November 5, 2008

News highlights

Filed under: Media,Politics — Tags: , , , , — Melanie @ 12:52 pm

Los Angeles Times:

Barack Obama, the son of a father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas, was elected the nation’s 44th president Tuesday, breaking the ultimate racial barrier to become the first African American to claim the country’s highest office.

A nation founded by slave owners and seared by civil war and generations of racial strife delivered a smashing electoral college victory to the 47-year-old first-term senator from Illinois, who forged a broad, multiracial, multiethnic coalition. His victory was a leap in the march toward equality: When Obama was born, people with his skin color could not even vote in parts of America, and many were killed for trying.

Slate:

“We have a righteous wind at our back,” Obama proclaimed in the closing days of the campaign. It turned out to be a gale-force wind. He won decisively with more than 350 electoral votes and 51 percent of the popular vote, the first time a Democrat has achieved a majority of the popular vote since Jimmy Carter and by the largest margin for a Democrat since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.* He won among whites and in working-class areas where there had once been concern about his ability to connect with voters. Obama won among women, who are 53 percent of the electorate, by 14 points. He inspired a host of new voters and young voters, who helped make him the first post-baby boomer president. They all call him Barack, and he responded by texting them on victory night: “All of this happened because of you. Thanks, Barack.”

New York Times:

With his history-making election behind him, Barack Obama was moving ahead with his transition on Wednesday as he prepared to confront the daunting challenges that he will have to face as president in just 76 days, amid two wars and the gravest economic crisis to afflict the country since the Great Depression.

Huffington Post:

Even if your candidate didn’t win tonight, you have reason to celebrate. We all do.

Ten months ago, when Obama won in Iowa, we had a glimpse of what was possible and what became real tonight. What I wrote then about one state is now true for the whole country:

Barack Obama’s impressive victory says a lot about America, and also about the current mindset of the American voter.

Because tonight voters decided that they didn’t want to look back. They wanted to step into the future — as if a country exhausted by the last seven-plus years wanted to recapture its youth.

And they turned out in unprecedented numbers today to make sure that no amount of scrubbed rolls, malfunctioning machines, endless lines, or polling places running out of ballots would block the way.

The history of America is studded with great breakthroughs — propelled by leaders such as Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, and Martin Luther King – followed by decades of consolidation and occasional regression.

The Bush years have clearly been in a period of regression. The repudiation of those years is now almost universal. Even conservatives are admitting it; over the course of today, I’ve received numerous emails from conservatives ending with some variation on “Go Obama!”

In America’s journey toward a more just and truly democratic society, tonight is another milestone. And not just because the son of a Kenyan father and a mother from Kansas is now President-Elect. But also because tonight’s outcome is a declaration that we are once again a nation more driven by hope and promise than a nation driven by fear.

New York Times:

The election of Mr. Obama amounted to a national catharsis — a repudiation of a historically unpopular Republican president and his economic and foreign policies, and an embrace of Mr. Obama’s call for a change in the direction and the tone of the country.

But it was just as much a strikingly symbolic moment in the evolution of the nation’s fraught racial history, a breakthrough that would have seemed unthinkable just two years ago.

Huffington Post:

I love history and had often whined to myself that I wasn’t lucky enough to have lived during a more exciting age: I sometimes like to think that I could have been a Tuskegee Airman, Buffalo Soldier or beatnik. Instead, I grew up in an America that often felt like occupied territory. After freeing Europe from the Nazis in the Forties, and then blacks in the Sixties and women in the Seventies, politically, the next thirty-odd years have largely been a depressing, embarrassing, soul-grinding drag. Throughout those years it often felt like the Empire struck back and would never return this nation back to its people. So I escaped in my mind, consoling myself by writing about the Airmen and the Beats.

But last night history came to me.