Friday, January 9, 2009


Thoughts on President Obama and the aftermath of Election 2008.

The Republicans suffered a searing electoral defeat in November; Barack Obama was swept into office by a substantial margin, and Republicans lost ground in both the House and the Senate. Though a bleak picture overall for conservatives, the election did yield some rather unexpected bright spots. 

1. The people of American's most populous (and most liberal) state affirmed, by a surprisingly broad margin, the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. The people of California passed Proposition 8, which provoked the fury of diseased sybarites throughout the state. The sweet and fluffy LGBT community yelled racial epithets at African-American people guessed it...they don't support gay marriage. In Colorado, they burned a Mormon Bible outside of a Mormon church because many Mormons also do not support gay marriage. So life is back to normal out west; but the sanctity of marriage has won a small victory. 

2. McCain-Palin didn't win. Frankly, the ticket was a bit of a disaster. I respect Senator McCain greatly, but his campaign was a shambles and his team's handling of Sarah Palin; the whole vapid "Drill, Baby, Drill" and "bulldog with lipstick" routines were probably more shocking than anything to sane Americans. I don't blame this on Palin; I read a recent article written by an Alaskan who said that, back home in the Yukon, Palin wasn't a hard-charging, mindless partisan, but a sincere, canny leader, unafraid to stand up to the Republican machine and compromise with her erstwhile opponents. Much as I respect her, however, she does not inspire confidence. I am sure she does a capable job as Alaska's governor. However, as Alaska goes so the lower 49 do not. Alaska has always danced to its own tune, and this case is no different. Sarah Palin is and will remain an oddity out of the north; maligned through no fault of her own. McCain simply is not a man I would trust to lead this country through the troubled waters it now faces. Where Obama exudes assurance and icy calm, McCain is inflammatory and, in a gravelly way, shrill. 

3. I have always believed that the Republican party is more effective as a minority party. Fighting a heroic rear-guard defense against the forces of big-government liberalism. The Democratic party is, after all the party of government; it's their natural habitat. The Republicans are the minority party, then, going into an administration that seems so far determined to run an accountable and, at least on the surface, bipartisan White House. Whether that will be the case in the long run remains to be seen, but perhaps given competent Republican leadership, the party can regain control of itself and perhaps make gains in, if not 2010, then 2012. 

Notice that I was positive about McCain's loss, not Obama's win. There is a strong distaste for Obama among conservatives, which I can certainly understand. His power over the electorate is unbelievably strong, almost unnerving. I am not, however, greatly dismayed about the course of this country as we move into the 44th presidency. Barack Obama has picked Republicans for his cabinet; he chose conservative mega-pastor Rick Warren to deliver his inaugural dedication; he supports the sanctity of marriage; and last but not least, he plans to cut taxes by $310 billion

Barack Obama's cabinet picks so far have been startlingly reminiscent of Clinton's. In fact, I have not seen any yet that didn't serve in some capacity in the Clinton administration. This is both a good and a bad thing. It is good because these people presumably have experience, and Clinton's Third Way policies are certainly not the worst Democratic tradition Obama could choose to emulate. It's bad because the Clinton administration was corrupt; it's biggest achievement the perjurous defense of Clinton from legitimate impeachment charges. 

Barack Obama exudes leadership, like Master Yoda's aura in the force. He is icy calm at all times. His voice is deep and soothing. I'm trying not to make him sound like a Hindu god here, but you've all seen his unbreakable composure. Most of my political life has been during the Bush administration, watching a man who is either viciously cunning or a complete dolt make mercurial decisions in which men have died. Bush's famous actions on 9/11 notwithstanding, his presidency has been insular; he has been almost as distant and removed from the people, and they from him and the real process of governing this country, as an ancient, implacable Chinese dynastic emperor. Obama promises to involve the people in the legislative process once again. If Obama is the man he promised this country, then this country is in good hands--regardless of his policies. If Obama is the reasonable man of sense I expect him to be, he will see the stupidity of withdrawing our troops from the Middle East as so many Democrats have called for; and hopefully find a better course. 

I have not joined the Obama bandwagon. He could be dangerous if he uses his unshakeable charisma to guide the American people down the wrong road; like a master leading a trusting horse to the knacker's yard. If he leads this country astray, America will break him. But I hope that God will bless his presidency, and that he will be the true leader that Bush was not. 


Audrey said...

I'm not really sure what to tell you- half of this post I agree with while the other half makes me terribly angry.

Sola Gratia said...

Well you are certainly entitled to disagree with me. What particular things dismayed you?

Audrey said...

Well first of all, I don't think Palin was the best choice, but I certainly don't think she was a disaster. She seemed to give the Republican party an extra boost (though I do admit the whole "bulldog" thing was a bit odd, to say the least). And then you said you wouldn't trust McCain to lead the country. Well do you trust Obama? He just scares me. I wouldn't trust him as far as I can throw him. His voice certainly isn't soothing either; he sounds like a communist leader trying to lure the people on to his side. Don't get me wrong though. I may not like him or agree with him, but I do respect him. Hopefully he will do all he promises (though I'm worried about the deficit and cutting taxes).
Also, would you care to elaborate on why you believe the Republican party is better as a minority party? Sorry, this was a whole lot longer than I intended it to be.