Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Congratulations to President Elect Barack H. Obama

It pains me to say it, but congratulations to the next President of the United States, Barack H. Obama of Illinois. Obama ran an exceptional race and surprised many with how well he ran. He's defeated the notion once and for all that we are a nation of racists (not that we've been that way for more than a generation, but that's besides the point). Obama has made history and his supporters have won the right to bask in that adulation.

Just don't let it get to your head, because your first real test at executive leadership is right around the corner - as in today. Obama has to start making important decisions, including cabinet positions, judicial nominees, and there is no higher pay grade in the nation on which he can defer. Obama is now going to be the one who decides. Choose wisely.

I can only hope that Obama surrounds himself with those who have more wisdom and experience than he has shown thus far (Rezko, Ayers, Dohrn, Wright, Pflegler) and that you do your utmost to keep us safe from all threats foreign and domestic.

I hope that Obama has enough sense not to destroy the economy with your tax and spend plans and that your fellow Democrats in Congress don't go overboard.

I hope that Obama doesn't decide to take his fellow Democrats' advice and cut and run from Iraq, slash the defense budget in a fit of fury and retribution for being incapable of doing so since 2003.

Of course, I'll be writing the entire time as a member of the loyal opposition and watching as Obama and his fellow Democrats push through an agenda to the detriment of the nation as we have witnessed a majority of the nation decide to take a vacation from history. In their demands for hope and change, they've thrown their lot in with the guy who has no experience, but a great slogan.

The only problem is that history doesn't take vacations, and neither do our nation's enemies. They're still lurking, and they'll be waiting. May Obama have the wisdom, judgment, and capability to meet those threats.

I also fully expect that Obama and his fellow Democrats will move swiftly to shut down operations in Iraq and will slash spending on national defense. Those are decisions that will affect us for a generation or more, and our enemies will take due notice. At the same time, I also expect the tax increases to come fast and furious, as will the inflation and unemployment.

I wish that wasn't the case, but having seen your policy pronouncements during the campaign, your associations, and the plans concocted by your fellow Democrats, I hope to be proven wrong. The sad thing is that I fully expect to be proven right.

James Lileks points out that history has a way of pushing people in unexpected directions. Obama will be facing many a challenge and will have his moments of surprise and disappointment - as will anyone filling the Office of the President. We can only hope that he has more moments of greatness than disappointment.

Steve Den Beste has a very thought provoking post on what Obama's ascension to the Presidency will mean. The key grafs:
The President of the United States is the most powerful political figure in the world, but as national executives go his powers are actually quite restricted. Obama will become President, but he won't be dictator or king, let alone deity. He still has to work with the House and the Senate, and he still has to live within Constitutional restrictions, and with a judiciary that he mostly didn't appoint.

The main reason this will be a "coming of age" moment is that now Obama and the Democrats have to put up or shut up. Obama got elected by making himself a blank slate, with vapid promises about "hope" and "change" -- but now he actually has to do something. Now he has to reveal his true agenda. And with the Democrats also having a majority in both chambers of Congress, now the Democrats really have to lead. And they're not going to do a very good job of it. It's going to be amusing to watch.
So, Democrats no longer have any excuses. They've got the power that they've been craving, and can't blame obstructionist Republicans if they fall flat on their faces.

It's time for the Democrats to put up or shut up. It's also time for the GOP to do some serious soul searching. My advice on that point? That's going to be another post.

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