Monday, November 09, 2020

The two big winners last week: Joe Biden and Steve Kornacki

Now that I can breathe again for the first time in four years, some reflections on the past week.   Warning:  This is kind of a long one.  

First off, I only have myself to blame.  Everyone said don’t freak out on Tuesday night. There was going to be a Red Mirage.  Since Trump implored his base to only vote in person on election day, since those would be counted first, he would take big leads in battleground states.  Once the mail-in ballots were counted things would shift.  (And they did.  He was hoisted on his own petard.)   Intellectually, I understood that.  But watching the early results Tuesday night was like watching HOSTEL after being told it was a teen comedy.  Despite all the assurances from MSNBC (and James Carville who was Foster Brooks with better whiskey), I got 2016 PTSD flashbacks.  

That was my first mistake.  Number two was watching election coverage Tuesday night for eight straight hours. That was like being traumatized by HOSTEL then sticking around for HOSTEL 2.  And not turning off the TV just in case there was a “Making of HOSTEL” aftershow.  

I’ll never make that mistake again.  

I started the night watching CNN.  It was like being in a video game but louder and more frenetic.  Blaring fanfares, in-your-face graphics, Wolf Blitzer, and John King at the Magic Wall.  Prior to Tuesday night I was a big fan of John King and the Magic Wall.  But when they would go to him prior to election night, it was for two minutes.   John would cram ten minutes of information into those two, but then it would be done.  He was a jello shot.  

Tuesday night, however, it was wall-to-wall Magic Wall.  A relentless data dump.  I felt like I was someone just learning rudimentary English listening to Gus Johnson call a basketball game on the radio.  It was exhausting.  Not that he didn’t know his stuff, but counties were zooming in and out, and graphics and numbers and comparisons to Hilary Clinton’s performance in 2016, and who’s over-performing and under-performing, and the top of my head felt like a Jiffy Pop bag ready to explode.  Slow down!  Or take a breath.  

But what really pissed me off was when he’d show Virginia as red and say it should go blue, votes from Goober County aren’t in, but who knows?  They might not.  Virginia could surprise people and flip red.  That’s what makes this night fun.

NO!  There is no FUN this night.  This isn’t March Madness where Weber State beats Duke and you go, “Huh.  Didn’t see that coming.”  This is literally the fate of Democracy and the United States of America.  Get your FUN elsewhere.  

That would be interrupted by blaring fanfare and percussion, a giant graphic filling the screen with an ELECTION UPDATE.  Then they show a graphic of Trump and Biden.  At the top of the screen it says “Nevada.”   Under Trump’s photo it has his percentage at 93% and Biden’s is at 6%.  I’m thinking, Jesus, we’re fucked.  Then underneath the percentages are the actual votes.  Trump: 82, Biden 9.  WTF?!   

And all of this hysteria was just in the first hour.  

By the way, did you know that CNN’s Dana Bash was once married to John King for four years?  They had a child together.  I just assume when they had sex that John was still wearing that black suit.  

I decided to see what the broadcast networks were up to.  CBS was in love with swirling cameras on jibs floating all over the set.  Like someone tied a camera to a moth.  I could only do five minutes.  

Maybe it’s because I’m from a different age, but when it came to network news there was CBS and NBC.  ABC was the station that had THE FLINTSTONES and BRADY BUNCH.   I’ve never taken ABC News seriously.  If you want to eat healthy you don’t go to Shakey’s.  So I skipped ABC entirely.  

I didn’t watch Fox News for the same reason I don’t join Scientology or leave snacks in the backyard for visiting extra terrestrials.  

If I was going to watch NBC I figured I might as well watch MSNBC.   They were less frenetic than CNN and I felt like I was with my peeps.  Interesting that Rachel Maddow anchored the coverage and once-golden-boy, Brian Williams was relegated to the projection desk.  “NBC projects Oklahoma goes to Donald Trump.  Now back to Rachel for the next forty minutes.”

Rachel conveyed sanity and perspective.  Again, my fault for ignoring all the times she and her co-anchors implored me to relax and be patient.  

The highlight of the MSNBC coverage was Steve Kornacki at their Magic Board.  I love his enthusiasm.  Kornacki is the nerd in High School who got a girlfriend.  As knowledgeable as King but less polished and refreshingly goofy.   He maybe got four hours sleep in total last week.  I suspect he’s going to emerge from this coverage as the star.  

