Column: Final thoughts on the 2008 presidential election

(Photo by ronbrinkmann/Flickr.)

First, I would like to congratulate Barack Obama for running a smart, well-organized campaign. He had a message and he stuck to it. Obama reminds me of New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick. He studied harder than his opponents. He engaged in some light cheating. He forced the other guy to play his game. John McCain reminds me of the coach of my Cleveland Browns, Romeo Crennel. He was disorganized. He was always behind. He flipped a coin on major decisions.
For non-sports fans, Obama was Kanye West on the Glow in the Dark Tour, a spectacle of light and sound. McCain was The Little River Band showing up two hours late to the Marion County Popcorn Festival.

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Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal captured the narrative of the campaign better than anyone. I am now a fan. She is a conservative, but she gave Obama credit when credit was due and was not afraid to call out McCain and Sarah Palin. Noonan is thoughtful and gracious. I enjoyed what she wrote about Tina Fey after the “30 Rock” star appeared as Palin on “Saturday Night Live.”

“To spoof someone well takes talent, but to utterly nail a political figure while not brutalizing him takes a real gift, and amounts almost to a public service. After all, to capture someone is a kind of tribute: it concedes he is real, vivid, worthy of note. We are not as a nation manufacturing trust all that well, or competence, or leadership. But some things we do well, and one is comedy. Fey plays characters who are sour, stressed and who, on ‘30 Rock,’ live in a world that is cynical, provisional and shallow. But to observe life so closely takes a kind of love.”

Every word of that is true.

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A certain other columnist did not do too badly either when he predicted Obama would win in his April 13, 2008 column Speech! Speech! Speech!

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I have failed to elect the winner in all four presidential elections in which I have been eligible to vote. This streak dates back to my junior year of college in 1996, when I was still a member of the Republican Party and voted for Bob Dole. (I am now an independent.)

True Bob Dole story about Bob Dole: I dressed as Dole for Halloween in 1996. It was a move born of pure laziness. I was like, “Hey, I have a blue suit. Hey, I have a pen I can hold. Hey! I have a costume!” Another true story: We had a party at our house – Halloween is huge at Ohio University – and during the party the doorknob to the bathroom broke off while I was inside. This happened as my friends were leaving to go Uptown. I had two choices. I could sit in the bathroom all night and miss the party of the year. Or I could climb through the eight-inch vertical gap in the window above the toilet. For any Bobcat, this is a no-brainer. Everyone behind my house witnessed, probably for the only time in history, an inebriated Bob Dole climbing sideways through bathroom window of a ramshackle house.

(Above: Bob Dole doesn’t like climbing out of bathroom windows. Bob Dole prefers egressing through doors! Photo by Visit Hillsborough/Flickr.)

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I am glad this election has increased Anderson Cooper’s fame. The CNN star needs to be on television all of the time so that I can enjoy more moments like the ones below.

I get the feeling that if Cooper had not worked his way up at CNN, he would have wound up as the local commentator on the NBC affiliate in Buffalo who is given one minute on the 11 o’clock news to inveigh against “those loudmouths at city hall” and “all this newfangled technology” and “the damn potholes on Niagara Street.” I wish the guy continued success, but I also hope his career tanks, just so this actually happens.

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This election has added two new terms to my vocabulary. The first is “to go Biden.” A person goes Biden when he says crazy things without acknowledging that any crazy things are being said. An example: “My dad totally went Biden on me yesterday. He said I haven’t been walking the dog like I promised to. I was like, ‘Dad, I’m 28. Lucky has been dead for eleven years.’ And he goes, ‘Who wants pizza!?!’”
The second one is “to go Palin.” A person goes Palin when they talk to other people as if they are a character from “Our Town.” Here is an example: “Please pass the butter, dear. Because it’s the passin’ of the butter and the butterin’ of the corn that makes the chewin’ and the eatin’ of the corn so darn delectable, doggone it.” (WINK!)

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Good luck, Barack Obama. You have a lot of tough days ahead. Whatever happens, please do not go all Biden on us. That job is taken.