Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I realize I have not been blogging much over the last week. (Or at all, if we're going to be honest.) Call it euphoria over our new President. And the fact that I was blogging for Jewcy (although, in honesty, that was over a week ago). And a tremendous amount of work...

But, like the President-elect, I promise change.

I also looked over some of my old blog posts and realized I never quite updated my readers on my travels in Italy... my mistake. I will write up a post either tonight or tomorrow about some of the places in Campania and Rome where you can find a decent slice of pizza. And as for my adventures in Italy in general, I wrote most of it into a travel piece for the Post's travel web site. It should be up next week. I'll be sure to link to it.

Also, I have a number of book recommendations waiting for my bored readers, restaurant reviews waiting for my hungry readers and two movies I'm dying to tell you about. At least one of these things will be up today.

As for political musings, well, they will be fewer and farther between in the future -- thank the good lord the campaign is finally over. (Although I actually found myself agreeing with Bill Maher a week or two ago when one of his "New Rules" was to stop wishing that the election was over. "This is the most exciting election of all time!" he screamed. He's right.)

As one of the Obama supporters who feels slightly aimless now that the job is finished (I'm no longer checking Fivethirtyeight, Talking Points Memo and Andrew Sullivan 18 times a day) I think it'll be good to actually start thinking about things a little more lofty than the latest Virginia Rasmussen poll.

But because we're all sort of still addicted to the history and drama of it all, I would strongly recommend shelling out $5.95 for the latest issue of Newsweek for one last hurrah. (Or reading it online.)

It was a tremendous seven-part chronicle of the campaign -- and even though there was a lot I knew, there was much I didn't. (Moreover, when you start reading it all the anger and frustration and excitement starts to return.)

It really starts getting good when you get to the section on the post-Palin McCain campaign. (Greeting Mark Salter and Steve Schmidt in nothing but a towel is a classic! Straight out of a movie! Maybe even a blue movie!)

While I remain convinced that Palin was probably the worst pick McCain could have made politically (doomed to do much more harm than good) you've got to hand it to Johnny Mac -- he definitely spiced things up. An already dramatic campaign became downright surreal. And I think that when you get right down to it -- aside from the fact that the country is in shambles, every one was really eager change, etc. -- the thing that made this campaign so compelling was because it was a really odd cast of characters who did the strangest things under pressure.

Half of them were very familiar players who had already made their mark on our collective consciousness (McCain, the Clintons, Biden) and half of them were a total mystery (Obama, Palin). Obama was everything we could have hope for; Palin was a walking nightmare. It wasn't just that her gaffes were so numerous -- it was that they were so unexpected. You knew some bomb was going to go off -- you just didn't know where or when. The $150,000 shopping spree was something that, frankly, I didn't much care about (pretty silly stuff when you get right down to it) -- but it was such a bush league thing to be caught out on! Those interviews filled with gibberish! The fact that she didn't know Africa was a continent?!? (How can that be taken "out of context"?) And the meek defenses from Bill Kristol et al.

But the more interesting thing (as far as I was concerned) was seeing how Obama caught so many tried and true people off guard.

The Hillary implosion (wonderfully detailed in the Newsweek piece) was something pretty shocking to behold. Her staff was just about dysfunctional as the current administration. (Which I know is slightly unfair -- but really only slightly). Bill, who had spent his entire life courting the love of blacks, showed his ugliest and most mean-spirited side.

Who could have guessed that the handsome, white male from a southern state (Edwards) would have been the least electable of the bunch?

And how could John McCain -- every Democrat's favorite Republican -- have allowed himself to fall so far so quickly? How could a man of such good sense put himself in the hands of such ideological fruitcakes? (I think he was more out of it than he let on, after reading the Newsweek article. He was, apparently, stunned to find himself badly behind in New Hampshire with only a few days to go.)

And what of all the cross party shenanigans?! Colin Powell and Ken Adelman endorsing Obama -- and the former Democratic VP nominee being vetted to be the GOP VP nominee?! (Although that wasn't a first. John C. Calhoun -- the ideological father of secessionism -- was VP under John Quincy Adams and then under his rival, Andrew Jackson.)

(For the record, Josh Marshall had the best thing for Harry Reid to say to Joe Lieberman about keeping his committee chair: "My offer is this. Nothing.")

OK. Maybe there will be political musings in the future...