Late into the night, Biden gave a “just wait and relax” speech, and then Trump gave a truly horrifying insane victory speech from the White House to a crowd of maskless, brainless toadies who gave him a standing ovation as he spewed one shameful lie after another, standing at a podium with 200 American Flags behind him (probably stolen from local public schools).  

To both MSNBC’s credit (and CNN’s), their hosts and analyst ripped the shit out him, said he had reached a new low, which is now the reaction every time he speaks.  I thought it was interesting when he tried the same thing the next day in the briefing room, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, and ABC cut away from his speech about two minutes in when they could see it was just a blizzard of reprehensible lies.  Think about that:  All three networks cutting away from the president of the United States.  

So I went to sleep suicidal that first night.  I woke up at 4:30 and checked the website to see that Biden had pulled ahead in Wisconsin & Michigan.  Ohmygod!  James Carville (the happy drunk relative at every family function) was right.  

For the next few days I avoided TV coverage.  I’d check websites every few hours.  And day by day things started looking better.  He took Michigan and Wisconsin.  When Biden turned the corner in Pennsylvania I actually was able to keep food down.   Like everybody, waiting was frustrating.  But I took comfort in knowing that meticulous vote counting would make it harder for Trump to challenge, and the wait must’ve been extra torture on Trump.   Reports were that everybody close to him was afraid to tell him the reality of the situation.  I might’ve done it this way:  “It looks like you’ll no longer be president with all the privileges that come with that, and instead you’ll lose your empire and spend the rest of your life in prison.  But the good news is a new SHARK TANK airs tonight on ABC.”  

The announcement Saturday morning was GLORIOUS.  And with Biden winning by quite a margin and record popular vote, the Genie is out of the bottle.  All the celebrations over the weekend, victory speeches Saturday night (which reminded me of how real presidents act), congratulations from world leaders — the country and world has spoken.  Trump’s baseless legal challenges will go nowhere, as all of his legal challenges the last two weeks have.    It’s over.  Finally.  We can turn our attention to healing, justice, decency, stability, empathy, and stopping this pandemic.

As someone said on Facebook:  One plague down and one to go. 

52 comments :

Pizzagod said...

I'm reading your post to my wife, and it's constantly punctuated with "THAT WAS US! THAT WAS US!"

What can we say? Don't bet against Batman no matter how badly things are stacked against him, you have to have faith that he'll come through in the end.

I'm breathing a sigh of relief while I wait to see how the outgoing guy louses things up in the next 71 days.

Anonymous said...

"Turner 85, Mitchell 23"

Tim Danger Cabeen said...

I love this blog post.

Why is it you don't leave snacks for potential alien visitors? What do you have to lose?

Phil said...

I had the exact same "talk me off the ledge" feeling for most of last week. Rational brain said be patient. Lizard brain was freaking out.

I will say though that it isn't one down, one to go for plagues. I'm starting to see more and more people moving to Gab and Parler social media sites because "they don't censor posts". You and I know what that truly means.
We still have two plagues. One just may go dormant again until it conditions are right to spread publicly as opposed to festering and growing in the shadows.

Daniel said...

"Maybe it’s because I’m from a different age, but when it came to network news there was CBS and NBC. ABC was the station that had THE FLINTSTONES and BRADY BUNCH. I’ve never taken ABC News seriously. If you want to eat healthy you don’t go to Shakey’s. So I skipped ABC entirely."

This is interesting. I'm a Gen-Xer, so I grew up in the 1980s in the era when Peter Jennings was the anchor at ABC News, and to me, that was the premier TV news organization. He was so intelligent, erudite, and cosmopolitan. And he surrounded himself with great reporters: Ted Koppel, David Brinkley, Ann Compton, Charles Gibson, Sam Donaldson, etc. ABC just felt like the smartest kids in the room. It felt like attending the most interesting cocktail party in the world (whereas NBC in the era of Tom Brokaw felt superficial, like the kids from high school who spent their lives getting by on their looks; and Dan Rather on CBS always felt like he was trying too hard to prove how smart he was and just rubbed me the wrong way).

I haven't watched TV news in 20 years (I moved on to NPR), so I have no idea who's on there now, but in my mind, ABC News in the 1980s was the gold standard of what a TV news organization should be.

James Van Hise said...

To me, Trump deserved to lose the day the Trump administration announced that the reason they can find the parents for 545 children held at the border (their parents were actually deported) is because their parents don't want them any more. There is going to be a reckoning for the INS. The "I was just following orders" argument was destroyed more than 60 years ago at Nuremberg. Cruelty is cruelty.

Troy McClure said...

"I didn’t watch Fox News for the same reason I don’t join Scientology or leave snacks in the backyard for visiting extra terrestrials."

