Class Acts*

Just got back from the Elizabeth Warren victory party at the Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston.  Senator Kerry, Governor Patrick and Senator-elect Warren** all thanked Senator Scott Brown thanks for his service. John Kerry (who commented that he was not being Mitt Romney this night…;) spoke a hard-won truth:  he said he knows what it’s like to lose a hard fought election.

Elizabeth Warren asked the crowd to join with her in applauding Brown for his efforts in office — noting her strong disagreements with him and the rigors of the campaign, but still asking her supporters to recognize Brown’s work.  We did.

Speaking for myself, I was cheering the unequivocal nature of the vote — this was not in the end a squeaker, and I took both tribal and intellectual pleasure in that. Tribal:  because it feels good to win; intellectual, because it’s vital to advance the idea of grass-roots democracy — and the notion that economic policy should permit the non-1% to thrive.  But it was striking for me to see how Patrick, Kerry and Warren — especially Warren — explicitly sought to speak to Brown’s voters.

This is smart, I think, and I hope it will have the effect that it should:  to gut the current Republican party.  We can dance on the grave of the Romney campaign for some time — I plan to work on my two-step.

But when the glee subsides, the fact will remain that the GOP is both an asylum run by its inmates and a den of authoritarian and/or totalizing religious figures who reject the central premise of democracy:  that society self governs through itereative decisions, and not from some set of revealed rules or via some charismatic Dear Leader.

In that context, I had an interesting interchange at the Warren party.  Near one of the bars I ran into two reporters from Croatia. They asked me if I would go on the record and explain why I felt so much joy at this result.  My answer:  we don’t often credit how fragile democracy can be.  This election could have validated a victory that conformed to the form of democratic process, while gutting the idea of informed consent of the governed.  I said one more thing:  central Europe has some experience of the evil that can result from this gap between form and actual practice of democratic governance.

That’s what think we dodged this time.  A Romney victory would have enshrined both completely honesty-disdained political communication and the evolution of the Citizens Untited approach to elections.

That’s why the Massachusetts Democratic political establishment appeal to Republican voters is both masterful and essential: the work to come is to render the rump of America’s natural party of governance so utterly irrelevant as to  create the space for a genuine opposition to form.

And I cannot tell you how happy that we are in a position to help shovel the dirt on that rump.  You can put that image differently in the comments, and I surely hope you will.

Now, I’ve made a very important decision.  I am going to switch from Balvenie to Baker’s Bourbon.  America!

Have a happy.

I am.

*Not me, of course.

**need I tell you how much I loved writing that?

ETA: My wife and I knocked in 60 doors today in New Hampshire; she called a bunch more later in the afternoon while I was shepherding the sprout.  Before today, I spent every Sunday for the last several somewhere in the southern tier of the Granite State, and I take personal satisfaction at our results there.  It wasn’t that much:  I know lots of folks here and lots of my friends and family who did a lot more.  I’m deeply grateful to every one who did — and  I thus want to echo our own Fearless Leader, John Cole, in his applause for everyone here who did so much work in what I continue to think has been the most important election of my fifty four years on this earth.

And yes, I am +4.  Why do you ask?

Image:  Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Varieté – English dance couple, 1912/1913

72 replies
  1. 1
    danimal says:

    Rumor had it that Romney didn’t write a concession speech. I thought it was p.r. After seeing him concede, one thing was obvious: Romney didn’t write a concession speech. He must have thought he was going to win. Sorry, Mitt, NOPE.

  2. 2
    aangus says:

    Charles P. Pierce @ESQPolitics

    57 percent in. Bachmann leading by less than a thou. Baby Jeebus, I’m calling in my marker. #election2012


  3. 3
    SuperHrefna says:

    This is such an important victory and we need to savor every drop – I’m staying out of the alcohol tonight so that I can function tomorrow (volunteering at the food bank again tomorrow as I have every day this week – I live in Sandy’s playground) but I’m already planning on taking many boxes of Victory Donuts to the food bank tomorrow!

  4. 4
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    Moneyball election.

    I’d like to think that the triumph of the quant nerds means that a few pundits lose their jobs or at least get laughed at, but I have my doubts.

