the subsequent Wall Street meltdown, and the $750 billion banking bailout. All this capped off an already badly tattered image of a nation embroiled in a never ending war in Iraq.
I think it's safe to say Americans have a hunger for better times, and that not many tears will be shed when George W. makes his final wave from the lawn of the White House before a helicopter points him towards exile in Crawford, Texas.
A horribly unpopular Republican presidency doesn't do anything to help an intelligent, experienced, and respectable hopeful like John McCain assume controls of the ship of state. It also doesn't help when the heir to the GOP is running against a young, charismatic, and gifted speaker promising change from the misery of the past four years.
For those simple reasons my bet is on Barack Obama winning this election. If it's not going to be a landslide it'll be a clear victory. The Congress will go in the Democrats favour making it all that more difficult for Obama to balance the challenges handed to him from the previous administration, and the expectations of implementing all that he promised in his whole Change mantra. It will be a difficult term to follow, for sure.
No matter how one feels about where Obama situates himself on the political spectrum, the historic significance of witnessing an African American become U.S. President is extraordinary. One gets the sense that these moments are actually major turning points in U.S. political history which only happen once in a generation.
Many worry that bigotry is the uncertain factor in this election and will scare millions into voting against Obama. I have no doubt rednecked folk, and some old people will go by that, but I think that that sentiment is in decline and won't impact much on the results. Barack Obama transcends the politics of the old civil rights movement and he doesn't espouse the hostility of old style African American Democrats like Jesse Jackson. He's beyond that, and I think that makes Obama more palatable as a leader among non -African Americans.
I thought I'd compile a list of the most memorable words, names, and phrases of the 2008 Presidential campaign and some of my impressions.
Hillary and Bill Clinton became an insignificant force after Obama won the Democratic leadership. It's expected Hillary's silence was purchased with the promise of a plum job once Obama becomes President.
Hockey Mom was how Sarah Palin described herself when introduced to national audiences at the GOP convention.
Trig, Sarah Palin's youngest child born with Down's Syndrome. Rumors spread that it was actually Palin's pregnant 17 year old's daughter.
Drill, Baby, Drill was the conservative mantra at the GOP convention at a time when fuel costs were at record highs, and demand was being made for cheap domestic oil.
Joe the Plumber, or Sam Wurzelbacher, was recorded questioning Democratic candidate Barack Obama about his small business tax policy during a campaign stop in Ohio. Republicans exploited him as a cause celebre against the Democrats.
Spread the Wealth was how Obama planned to help the economy in the aftermath of the credit crunch. Republicans used this statement against Obama suggesting he's a Socialist, even though redistribution of wealth is an obvious outcome after a government collects taxes.
Saturday Night Live became a hit during the campaign. Tina Fey's impression of Sarah Palin was a dead ringer. Ratings for the show soared, making SNL relevant.
$150,000 was how much it was revealed the Republican Party paid for Sarah Palin's Vice Presidential wardrobe.
Rev. Jeremiah Wright and "not God bless America, but goddamn America", as the reel looped endlessly to convey his inflammatory views. Obama was forced to distance himself from Wright, who was once his pastor.
The grandmother, who played a big part in raising Obama died on the day before the election. Obama took a couple days to visit her in Hawaii a week before her death.
Colin Powell, the former Secretary of State to George W. Bush, endorsed Obama, instead of McCain.
The Fundamentals of the Economy are strong so declared McCain in the midst of the Wall Street meltdown.
Europe was toured by Obama soon after he acquired enough party delegate votes. It was a huge international success.
George Bush was a big no show during the whole election campaign. He didn't even bother to personally show up at the Republican convention, and one time supporters did what they could from tainting the campaign with his presence.
Yes we can was the slogan of the Obama campaign.
Maverick was used to describe John McCain for his independent political stances. More characteristic of the John McCain from the 2000 campaign.
Biden's test remark was when he admitted an Obama presidency would face heightened international tensions as foreign rogue states test his limits.
Community Organizer was what Barack Obama was before becoming a civil rights attorney. Republicans mocked him for stating this as political experience.
Prisoner of War was what John McCain was for 5 years after his bomber was shot down during the Vietnam war.
ACORN, short for Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Obama's campaign hired an ACORN affiliate for $800,000 to conduct a get-out-the-vote effort during the 2008 primary. McCain's campaign released a web-based ad suggesting ACORN was partly responsible for the 2008 economic crisis.
Bill Ayers co-founded in 1969, the radical left organization the Weather Underground, which conducted a campaign of bombing public buildings during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1995, Ayers hosted "a coffee" for "Mr. Obama's first run for office." Republicans used this to convince voters that Obama has ties to terrorism.
Bush Doctrine was mentioned in a interview of Sarah Palin by ABC's Charlie Daniels. He wanted Palin to give her impressions of this doctrine, as if anyone but academics are really familliar with it.
The market meltdown a luck may have it, happened dead in the middle of the Presidential race, just in time for the debates.