Sore Losers

It’s easy to forget after an election sweeps by that for every excited winner with a boozy crowd of celebrants greeting the returns with joy, there are multiple losers, some who sulk at home (or like Thad Cochran last night, in a hotel room designed for victory), but others, both candidates and supporters, who feel obliged to display their disappointment and agony–or perhaps even loyalty–in half-abandoned ballrooms populated by reporters waiting for the official pronouncement of political death. I’ve been there, and probably many of you have as well.

So I was naturally drawn to a TNR piece by Ukrainian-based journalist Oliver Carroll about the terrible election night, and the steadily dying campaign that led up to it, of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoschenko, who lost badly to Petro Pereschenko in the May 25 Ukrainian presidential election.

It’s a long story featuring the self-inflicted wounds of Tymoschenko’s questionable associations and alleged kleptomania. Much of it is unfamiliar to me, as it will be to many American readers. But what’s achingly familiar is the mixed feeling of self-doubt and betrayal political animals everywhere so often experience when their candidates fall short and the only sound at election night headquarters is somebody’s else’s cheers on TV monitors that seem suddenly to have changed sides.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.