  5. 5
    PeakVT says:

    That Liz Warren person seems promising. Does she know anything about banking and finance?

  6. 6
    aimai says:

    Tom! Thanks for the description of the party. I poll watched all day in our lovely poll which is home to some killer amazing people and Mr.Aimai and I watched the returns on the blogs. Unable to face seeing any tv reports at all. Wish we’d been at the party. Party on!


  7. 7
    Todd says:

    Michael Steele says the GOP took a spanking, and needs to reach out to Latinos.

    He doesn’t know his party very well, as his partisans are busy shouting at brownish folks to either get off the lawn or mow it…

  8. 8
    Spike says:

    Four Roses Single Barrel here, but that’s the only way in which I disagree with your take.

  9. 9
    BGinCHI says:

    Levenson hammered!


    Mrs. BG has gone to bed and I am waiting for Obama to speak. I don’t know how the hell those folks are standing down at McCormick Place. That’s a long night.

    Everyone, I am so fucking relieved at these election results.

  10. 10
    Helen says:

    I don’t have a twitter account. Can someone please tweet Anne Coulter that the “retard” won? Thank you.

  11. 11
    lamh35 says:

    Look, all this noise on MSNBC about Romney’s speech being good and gracious and dignified, well damn it should well have been. Romney ran one of the most divisive campaigns in modern history. His camp went places even McCain/Palin refused to go. His surrogates called POTUS non-American, dishonest, socialist, Muslim. He refuse to stand up to Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. Refused to stand up for women, immigrants, children, the poor, the sick, the middle class…NO ONE. He called 47% of the country moochers. So no, I’m not giving him nothing tonight. Maybe tomorrow maybe by the end of the week, but not tonight. Forget him!

  12. 12
    KG says:

    @danimal: That was just awkward

  13. 13
    chopper says:

    goddamn, it feels good to be a democrat.

  14. 14
    👽 Martin says:

    Pundits say Obama doesn’t have a mandate, but Bush didn’t win more than 286 EVs in either election. Obama should be over 330 in both.

    Gotta work twice as hard to get half as far.

  15. 15
    Jeff Spender says:


    100% of Americans SHOCKED that Political Observer was wrong.

    I think we might see a resurgent ROMNEY win in TRANSYLVANIA!

    Only fifty more years until President-Elect ZOMBIE ROMNEY!

  16. 16
    JGabriel says:

    Same-sex marriage winning in ME, MD, and WA.

  17. 17
    DaddyJ says:

    A Romney victory would have enshrined both completely honesty-disdained political communication and the evolution of the Citizens Untited approach to elections.

    Excellent point, Tom. I’ve been counting my blessings in other ways (such as, Joe Walsh now has time to get that anger management counseling he so badly needs), but you added to the pile.

    Thank you, and thanks to you all, BalloonJuicers!

  18. 18
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    Wait a minute-

    A measure to legalize Marijuana in Oregon is losing?!

  19. 19
    JGabriel says:

    Abortion wins in FL.

  20. 20
    chopper says:


  21. 21
    Violet says:

    Even the folks in Chicago look tired to me. Come on, Obama! Speak!

  22. 22
    danimal says:

    Repeating for effect: UNLIMITED CORPORATE CASH has its limits. Where’s P.O.? Somebody check on the troll, please.

  23. 23
    👽 Martin says:

    @DaddyJ: Well, Romneys loss won’t dissuade rampant lying. It didn’t particularly hurt Romney. It should have, but if anything I think it helped him a bit. I expect 2016 to be much worse.

  24. 24
    4jkb4ia says:

    I do have something positive to say other than writing about one dinky House race, although I see it mentioned in #2.

    This was a victory for the belief that government can accomplish things. Taegan Goddard (whose Twitter feed is a delight today) put it quite well that the Republicans as a group put everything they had on obstruction and it didn’t work for them. The majority in the House is going to be ideological enough that it will still be very difficult to try to raise revenues, but the electorate trusted Obama to try to do the right thing and didn’t trust Mitt Romney, which was well deserved because he never trusted them to have easy access to what his specific plans were. As Ed Kilgore pointed out very early, the electorate from the exit polls looked like the electorate from 2008. The Obama coalition didn’t lose heart.

