Obama's "Shit Happens" Address: What would it take to shake this dude up? "I know the White House spontaneously collapsed behind me just now. I know some of us really loved that building. And when things collapse it makes us sad. And it's messy. But we've gotta move forward."
No, this is too cool by half. That's the way the cookie crumbles? Nah. You're asking too much this time, Hoss. And we don't believe you believe it yourself exactly.
But the Dow is up 163 points. The sun is shining. I need to show my daughter that life's going on. So I'm-a stay off Facebook, go back to work and take a nap and take Scout to the parent-teacher conference and her soccer practice and go for a run.
Have a good day, everybody.
This is really moving, especially to watch with Scout.
"Never stop believing that fighting for what's right is worth it."
"We cherish these values, too. And we must defend them."
"We owe [President Trump] an open mind, and a chance to lead."
Coffee pot is empty and exhaustion is setting in. These cable news goons must be taking golf-ball-sized amphetamines.
My wife is teaching all day today, just as she was on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. They had no working TVs in her inner-city school, but they had rumors.
She called and asked, "Is the Sears Tower hit?"
I looked out the window.
"No, it's fine."
Then later, "We heard the Mercantile Exchange is hit."
"I don't see any smoke."
I wonder why I'm thinking of that today?
Clinton concession speech will require considerable courage to listen to. Can't imagine what it must be like to deliver. I'll listen to that, and then I'll finally get to work.
Too soon and just in the nick of time, a humor writer friend and I are arguing over which one of these videos is more apropos this morning.
A young relative of mine: "Wiping away the tears, and rolling up my sleeves. I will not despair. I will WORK."
A wandering, bewildered phone call with an old friend. Went to wrap it up. Heard myself tell him what my dad used to say when faced with the bottom line, "Take care of the babies. We just gotta take care of the babies."
"Never in my life before have I woken up without hope," writes a middle-aged Facebook friend. "Today—well, I don't recognize my heart." Who will be the first to tell us we're being hysterical? I seriously want to be told this—and convinced.
Am I going to get one goddamned thing done today?
Chatting with a veteran Washington speechwriter and dad on Facebook, who remarked on my rather authentic approach with Scout this morning. In discussing election results with his boys, he said, he used the teleprompter.
Scout, home from school today for parent-teacher conferences, just came into my office and told me we would get through this together. I told her we would indeed. Neither of us has any idea what we're talking about of course, but it's a first step, spiritually.
White House speechwriter and friend Stephen Krupin, on Facebook: "The arc of the moral universe is even longer than we thought. But still it bends, if we keep working to bend it." Speechwriters, this morning, are still speechwriters.
A thought the likes of which I've never had before: I wonder if I should take down from the Internet everything bad I've written about Donald Trump.
From a friend in the Netherlands, condolences fit for a death in the family:
we' re all so dazed this morning.
Thank you for sharing this important blog.
I just cannot explain how I feel, let alone imagine how you all must be feeling right now.
It's so depressing that love didn't trump hate. What does this tell us about the human kind, I don't know.
I have to find my feet again, and it won't be easy, let alone for you.
You could move to Norway, but you could also come to the Netherlands…
But no guarantees that we will not follow in your path, I fear.
Politics here is also getting rougher and rougher.
The only thing we can do is help each other and in every day life, show that we do things differently.
But I'm struggling to find a positive angle here.
I feel so sad.
I'm so happy that I know you and – thanks to you – other special Americans.
That might be the biggest comfort right now.
Hang in there.
7:21 a.m., Nov. 9.
Scout went to bed before it was over last night. Her mother—getting ready to teach an elementary school-full of Mexican and Puerto Rican children this morning, try to get your mind around that—told her this morning when she got up. She came to me and asked, "What happened?" And I burst into tears.
I'm going to write this blog the rest of the day, as I sort of work, as I take Scout to her parent-teacher conference, as we watch the concession speech Clinton will presumably give today and as we all try to get ourselves pointed in a new direction.
That sounded like a really gracious retirement speech.
Get over here, Reince.
That young Trump: It's like me, listening to this utterly conventional speech and looking in a mirror.
Those words. GodDAMNIT.
MSNBC confirms that Clinton calls Trump to concede.
Brian Williams is incredibly shallow.
Trump is taking the stage soon. I'm staying up to give you the analysis for the same reason the widow concerns herself with the most trivial tasks. "It gives her something to do," they say sympathetically.
John Podesta has acquitted himself pretty well throughout this campaign and he just handled that pretty well tonight.
