Goodbye to Seamus, the Irish setter that 29 years ago rode 650 miles in a crate strapped to the roof of Mitt Romney's family station wagon, and to Rafalca, Romneys' Olympic-caliber dancing horse.
Goodbye to President Barack Obama's "you didn't build that" and "the private sector is doing fine," to Romney's "corporations are people" and "I'm not concerned about the very poor," and to all the other infelicitous phrases about which the dueling presidential campaigns made too much.
May we not think of them again. At least not until the definitive books on campaign 2012 are published. At that point we can recall with self-reproach the trifling distractions of this exhausting political slog and resolve, fruitlessly, to focus on only the important issues next time.
Goodbye to Clint Eastwood arguing with an empty chair at the Republican National Convention and to Lena Dunham comparing sex to voting for Obama in a skeezy commercial. Goodbye to arguments about Romney's old tax returns and about exactly what the Obama administration said to whom and when about the attack in Benghazi, Libya.
Goodbye, in fact, to the entire effort to portray Obama as a corrupt, Kenyan-born socialist Muslim in the thrall of his terrorist pals and his radical, America-hating former pastor; as a terrifyingly inept beneficiary of affirmative action whose only talent is reading speeches off a teleprompter and who would destroy our way of life if he weren't too stupid to pull it off.
That effort kinda failed. And though it persisted all the way up until Tuesday (Really, haters, you're still obsessing about Obama's "57 states" gaffe from May 2008 and his 2005 real estate transaction with Antoin "Tony" Rezko?), voters weren't buying it. And now that he's been re-elected, there's even less point than ever to deranged expressions of contempt and paranoia.
Hello to looking ahead, to fighting over policy not symbolism and to taking umbrage over meaningful differences not trivialities.
Hello, I hope, to the era of seriousness in Washington.
With luck, it'll last a few months before the next round of frivolity begins.
And the winner is ...
The winner of this year's coveted yet imaginary Crystal Blog trophy for most accurate election forecast is local gay activist, physician and author Carlos T. Mock, who correctly named the winner in all six races in the contest and correctly guessed that Democrats would pick up at least five seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Mock was close on the number of seats that Democrats plus like-minded independents will control in the next U.S. Senate (he guessed 53, it will be 55) and on how many of the four statewide ballot initiatives on gay marriage would result in a victory for that cause (he guessed three, it was all four).
He did so well that there was no need to go to the tie-breaker question, which asked for a projection of the Electoral College vote margin. But he would have won there too. His prediction — a 92-vote victory for Obama — was closer to the actual number — 126 votes — than any other contestant.
I guessed 40 votes, blew my prediction on two local congressional races, counted just 52 Democrats in the Senate and thought gay marriage would win only two of four races. But my published hunches contained no guarantees, and I'm not ashamed.
Contrast that to the once-truculent prognosticators at the Conservative Treehouse blog. They were high-stepping at the 20-yard line in the lead-up to the election with posts headlined "Support for Obama continues to crater," "Romney in an electoral landslide," "Firewalls burning through — Dems free-falling in Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan" and "CNN jumps the shark big time! Massive polling skew just trying to prop up Obama."
In that final post, the author wrote, "In an effort to make it appear President Obama has even a remote chance of re-election, CNN skews a polling sample. … Desperate much?"
Shortly after the election, the site administrators rewrote all the posts to remove all traces of their truculent fatuity.
I guess that's one way of handling it. Another is not to offer your predictions as guarantees and to wait until after the election to start taunting. Who's desperate now, Treehouse boys?
So you think you can write a quiz?
Every December since 1999, my fellow columnist Mary Schmich and I have been hosting "Songs of Good Cheer," a holiday caroling party featuring an all-star cast of musicians from the Old Town School of Folk Music. This year, the parties will be Dec. 13 through 16 in the magnificent auditorium in the west building on the school's Lincoln Avenue campus.