    And Nate was seen to be, if anything, cautious with this election. His predictions are likely to understate the victory.

    I’m going to clean out my email and see if anything is going to happen in the Nevada Senate race. I had one beer at dinner because I told my husband I was going to go to the McCaskill party and get drunk. But we were worried the McCaskill party was going to go past midnight so we stayed home.

  25. 25
    Mnemosyne says:

    I hope Yutsy is fully cognizant that tonight’s decision in Washington state means that his mother is going to start asking him tomorrow why he hasn’t found a nice boy and settled down yet.

  26. 26
    David Koch says:

    Warren didn’t mention Drooones once! Not once! Nor did she mention the Public Option! Not once!

    She SOLD US OUT!

  27. 27
    DPS says:

    P.O. showed up for the live chat, as we dared him to do, and got banned immediately. A bit unfair. Also no fun.

  28. 28
    nellcote says:

    So I guess running for senate instead of heading the CFPB worked out. 11th dimensional chess, people.

  29. 29
    JGabriel says:

    Steve Schmidt on MSNBC:

    There are more and more Republicans who are coming out and supporting gay marriage.

    Dude. Really? Interesting word choice.


  30. 30
    Mary G says:

    I am so proud of my country that all the money and bullshit didn’t move it off the righteous path. Some day these Republicans will learn that money isn’t the measure of anything except how much crap you can buy.

  31. 31
    Strontium 90 says:

    I worried about Hawaii. Can anyone provide an update?

  32. 32
    burnspbesq says:


    Steele said all the right things. I’ll be surprised if the leadership of his party heard any of it.

  33. 33

    Please, Obama, get up on the fucking stage, and shut up these talking heads.

  34. 34
    Suffern ACE says:

    Donald Trump’s vast military experience makes his call for a revolution all the more scary. I hope he throws his hat in the ring for 2016 soon.

  35. 35
    WaterGirl says:

    Any thoughts on why Chris Hayes wasn’t part of the MSNBC panel tonight? He’s way smarter than some of the other jokers on the panel?

  36. 36

    @Strontium 90:

    I worried about Hawaii. Can anyone provide an update?

    It’s still there.

  37. 37
    burnspbesq says:


    That’s evil. I think I’ll tweet it to the kid, who goes to school up there.

  38. 38
    DPS says:

    I love that it doesn’t matter whether this is a worldbeating speech or not.

  39. 39
    Violet says:

    Yay! The Obamas!

  40. 40
    DaddyJ says:

    @lamh35: Frankly, Romney’s lack of emotion, his robotic eyebrow wiggling and happy-face, in the context of what must be a really crushing loss for him, gave me the heebie jeebies. I think the nation did indeed dodge a bullet tonight; I think the man is all surface.

  41. 41
    DPS says:

    Wait … are they black?

  42. 42
    BGinCHI says:

    I hope Jack Welch has the rubber ball all the way in his mouth right now.

    Hey all you Walsh douche bags: fuck you.

    BG is tired and signing out.

    Viva la revolucion!

  43. 43
    Smiling Mortician says:

    Those people seem pleased.

  44. 44

    I love the contrast between this bad-ass crowd and the RMoney morgue.

  45. 45
    Anoniminous says:

    After 2010 a little tub thumping and pointing is in order.

    ETA: I note the absence of a major contributor to BJ over the last week.

    Where is the little runt?

  46. 46
    Smiling Mortician says:

    “By the way, we have to fix that.” Heh.

  47. 47

    And now Joe rolls out on his Harley…

  48. 48
    Warren Terra says:

    I love how the lead-off in his speech is a call to political activism – well, almost the lead-off; the lead-off was a shout-out to voting as an idea.

  49. 49
    Joel says:

    My expectations for Romney’s concession so low that I was practically ecstatic that he was even boilerplate graceful in defeat. This is the end of his days in the public eye, however.

  50. 50
    Mnemosyne says:


    He was apparently hit with the banhammer again and hasn’t gotten up.

  51. 51
    Ruckus says:

    I like everything you said except the ending.
    “Forget him.”