This is going to hit us in waves. Many waves. And I'm only talking about tomorrow.
Pal Paul Engleman just called. This guy:
We spoke for 45 minutes and didn't cry once. I was impressed.
One of the most painful memories from when my mother died is listening to my dad call people and tell them the news. The words were somehow harder than the fact itself. I dread these two speeches, one no less than the other.
One of the poses I'm dreading: "The sun will rise tomorrow. The world is not going to end. It really is going to be okay." Explained to us a by 24-year-old white boy.
Another, explained to us by an old man who can afford to be nihilistic: "Now all scenarios end in disaster. Suddenly feel very relieved."
I'm going to try to focus on (and share) what feel to me as honest expressions, like that of a friend of mine, "I have never been so wrong in my life."
A possible clue to what is happening here. You know your Facebook friends who hated both candidates equally? They are failing to disguise their glee tonight.
Say "cliffhanger" one more time, Wolf. We're about to find out what government looks like as a reality show. I have a nephew who makes reality shows. Soon he will become a political consultant.
A howl from a woman friend on Facebook: "This election was rigged. Bernie should have been the nominee and would have won this election. But the Democrats stole it from him. I forced myself to embrace Hillary however I have never, ever, liked her. She has way too much baggage, but I did vote for her. So here we are with Donald Trump as our president. Build the fucking wall, kick my friends out, bring back steel jobs, and get me some new health insurance. Bring it Donald."
I'm through with MSNBC and onto CNN, where at least the crew isn't giggling with glee at the excitement of it all. I loathe everybody on Facebook who's posting right now. Posing, I meant to say. And don't get me started on The New York Times, which gave us a different statistical chance of Trump winning every day for the last six months. Up until today, that ratio hovered between about 85%-15% Clinton-Trump and 90%-10% Clinton-Trump. Now it's 90% Trump. I'm calling those statistics what they obviously were all along: 100% bullshit.
New York Times just said 88% chance of Trump winning. Cristie is going to bed on the verge of tears and probably taking Scout with her. Looking like a lonely night.
"Punditry only goes so far," says Chris Matthews with a grin.
These posts are getting dumber and more hysterical. Anybody can write that sort of shit. I'm going to try to hold my fire until the speeches, whoever gives which, if I can by then bring myself to write about them.
These MSNBC shits have a great time either way.
"There's still a chance she'll be the next president," say James Carville and Steve Schmidt.
A friend is at a bar down down the street and asks if he can come over because he can't handle it there. "No," I tell him. The house is in too bad a mood.
And Dow Futures are down 500 points. Meanwhile, I've stormed out of the living room into the kitchen, because Cristie "can't handle" watching the returns, and she and Scout are watching "Fixer-Upper," instead. Nice civics lesson.
Last year I recalled here how my Republican businessman grandfather Charles Murray so despised Franklin Roosevelt that FDR's name was banned in his house, as an obscenity. It's taken Donald Trump, and my own middle age, to for me to believe I understand what my grandfather, known as Gaga in the family, had against Roosevelt. In management at a tenuously union-free steel company, he must have seen Roosevelt's New Deal plans as ridiculous brainstorms and reckless spending. He must have seen Roosevelt's favoring of entering World War II as equally destabilizing to the economy, to the industry and to his company.
I've got a kid who will be in college in a few years, and I'd like to pay for it. I have a mortgage that requires serious income every month. And this year I bought a business. Yes, much of my panic about Donald Trump has to do with a desire to protect our culture from Trump's vulgarity, protect the powerless from the white male hatred Trump has been surfing on, protect America's reputation and moral authority in the world. But the real panic—the stuff that gets in my blood like sand and scratches my blood vessels—that probably has to do with protecting what's mine.
There's nothing more conservative than that. And nothing more human.
Sorry to have judged you, Gaga. Now if there's anything you can do from your polling place in the sky to rig this election away from that lunatic Trump and toward that conservative Clinton, this would be the time.
When it's all over but the shoutin' tonight, the shoutin' ought to be interesting. And it could be consequential.
Yesterday in the Observer, two veteran White House scribes—one of them Writing Boots friend Bob Lehrman—took cracks at drafting hypothetical unifying acceptance speeches, one for each candidate.
But it's the concession speech that might carry the most weight. If Clinton loses, many will struggle to hear it, for the same reason you should bring someone with you when you go to the doctor to hear about your biopsy results. If Trump loses, lots of his followers will be listening to find out: Is this really over?
