Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Election Night Live Blog

Here's a transcript of my Election-Night liveblog for The Huffington Post. I've cleaned it up a bit. Your blogstress so hates to learn that her slip is showing.

Adele Stan: Election Results Liveblog (11/04/2008)

3:26 p.m.

Adele Stan: The religious right, it seems, is already looking past today's election, looking to rally the base once more around the culture wars. Tonight the Family Research Council will host its first-ever election-night Webcast, following not just the presidential and congressional-level races, but paying special attention to those all-important ballot measures -- like California's Proposition 8, the passage of which will end the right to same-sex marriage that California's people won via a court decision several months ago. The issues touted in the teaser video sent around via e-mail by FRC's Tony Perkins include "abortion, gambling, man-woman marriage and stem-cell research."

Below find the code for doing your own opposition research. Get a little bored watching MSNBC and CNN? Check out Tony Perkins advising his foot soldiers on the their post-election battles, click here.

3:40 p.m.

Adele Stan: Called the McCain campaign office, located in northern Virginia, and got nowhere fast in answer to the question of where their local watch party will take place. Not having one, it seems, and not real clear on where any unofficial gatherings will take place. The Republican National Committee will have a party, I was told.

Meanwhile, over at a local Washington, D.C., office for the Obama campaign, a volunteer named Ruth told me that while the campaign isn't doing anything official, there are parties at two big night spots: the 9:30 Club and Busboys & Poets.

Now, where would you rather be?

3:49 p.m.

Adele Stan: Speaking of the religious right, you'll be hearing lots of talk after tonight about the future of the Repubican party. I'm among those who see a potential split -- the question is, will the right wing hold onto the party machinery, or will it march itself out with its grassroots ground game -- perhaps to a venue like Howard Phillips' Constitution Party? Here's my take on that potentiality, at Mother Jones.

4:44 p.m.

Adele Stan: The Huffington Post is reporting that Sarah Palin declined to tell reporters who she voted for in the presidential election. I'm thinking, Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party. After all, Todd Palin belonged, for seven years to the Constitution Party's state affiliate, the secessionist Alaska Independent Party. And CP Chairman Howard Phillips told me he would be interested in having Palin run as the party's presidential nominee next time out.

5:01 p.m.

Adele Stan: I spend a lot of time in D.C.'s jazz community, which is an extraordinary place to be, really. Among jazz musicians, as you might imagine, there's no shortage of opinions, particularly on things political. Though few people realize it today, jazz was once a very political music -- a form of expression that was anti-establishment by its very nature. At times, it went overt with its politics -- think Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit", or the civil rights era music made by Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln. However, because of our nation's less-than-benign neglect of our nation's great indiginous art form, jazz has been left to be the soundtrack for department stores, corporate coffeehouse chains and rich people's cocktail parties. Well, check this out: From Will Galison and his Orchestra comes a ditty worthy of tonight: "Takin' it Back With Barack"" Hat tip to my reader, Rico, who got this from (she posts the lyrics), who got it from Jimmy Heath, who got it from James Moody. Now, there's some provenance for yas.

7:39 p.m.

Adele Stan: I'm hanging out for the moment at the Mother Jones Washington bureau, where the betting long ago left the realm of point spreads and electoral vote counts to what time the networks will call the election (presumably for Obama). The fellas are thinkin' somewhere between 10:45 and 11:16 EST.

I'm about to head over to a Presbyterian church in the Southwest section of DC, where an interesting mix of African-American jazz-lovers, and white gay and lesbian folks all find themselves under the same roof, on account of a jazz ministry and an "open and affirming" congregation. They've opened the church for folks to come watch election results together.

So here's a post that I tried to put up at around the 9:00 hour, I imagine. For some reason, I couldn't get program to load on my laptop from where I was working:

9:00 p.m. (estimated)

Adele Stan: Here in Southwest Washington, DC, I've arrived at Westminster Presbyterian Church, which was built in 1964 on the ruins of of the razed neighborhoods wrought by a policy known as "urban renewal" that involved destroying the village, ostensibly in order to save it (move it into faceless housing projects).

Westminster's co-pastors, Ruth and Brian Hamilton, made it their business to serve the neighborhood's historic denizens and its new arrivals, housing a non-profit community development corporation that promotes a nourishing jazz and blues ministry, as well as a significant AIDS-prevention program. Westminster is home to a thriving LGBTQ contingent in its congregation.

Tonight, all elements of the Westminster community are represented, as the sanctuary is tranformed into a theater of sorts, with MSNBC projected onto a screen just to the left of the cross, all run through a laptop run by Rev. Brian. Occasionally the screen freezes, but nobody seems to mind. This is a church without pews; the chairs are portable and tonight set at tables, where people chat as the results come in.

In addition to the regulars in the Westminster community here tonight is a table of Austrian graduate students. Nobody really seems to know how they wound up here, including the Austrians, who are all majors in political communications from Danube University in the town of Krems. Apparently, they asked their embassy for a list of election-watch parties, and Westminster wound up on the list. (I suspect the jazz connection for that one.)