Brilliant.

Amidst the joyous celebrations over the weekend, two absolutely hilarious stories about the Trump shitshow emerged. One was that Kimberly Guilfoyle had upset some very traditional Republicans by offering a lapdance to the biggest campaign donors.

But it's the other one that has already become legendary. When the story of the 2020 election is written, this will deserve its own chapter. Trump tweeted that a press conference would be held at the Four Seasons hotel in Philadelphia. He quickly deleted it and then tweeted that the conference would be at Four Seasons Total Landscaping. This is located next to an adult bookstore and opposite a crematorium. So Rudy Giuliani ended up ranting next to a dildo shop and across from a house of death. The cosmos has a beautiful sense of humor.

Obviously what happened was Trump announced the Four Seasons hotel as the location before it had been booked. The Four Seasons wanted nothing to do with Trump human sewage, so much so that they actually tweeted to confirm they were not hosting the conference. To desperately save face, the Trump camp tried to claim it was always the intention to hold the press conference at Four Seasons Total Landscaping.

There was also the wonderful news that Deutsche Bank have signalled they're going to call in Trump's $340 million debts and will seize his assets if he can't pay.

Is schadenfreude overload possible?

tavm said...

Mom and I watched Confessions of a Shopoholic on Amazon Prime (linked from IMDb TV which meant commercial interruptions) during the prime time coverage of the election, then turning it off after Joe Biden's "keep waiting" speech. Also saw Stephen Colbert's monologue decrying Trump's behavior (after pausing for what seemed like forever) on Thursday and "SNL"s Cold Open with Jim Carrey doing his "Looser" trademark as Ace Ventura while playing Biden with Maya Rudolph as Kamala Harris joining in before Alec Baldwin as Donald J. Trump then performing his slow-jam rendition of "Macho Man" on the piano (a spoof of Kate McKinnon playing Hilary Clinton doing "Allejulia" after Hilary lost). At least this wasn't a repeat of the 2000 election when we had to wait for a month before the Supreme Court decided the winner...

Coopy said...

Wow, Ken, you certainly were a glutton for self-punishment. I watched none of it, as I knew that it would take time to count all the votes(same day, early, and absentee). I also knew that each news source would try to be the first with the most. I did watch my local news, as I was more interested in the local and state results. I was awarded with plain counts, simple percentages of the votes tallied at that minute, and no pontificating. Did that mean that I didn't care what the future of the country might be? No. It did mean that I felt the outcome of the vote was bigger than the networks with their talking heads and grandiose presentations.

Roseann said...

Haver you read this Tweet?

https://twitter.com/JoyAnnReid/status/1325294752565252096?s=20

Shrill1 said...

You might enjoy this. https://www.yahoo.com/news/saw-donald-trump-presidency-come-185449511.html

RobW said...

Fun fact about ABC News - their evening broadcast with David Muir was often the highest rated show on television ( not just among news shows ) on many nights since the pandemic began, as audiences returned to broadcast television for their news.

J A said...

Hello Ken. I just have to ask: Can you ever remember an episode of a sitcom (whether overall or anything you and/or David Isaacs involved in) that had a scenario even close to the Four Seasons Total Landscaping fiasco in Philadelphia on Saturday (this is in reference to where Rudy Giuliani had the Trump campaign press conference around the time the election was called for now President-elect Biden)???

On top of all that, I wonder how legends like Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, or Larry Gelbart would have handled this scenario?? Or would this have been left up to, let’s say, Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, or Rob McElhenney of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” oddly enough??

Matt said...

Four Seasons Total Landscaping had a good week. After Trump announced that his lawyers would have a presser at the Four Seasons, most people assumed it was the downtown hotel next to Independence Hall. No what Trump really meant was the parking lot at Four Seasons Total Landscaping, right next to Adult Fantasies sex shop, across the street from the crematorium and two blocks from the city jail. While most people think this was a mistake, I think it is the perfect place for Trump to hold a presser.

VP81955 said...

I watched my election coverage on CNN -- while I'm a progressive, Rachel Maddow's smugness rubs me the wrong way, plus she's a Red Sox fan -- though I did check out BBC for its perspective on America. (It was pretty sane.) John King crammed too much info into too little time, which begs the question: Why was he continually using the cumbersome term "African-American" instead of "black"? The rest of CNN's coverage was solid, however, and I've become a major fan of Chris Cuomo.

Jeff Boice said...

