by Jerome Armstrong, Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 06:19:51 AM EST
This is a rear-view post about the predictions and outcomes of the '08 election. I know it was a pretty acrimonious primary, but as hard as it is for the commenters here whose only interaction with me is through this blog, I don't wear it long. My blogging here is a small part of the day, if that, and I don't depend at all on it for income. As such, when I contribute its from the standpoint of enjoyment, which is usually the case, even when its been confrontational.
I've get the usual flack here for my opinions on Obama, but I do keep my opinions and my predictions separate, and the latter stacked up pretty well in 2008. Here's the good, bad, and ugly.
--Good: In the first four primary states, I said Obama would win Iowa, Obama & Clinton would tie in NH, Clinton would win in Nevada, and Obama in SC.
--Ugly: I pulled up a 'fail' on super Tuesday though, with no polling to go off in the caucus states, and not factoring in that Clinton had no caucus strategy, I missed most of those caucus states going to Obama.
--Good: Post-super Tuesday, with the exception of the Maine caucus, I closed out by predicting correctly, 23 out of 24 contests.
Overall, I think back to a few personal moments of seeing how it would turn out ahead of time. The first was at the '06, which I attended the Harkin Steak Fry with Mark Warner, and saw the reception of Barack Obama. Then at the '07 Harkin Steak Fry, when I was walking from the main tent down the hill, across the parking lot early in the morning before it filled, to where Obama was having his gathering, opposite corner. The wind was blowing upward and I could hear Obama's '04 speech being re-played as the wind lifted it up across the mile to the stands. That day, I knew he'd win Iowa (even though I was rooting for Edwards). I think the moment I realized Clinton could probably lose the nomination, was when she didn't campaign early on in MI & Fl, as I blogged she should. But even then, it seems like destiny was on Obama's side all along. And finally, the JJ dinner in Virginia, was when I realized how strong Obama's support was in the state, and that he would likely win the nomination.
I really do congratulate all of you who were on Obama's train from the very beginning. I know how that feels, to be there from the beginning, and the taste of victory is sweet, so congratulations again for making this happen.
--Obama winning by 6.4 percent. It looks like I'll be off by a few decimal points. EV-wise, I had flipped back three states (NC, MO, IN) to McCain the last week, but Obama won two of those.
--Democrats netting 24 seats in the House. We are going to pick up somewhere above 20 and below 25.
--Democrats picking up 9 seats in the Senate. We currently have 7, with MN and GA still in play.
I didn't do as perfectly as I did in '06, when I nailed it by predicting 6 seats in the Senate and 30 in the House for the Dems, but all good enough.
*Ugly: My assessment of Obama as a candidate turned out to be mostly wrong. Though he did flip on all the issues I figured he would (drilling, self-financing...), he ran a phenomenal strategical campaign, from the beginning to the end-- probably the best execution (historically) since Nixon's '66-68 campaign.
*Bad: I also totally underestimated how much the TV media would be in the pocket of the Obama campaign. Not so much against Clinton, which was expected (but not by as much as it happened), but against McCain, which was a welcome surprise. It was a strange feeling for a Democrat, to be on that side of the fence for the first time in my lifetime. My assessment of McCain & Palin was too generous. Palin, though she had a phenomenal opening act, was lacking with any follow-through. McCain's campaign reminded my of Kerry's, in that the guy let go of every political instinct he had and handed the big decisions over to his campaign chiefs.
*Good: Professionally, I was involved with four winning candidates this cycle, three in the Senate and Jared Polis in the House. And I was able to help out with the DSCC team in the four Senate races we won in the west. Outside politics, the success we had the past year with SBNation.com, tech, team, and funding, was awesome. As for the next cycle, I'm sure to be working races, but am now more focused on the VA '09 Gov race than any other. I've also been able to start working outside the US, which I enjoy.
I'm also going to be involved in a couple of accountability efforts of elected Democrats in '10, launching some social activist platforms to push progressive policy. I'm contemplating writing another book, this one more globally about the netroots. In the US, people now have the power in place. Democrats have won, but that doesn't mean we sit back and watch, but instead have to remain engaged and campaign for the right changes. It's amazing what's happening inside other countries that are using the net to change politics.
To be honest, I put spending time with my kids (and they never get enough) ahead of jotting down my thoughts here on MyDD, and given the other commitments I have, the limited blogging is probably going to remain the case in the near-term. We've got a great crew of bloggers here though, and the community size feels just right. Here's to an amazing '09. Is this where the fun part starts?