And it begins.

McCain is going to be polite about Palin for about a week and then he is going to publicly kneecap her. Newsweek plans to help. Their special election project (which gets excellent insider info by withholding all information until after the election) is reporting that Palin's campaign-funded spending spree on clothing actually spent far, far more than the media-reported $150,000.

One senior aide said that Nicolle Wallace had told Palin to buy three suits for the convention and hire a stylist. But instead, the vice presidential nominee began buying for herself and her family?clothes and accessories from top stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. According to two knowledgeable sources, a vast majority of the clothes were bought by a wealthy donor, who was shocked when he got the bill. Palin also used low-level staffers to buy some of the clothes on their credit cards. The McCain campaign found out last week when the aides sought reimbursement. One aide estimated that she spent "tens of thousands" more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast," and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books.

This is gonna be great to watch. (Thanks Mike!)


Regarding the GovTard appointing herself to fill Ted Stevens' imminent vacancy: it can't happen, at least not in the traditional sense.

After Frank Murkowski resigned from the Senate in 2002 and appointed his vapid daughter to replace him, Alaska's state legislature passed a law requiring special elections within 90 days to fill Congressional vacancies. The Governor of Alaska does not have the power to appoint anyone, let alone herself, to "fill" such a seat. At most the Governor may be able to appoint a placeholder for a two months until the special election can be held. Even that is dubious, and doing so would prompt a resolution before the Alaska Supreme Court on the lack of clarity in the 2004 legislation (which notes that special elections must be held but does not clarify whether the Governor retains the power to appoint a short-term replacement – see State of Alaska v. Trust the People).

Whether Palin would resign the Governor's mansion to roll the dice on a crash-course Senate election is unclear. But she's a "maverick" so who knows what to expect! She could Go Rogue!


Let me take the first crack at some discussion of what happened last night, although it is complicated by results that remain unknown in several races.

1. The evening was very short on presidential election drama. In my mind the election was over at about 7:30 EST. When John McCain was leading 51-49 in the early returns from Indiana (gathered from the most rural parts of the state) that was all we needed to see. A Republican who needs to struggle in order to hold Indiana is deeply fucked. After that data was released it simply became a matter of Obama's margin of victory in the Electoral College.

2. I will talk about this at length next week but, for all intents and purposes, polling was dead-on in this election. I rip on polls a lot and I listened to eight weeks of people dreaming up scenarios (fueled by either Democratic pessimism or GOP optimism) about how they were totally fabricated and unreliable. But it turns out that aggregated state polling was essentially 100% correct in the presidential race. Blue states went blue. Red states went red. Toss-up states had extremely tight margins of victory for one candidate or the other.

3. The uncompetitiveness of PA is the only state-level result that surprised me (although Obama's 200,000 vote win in Florida was a pleasant surprise too). Perhaps the GOP spin about how McCain was pouring every dollar into PA and pinning all of his hopes on it subconsciously affected my expectations. Given all the time, money, and talk that McCain poured into the state I expected a narrow Obama win similar to Kerry's razor-thin win in 2004. Turns out the state was a total blowout – with exactly the 10-12 point gap predicted by the polls.

4. In the Senate races, nothing shocked me except Ted Stevens. I am floored by that one. Not only did Begich lead before the indictments, but the few post-indictment polls showed double-digit margins. It's embarrassing to whiff on a race like this and I'd love to say that I have a convenient explanation for what happened. Unfortunately I'm speechless. Every result, even when I guessed wrong, made sense except for this one.

5. We're going to be waiting several days, possibly weeks, for Franken-Coleman results. Not until the last military and absentee ballots arrive in the mail will we know who squeaked out a win.

6. With overwhelmingly Democratic Lane County (Eugene) still only 25% reported, I like Jeff Merkley's chances to close a 14,000-vote gap with Gordon Smith. Merkley also leads big in Clatsop and Benton counties, both of which are only half-reported.

7. The combined races that will be decided by less than 0.5% of the vote – OR and MN Senate seats as well as presidential results in NC, IN, and MO – make clear that turnout matters. That a state like MO can have 4.3 million ballots cast with only 6,000 votes separating the candidates should remind us all that, in many instances, our vote does actually count. Of course, I suppose many more races support the argument that staying home is OK too. But let's be optimistic for the moment.

8. Excepting the Senators from Maine, the purge of New England Republicans from Congress is complete with the defeat of Christopher Shays.

9. Fox News may have hit a new low last night. I am convinced that their audience is 50% talk radio fanboys and 50% hipsters watching them ironically to mock them. Brit Hume's effort to lead a panel chat on "Will a President Obama raise our taxes or just jack up the deficit to pay for his trillions in new spending?" as the results rolled in was too amusing to be sincere. Extra credit for trotting out Juan Williams (the Clarence Page-style "inarticulate token black liberal" character) who couldn't name a single policy proposal Obama made during the campaign.

10. The right-wingers trying to take solace in how "close" McCain made the race should note that this is the most sizeable margin of victory since 1988. George W. Bush could only envy this kind of win. I think "mandates" are bullshit, but America went more solidly for Obama than it ever did for Our Leader.

More later. Add your observations and thoughts.


(Note: actual analysis coming. Must sleep. Enjoy light humor for now.)

1. All property-owning classes will report for field work in our new collective sorghum farms at 4:15 AM tomorrow. Subversives and malingerers will not be tolerated. The Politburo (formerly Congress) will compile a list of non-contributors in need of re-education in Siberia (formerly Alaska).

2. All pregnant women must report for mandatory coat-hanger abortions by Friday. All children under 4 will also be retroactively aborted.

3. The top income tax bracket is increased from 36% to "confiscatory". This term is to be followed with maniacal laughter and songs of praise for Comrade Lenin.

4. Members of the Politburo will meet at 6:00 AM Thursday morning to sign a formal instrument of surrender to Radical Islam. Field work may be interrupted six times daily for prayer toward Mecca (formerly Harrisburg, PA).

5. In tribute to Comrade Obama's closest personal friend, William Ayers, it is now illegal to not bomb your state capitol.

I know you will all cooperate and put significant effort into making our transition to Commie Islam smooth and seamless. Allaobama be praised. You must work to meet our sorghum production targets for the motherland. Never forget our enemy – bourgeois capitalism and prosperity.