You followed the election returns on network TV- how positively 20th Century of you. I had read about the Red and Blue Mirages so I went to bed, had a good nights sleep and got up early the next morning. And then I didn't turn on the TV, I went on the internet. Decision Desk HQ on Twitter was a very pleasant surprise-and then there was Jon Ralston for Nevada and somebody who calls himself the AZ Data Guru for Arizona. Maricopa Incoming! Plus Decision Desk HQ called PA (and the election) for Biden on Friday morning- about 24 hours ahead of the networks. NBC with their 99.5 % certainty threshold for calling states annoyed me. Even Ivory Soap is happy with only 99 and 44/100%

AAllen said...

Us po' folks were stuck watching broadcast only. I think it was CBS that had someone wearing a steadycam walk across the screen during a closeup of an anchor. The downside of a slick presentation.

Later at the midnight (three Eastern) Trump speech, he was introduced with the song, "Here Comes the Chief," and the ending song was some John Philip Sousa song one would associate with circuses. No need to get in trouble using Rolling Stones songs now that the actual election was over. He can go back to using old person music.

G.E. Masana said...

Steve Kornaki reminded me of the nerdy accountant character played by Charles Martin Smith in "The Untouchables" who shows up every ten minutes with the hint of how to take down Capone.



Bob Paris said...

Here is the email I sent to the letters desk this morning at the LA Times:

President Trump could have avoided all of this tumult had he nominated Merrick Garland to fill the last Supreme Court vacancy. To his base, Trump can do no wrong and they seem intent on supporting him no matter what he does. Throwing a bone to the other side would have added to his support and he likely would have been re-elected. I doubt he reads the paper, but this realization would drive him nuts.

tb said...

I was right there with you Tuesday night, after he won Florida, I was thinking "Oh God, it's Hilary all over again" total PTSD. But Wed morning, seeing Joe catching up, hope re-emerged. And now, my God, it's done, he's out. Along with Barr and Pompeo and Betsy Devos and all the other complete jackasses, fucking Stephen Miller, etc...phew. What a nightmare the past four years have been

blinky said...

I worked with James Carville at NBC during the midterms and he was a totally cool dude. He even made his own coffee. We talked about politics during the breaks and he would actually listen to my thoughts and engage, not just pontificate.
Steve Karnacki is the best, no doubt.

The bad news is for the next 4 years we will have to endure Maya Rudolph doing her horribly unfunny Kamala Harris impersonation. Stop the Madness Lorne!

VincentS said...

An obnoxious, incompetent thug has been replaced by a demented corporate shill, although I won't be satisfied until Trump walks across the White House lawn to get on the helicopter. Remember, there are still so many people living under bridges in Los Angeles that there is NO MORE SPACE under them and the city has actually had to bring in porta potties, heaters, etc. If this covid vaccine proves the real McCoy, hopefully protests for reform will start all over the country to tell our new president to listen to the needs of the people. As for election coverage, I guess Paddy Cheyefsky got it right.

Michael said...

I miss the olden days when Walter was at the center of things on CBS, Dan Rather and Roger Mudd would turn their backs on each other when the other was speaking because they had quite a feud, and every now and then Eric Sevareid would say something incomprehensible, but you knew it mattered because he looked so serious about it.

(Actually, as a kid, I watched CBS, and Eric's commentaries made me interested in news--he DID look serious, and he was.)

It's interesting that this year the networks were so slow to project. In Nevada, we knew by election day that Agent Orange would have trouble winning here, and by Thursday we knew he hadn't won here, but the networks and print folks wouldn't pull the trigger. Honestly, I think Fux Noise was partly to blame by going for Arizona so early (and correctly--and their decision desk is separate from their prime time lineup, which reminds me of Ralph Fiennes as the guard in Schindler's List). If Nevada joined Arizona, that could make 270, and either Fux would have to project Nevada or the others would have to project Arizona.

The other reason is that republicans have done an excellent job of working the refs. Democrats don't threaten them. If I didn't need a day job, I would form an organization dedicated to setting up boycotts of media outlets that don't do their jobs. They'd start once the money quit flowing.

Which reminds me of a Nevada story. In 1964, we had a really tight Senate race, and our main paper in Las Vegas was Democratic but really working over the Democratic candidate. The publisher also owned radio and TV stations and one day got a call from LBJ, who pointed out that as president he had something to say about FCC licenses, and were those outlets profitable? The paper's editor was gone within a couple of days, and so was the criticism of the Democrat, who won statewide by 84 votes. As a Democrat, I'll take LBJ's approach to that and to social issues. To foreign policy, um, no.

