I remember Nov. 4, 2008, quite clearly.
I was covering the elections as a reporter for the Ukiah Daily Journal in Ukiah, Calif. That night I was running around the local Democrats’ soirée at the Saturday Afternoon Club in downtown Ukiah. There was a large screen plastered against one wall loudly projecting the state-by-state election returns as the polls closed across the country. I was trying to get quotes from the local office-seekers as they discovered their own electoral fates, when the announcement came over the speakers that Barack Obama had sealed the presidency. As one might expect, a raucous cheer exploded from the crowd. The assembled cried and bear-hugged one another. It took a full five minutes before I could make out the individual words coming from the television feed, but when I did, this is what I heard one of the talking heads say:
“So tonight Democrats celebrate, but tomorrow begins the race for the 2010 congressional elections!”
“No!” I said out loud. “No it’s not!”
If there is a just and loving God out there, Americans will have awakened this morning knowing whom their president is for the next four years. That is, of course, we haven’t veered off into some terrible 2000 Florida election sequel. Whether your candidate of choice won or lost last night, can we just all agree to take a breather before we ramp up for the next campaign?
Consider this: Whether Mitt Romney becomes our 45th president on Inauguration Day, he’s been effectively running for president since he originally announced his intentions 2,094 days ago, Feb. 13, 2007. That’s five years, eight months and 25 days of grinning, shaking hands and giving speeches. I think my face muscles would literally require surgery to repair the damage done by that much forced smiling.
At this point, Romney isn’t the only one who must be tired of this perpetual motion.
“What frustrates the American people is a Washington where every day is Election Day,” Barack Obama declared in his January 2010 State of the Union address. “We can’t wage a perpetual campaign.”
Now, in the quote he said the words “the American people,” but I’d be willing to wager what he really meant to say instead was “I.”
It wasn’t always this way. In this country, campaign season didn’t truly begin until after each party held its respective convention and chose a candidate. And it wasn’t even that long before the conventions that candidates even announced their intentions to seek the office.
“Before 1976, extensive private preparations notwithstanding, candidates almost always waited until the actual calendar year of the election before announcing their candidacy,” wrote Larry J. Sabato in the Wall Street Journal.
But now each day is a skirmish as each side tries to win the news cycle of that 24-hour period. If tomorrow’s a new day, then it’s another battle to be won or lost.
For today, though, just today, can we just call a timeout? If your candidate won, then celebrate. If your candidate lost, suck it up and take a day to nurse your wounds.
Whatever you do, do it in private. I think we all could use a breather.
Rob Burgess, Tribune night editor, may be reached by calling 765-454-8577, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/robaburg.
Just for today, take a timeout from campaign politics
I remember Nov. 4, 2008, quite clearly.
- DAVE BANGERT: Indiana's new chief justice and court's 'mom question' Two years ago, as Loretta Rush ascended from Tippecanoe Superior Court 3 judge to the state’s Supreme Court, I dropped this line in a column celebrating someone who had earned her place.“Across the state, the headline will be: ‘[Mitch] Daniels Choose
- JEFFREY McCALL: POTUS promises of transparency fail to materialize The United States system of government relies on citizens having full access to information that can be used in self-governance. Journalists and other First Amendment advocates were enthused when the Obama administration came into office with convinc
House of Burgess: RIP Robin Williams
I was re-watching the 2006 movie “Little Miss Sunshine” Monday when I heard my phone buzz. After the credits had rolled, I looked at the screen and found myself shocked.It was a news alert that Robin Williams had died that morning at the age of 63 of an apparent suicide.
ANDREA NEAL: 'Paddle Your Own Canoe' is a Hoosier inspiration
Editor’s note: This is one in a series of essays leading up to the celebration of the Indiana Bicentennial in December 2016. James Whitcomb Riley was the most acclaimed, but he wasn’t the first Hoosier poet to gain national fame. Sarah T. Bolton dese
- DAVE BANGERT: Rokita, illegal immigration, Ebola outbreak and context At first listen last Monday, there was something so unsavory about our congressman, Todd Rokita, whipping up two full-fledged crises — Central American children at the U.S. southern border and the African scourge of Ebola — into one pungent sound bit
- DAN COATS: Let's give nonprofits relief from IRS delays A flurry of scandal has recently surrounded the Internal Revenue Service.Over the past few months, we have learned about missing emails from IRS employees and revelations of clear bias and hostility by a top IRS official towards organizations with ce
- BRIAN HOWEY: Pitchforks and pikes in our summer of discontent Congress is ... embarrassing. Our political system is failing us. On an individual basis, many of us have respect for members of our delegation. We can have a common sense conversation with a senator, congressman or congresswoman, and then they go ba
- DICK WOLFSIE: Enough reminders to forget It began with a simple phone call to my friend, Auri, a computer geek I asked to help me with my very successful website, which right now is attracting up to three visitors a month. To have a strong online presence, you have to spend several hours a
- ED VASICEK: Outsourced jobs, health crises in foreign lands The other week, my Internet was giving me trouble. I called the support number, and — to my surprise — I spoke to a representative who sounded as American as apple pie. It turned out the technical problem was an oversight on my end and fixed quickly.
- MICHAEL HICKS: Dodging corporate taxes Corporations are among our oldest institutions. Something like a joint stock company probably triggered the earliest formal written communication — the accounting ledger. It should be unsurprising that the early traders of Mesopotamia used a corporat
- More Columns Headlines