As millions stroll into the voting booth, I have some personal memories of past presidential elections that are streaming into my mind for whatever reasons. Maybe there are connections to the 2008 campaign.
1992--I had a friend with access to one of those satellite hookups that were interesting before everyone got a dish. One of those 12-foot wide discs in your backyard that allowed you to pick up the network feeds that ran as they broadcast commercials or prepared for the nightly news. Fun for voyuerists everywhere. Anyway it was the Sunday before the election and our president, George H.W. Bush, was set to appear on some minor ABC network news show. Waiting to be interviewed, I knew that he was going to lose this close election, and that he knew he was going to lose this election to, of all people, the governor of ARKANSAS! (Note to politicians: anytime you belittle or underestimate your opponent--Reagan, W, Obama--you're probably going to lose.) It was sad that a man who set a record for approval ratings of around 91% after the Gulf War could so quickly sink out of sight. It was crazy just to see his face with this resigned look on it, and then his painful concession speech to his supporters in Houston. Though I never voted for him, I felt some sympathy.
2004--I was furious at what that so-called compassionate conservative was doing to our country, and had my spirits bouyed all day long by internet reports of the exit polls. By all accounts, it was looking great in Ohio and Florida. I knew people in the media and reports on the ground were that Kerry's late surge may push him over in a close win. Wire story reports were coming in late in the afternoon for me (I live in California) that Bush had begun to call close aides to the White House to give them the bad news, say their goodbyes, etc. In the meantime in Boston reports were going out to the folks on the ground there that they needed to get ready for a victory party, as things for looking good for John and John.
IN THE MIDST OF ALL THIS, the ONLY voice of optimism on the Bush team was Karl Rove, who was insisting to campaign staffers that such gloom was premature. That, more than anything, leads me to believe that the election was stolen in Ohio, and he knew the fix was in and those exit polls from at least that state would not reflect the official tally.
Fortunately I didn't tell too many other people about what was going on other than a neighbor, so I didn't have to eat dirt as the long night stretched on and no Kerry victory was in sight.
Then my final bitter memory was the Shrub doing his press conference and proclaiming his "mandate." WHAT A JOKE!