Otto Katz said...

" Kornacki is the nerd in High School who got a girlfriend."

Anybody wanna tell him?

mike schlesinger said...

Gotta disagree with you about Brian Williams on two points. First, he wasn't "relegated"--he was functioning as sort of a ringmaster, throwing it to Rachel/Joy/Niccole or Kornacki or guests as needed; it was clear he was the lead anchor.

Second, as far as I'm concerned, he's still a golden boy. His gravitas, intelligence and wit are unmatched. Every time I hear his voice I feel calm and reassured, and I'll take a full hour of him stretching out with guests over 30 minutes of him tossing to correspondents any day of the week.

And he's incredibly funny. (Remember he's one of the very few newscasters to have hosted SNL.) I've never laughed so hard at a news program as I did several months ago. It was the day Trump was yammering about "protecting our geniuses." Chuck Rosenberg cracked, "Well, one of the things I learned today is that Thomas Edison is dead." Without skipping a beat, Brian deadpanned, "Sad news from Menlo Park. That should have been our lead story."

Greempa said...

I didn't watch even one minute of TV news last week. Not cable, network, local. I totally relied on the internet. That way I could bounce from CNN to the Washington Post to the BBC to 50 other sites quickly and effortlessly. Although I did feel exactly like you did Tuesday evening. It totally felt like 2016 all over again, even though I understood all the talk about be patient, the mail in ballots will change things around. I had a sinking feeling that the pollsters totally screwed up again. My wife didn't even check any election news Tuesday evening. She watched Britbox. When I came out to go to bed she said "Well, how is it?" I said 2016 all over again. I was hesitant to turn on the computer on Wednesday morning. But my eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw all that new blue on the map. Thank you, America.

Janet said...

Absolutely awesome, Ken!

I watched MSNBC all night (and ever since, Rachel Maddow is truly wonderful!)

And, yes, Kornacki's the best. My only minor correction would be: he's the nerd in high school to get a *boyfriend*.

Kornacki happens to be gay.

Thanks for making me laugh so hard and making my day! :)

Elf said...

If Halloween fell after the election (and there was no pandemic) you know that the year's big costume would be the Kornacki. White shirt, semi-tousled hair, striped tie, slacks and a touch screen with a map of the electoral college anchored over his right shoulder. Sure, someone may try it next year but by then there'll have been many more subsequent flavors of the month and his moment in the sun will have passed.

Also, I'll second that Brian Williams was leading the MSNBC coverage and did a great job. His most humorous moments on MSNBC came way back when he'd begun on MSNBC and his show was back to back with Keith Olbermann. They're hand the show off from one to the other, but that mid-show banter was always a matter of who could crack each other up the most.

I just wish NBC would spend a few bucks to get Carville a better webcam and/or internet connection.

Elf said...

Trump's press conference held between the sex shop and crematorium was actually quite appropriate considering that 75,000,000 votes had just told him to fuck off and die.

(Sorry for the language but the joke doesn't work well without it.)

Jim S said...

You shouldn't have worried Ken. Joe was just Biden his time. (Mike drops).

This year I decided to volunteer to be an "election inspector" in my home town in Michigan. It was a fascinating process. One benefit was that we had to operate in a bubble. No campaign literature involved. No news allowed. (Though some of my fellow inspectors checked their smart phones during lulls the way a closet drinker sneaks a swig.

We had to be at the polling site by 6 a.m. for a 7 a.m. opening. There were people waiting outside. During the day, there were very few times that there weren't at least a couple of voters at the precinct, but between 7:30 and 8 p.m. we had only two voters. For the old timers that was unheard of. A fellow inspector in her mid-30s said that it made sense. All her friends voted via mail, so when Trump had twice the voters that Biden did after we tallied all the votes. She said that when her the votes of younger mail-in voters were tallied, we should expect to see a shift, and that's what happened.

I was told that my city had more mail-in votes in 2020 than all votes cast in 2016, and we processed about 825 people in person during the day.

I also was offended when certain politicians were saying the election was being stolen in Michigan. We were all volunteers who took our job seriously for three reasons. First, a job well done is its own reward. Second, we all really believed in making sure people got to vote for the candidate of their choice, whether Biden, Trump or Mickey Mouse. (He got two write-in votes.) Third, we really didn't want any mistakes, because we couldn't leave the precinct until all the votes tallied with all the paperwork voters fill out. We didn't want to stay longer and we didn't want to somehow get caught up in some sort of legal mess.

