It’s the morning after one of the most painful nights in politics that Republicans have experienced in decades. Many of us are numb, angry, and still in a state of shock – and understandably so, for reasons that have been discussed by many a conservative pundit and blogger. With my congratulations out of the way, here are some general thoughts I’ve had over the last several hours, in no particular order of importance.
First, while many will be focusing on the historic aspect of Obama’s win, the question that begs is: At what cost did America just make history? Two years ago, Democrats swept into the majority in Congress on vague promises of “change” and it was a generic buzzword that resonated with enough voters to given them control of the House and Senate. For the last two years, we’ve seen how that’s worked out, and it hasn’t been good. And again this election cycle, the same thing has happened, except this time they’ve rewarded the big chair to another Democrat who made promises of change that, while they haven’t always been vague, are indicators of how Barack Obama will govern with a solid Democrat majority, and it ain’t “center right” or “center left” – it’s “left.” For all the promises of “bipartisanship” that came from Pelosi and Co. back in 2006, it’s something we saw very little of in reality. I suspect the same will hold true for a President Obama, who – as I’ve pointed out before – will not have the need to be “bipartisan” on most isssues. Just how big will our government get? Just how more dependent on government will the people become? Just how many dictators will Obama meet face to face with unconditionally?
Simply put, it is not worth “making history” if you think that the person poised to make that history is the wrong person for the job. So while I can appreciate the historical significance of this election, that doesn’t mean I have to believe it was the right thing to happen. And more importantly, it doesn’t mean that I should feel guilty about not being one who supported that person. Nor should you. Over half of America is rejoicing, but just under half feel like they have no voice anymore, thanks to the large majority Obama will enjoy in the House and Senate.
A couple of things that will be overlooked by the fawning press and punditry: Barack Obama’s 16 month timetable for withdrawal from Iraq may become a reality now, not just because he was elected, but because the surge he opposed – and still opposes – has worked to a point where withdrawing most combat brigades in 16 or 20 months isn’t the radical idea it once was. The surge that McCain was one of the leading voices for when it wasn’t a very popular thing to advocate paid off big, and the war Obama has repeatedly called a “mistake,” a war in which he declared that troop deaths in Iraq were “wasted deaths,” is now winnable because of John McCain’s courage on the issue. The failing economy that he “inherited” is one that he and his fellow Democrats played a significant role in helping blow up.
In essence, the majority of the American people held McCain responsible for an economy that his party did not help enable, and rewarded the party that did. We heard alot about “accountability” in this election, but the fact of the matter is that those most responsible for our economic downturn were not held to account and will now be charged with “turning it around.”
Congrats are in order to the mainstream media, who have been in the bag for Obama since well before 2006 and who haven’t let up since. Your guy, your celebrity candidate, has won, and he has you to thank in large part for it.
A lot will be said in the coming weeks and months by pundits about how this election was supposedly “proof” that the failure of many conservatives to act like conservatives is what caused us to lose. While I’m sure that was part of it, I don’t believe it was an overwhelming factor, when you consider that before the economy collapsed and the stock market tanked, McCain was surging ahead in the polls. As soon as those events took place, Obama regained the lead and never lost it. By and large I believe that the Americans who were undecided prior to that made up their minds after it happened to punish the incumbent president’s party, and in the end there wasn’t much McCain could have done about it that would have made a big difference (in my view). He had some opportunites at the debates to hammer home his views on the economy and to contrast his views with Obama’s. He took some of those opportunities and lost others, but in the end, I’m not so sure that had he nailed home time after time the differences between him and Obama on the economy that he would have been successul in the end. Obama successfully (and dishonestly) painted McCain as another Bush on not just the economy but other issues as well, and in the end, that worked to Obama’s favor in a big way.
Something else to keep in mind: States like mine, VA, and CO – they did indeed turn blue, thanks to a couple of things: changing demographics over the years that have made the climate more favorable to Democrats, and a GOTV effort by the Obama campaign the likes we’ve never seen. I’m proud of my little (formerly?) red state, tho, as it didn’t give up without a fight (no, NC hasn’t been officially called yet for BO but I fear it will). To my recollection, several of the red states that switched to blue did so by not so heavy margins. This country, contrary to the dancing in the streets you see here in Ameica and worldwide, is still sharply divided.
With that in mind Obama, the supposed “uniter,” a man who surrounded himself with far left radicals in the corrupt city of Chicago throughout his political career who has never once taken on his party on a controversial issue, who has rarely shown a tendency to “reach across the aisle” on any issue, who proved throughout this campaign the lengths he will go through to try and shame and silence the opposition, will now be charged with “bringing us together.” Considering that, and in this atmosphere, what with the media viewing him in messiah-like fashion, along with a good many of his supporters both inside and outside of Congress, I fail to see how this will be a realistic possibility. Barack Obama’s election doesn’t change the deep divisions we have in this country. Not by a long shot.
As MM says this morning, conservatives need to man up – regroup, rebuild, learn from our mistakes, look to the future – and stay strong to our core values, values which have helped make America so great. There’s nowhere for us to go at this point but up.
Ed Morrissey concludes:
Over the next four years, Republicans and conservatives have to work to rethink their approaches, find new leadership, and work to keep the worst excesses of the Democratic policy from becoming reality. In 2010, we will have an opportunity to rebuild. We need to do that through ideas, policies, and strong leadership, not by acting â€¦ well, like the Left did throughout much of the Bush years.
It’s time to get back to work.