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Hoping I Can Change: Why I Was Wrong About Barack Obama

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I was wrong about Barack Obama.

Boy, was I wrong.

In fact I've been consistently wrong about our President-Elect since way back in January, starting with my first "there's no way this guy can win" post. Since then, I've mocked him, scolded him, patronized him, and basically written him off from wire to wire. About the only thing I didn't do was write a book along the lines of "Why Obama Lost" -- although one publisher, hearing my clarion call of negativity, did offer me the job.

Hey, at least I was consistent.

I never really drank the Obama Kool-Aid and joined with the adoring throngs who, it turns out, elected him president. Maybe it's because I'd already drunk the Clinton Juicy Juice back in the '90s and never lost my affection for Hillary, lousy as her campaign was. And that's saying nothing about her husband's disastrous attempts on her behalf.

But I think it's more likely that I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Defeat-ocrat. Someone who looks for the cloud in every electoral silver lining. Someone who knows from decades of experience how we Dems can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

The first presidential election I have any real memory of is 1980, when Ronald Reagan opened up a can of whup-ass on Jimmy Carter and signaled the ascendancy of the modern conservative movement. In '84 I volunteered for the Mondale campaign, and somehow deluded myself into believing he had a shot right up to the Election Night "victory party." It began at 7 PM -- 15 minutes before the networks called the election for Reagan. Eventually they called 49 states for the Gipper. I wasn't even old enough to get drunk.

Even when Democrats have won the White House in recent years, they've lost, kinda. Whether it's Clinton's surrendering both houses of Congress and then getting impeached in the late '90s GOP partisan rampage, or Gore's winning-but-somehow-not-winning in 2000, there's always been a little sour to temper the sweet.

After 2004, when John Kerry defied the exit polls and won the All-Time Lamest Campaign award but lost the presidency, I decided to give up all hope of the political landscape ever changing. So when the candidate of Hope, Change and Really, I Can Win This Thing roared out of the Iowa caucuses and into our hearts in January, well, I hope you can understand my cynicism.

But I was wrong and I'm very, very happy to admit it. I've even resolved to give myself a full day of unadulterated partisan glee. No bad thoughts for a full 24 hours. No pessimism. No thinking that the Democrats will now be blamed for anything and everything that goes wrong for the next two years. No worrying that if Obama turns out to be Jimmy Carter redux, we could be annointing another generation of Republican presidents. No realization that with this watershed victory, it's probably all downhill from here.

OK, the 24 hours starts ... NOW. Congratulations, Mr. President-Elect. And I'm sorry.