    With a little more feeling.
    Fuck him.

    He has no respect for anyone he doesn’t see in the bathroom mirror and no politician should have that as the basis of their platform.

  52. 52
    Anoniminous says:


    Too bad. I’d like to rub it in his face.

    In another way, all for the best. All things considered.

  53. 53
    Ruckus says:

    @Mary G:
    And they did buy a whole lot of crap this time. I don’t even think the amount of crap conservatives spread this election can be measured.

    ETA Smelled yes, measured no.

  54. 54
    Strontium 90 says:

    Obama sort of droning on now… He needs to party!

  55. 55
    Mnemosyne says:


    If you heard the radio edit of the Cee-Lo song, you know you and lamh36 were saying the same thing.

  56. 56
    eemom says:

    Just checking in……WHEREZ THE TROLL???

    ETA: Ah, I see it’s been asked and answered. Absorbed back into the primordial Citizens United dough.

  57. 57

    Shorter Obama: “You can still rock in America.”

  58. 58
    Strontium 90 says:

    Fox totally muting the sound of the crowd

  59. 59
    Ruckus says:

    I thought she was just being characteristically nice. I on the other hand rarely speak in such nice tones.

  60. 60

    Steve Schmidt should just fess up and admit he wishes he’d had Obama as a candidate.

  61. 61
    DPS says:

    Well, I feel comfortable saying that the lesson of tonight’s election is that Barack Obama needs to move towards the center-right.

  62. 62
    DPS says:

    According to Brian Williams just now, no Americans have ever voted for Mitch McConnell or Harry Reid.

    Bold analysis!

  63. 63
    Gil O. Teen says:

    To all wingnuts everywhere, and especially to Balloon Juice’s own resident troll Political Observer:

    Your tears of unfathomable sadness are delicious!

  64. 64
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    Heidi Heitkamp looks like she’s going to win in ND. That’s quite the thing.

  65. 65
    Yutsano says:

    @Mnemosyne: Sigh. Does this mean I have to tell her about the NYD? :) Who BTW can ride a horse, so she will instantly love him. Then take him out on a ride to interrogate him. I done warned him. I don’t think he took me seriously.

    In all honesty, this has great implications for some good college friends who almost had a major crisis when one gave birth. Now Jen will become her legal parent. I can’t wait for them to make it official! :)

  66. 66
    Mike G says:


    Just checking in……WHEREZ THE TROLL???

    Election is over, he’s been laid off.

  67. 67
    Kyle says:


    Well, I feel comfortable saying that the lesson of tonight’s election is that Barack Obama needs to move towards the center-right.

    This is good news for John McCain.

  68. 68
    Alan says:

    @DaddyJ: Unfortunately, for Joe, that will never happen. But one can wish.

  69. 69
    Mnemosyne says:


    Just sayin’, there’s a good side and a bad side to being treated like the rest of us. ;-) G has been hinting to me that, because I am the in-law, it’s my duty to have that talk with my brother-in-law because his mother is starting to worry about him still being single in his mid-30s and really couldn’t care less about the gender of the person as long as he settles down with someone.

    (I was single for so long that I suspect my parents were pleasantly surprised to find out that I really was straight. I think they were bracing themselves for a totally different announcement.)

  70. 70
    mcmullje says:

    Awesome – you put it well – thanks for your writing and for all you did to make this election night possible!!!!

  71. 71
    Yutsano says:

    @Mnemosyne: It’s funny. I like him, a lot. And he actually will get kind of territorial around me which just cracks me up. But his life is going one way and mine is kind of going another. I’m not even going to mention the age gap (which doesn’t seem to bother him) which is rather large. I’m just gonna wait it out with him. He’s so damn busy right now I’m just shutting up and listening half the time. I think he likes that more than anything.

  72. 72
    mds says:

    Elizabeth Warren asked the crowd to join with her in applauding Brown for his efforts in office—noting her strong disagreements with him and the rigors of the campaign, but still asking her supporters to recognize Brown’s work. We did.

    I’m sure Mr. Brown’s supporters were equally gracious. Once someone interrupted their latest rendition of the tomahawk chop, that is.

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