Saying that hard-working volunteers such as my colleagues were part of a conspiracy really offends me. We really worked hard to make the voting experience efficient, quick and fair and honest.

As it happened, we were able to officially exit the precinct at about 9 p.m. That was a 15-hour day, so when I got home I checked my emails and went to bed.

When I saw how close the in-person voting was in states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Georgie, I knew Biden would win.

I like voting in person. It has a feeling of imporantance, so working at a precinct on election day meant I had to vote by mail. That's irony for you.

Anonymous said...

I watched zero coverage. I couldn't. I went to bed, woke up and asked my husband if trump won. He said no, I think he is losing. With that I rose out of bed and had a few anxious days until saturday at noon when they called it. I was so happy I cried, had a few drinks and went to bed feeling such a relief, a weight of 4 years lifted. It ended when I read on Sunday trump was going back to rallies and his "person" not signing off on the Biden transition of power. This man is dangerous. All of us who knew what trump was all about decades ago warned 4 years ago that he wanted to be president for life. He talked openly about it. Everyone laughed. I did not. His aim is to remain in office forever or hand it over to another republican or one of his spawn. Another comment on here was about missing Cronkite. Can you imagine trump calling Walter Fake News or mean tweeting about him? Actually, I can. He has zero respect for anyone. I live near Atlantic City. Hopefully, he will be gone 1/21/21. On 1/29/21 his last casino will be imploded. I plan to be there to cheer it on and use it as a substitute for his failed, nightmare of a presidency. Janice B.

Mike Bloodworth said...

Among the broadcast networks ABC actually had the best coverage. George Stephanopoulos was calm, rational and knowledgeable.

NBC has the worst presentation. I don't know what was wrong with "Meet the Press" host, Chuck Todd, but he was awful. You couldn't blame exhaustion because he started the evening that way. Was he high? Was it COVID "brain fog?" I can't believe it was insecurity. Although, taking a few improv classes probably wouldn't hurt him.

The fact that Gayle King's yellow dress was the highlight of the night shows what kind of coverage CBS had.

And I know how many of you HATE FOX news, but their coverage was better than you might think. As far as bias goes they did call Arizona for Biden before the other three networks.

I sincerely hope that Joe Biden is a good president and represents not just those that voted for him. Because if he screws up Trump will be back in 2024.

M.B.

Troy McClure said...

Janice

Trump can hold all the rallies he wants and refuse to concede. It doesn't matter. There is no requirement in law that the loser has to concede.

The lawsuits are nothing but one final grift. It was reported that the Trump camp are soliciting donations from their thick supporters for his "legal fund." In the small print of their emails it says 60% of the donations will go on paying the campaign debts. It's hilarious that even now he's making money off his moronic supporters. These are the same idiots who donated millions to Steve Bannon's phony wall fundraiser which he then spent on living a lavish lifestyle and buying a yacht.

Lorimartian said...

I was listening in the car to an interview with the brilliant Aaron Sorkin on KPCC. He commented (I'm paraphrasing) "when future programs are written about the last four years, he expects Trump to be only a background presence because you can't have a character without a conscience." It was so profound a statement, I almost had to pull over to the curb to let it sink in. I can't wait to see what he might produce if he chooses, in his meticulous and incomparable fashion, to explore the dynamics and relationships in Trump's circle.

Troy McClure said...

Trump will have a hard time returning in 2024. I don't think federal prisoners can run for office.

Unknown said...

The Grifter-in-Chief is on borrowed time, but make no bones about it, he won't leave until he's done more corrosive damage to your democracy and nation. Being safely across the 49th parallel still doesn't leave me feeling comforted. That there were supposedly 70-million morons who thought kids in cages, endless campaigns based on self-promotion and low-blow insults, and sniping dangerous messages to his cult was worth a second go-round remains a scary harbinger.

Anonymous said...

One word for Steve Kornacki: analytics. Maybe two: non-partisan.

Remember when anchors used to have some stature and carry some weight? When a company has an entire network devoted to politics year-round, Lester Holt was just a bumper going to and from commercials--and Holt is my favorite anchorman.

You were banging on CBS, which I didn't watch, but what is with TV producers? Is there such pressure to do something new they'll go with anything even if it's bad? NBC shooting up the Rockefeller Center building from near the base, trying to make their HQ look like The Citadel and pasting on lettering to be reading sideways from bottom to top of the screen. CNN shooting the magic board at an angle; they gave you a better shot of the Atlantic Ocean than the Eastern states. MSNBC at least gave the differences in big clear numbers. CNN buried them in type so small I didn't even know they were on the screen; I thought Wolf Blitzer and King were really good at doing math in their head. They all could add a screen of votes to be counted and percentage needed for the trailer to catch up, eg Biden is behind by 20 with 100 to count, must get 60% of uncounted to pull even.

