The LuLac Edition #630, Nov. 5th, 2008
PHOTO INDEX: PRESIDENT ELECT OBAMA AND VICE PRESIDENT ELECT BIDEN.
A NEW ERA
Tonight President Elect Barack Obama started a new era in the history of the United States of America. Winning an electoral landslide, Obama’s victory politically vindicated the Democrat election losses of 2000 and 2004. By carrying Florida and Ohio handily, Obama’s effort erased the stain of the theft of the 2000 and 2004 elections. This campaign was not an ordinary political campaign, it was a crusade. It was a drink of fresh water to a thirsty nation of disaffected voters that had given up on politics. The young who never had a candidate that truly inspired them, the minorities who never saw a legitimate contender that would be embraced by the mainstream and the middle class that has been bearing the cost of every governmental project, from war to social programs. Never in our history has a candidate inspired people. When Obama would say “this is our moment” people scoffed at that notion. But generationally you only get one of these in a lifetime. As a Hillary supporter, I thought she was the real deal. But as I got to know the Obama campaign, I saw a determination to not only win the Presidency but change it. In tonight’s speech, the President Elect spoke of unity and reaching across the aisle. He was also forceful, in confronting our enemies, he said in no uncertain terms they would be defeated. Obama made no false promises either. Realistically he told Americans they would have a hill to climb. Americans are not stupid and Pollyanna followers. They know it will be a tough road, and they know that everything will not be fixed overnight. But for the first time in years, they have the sense that someone they have chosen knows how high the stakes are for this nation. Right now there is little room for error. Barack Obama knows that and essentially told the American people tonight that “this moment” will span days, months and even years. But that moment is now in the hands of a leader who has a stake in America’s success. Barack Obama as a political animal has come a long way. Just four years ago this week, he was a state Senator elected to the U.S. Senate. Tonight, he becomes President of the U.S. He aspires to greatness, not mediocrity. This desire, ambition, drive and knowledge of what’s wrong and knowing it needs to be fixed, can only serve this country well as we enter into a new era that will make history.
AT THE POLLS
Conversations heard at the polls were fascinating. A number of people, black and white brought their kids to the polls and talked about the significance of this moment. In particular black voters were bursting with pride as well they should have. I heard a woman say that "this was God's plan for him even before he was born". Amazing that a country that once sold people of color as slaves in the 19th century, turned water hoses on them in the 20th century for having the temrity to ask for the right to vote elected an African American as President in the 21rst century. Turnout in LuLac land was at an all time high reflecting the rest of the nation’s passion and interest.
John McCain’s concession speech was a work of art and class. Unlike the rude and unruly behavior of his supporters who jeered at the very mention of the name Obama. (This is one of the reasons why I feel the Dems won, the middle of the road American people have been turned off by the obnoxious partisanship of many members of the Republican party). McCain said, "Senator Obama has achieved a great thing for himself and his country," said McCain, calling Obama a "good man." "This is an historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African-Americans and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight." Call him a grumpy old man, a guy with a temper, whatever, John McCain has a great deal of class as well as love and loyalty for his country.
284 AT 11PM
It came in the blink of an eye but at 11PM, 8PM Pacific, Barack Obama became President of the United States with projections coming from the west. Two big gains were Colorado and New Mexico, two states that went to President Bush in 2004.
POLITICAL WRAP UP
Jack Wagner polled over 2 and half million votes in his victory for a second term as Auditor General over Chet Beiler and Betsy Summers. That number will be bandied about when Wagner’s chances for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2010 is discussed….Rob McCord venture capitalist from southeastern Pennsylvania loaned 5 million dollars to his own campaign. He won the State Treasurer’s race over Tom Ellis and Berlie Etzel…GOPer Tom Corbett beat back a challenge from John Morganelli to start another term as Attorney General.
State Legislative races were few and far between in LuLac land. But in the 117th, Karen Boback beat Russ Bigus by a 2 to 1 margin…..In the 113th, Kevin Murphy beat incumbent Frank Andrews Shimkus. Shimkus blamed it on people voting a straight Democratic ticket but you had to believe Murphy won because of Shimkus’ per diems as well as the well oiled organizations of the Scranton City Hall crowd and the power of the old Jim McNulty organization which still has considerable clout in the city….A race of interest out of the area finds Majority Leader and power behind the Democratic throne Bill DeWeese winning reelection over Greg Hopkins..... Control of the state House appears to remain a toss-up, with some races still too close to call. The Republican control of the Senate did not appear to be in jeopardy. Among the House incumbents who had appeared headed for defeat were Democrats Chris King of Bucks County, Dan Surra of Elk County and Vince Biancucci of Beaver County. Also the Democrats appeared to have lost a seat held by departing Rep. Tom Tangretti of Westmoreland County. But the Republicans appeared to have lost seats held by departing GOP Steven Cappelli of Lycoming County, George Kenney of Philadelphia, Carole Rubley of Chester County, and David Steil of Bucks County.
Congressman Chris Carney won a new term over GOPer Chris Hackett. Hackett never got an even break from his own party after defeating the fair haired boy Dan Meuser. Carney in the meantime built up a reputation for good constituent services and embraced earmarks calling them good for his district.
In a race where tons of money was spent, incumbent Paul Kanjorski won a 13th term in the House of Representatives. Kanjorski defeated Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta for the second time in six years. His margin was a little less but still not as close as some predicted. There were some who were even predicting defeat for the Nanticoke lawmaker. At his victory party at the Stadium Club, the Congressman’s wife introduced him. Kanjorski shared a big hug with long time ally Paul Maher. In the crowd was Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O’Brien, Wilkes Barre Mayor Tom Leighton and roaming the room was Joe Werner, an operative brought in to help the effort by the Democratic National Committee. The Congressman in his remarks said he was thrilled to be heading back to D.C. as part of the new Democratic team and mentioned that he was named to a task force by the House Speaker dealing with the economic recovery.
The Water referendum passed by a big margin in the state. It had a great deal of bipartisan support.
While the rest of the Wilkes Barre/Scranton TV market was watching Barack Obama become President at 11PM, “The News Station”, WNEP inexplicably went to local programming doing stand up reports from a Congressional race that was decided (the 10th) and from one that wasn’t, (the 11th)……..WLYN TV did a bang up job with anchor L.A. Tarone in covering the Kanjkorski-Barletta race. Tarone added a new word to anchorman election night vernacular saying over and over, “Yowza”. Great job and thanks to Wilkes Barre’s Service Electric for running their coverage….PCN did a great job shuttling in commentators of both parties every hour……WILK’s Sue Henry anchored the radio station’s coverage with ABC Radio national news and reporters in the field…..WBRE and WYOU did a good job in covering every race with live shots.... Eric Deabill and Joe Holden did stand up jobs reporting on their respective assignments as well as Laurie Monteforte….WYOU kept on calling Kevin Murphy “Patrick” Murphy but corrected it on their website…..WBRE’s Andy Mehalshick was at home on the anchor desk lending his vast knowledge to the evening….and it was great to see the premier softball pitcher of my old team “The Lady Killers” reporting on a local story. David DeCosmo covered the Murphy-Shimkus race and garnered on camera interviews with the two rivals.