I talked to a couple of the students, both of whom are journalists in their home countries. Hannes Gaisch marvelled at our electoral college system. "It's very complicated," he said. Katharina Seidl, a young woman with a chic, bobbed haircut and leather jacket added, "We all favor Obama." Indeed, the woman sitting next to her was wearing an Obama t-shirt.

9:15 p.m. (estimated)

Adele Stan: Back in TV land, somewhere around the same time, there was a weird exchange between Tom DeLay and Chris Matthews on MSNBC. At the time, I wrote it up this way:

Wait -- did Chris Matthews just tell Tom DeLay that he loved the way "you hate"?

Did he really just say, "We always know where you stand, buddy?"

Did DeLay just say very meekly, before being diappeared from the screen, "I don't hate." Wow!

9:58 p.m.

Adele Stan:
If you were going to invent a Christian church the represented the new paradigm, it just might be Westminster Presbyterian Church. Take Rita, who staffs the door on Blue Mondays, when the church hosts its weekly blues concerts. An African-American woman in her late 40s, Rita is a scientist and technician who runs her own business. She was raised, she says, in the AME church, a traditionally African-American denomination that is rather formal in character, but was drawn to Westminister for both its music and the diversity of its congregants.

"You have the mix of people, the mix of sexual orientations and a progressive community," she said. She pointed to a tall, cylindrical sculpture made of stained glass -- a modern rendering of the burning bush that was made in the church's own glass shop. "This flame was [part of] a welfare-to-work program," she said.

On my way out of the church, I was stopped by a white woman in her 40s, wearing a gold t-shirt that said "Firefighters for Obama/Biden." Her husband sat with her, wearing a matching shirt. She grabbed me to say that she reads The Huffington Post every day. The t-shirt she really wanted to wear, she couldn't find, she explained. That would have been "Military Families for Obama/Biden." Her son is in the Army, now stateside, but has been on two deployments -- one to Kuwait, and one to Afghanistan. "I figured with a President Obama, he'd likely get to stay where he is, and with a President McCain, he'd probably see a third deployment."

12:43 a.m.

Adele Stan: Well, folks, it's been a night of great beauty -- but technical glitches. So please forgive the late entries. In fact, lemme work my way a bit backwards, if I may -- or at least skip to THE BIG MOMENT.

I left my multiculti church friends in DC's Southwest quadrant, running a bit behind, having crossed my fingers for a fast enough wireless connection in the church for longer than I should have.

I hoped to make it to my next destination in time to catch the moment when the map gave it to Obama. Instead, I found myself sitting at a subway stop -- and the only white person, as far as I could see -- when the voice of the station supervisor came over the public address system, saying, "Barack Obama is the 44th president of the United States. Three African-American women, all friends, sitting on the same bench as me, jumped up, shouting and hugging each other. We were all moist in the eyes. Then they noticed me. And embraced me. Little old grey-eyed, spikey-haired me. Then we were all standing in puddles.

When we all stepped on the train, the passengers looked at us, and yelled, "He won?!!" And the whole subway car erupted -- in joy.

2:05 a.m.

Adele Stan:
On that subway train I found Henry Miller, a dark-skinned man, over 50, I'd guess, who is part of a superb a capella quartet called "After the Storm," whom Washingtonians know by their occasional and impromptu concerts at the Metro Center subway stop. Miller was among the riders who were receiving the news of Obama's election by the tears on my compatriots' faces, and he was all but beside himself. But taking note of the youth of the young ladies who had gotten on the train at the same time as me -- the strangers who had hugged me at the subway stop -- he felt the need to explain the cost of tonight's victory.

"A lot of people actually lost their lives so that we would have the right to vote," he said. "People were hung, they were lynched, they were tarred and feathered, and all other sorts of things that were happening. They were dragged on the back of pick-up trucks. And a lot of things took place with our people so that we could have the right to choose who we wanted to have run this country."

He was on his way home he said, to the same neighborhood where he was born and raised: Columbia Heights. A mix of gentrification and immigration has given the population a different mix than was there in Miller's younger days, but it's still home to him.

2:06 a.m.

Adele Stan: I collected some swell audio from my travels tonight, but I can't figure out how to get the file format right for upload. Maybe I'll figure it out before you wake up tomorrow.

2:27 a.m.

Adele Stan: As I sit in an all but vacant office building in downtown Washington, the occasional sounds of revelry and hoopla punctuate the silence.

But nothing could have prepared me for what I found on 14th Street, NW, in the block between U & V -- in fact, in the whole U Street corridor, where people spilled out of night clubs and into the streets, dancing and hugging. The cops gave up trying to move traffic and just cordoned off the area for an improptu street party.

