WASHINGTON -- What a wonderful morn! Campaign '08 is a corpse. Step gently around it. Offer a gentle wave of the hand to those poor wretches over in the corner looking forlorn and lost. Those are the political junkies. They have awakened every day for almost two years eager for the electioneering fray. First, there were the primaries, where Hillary was "inevitable" and Rudy the likely Republican candidate. Then they heaved and sweated for Sen. Barack Obama or Sen. John McCain. Now the election is over, and they are in withdrawal.
Yet most of the rest of us have reason to be relieved and frankly a bit proud of our country. Yes, the campaign was a blare of competing rhetorical sophistications. It was rare for either candidate to utter an applause line that did not begin with a deceit or end with one. Sen. Obama's yawp about giving 95 percent of us a tax cut is a comely example; after all, some 40 percent of his targeted audience pays no income tax. And Sen. McCain's rant against Wall Street for the financial crisis is another. The crisis began with those subprime mortgages from Fannie and Freddie and was exacerbated by cheap money and recklessly low interest rates from the Department of the Treasury and from the Fed.
Most of the rest of us can be proud of how this election has concluded. The United States has elected an African-American to the presidency two generations after Jim Crow. There was no violence and very little playing of the race card. Sen. Obama ran a deft campaign, and his Chicago advisers created a formidable machine (pardon the term). He is from Chicago, and so am I. We know what a Chicago machine has been, and frankly I have not been reassured when I have heard him sing that he is running against "30 years of broken politics in Washington." Does he mean he is bringing in "fixed politics"? We from Chicago know what "fixed politics" has meant in Chicago, and there the fix has been in for more than 30 years.