05 November 2008

The current versus the tides

First off, I hope you will al remember that I warned you in 2000 that Bush would wreck the Republican Party, There, the “I told you so” is out of the way.

As for my take on what we face now...

I was not among those who advocated McCain’s loss because he was not a true conservative. McCain, for all his flaws, would have been much better for our nation, and for the world. But now that it’s done, can we be honest?

McCain was Bush’s third term. Bush won the base on abortion and taxes alone, because he pushed the party left on everything else. Fortunately for America, Bush did most of the right things on national security in response to 9/11, as neither Gore nor Kerry would have done. Other than that* his presidency was immensely damaging to the party.

I'm not glad Obama won, but let's look on the bright side - we are now free of Bushism (and McCainism) and can look for some real, conservative leaders. “Reaching out,” after all, is only how to signal a left turn.

For now, we lead the opposition. As dark as the early Clinton days seemed at first, they were soon followed by some very heady days: Dan's Bake Sale, the tomato-pelting of the "Health Care Express" buses, the Republican tsunami of 1994; here in my town and state, takeovers of the school board, the state legislature, and more; the explosion of talk radio and conservative publishing houses. Am I the only one who lived for the next issue of National Review, American Spectator, and (pre-internet) the Conservative Chronicle back in the day? Those publications are not the same when they are half consumed with making excuses for an inadequate administration.

In the course of human events, as it were, ideology runs up against the currents of history; ideology clashes with the events of our time. I do not see Obama as a great man or a great leader. Who knows what events are in store? It is certain that he wants to implement socialism, but it is not guaranteed that he will succeed. There is every reason to believe that he will fail, and fail miserably. History, on its own, may stop him. But sometimes history needs a little push. That's our job. “Standing athwart,” one might even say...

And on top of all that, for anybody who even so much as uses the word "racism," we can now point to the White House and say, "Racism? That is so last century! Welcome to the 21st, caveman."

Buck up, “my friends!” This is OUR time! President-elect Obama may not know that, but he soon will!

08 September 2008

Obama's ticket

In his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Sen. Joe Biden extolled Barack Obama’s selflessness in committing himself to “community organizing,” saying, “With all his talent and promise, he could have written his ticket to Wall Street. But that’s not what he chose to do. He chose to go to Chicago. The South Side.”

Really, Joe? Is that the way it was?

I know that now Obama is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law, but back when left Wall Street for the South Side, Obama was just another guy with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Since when are those guys the darlings of Wall Street? Am I the only one who remembers the old joke:

Q: What does the liberal arts major say to the business major?
A: Do you want fries with that?"'

The simple fact of Obama’s work history is that he did take a job on Wall Street when he finished school. It sounds like it was a typical, entry-level job like most people with his qualifications get straight out of school. Let’s face it, if he could have “written his own ticket,” he had plenty of time to do it it during the two years he actually worked in New York. But he didn’t – unless it was a ticket for loitering.

A cynical person might even look at his history and conclude that he left Wall Street not because he valued community service more than money, but because he decided that working his way up the corporate ladder was just too hard. Or maybe, just maybe, he simply wanted to get into politics, and thought that “community organizing” was a good place to start.

Obama himself has portrayed his decision to accept a “community organizer” job as somehow uniquely selfless, recounting the low pay offered to him (dramatic pause) ”And I said yes.” He said yes to what? It’s not as if that small organization in Chicago scanned the ranks of promising young businessmen across the land to try to find a shining star they could lure away. Obama sought them out, writing letters to a number of organizations. Like many young men, he decided on a career change, and went looking for a job. Good for him. But wouldn’t it be a little more accurate to say “they said yes?”

My late father often talked about people who value process vs. people who value content. Obama, you may recall, once argued in favor of a higher capital gains tax not because that higher rate would have any positive effect, but because, well, that would be “the world as it should be.”

Liberals like Obama always measure the inputs, rather than the results; always evaluate the motive, not the achievement. That’s why they fall so easily into attacks on conservative motivations. In their world, it makes no difference that the South Side of Chicago was no better off for all of young Obama’s efforts, the important thing is that he tried; maybe not even that he tried, but simply that he recognized he should try.

I hope that most Americans are still more practical and results-focused than ”Team Obama.” If so, then the newly highlighted inferiority of Obama’s talk about change to Palin’s actual achievement of change will continue to resonate. If that happens, it will be in no small part, ironically enough, because of Obama’s persuasive case earlier this year that we need change.

And, if the world is truly “as it should be,” we’ll say “yes.”