By Pat Browning
After weeks of constantly scouring the Internet for the latest election news, I’m finding the habit hard to break. It turns out that the post-election news is almost as addictive.
Apart from raging controversies over the dress Mrs. Obama wore for her husband’s victory speech, and the best dog for the Obama girls, writers for major newspapers have posted columns both humorous and poignant.
Here are excerpts from some of my favorites.
COLSON WHITEHEAD in the NEW YORK TIMES:
OVER the coming days and weeks, there will be many “I never thought I’d see the day” pieces, but none of them will be more overflowing with “I never thought I’d see the day”-ness than this one.
I’m black, you see, and I haven’t gained a pound since college. I skip breakfast most days, have maybe half a sandwich for lunch, and sometimes I forget to eat dinner. Just slips my mind. Yesterday morning, I woke up to a new world. America had elected a Skinny Black Guy president.
An AP story on CNN:
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -- Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has dismissed criticism of his description of U.S. president-elect Barack Obama as "tanned" and walked out of a news conference after blasting a journalist who pressed him on the issue.
Berlusconi appeared visibly annoyed after a Friday summit of European Union leaders when reporters questioned him about the possible political fallout of the comments he made Thursday in Russia. The outspoken Italian leader appeared to be joking when he said Obama "has everything needed in order to reach deals with him: he's young, handsome and even tanned."
Berlusconi later said the remark was meant to be "cute" and called those who disagreed "imbeciles, of which there are too many."
GAIL COLLINS in the NEW YORK TIMES:
Finally, on behalf of the baby-boom generation, I would like to hear a little round of applause before we cede the stage to the people who were too young to go to Woodstock and would appreciate not having to listen to the stories about it anymore.
MAUREEN DOWD in the NEW YORK TIMES:
As we start fresh with a constitutional law professor and senator from the Land of Lincoln, the Lincoln Memorial might be getting its gleam back. I may have to celebrate by going over there and climbing up into Abe's lap. It's a $50 fine. But it'd be worth it.
P.J. HUFFSTUTTER in the LOS ANGELES TIMES:
I saw the president-elect on Thursday -- six different times, for a total of 71 seconds. We didn't speak, but he did grin and wave at me. At least I think it was at me. It could have been the Secret Service agents standing behind me, all toting automatic rifles, who are a constant and imposing presence around Barack Obama.
Some of the Windy City's motorists, it became clear, did not seem to understand that A) the Chicago Police Department car that trails the president-elect's motorcade is serious about having traffic pull over when the officers inside flash the lights and hit the sirens, and B) it's not a great idea to cut in front of a black SUV filled with heavily armed Secret Service agents.
When the motorcade pulled off a highway and onto city streets, a couple in a tan sedan tried to drive around the motorcade.
The Secret Service agents cut the car off immediately and aimed their weapons at its occupants. The driver slammed on the brakes, and he and his stunned passenger threw their hands into the air.
NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF in the NEW YORK TIMES:
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressed the Hawaii Legislature in 1959, two years before Mr. Obama was born in Honolulu, and declared that the civil rights movement aimed not just to free blacks but “to free the soul of America.”
Mr. King ended his Hawaii speech by quoting a prayer from a preacher who had once been a slave, and it’s an apt description of the idea of America today:
“Lord, we ain’t what we want to be; we ain’t what we ought to be; we ain’t what we gonna be, but, thank God, we ain’t what we was.”
The last word belongs to President Bush. He’s not noted for his eloquence, but he “riz above his raisin'" as an old saying goes.
From AP writer BEN FELLER in the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE:
Bush's comments to his staff, under a gray sky on the South Lawn, also had the feel of an early goodbye with 75 days left in office. Bush sounded wistful as he looked out at a lot of familiar faces, including some people he's seen at work each day for nearly eight years. The president recalled that before his 2001 inauguration, he said that he and his wife would never quite settle in Washington.
"While the honor is great," Bush said, "the work is temporary."