one month later…

…to the day, I just realized.

Obama and the Quants won. Now we’re four-weeks deep into the ambiguous aftermath, headed towards what has been billed as the ‘fiscal cliff’, a time bomb strapped to economy by the lame-duck Congress of 2010.  No one can agree what that means, exactly. All seem to agree that it will change… something.

Israel almost invaded Gaza, then decided not to with a little help from the new (post Arab Spring) Egypt. Meanwhile, Morsi starts strange post-revolutionary parliamentary maneuvers we haven’t seen since the 1970s.  Gen. Petraeus resigns his CIA post amid some scandal. We’re still trying to figure out WTF is going on in Libya.  Assad contemplates using chemical weapons on his own people, knowing that will start a major war with US/NATO/etc.

Few people here in the US have had the time or energy to follow any of this. I haven’t. I’ve been too exhausted, myself, which is why I haven’t written anything.

With regards to the election, the one big, long-lasting takeaway from last month is this: They were True Believers, after all. Karl Rove refused to believe that his team had lost Ohio. Skeptics like me assumed that Karl Rove “knew” he had Ohio in the bag, for nefarious reasons.  Turns out that, no, Karl Rove literally inhabits a different universe where the electorate was whiter, older, more conservative. He really did have alternative math.

But it wasn’t just Turd Blossom. Turns out that Romney himself had been so certain of victory that he’d ordered up some celebratory fireworks for Boston Harbor, and neglected to write a concession speech. His own team’s polls had him up in NH, OH, CO, FL and VA.  Polls that weren’t so much unscientific, as colored by “personal expectation” on the part of the interpreters. (Because, after all, any damned geek in a white lab coat can take a poll, that’s just sissy mathematics– you’re paying for the interpretation, aren’t you?)

That scares me, frankly: These Reality-Creators had, in fact, gotten trapped in the very world they had built for us. So they were unable to see what was plainly there before them. Unable to see and process uncomfortable truths. Unable to make decisions based on real data.

Imagine what magnificent foreign policy blunders such a mindset could have accomplished. Imagine how much collateral damage to the social safety net and the working class such a mindset could have accomplished.

These people almost got to run the country.

the night before…

Almost everybody is exhausted, and just wants it the hell over with. Even a lot of people who wouldn’t normally care about such things.

The Quants like Nate Silver and the rest say that Obama’s a statistical lock. The Reality-Creators have already coronated their next Reagan, and are eager for the 1980s to return. Most mainstream outlets have depicted the race as neck and neck, even though it hasn’t been for over two weeks. And so, nobody really knows what is real.

I side with the Quants this time: Statistically, Obama should win tomorrow.  But I worry about mischief.  How bold will some obscure county clerks in OH, NV or VA dare to be?  Or even a Secretary of State?

Hard to conceive of a world where you have to fight for the Real. But that’s where we are in 2012.

after the storm

The wind had died down by morning. There were leaves and large branches strewn everywhere, as you’d expect. Also more than a few asphalt roof shingles scattered all over the street and sidewalk. I did my best to look around and color-match them to the roofs around me, and more than I liked looked like mine. I walked around and couldn’t easily see anything missing, but I’ll look more closely tomorrow (I was in a rush this morning).

NYC didn’t fare well at all. Record storm surges over 13 feet, flooded subways, whole blocks on fire. Luckily under 50 deaths so far, but that is sure to rise. NJ Gov Chris Christie plays the class act, drops all politics. Everybody interprets this however they like.

Mitt Romney re-brands his Victory Rallies into ‘Relief Rallies’, collects canned goods, and runs brazenly false ads hoping that there’s not enough time to counter them. (One ad: Jeep shipping jobs to China. Another ad obfuscating the GOP platform on Roe v. Wade. I’m sure there are more).

McCain. Benghazi. Fast and Furious. Screw the Hope, Time to Change. It’s like watching your country get eaten alive by Amway Zombies.

The election is a week from today. Most everyone just wants it the hell over with.

But IMO, there’s no guarantee it’ll be over quite so soon.


So there’s a hurricane post-tropical cyclone going on outside. First high tide was about noon, the harbor looked like this.

Too soon to say, but it’s looking like this area’s main issue will be the wind. Basically an October Nor’easter, like 1991. Or a February storm without the snow.

I was worried about storm surges and excessive rains flooding my basement, but for now at least, it’s all about the roof. And the occasional downed power line.

Good luck, NYC. The Weather Channel just posted a record 11.25ft surge.

And my house has just started shaking.

uncle joe

So Biden did, indeed, win the debate as only he could have. Triumph and rejoicing in many circles, though he apparently laughed and grinned more than allowed for a Democratic VP during a debate. Accusations that the tea-totaling Biden was ‘drunk’, or ‘losing control’ were the GOP spin of the day today. Offensive, frankly: You lost this one, deal with it. When Obama lost last week, Democrats could see that, and were among the first to say it. (Yet another anecdote against the alleged false symmetry between the two parties).

Any change in the poll numbers remains to be seen. Meanwhile, Romney’s (to me) mysteriously long-lived debate bump has all but tied the race. Some trendlines now favor him. Odd for a debate to make such a difference. Even more odd for there to be no apparent effect on any downticket races.

And yet– the arbitrary 8% unemployment number as re-election threshold was beat just a week ago (7.8%). Suddenly doesn’t matter. The long-collapsed housing market, starting to seem a little less collapsed. Suddenly doesn’t matter. Deficits starting to come down. Suddenly doesn’t matter.

And so on. Not good. I remember 1980, how it felt like this sudden turning away from Reality. The Turnips out there are apparently liking the sound of this new Comfortable Lie they’re being sold.

But in 1980 the US was a net creditor nation. Our nearest competitor nation was at least a decade behind us technologically. We still had a manufacturing sector (albeit one still reeling from the 1970s Oil Shock), more natural resources, and a very stable legal/political system. None of these things are true anymore. She could take it then. I don’t think she could take it now… we still haven’t recovered from the last Republican President.

Folks really should know better than to do this to themselves. Or to the rest of us.

mr ryan v. biden

Just realized that I pick up exactly where I left off at the old place. Symmetry is always an omen.

We’ve built up these debates to the level of gladiatorial combat. It must have started with the Republican primary debates. The energy (and expectations) built up there carried over to this current cycle of cross-party debates. And everyone, including me (and except perhaps Romney, ironically) was shocked by this.

Romney’s plan all along was to surf his way into the White House upon a Tsunami of Bullshit, Reagan-style. And we all acted surprised when he did his best in the debate last week.

And so here we are, in the odd position of having Joe Biden as our new Rhetorical Champion of Democracy. With Paul Ryan, Dual-in-One Avatar of both Christ and Rand as the opponent.

I buy into these debates as much as anybody else does, if not more. But somehow I’ve grown tired (exhausted) of the stakes being so high.

Of course I’ll watch. Of course I’ll be part of whatever freakout or triumph comes in the aftermath.

What else could I do?