I didn't think of it until Friday and I wish it had occurred to me earlier. I tuned in Fox News, looking for some real entertainment. Sadly, their news coverage when I was watching was actually fairly decent and honest. The opinion shows were as expected. I wonder what reporting was like Tuesday night.

-30-

VP81955 said...

Troy, didn't socialist Eugene V. Debs run for president while in prison? (Incidentally, the New York radio station WEVD was named for Debs.)

Greempa said...

Jim S

Thank you for all the hard work you did as an election inspector. The thing that bothers me the most about all these bogus claims of election fraud is that it is flat out saying that all of the dedicated people who worked the polling places and tirelessly counted the votes are all crooked cheats. It makes me sick to my stomach. I for one appreciate all for your work in making this a fair election.

Anonymous said...

I deliberately watched Fox News because:

a) I wanted to see how they'd react to the poll expected Republican wipe off.

b) I don't want to be in the overly optimistic Democratic cheersquad, if it does start going Trump's way.

Fox News had none of the stomach churning over-the-top theatrics mentioned in your blog, or as seen in other evening highlights.

It was more middle of the road, and willing to take on Trump by calling Arizona, and sticking by their decision even though it raised ire at the Orange House.

The moderator was Brett Baier who, like Sheperd Smith, could be the middle of the road moderator on any network.

Chris Wallace, although Republican, calls things honestly if it goes the other way, while Martha MacCallum was reserved.

Dana Perino was what you'd expect on Fox News, while Britt Hume tried to vainly throw excuses at times to Trump supporters. But they were not overbearing.

I was very happy with the professionalism of the predominantly non-partisan Fox News presentation.

And just to be clear, I want baby Donald on a one way ticket to Sing Sing.

Kevin FitzMaurice said...

ABC News was an also-ran in the halcyon days of Cronkite and Huntley-Brinkley, but the third-place network did have first-rate talent among its staff, even if some weren't household names--John Daly, Bill Lawrence, John Scali, Bob Clark, Lisa Howard, Ron Cochran, Howard K. Smith, Piers Anderton, Bob Young, and Frank Reynolds, to name a few.

Unknown said...

I kept thinking of Mel Brooks' High Anxiety as I watched the election returns. I loved Steve Kornicki and his enthusiasm. James Carville and Michael Steel reassured me that Biden would prevail. The next act will be in Georgia when the senatorial run-offs can determine the control of the Senate. I'm incensed at Cal Cunningham for his stupidity in having a sexual encounter which probably cost him his victory over Thom Tillis in North Carolina. As I read your blog, I felt that you eloquently voiced my nervousness about the outcome of the election.

Viscount Manzeppi said...

As for tRump making a comeback in 2024, it's just another of the sleazy grifts he's been running his entire life.

He'll be 78 then, he's morbidly obese, and whatever of a brain he may once have had (that's highly debatable) is already Swiss cheese.

RF Burns said...

Jim, I would like to also express gratitude for your long day as an inspector...especially since that asshat Newt Gingrich wants the Justice Department to throw the lot of you in jail.

mike schlesinger said...

Mike B: Chuck Todd is always awful. He's been a joke for years and should have gotten the boot years ago.

Unknown: Cunningham's poll numbers didn't move because of the "scandal." He lost for the same reason the scandal-free McGrath, Hegar, Harrison, Gideon and Greenfield lost: Republicans split their ballots, voting for down-ballot candidates but not Trump.

forgetful phil. said...

Watching from afar, here in Melbourne, Australia, it seems like anything that ever happens in the USA is just a fictional TV show. If I was entitled to vote I'd be campaigning for Ken Levine to script it from here on in. Glad that you decided to fire the lead actor. His character was too implausible; the charm of Frank Burns, the denial of Cliff Claven, the acceptance of Archie Bunker, the trustworthiness of J.R.Ewing and the vindictiveness of Lex Luthor. I do hope that the ex-super-villain in-chief & his army of obedient zombies gets written out of the story much sooner than later.
BTW, congratulations Ken & all your readers on surviving the craziness of your fellow countrymen. I'm soooo glad I'm not American. Not that our politicians are any better.

Brian Phillips said...

Being Christian, I prayed a great deal and I asked that Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris would win and my prayers were answered. Were I a BETTER Christian, I wouldn't have had a nagging headache and raised pulse for the week of the election.