If that's the case—and obviously I fervently hope it is—will Trump will officially concede, and maybe even partially conciliate? It's not the way to bet.
At a rally in April, Trump shared his attitude toward conventional concession speeches: "They fight like hell for six months, and they're saying horrible things, the worst things you can imagine. And then one of them loses, one of them wins. And the one who loses says, 'I just want to congratulate my opponent. He is a brilliant man, he'll be a great governor or president or whatever.'"
He continued, according to a report in Forbes: "I'm not sure you're ever going to see me there. I don't think I'm going to lose, but if I do, I don't think you're ever going to see me again, folks. I think I'll go to Turnberry and play golf or something."
That would work too.
I am fairly deluged in communications from friends abroad:
A Dutch communication executive leaves a voice mail: “The whole of the Netherlands is thinking about America today. How are you feeling? Did you already vote? Well, we’re with you all the way with everything.”
A Vancouver speechwriter contributes “a short note to my wonderful American friends and colleagues—the best to you all for tomorrow’s election. We in Canada will be watching with equal interest and perhaps trepidation.”
A speechwriter at the European Parliament: “On the eve of this election day, I am of course very much thinking of you. I hope all the love and support we in Europe send you across the ocean will reach your shores. We Europeans feel very close to you these days: this ocean is only a lake, you know. When fear and trepidation are all over the place in the media, I also want to take a moment to share with you how much my colleagues and friends, the European speechwriting community … share their gratitude for 8 years of great oratory and inspiring speeches … leadership on issues we share and care for, and progress of peace in some difficult places on this planet. Thank you—and peace to your country and our planet."
And a rhetoric professor and a dear family friend from Norway writes: “I summon my very best thoughts and send them across the Atlantic. If it doesnt work, you can come and live with us. We have good soccer teams for girls.”
I've advertised that I'll be live-blogging here tonight. I'm not sure that was a good idea.
Three times in my life I've been really scared by something that happened in the news.
Our family was driving home to Ohio from a spring break trip in Florida and we stayed at a Howard Johnson's in Wytheville, Va. on Mar. 30, 1981. How do I remember that? It was there that we learned President Reagan had been shot. I was in sixth grade, and it was the first time I realized a president was something like the nation's dad, and if something was wrong with him, it scared even my real dad.
The second time was 9/11, when we all wondered, for a whole day, if we were going to know what it was like to be a helpless civilian in a war. Do you remember how eerie it was not to have any airplanes in the sky? Where was the president, exactly? There was actually a moment when my niece called me from Toronto and asked me if the musician "Meatloaf" could stay at my house on a drive back to L.A. You know national events are impinging on your private life when Meatloaf comes into the picture.
And the last time my little soul was truly disturbed by large events was in September 2008. The same week my dad was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, the stock market crashed, costing my dad most of what he'd saved over a lifetime of industriousness and good sense. And then on that Sunday in Middletown, Ohio, a wind storm kicked up on a perfectly sunny day and blew the power out for three days. It started to look like the world was coming to an end.
Tonight could be the fourth one of those—and arguably the worst. The odds are against Trump winning, you say? What if Nate Silver told you there was a one in 10 chance of a 9/11 tomorrow? You'd probably swing by the store for some powdered milk just in case. And of course this campaign has already affected each of us in ways we only partly understand. (For instance, it can't be psychologically useful to lie in bed every morning for a year, begging oneself not to turn on "Morning Joe," then turning it on anyway and starting the day with a palpitating heart that beats, "Something wicked this way comes.")
I say none of the above not to make one of the desperate and surely fruitless closing arguments that I see so many friends making on Facebook. I've already said precisely what I think about Trump, who I saw up close and personal at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. I've also said why I think non-deplorable people might be voting for Trump. I haven't said what I think about Hillary Clinton, and I don't intend to, because I find I boringly and annoyingly agree with just about every non-lunatic—champions and her detractors—on the subject of her.
So we'll order our lucky Thai food tonight—a family tradition since 2008. I'll do a little drinking, just to give myself permission for the occasional intemperate remark—but less than usual, because I think we're letting Scout stay up to watch the returns. And I'll write tonight—about the victory and concession speeches, and anything else that comes to mind, if it does.
Join us if you need company. And if you'd rather be alone, we will understand.
Whatever happens, you know we'll need each other—all mindful Clinton voters and all non-deplorable Trump voters—on the other side.
Meanwhile, how about an encore: