Malibu residents exhilarated by Obama’s landslide victory

More than 230 people had turned up at Duke's Malibu to vote by noon Tuesday.

Despite most being elated by Barack Obama’s presidential win, some residents predict doom and gloom for the future.

By Nora Fleming / Special to The Malibu Times /and Laura Tate / Associate Publisher / Editor

Malibu residents supporting Barack Obama for president celebrated his landslide victory as the 44th president of the United States Tuesday at local restaurants and private parties, as news projections at 8 p.m., with 297 electoral votes in his favor versus 139 for John McCain, announced him the winner of the 2008 presidential election. (By 9 p.m., those numbers changed to 338 to 155.)

Errol Ginsberg, who was at Guido’s restaurant, said, “I think Obama was able to galvanize the young people to vote. People wanted to see a lot of change, and they’re going to see a lot of change with Obama.”

Residents not celebrating publicly, gathered at various Malibu residences for private parties or with family, either to rejoice or to quietly reflect on their presidential choice’s loss.

Marti Maniates-Baysore hosted a party at her home where the victory announcement elated her friends.

“We’re all in tears, we’re so happy, Maniates-Baysore said. “What can I say, it’s stunning. I have a house full of people, all friends who have watched all the debates together; we’re all beside ourselves.”

Although Pepperdine University student Stephani Palmer voted for McCain, she said she was “really happy, because I’m really excited that the majority vote and electoral vote are so much closer than the last election.”

Palmer said she voted for McCain because of his foreign policy issues, but was OK with Obama winning because of his stance on social policy issues. “I thought, either way, it was going to work out,” she said.

Malibu resident Doug O’Brien was much more defined about how he felt about the outcome.

“I’m not happy. It’s not the best day I’ve seen,” O’Brien said. “He [Obama] wasn’t my choice and the reason why is I’ve never seen a place where he’s held a job. If he’s never held a job, he’s never had responsibility.”

Obama’s position as senator of Illinois did not impress O’Brien. “He hasn’t pushed through any bills or written any bills,” he said. “He’s well educated, no doubt about that. Now we’ll find out how intelligent he is.”

O’Brien, who was a supporter of Mitt Romney in the primaries, was not impressed with McCain either, who he said was too liberal on immigration, but saw the Republican as a better choice than Obama.

Bill Chadwick, who was at Guido’s when the results became clear, said the outcome would negatively impact the economy even more.

“It is a devastating defeat for our economy as we know it,” Chadwick said. “I think it’s going to put the U.S. very far to the left, and I hope our country survives.”

Chuck Blay, who was at Duke’s, had an alternative view of who was responsible for the poor economic situation.

“We’ve been rule by fear too long,” he said. “Obama made the American people aware that they needed to do something about the Bush-shot economy.”

Record numbers turn out county, citywide

Record numbers of voters turned out for Election Day on Tuesday, including in Malibu, and after more than a year of campaigning, first in the primaries, and now for the final run for the White House, many were anxious to see election results.

Most voting took place in the early morning, most likely before people went to work. By noon, 232 people had voted at Duke’s Malibu poll. It was also substantially busy at the Civic Center polling station, with a line coming out the door at noon.

At Malibu United Methodist Church, where one of Malibu 12 polls were located, election officials Tracy James, Heather Anderson and Virginia Calkins said the hardest part of being an official was being isolated from what was going on around the country-no campaigning is allowed near polling stations, thus no televised results near polls.

This was something a group of Pepperdine University students wearing Obama stickers and T-shirts came up against when voting at the Bluffs Park poll. The were asked to remove the shirts and stickers, as wearing anything supporting a candidate was considered “electioneering.” The group was very hopeful that the United States might have its first black president.

“Tonight could mean America’s first black president,” Brittany Wilkins, a Pepperdine student, said. “My grandfather lived through segregation, and now he could live through a black president. I think it says a lot for our country and shows how far we’ve come.”

Other college students cast their votes in support of Sen. Barack Obama because of his student-friendly loan policies.

“His fiscal policies are much more student-friendly than McCain,” said Pepperdine student Darlena Kern.

While some had specific reasons for which way the voted, many people in Malibu placed more emphasis on the need for change (from the Bush administration), a change they saw Obama representing.

However, Perry Wander said Sen. John McCain’s tough stance and military experience enables him to protect the country from foreign threats. He said it was a necessity for a president to have some military background, and Obama had none. Wander said Bush gained a substantial amount of knowledge from his father, George H. W. Bush, and that the people who were emphasizing the need for change were undermining the good things that George W. Bush had done-specifically, preventing another 9/11 from occurring.

Nevertheless, most Malibu residents seemed hopeful about the future.

Michelle Maffucci Bostrom was watching the results at Duke’s Malibu and when it was clear that Obama had won she said, “I think the voices of enthusiasm and pride in voting in this election was something that has been needed for a long time. It feels like a happy election.”