Jimmy Kimmel exhumed the corpses of the YouTube memes of yesteryear and extracted the last sliver of comedy from their bones by reimagining them as big-budget movie trailers.
Remember how Sarah Palin graduated from her fiftieth college with a degree in communications? What the hell happened to addle this woman's mind so much that she can no longer form logical sentences? We went to the tapes to investigate.
Today, Newsweek posted the final chapter of their Special Election Project, the annual How He Did It book they've published for each presidential campaign since 1984 (when the answer was much easier: he just ran against Walter Mondale). The reporters assigned to the special project are embargoed from those publishing in the regular magazine, so they get jucier anecdotes, more hilarious quotes, and revealing stories, all of which are then packaged and in such a way as to make the winning campaign look like a well-oiled machine and the losing campaign look like a parade of idiots. Did you read the whole thing? We did! We'll share with you the funniest bits, the important takeaway, and the already solidifying conventional wisdom. In short, this is the story of the 2008 campaign: the Hillary Clinton campaign was a stressful psychodrama, the Obama campaign was an intellectual exercise, and the McCain campaign was a ragtag bunch of misfits who stumbled into an insane family nightmare from Twin Peaks, Alaska. Let's begin with Hillary and co. Hillary The Clinton campaign was beset by the vicious infighting among assholes, basically. The biggest and dumbest asshole was chief pollster/strategist Mark Penn!
In the first election of the 21st century decided by the end of Election Day, Democratic Senator Barack Obama was elected President, beating Republican Senator John McCain. Obama, 47, is the United States of America's first black president. Despite his race, despite his being a liberal Midwestern Senator running with an east coast Democratic Senator, despite running against an incredibly well-respected and admired Republican with great independent voter appeal (at least back in the day), Obama took it decisively. It was a good year for Democrats, what with the economy melting down and the last dying breaths of the miserable presidency of universally despised Republican president George W. Bush, but it did look, for minute, like it might be another close one. If, for example, Hillary Clinton had won the Democratic nomination, as it was predicted she would last year, we probably would've seen a repeat of the "50+1" strategy of fighting the election only in two or three "swing states" (Kerry states + Ohio = victory!), and probably another 49/48 popular vote split. But Obama fought in "red states" like Indiana and much of the mountainous southwest. The map expanded, and stupid Ohio and Florida were justifiably stripped of a great deal of their terrible importance. Obama finally won with more than 50 percent of the popular vote, the first time a Democrat managed that feat in a generation. Obama ended up a much stronger candidate than even his early partisans could've predicted, with a calm, intelligent, cool demeanor. That demeanor got him labeled a stuffy egghead early on, especially when contrasted with Hillary Clinton's newfound fiery populism, but in a time of great upheaval, "appearing presidential" suddenly looked good. And he looked presidential in three debates, while his opponent, John McCain, sputtered and shouted and, in Joe Biden's memorable words, "lurched" around the stage of the town hall. Thing got completely fucking crazy in the last days, as the Republican dead-enders began trying, surprisingly without efficacy, to appeal to the basest instincts of the electorate, painting Obama as a Marxist Socialist (and quietly encouraging people to think he was a DANGEROUS MUSLIM TERRORIST), but every time voters saw the candidate he looked like a rational, moderate, smart family guy. It was a half-hearted use of identity politics by a Republican who always hated the rabble of the Religious Right but it did intensify to uncomfortable levels in the end. The high point, weirdly, was a crazy young white woman in Pittsburgh filing a false complaint to the police claiming she was mugged and robbed by a huge black man who carved a B in her face. The self-inflicted B was, of course, carved backwards, and soon she was off for mental health treatment. It was a nice little microcosm of the state of the race nationally—the race-baiting didn't work! He inherits a nation utterly fucked to it's core by the venal incompetents of the Bush years, and lord knows it's idiotic to invest all your hopes in one guy egomaniacal enough to want to be president at all, but we have secret hopes in our tiny heart that he'll be a decent success. And, of course, we all get fucking unicorns. Seriously. Check your mail next January. Unicorns and cocaine for all! Image: (c) Jana Kohl and Robert Sebree, www.ararebreedoflove.com, used with permission from (c) holder.
Elizabeth Dole just lost her seat in North Carolina, to Kay Hagan. Democrat Mark Warner won Virginia but that was a gimme. We'll update this with notable results as the night progresses. Stupid Saxby Chambliss is holding on but that will probably go to a run-off. Mitch McConnell won and John Sununu lost. 3+ new Senate seats for Dems thus far. Now: Up four seats! Tom Udall won in New Mexico.
It's over! It's all over! Tomorrow the campaign will be done! No more caring about what crazy things John McCain and his bitchy friend said on the news, no more feeling bad for him despite yourself, no more checking 538 (sorry Nate Silver, you're obsolete now!), no more forwarded YouTube clips from your mom, or your coworker, or some lunatic internet person. Boy, if we were assholes, we'd write something about how this was "the YouTube election." But instead we will just post the YouTubes themselves, from 2004 through the never-ending primaries, through the finally ending general election. All your favorites are here! Come pal around with crying Hillary the Senator, stare deep into Mike Gravel's eyes, and don't look your opponent in the eyes, after the jump. Back in 2004, this guy named Barack Obama gave a really really good speech at the Democratic National Convention. Watch it again, if you haven't lately, because it's really good. Can you believe we're gonna elect this guy?
Not everybody has a benevolent billionaire looking out for them like we do here in the big, bad City - at least not yet. But with Hillary and John inching their way toward the inevitable, Mike Bloomberg says, "Hey, America. I've got your back." Mike's been toying with the press for months with his (kind of annoying and ultimately doomed) non-campaign for president, and yesterday he took his first little baby-step beyond City Hall into the great wilderness that lies west of the Hudson. All the way west. To California, specifically. Flanked by Arnie and a guy who's governor of Pennsylvania, Mike gave a speech demanding "independent, non-partisan" solutions to the problems facing the country's roads and bridges and things. Not really the sexiest issues to base a presidential bid around, but it's probably good to stick with what you know. [New York Sun]