MADISON – Things I hope to have heard or seen the last of, but probably haven’t, now that the 2008 campaign for president is over.
· Right-wing broadcasters who forget what they said only a few months ago. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and friends savaged Democrat Hillary Clinton during the primary season and pretty much overlooked Barack Obama until momentum turned into mania. Similarly, they blasted John McCain throughout the early primary season for not being a true conservative, effectively turning him into leftover meatloaf in the minds of the GOP’s faithful. These same booming voices closed the campaign by telling their viewers and listeners that Obama was Public Enemy No. 1 from the start and that McCain was just short of Ronald Reagan incarnate. It didn’t wash.
· Left-wing commentators who brought on-air arrogance to unimagined heights. MNBC’s Keith Olbermann, when not stringing together parenthetical phrases within parenthetical phrases (much like this, only worse), has actually made many viewers long for the days when his ramblings were confined to sports.
· Predictions about the death of political polling. When all the votes are counted and recounted, the presidential election results will look pretty much like a consensus of the major polls. Some polls will be closer to the final numbers than others, but the polling median will be close to the final forecast.
· Democratic complaints about the Electoral College. Barack Obama’s victory in the state-by-state tally of electoral votes, as required by the U.S. Constitution, will likely be greater than his popular vote margin. The Electoral College remains an effective firewall.
· Robo-calls. Let’s get this straight: It’s now illegal in most states for legitimate businesses to try to sell you something over the telephone, but OK for political campaigns and rogue political groups to bother you with calls that deliberately confuse and even misinform.
· Persistent young Obama volunteers. The vaunted “ground game” of the Obama campaign included, so far I could tell, a small army of people who wouldn’t leave your door until you confessed how you might vote. Some neighborhoods probably saw more Obama canvassers than Halloween trick-or-treaters. At least the trick-or-treaters went away when you gave them something.
· Sarah Palin’s political career. Sorry, Palinistas, but the Alaska governor hurt McCain more than she helped him. She repeatedly showed herself ill-prepared for the job of vice president, thus serving as a constant reminder that McCain is old and getting older. She may have energized the GOP red-meat crowd, but she cost McCain votes from independents and moderate Republicans. Palin’s giggly phone conversation with the radio prankster who impersonated President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, which went on and on even after the caller dropped hints of the spoof, was the coup de grace. Now she’s being touted as a future presidential candidate. Mon dieu!
· Democrats blaming everything from sunspots to the coming flu season on George W. Bush. Unless we forget, the Democrats controlled both the Senate and the House in recent years, and they now stand poised to complete the triangle. They now own it – lock, stock market dive and oil barrel. A failure to govern reasonably in the years ahead will not be forgiven by more whining about Bush.
· Politicians who use the following phrases: Change, hope, maverick, Joe the Plumber, redistributionist and “Bush third term.” And talk-show hosts who complain about the “drive-by media” during drive-time broadcasts. Otherwise, I’m ready to the 2012 campaign to begin.
Still is president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. He is the former associate editor of the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison.