Friday, October 17, 2008

Dear Old Stockholm

Hello from Stockholm. I am in the middle of a birthday trip around Europe, and I have to say that this is by far the coolest city I have visited. There is just a feeling I get walking around the streets here that I have felt nowhere else. The ride on the train through Sweden from Denmark was absolutely breathtaking, reminding me a lot of the northeast of the US. Fall is in full swing, and the colors can't be beat. For a guy from LA where we have 1.5 seasons, it's quite something. Not to mention that I have never seen more gorgeous women in my life, both in quality and quantity. I never thought I'd say this, but going back to California is going to be difficult in some ways.

I have just read that Obama picked up endorsements from the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, and rumor has it that the New York Times will endorse on Sunday. These papers don't endorse every year. In fact, the LA Times hasn't endorsed since 1972, and the Tribune hasn't ever endorsed a Democrat. As if he needed more nails in his campaign's coffin. This is not an indictment of John McCain per se; I see it as more of a testament to how sincere and thoughtful Obama has shown himself to be. People are looking for stability and a clear focus on actual issues. Schmidt, McCain's Rove/Atwater clone, has shown that he can follow the smear playbook fairly closely, but the American people have grown smarter thanks to Bush. The McCain campaign has made some serious errors this year that eliminated any (small) chance he had in the first place. Ignoring the men completely, this election was strongly favored towards a generic Democrat. Had McCain run a different campaign (i.e. hired more honorable people to run his campaign), he would have had much more of a fighting chance. I will be writing a thorough obit in the next week or so detailing all of the things McCain's campaign did over the last year to ensure his loss.

I have a strong feeling that this campaign will be historical for more reasons than are readily apparent at the moment. Yes, the election of a black President less than 50 years after Dr. King is groundbreaking on one thousand different levels. But race was at most a very minor player in this campaign. Obama's campaign will be remembered for its incredible organization, its ability to mobilize thousands of volunteers using the latest technology, and for his adept use of the internet as a means of astronomical fundraising. It will be a role model for decades to come, and hopefully permanently raise the level of discourse in our presidential races. One thing I have heard consistently from the European friends I have made when we talk about the election, a topic nearly everyone here is eager to discuss, is that American elections are typically so personal. As much as the McCain campaign has tried in recent weeks to inject personal attacks, they have fallen flat. Times are too scary, this election is too important. People have realized that this is much more than American Idol.

I have a lot more of this city to see, so it's off to bed for me.

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