Most of the people were young, but the astonishing thing was the mix of people -- really every color. I went to the great nightspot, Busboys & Poets, where the crowd ran the gamut of age and race. I sat next to a man in his 30s of South Asian descent who spoke with a British accent. People were literally dancing on the tables. Atop one table, a slender black man with long locks, dancing with a dark-haired young white woman. Atop another, three young men -- two white, one brown. At the table by the window? Three white women in their late 50s or early 60s. It was crowded, people were drinking, but no one shoved or groped. Had that lightness of being I last experienced (I think) at a Grateful Dead concert.

Meanwhile, across the street in front of the Frank Reeves Civic center was a scene that would have made Mickey Hart proud. A gaggle of drummers had gathered under a canopy -- again, a rainbow mix, including my good friend J. Scales, the self-styled "high priestess of homo-hop".

Yeah, I think not only are we the ones we've been waiting for -- we really are everything that scares Sarah Palin's "real" Americans. We need to start finding ways to make them less scared of us.

There was lots to love about Obama's acceptance speech, but the part I loved the most may not have been the most lyrical. It was the part were he told the people that had not voted for him that he would need their help. And that he would be their president.

Now we need to learn how to be their artists and writers and adorably wacky creative types, too.

2:35 a.m.

Adele Stan:

I managed to snag a cab out of U Street -- no mean feat, and I'm sure the product of divine intervention. The cab driver was a handsome young man in his 30s, from Morocco by way of Montreal. His family had left the homeland for Canada when he was 15. Then six years ago, he found his way to DC.

I expressed my marvel at having gotten the taxi. "Not many cabs tonight," he said. The cab drivers had stayed home to watch the election results, he said. Really? When they could be out making money?

"Most cab drivers, they don't have health insurance, " he replied. And they were banking on an Obama victory, he said, to change that for him. (And, no, Ezra Klein, I am really not making this up. This guy is your poster cabbie.)

4:35 a.m.

Adele Stan: After my travels, I arrived back at the Mother Jones bureau to find my colleagues and an a handful of their friends sitting rapt before a a television image of Obama, projected on the wall. The speech -- well, you know -- you cried in front of your own television. And though I'm so happy for myself and the rest of my weary, middle-age cohort in this result -- not to mention the many old folks who never thought they'd live to see the day -- this night was really about young people. They really did win this thing. Even when I spoke to older folks, it was their children and grandchildren whose future moved them to support Obama. The soldier's mother, the cabdriver who confessed he had no healthcare for his babies, the young ladies on the train whom the older man felt the need to remind of the cost of this victory. All the beautiful, joyful young people dancing in the streets. My young journalist colleagues intent on every word uttered by Barack Obama in his acceptance speech. This is their world now. Amen.

7:07 a.m.

Adele Stan: What it sounded like on the corner of 14th & U Street, NW, in Washington, DC, upon word of Obama's victory:

Comments from The Huffington Post

4:10 [Comment From Curt Descant]
Adele, Thanks for this post! I watched the video and enjoyed it. You also mentioned "Strange Fruit" and I found this video on YouTube: which brings both sadness and hope to my heart on this evening.

4:11 [Comment From NormBlon]
I will grieve for the Republican Party tomorrow, not because I would support it but about what the extremists and evangelicals have done to it. My advice to any centrist or small-c conservatives remaining is to let that bile-driven crowd keep the Republican tag, and form a new Conservative Party, principled, secular and intelligent. None of these virtues apply to the party of John McCain and Sarah Palin. History was made once today: history could be made again with a new Conservative party, starting tomorrow.

4:11 [Comment From Mike D.]
Hi Adele, TPM and Huff seem to be showing a lot of election problems in Virginia. I have been watching CNN all morning and they have not said a word about Virginia.

4:11 [Comment From carolb777]
wonder why that wasn't broadcast more,,the part about Palin's husband and the Constitution Party?

4:11 [Comment From Richard]
Adele, I hope I can relax sometime later tonight with a good scotch, and Brubeck's Take Five...if McCain wins, I'll need more scotch.

4:12 [Comment From Phil in CA]
Peeps lets get on the phones and make calls. I am on the Obama site blogs and people are getting reports from the field that the lines in FL, NJ and other places are slowing down. Have received emails from the campaign now asking people to get on the phones. Dont be complacent.

4:12 [Comment From Phil in CA]
Peeps lets get on the phones and make calls. I am on the Obama site blogs and people are getting reports from the field that the lines in FL, NJ and other places are slowing down. Have received emails from the campaign now asking people to get on the phones. Dont be complacent.

4:12 [Comment From comrade]
WIth Obama as president do you think there will be web pages with 1000's of Obamaisms like we did to bush????

4:12 [Comment From comrade]
Will we become communist country now?

4:12 [Comment From Darah]
I had hoped someone live blogging would say something nice about Sarah Palin

4:12 [Comment From DurangoSteve]
Chuck Baldwin... now there's a piece of work. He and the Palins might just be best pals.

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