It forced me to (eventually) stop looking at the news channels and...my headache went away!

This cycle, the Biden campaign did several things that I was happy to see:

- Biden told you where he stood in his ads, as opposed to most of the Hillary Clinton ads, which merely pointed at Trump and said, "Will you look at him?". She tried a milder tactic in the primaries against then-Senator Obama with the "3AM Phone Call" ad.

- They raced until the end, even in my state of Georgia. It was nigh on impossible to find Clinton yard signs, stickers or pokemons here because they (and much of the press) figured, "This is in the bag".

- The major tactic was "Let him rave" and instead of emboldening Trump's accusations, they let them fall to the ground, which was not hard to do, considering that Trump had close to no newspaper endorsements and Biden picked up some surprising ones, including USA Today, which heretofore had NEVER endorsed a candidate.

Thank you, Ken Levine for a great post, Elf for cracking me up and to all the Jim S. out there who kept watch.

Here are two sobering notes:

1. For those who laughed at the "Four Seasons" fiasco, remember how hard you laughed at the 2015 "Escalator Announcement" of Trump and look how that ended. It's delusional, but he has the weight of the AG and the DOJ behind him, whether it be for support or kissing.

2. Before we get too puffed up about Kamala Harris and how very modern we are, Sirimavo Bandaranaike was elected Prime Minister of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in 1960 and this was the first of her three terms. We thought we were hot stuff by electing a man who was Catholic (like THAT'll ever happen again!:)


3. This was the highest turnout for a presidential election in the USA since 1908 and...it would have put us at 22nd place in the world on this chart:


https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/11/03/in-past-elections-u-s-trailed-most-developed-countries-in-voter-turnout/

Part of reason we lag behind is the fact that some countries made voting compulsory, even going as far as levying fines for not voting. Some countries give you the day off to vote.

Whatever the case may be, we have to do better than roughly 62% turnout.

Tudor Queen said...

I had an almost identical series of reactions to things as you did. I kept refreshing the interactive map election night until my husband led me off the computer and out of the room. And yes, the speeches reminded me of how things are supposed to be. President-elect Biden was, well, Presidential, embracing all Americans and promising to look out for even the Americans who didn't vote for him (we didn't think anyone had to say that until a certain someone decided he wouldn't). Vice-President-elect Harris made history and was awesome in how she did it.

I do wish we'd turned the Senate because Sen. McConnell is feeling empowered and being the hypocritical toady he's always been, only worse. We need a Majority leader who leads rather than obstructs. Oh, well.

By Thursday I was breathing almost normally.

Poochie said...

Kornacki is the nerd in High School who got a girlfriend.

Ken as others have already mentioned, Kornacki is famously gay. Futhermore not only did he NOT have a girlfriend but as pointed out in this famously self written piece

https://www.salon.com/2011/11/16/the_coming_out_story_i_never_thought_id_write/

He never even dated for the first 30 years of his life as he was so worried about being outed and all the more miserable for it. So no partner in high school, college, or the first ten years of his career as a matter of fact.

But I suppose this is why you get paid the big bucks to write fiction.

Frederic Alden said...

I wish I could feel good about the election, but the way I see it, it was a victory for the Republican Party, which picked up seats in the House and kept control of the Senate. This was just barely a repudiation of Trump, despite the horror of his administration and his obvious shortcomings as a leader and as a human.

I expect the Democratic leadership will take control of the runoff elections in Georgia, and with their usual ineptitude will ensure that the Senate remains in Republican hands.

Mike Doran said...

Back in '17, there was a joke going around:

"Remember - if anything happens to Mitch McConnell, Trump becomes President!"

In fact, when McConnell became GOP Senate Boss, he became the most powerful man in DC.
And that happened while Obama was still President.
You know, the Merritt Garland thing.
Followed by not letting any of Obama's Federal bench appointments through.
Mitch was clearing the decks for a GOP President - any GOP President - to pack the Federal bench with youngish, right-wing hardliners, giving them lifetime seats.
Trump benefitted from the less-than-compelling competition, won the nomination, and used Hillary Clinton's edginess against her - and there you are.

If Moscow Mitch is still in charge when Biden takes office, he becomes in effect the shadow President: Biden won't get any appointee through unless McC deigns to let it go - and does anybody want to give me an over-under on THAT?

Roger Owen Green said...

I turned off the tV at 7 pm ET, didn't see online news either. went to bed at 10 ET. Woke at 5:30 a.m. and caught djt's first of many meltdowns