*So, now that all the ballots have been counted … and everyone knows who their senator / representative / governor / president will be for the next two, four or six years, it’s time to take a look back at the election.
Here are the 2012 election season’s “greatest hits,” in no particular order.
1. Bill Clinton’s Election-Night Speech (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzDhk3BHi6Q)
In just under one hour (though it seemed much longer), Clinton systematically dismantled every Republican election talking point and provided a ringing endorsement for Obama. It’s a political performance for the ages.
2. “Legitimate rape” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoG0Grs4EEo)
Two words that helped to doom a party. In one horrible, terrible gaffe, Missouri senate candidate Todd Akin destroyed his own chances for election and helped to define the Republican platform. One little local interview stirred up a firestorm of controversy and painted the Republican party as cold, ruthless, anti-woman and positively neanderthal.
3. Karl Rove’s Meltdown (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQLV7nqD3CA&feature=related)
Watching Rove on election night – stubbornly insisting that the election wasn’t over when all facts and common sense said otherwise – really was a microcosm of Republican reign.
4. Eastwood and the Chair (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiQZBgdVn-A)
It was supposed to be the capper of the Republican National Convention, a surprise appearance by that red-blooded icon of the American screen Clint Eastwood to help fire up the RNC in Tampa. Instead, it became a national joke and late-night punchline, and robbed the Republicans of any post-Convention momentum.
5. Obama’s Election-night Speech (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJfGx4G8tjo)
It lacked the epic grandeur of his 2008 speech, but 2012’s victory speech was just as heartfelt and almost as memorable.
6. “Binders Full of Women” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfXgpem78kQ)
Another strange, prehistoric-sounding comment from a Republican nominee, this one spawning thousands upon thousands of Halloween costumes.
7. Mourdock’s Gaffe (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cY1SEq2o9LY)
Like the Todd Akin comment, this awful foot-in-mouth rape quote from Indiana senate candidate Richard Mourdock did irrevocable harm to his campaign. It also helped to refresh the GOP’s extreme position on the topic in the minds of voters, only a few weeks before Election day.
8. The Republican nomination circus (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GSmDsAET7I)
The road to Romney’s nomination was full of more wacky characters than your average CBS sitcom, with the big difference that they were running for the most powerful position on earth. Michelle Bachmann was crazy, Herman Cain creepy, Rick Santorum … well, creepier, Newt Gingrich sleazy. The weirdest of all, though? How about the bizarre run of Texan Rick Perry, best summed up by the above clip.
9. Romney’s Concession (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiQZBgdVn-A)
A classy end to a tough campaign for Mitt. Romney’s Boston concession speech showed a gracious, warm and human side that was missing from his entire presidential run.
10. Julian Castro’s DNC Speech (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSvEOEB7UW0)
A future star in the making? San Antonio mayor Julian Castro’s DNC speech was one of the convention’s highlights. There’s someone to look out for.