The electorate voted for change yesterday. Now we will see what kind of change they will get. We will also see that with change comes opportunity.
First, a mea culpa... I have been blogging away about how how the voters, given the choices they had, should have chosen John McCain as the nation's 44th president. They obviously had other ideas. Most voters were aware of how deep in the tank for Obama was the country's media and how far off were some of the polls. They voted for Obama anyway. They either didn't perceive the arrogance of Obama's campaign and the danger of his radical associations, or they did not care. The PUMAs failed to materialize in the numbers they led us to believe existed in their ranks. A center-right nation elected as its president the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate, hoping that he will govern from the center, unlike the way he voted as a Senator. Voters believed that John McCain, a Senator who has always voted against higher taxes, would raise them anyway. They either didn't know or didn't care that their new president believes in wealth re-distribution. Same goes for the higher energy prices that will result from Sen. Obama's determination to impose "windfall profits" taxes on the oil companies, his record of blocking offshore drilling and his cap and trade policies which he admitted will bankrupt the coal industry. Although the voters believed that Sen. McCain would be the better candidate as commander in chief against terrorism or in some other major crisis which threatens our nation's security, they voted for the man who pledged to cut vital weapons systems out of the military budget, stop production of new nuclear weapons to replace our aging ones and refuse to weaponize space, despite the intentions of other nations to do exactly that.
Are the American voters stupid? No, just ill-informed. They didn't do their homework, and they went ahead and elected a president who is short on experience, accomplishment and, judging from his past associations, judgment. It was all about hope and change. Voters are hoping that the change Obama and a Democrat congress will bring to this nation will be good for it. That is an incredible roll of the dice, especially at such a pivotal time in the country's history, and with so many dangers which threaten to arise against her.
Nevertheless, opportunity knocks.
President-elect Obama has the opportunity to show that he can govern from the center, though he has rarely voted that way as a Senator. He has the opportunity to show that he can stand up to the inevitable push from the Left to sign off on a number of new social programs, new laws which will curtail individual liberties in the form of attacks on the First and Second Amendments and a number of new tax increases to pay for enacting a Leftist legislative agenda. As a Senator, he rarely stood against his party. Voters are hoping for change from the new president-to-be on these scores. I remain skeptical.
The media has the opportunity to show that it can be fair and balanced. It can demonstrate to the public which sees right though it that it can mend its ways. It can show us that is is able to not only shower praise upon the new president, but offer constructive criticism also. It can hold him to his campaign promises. It can discover who this man really is and show the American people a picture of him which includes not only the beauty marks, but the blemishes as well. I won't be holding my breath.
The Democrats have the opportunity to show that their ideas are not the same failed policies we have seen from them in the past. They have the chance to prove that their way is truly better for the country and that they can really solve problems in ways other than just throwing money at them. Based on what we have seen from Pelosi and Reid in the past two years, I'm not optimistic.
Liberals have the opportunity to show that they can stop blaming George W. Bush for every ill that plagues the nation. They can refrain from depicting him as a monkey and calling him Hitler. They can show that they can practice the inclusiveness that Obama preaches and promises. They can stop demeaning bible-believing Christians as superstitious morons, and they can refrain from characterizing conservatives as knuckle-dragging throwbacks. I'm not hoping for change on this score.
Conservatives have opportunities of our own - golden ones. We can finally wrest control of the Republican Party from those who have driven it to the brink of ruin. We can point to the failures of those in the GOP who turned their backs on the very principles which Ronald Reagan proved time and again made Republicans winners. Conservatives have the opportunity to take back the party and return it to the course that Reagan charted for it. The unbridled spending and ever-growing government the so-called GOP moderates have practiced have been proven in the past two elections to be losing policies. It's time for these losers to step aside, and if they refuse to do so, time for conservatives to push them out of the way. Fortunately many of them have already walked away. After pushing for exactly the kind of centrism John McCain represents, moderates and fair weather conservatives from Colin Powell to Chris Buckley turned their backs on the party and its nominee in favor of the Senate's most liberal member.
Don't nominate the likes of Fred Thompson or Duncan Hunter, they said. Republicans will win with the likes of John McCain as the presidential nominee, they insisted. Well, they have been proven wrong. With all due respect to Sen. McCain for his service above and beyond the call of duty to his country, he represents the GOP's past. He is well known for standing up for what he believes is right, but sometimes what he believes is best turns out to be wrong. He missed a golden opportunity of his own when he reacted to the financial storm that hit this county. Had he stood up against the taxpayer-funded bailout of the same financial houses which were part and parcel of the problem, he would have demonstrated that he really is the maverick he never failed to tell us he was. But he didn't. He opted instead to go along with an unprecedented intrusion by the federal government into the private sector. That may well have cost him the election. John McCain, God bless him, is the Republican Party's failed past. Young Turks such as Bobby Jindal, Sarah Palin and LtC. Allen West are its future.
Conservatives can save the GOP. We must take the wheel and stay true to a course of limited government, fiscal responsibility, national security and ethical certitude. This is our opportunity. Will we seize upon it? Will we rebuke those who failed the party? Will we make it again the successful enterprise which Ronald Reagan molded it into? These are questions all good conservatives must answer in the affirmative. Reagan left us the maps. We need only the resolve, the courage and the energy to follow the course he charted.