Congratulations, President-Elect Obama. Those are the words he’s been longing to hear. The words the media has been longing to hear as well, as they have beat the drum very loudly on his behalf for a year now.
As I stare at the keyboard, the progress is slow.
Possibly because I have no words to describe my shock and dismay at the way women voted against their own self interest and rewarded a party that trashed the rights and reputations of two strong women. They came out in big numbers to, once again, reward the Democratic Party for treating them as second class citizens. GLBT voters in many instances did the same thing.
The Democratic Party offered women nothing this year except a threat – vote for us or Roe v. Wade will be overturned. And by the way, as blogger Texas Hill Country pointed out, it was Democrats that voted down GLBT rights in 4 states this year.
Hillary Clinton was for years demonized and painted as “divisive and polarizing” so effectively that the electorate was poisoned against her—until they actually met her up close and personal, or watched her on the campaign trail passionately fighting for her policies and candidacy.
They then realized these labels were just so much media hogwash. The same vilification and gutting was done to Sarah Palin, and from the looks of it, people are buying the bogus media spin. Whatever the respective politics of these two ladies, the “diva” moniker that has now been attached to Palin is no more true that the “polarizing” slur that had been leveled against Hillary for many years.
Congratulations, people, you’ve allowed yourselves to be manipulated once again.
Surely the election was less an up or down vote on Senator Obama than a referendum on George Bush, the Iraq war and the tyrannical rule of the neo-cons. The economic meltdown also got blamed on Bush, while the truth is there is plenty of blame to go around and the Democrats must bear great responsibility for fighting against any regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Moreover, we proved once and for all that the media and big money picks our presidents. This year, we proved that our votes mean a little less. We are more than happy to be told which path to follow. And logic be damned.
But I cannot put all the blame on those who made the error in judgment of choosing Barack Obama, either in the primaries or in the general election. We are faced with two wars abroad and economic turmoil at home. Americans are struggling to make ends meet and do not necesarilly have the time to get out a spoon and a magic decoder ring and dig around on the internet to suss out the truth of a story that the media has deigned to withhold from them. The American people, all of them, of every party, demographic and strata, deserved a lot better than the press gave them. The end result was planned a long time ago. I just wish someone had sent us the memo. It would have saved all of us a lot of time, money and effort.
While I was truly very moved on behalf of the African American community in celebrating this historic moment, I wish I could be happier about the methods Obama and his campaign manager, David Axelrod, employed to get here. As much as I long for justice in this regard, those cries will probably fall on deaf ears. The media and the DNC have created a protective coating around Barack Obama the likes of which I have never seen.
I was absolutely wrong in thinking he could not win and my fatal error in judgment was thinking the press would only vilify a woman; but since they had always had a good relationship with Senator McCain, I truly believed the general election would at least allow some vetting and a little more balance in press favorability toward both candidates. How wrong I was. The media helped sling the mud at Senator McCain, an honorable man, while clearing the brush away from Obama’s path to continue his clear road to the White House. Almost a billion dollars in dough didn’t hurt either.
Those who thought Bush was previously made of Teflon will find he looks like a pin cushion compared to Obama. And I hope that the media is happy about the Frankenstein they have created. It will be very interesting to see if the press, after the initial luster wears off, will make any attempts to do their job, or will once again, as they did with President Bush, provide cover and not realistically examine the policies and actions of an Obama Presidency.
In the New Hampshire Union Leader, Thomas Sowell, the Rose and Milton Friedman senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, posted the editorial, “A Lack of Substance:”
…Once the election is over, the glittering generalities of rhetoric and style will mean nothing. Everything will depend on performance in facing huge challenges, domestic and foreign. Performance is where Barack Obama has nothing to show for his political career, either in Illinois or in Washington.
Policies that he proposes under the banner of “change” are almost all policies that have been tried repeatedly in other countries — and failed repeatedly in other countries. Politicians telling businesses how to operate? That’s been tried in countries around the world, especially during the second half of the 20th century. It has failed so often and so badly that even socialist and communist governments were freeing up their markets by the end of the century.
The economies of China and India began their takeoff into high rates of growth when they got rid of precisely the kinds of policies that Obama is advocating for the United States under the magic mantra of “change.”
Putting restrictions on international trade to save jobs at home? That was tried here with the Smoot-Hawley tariff during the Great Depression.
Unemployment was 9 percent when that tariff was passed to save jobs, but unemployment went up instead of down and reached 25 percent before the decade was over.
Higher taxes to “spread the wealth around,” as Obama puts it? The idea of redistributing wealth has turned into the reality of redistributing poverty in countries where wealth has fled and the production of new wealth has been stifled by a lack of incentives.
Economic disasters, however, may pale by comparison with the catastrophe of Iran with nuclear weapons. Glib rhetoric about Iran being “a small country,” as Obama called it, will be a bitter irony for Americans who will have to live in the shadow of a nuclear threat that cannot be deterred, as that of the Soviet Union could be, by the threat of a nuclear counterattack.
Suicidal fanatics cannot be deterred. If they are willing to die and we are not, then we are at their mercy — and they have no mercy. Moreover, once they get nuclear weapons, that is a situation which cannot be reversed, either in this generation or in generations to come.
Is this the legacy we wish to leave our children and grandchildren, by voting on the basis of style and symbolism, rather than substance?
If Barack Obama thinks that such a catastrophe can be avoided by sitting down and talking with the leaders of Iran, then he is repeating a fallacy that helped bring on World War II.
In a nuclear age, one country does not have to send troops to occupy another country in order to conquer it. A country is conquered if another country can dictate who rules it, as the Mongols once did with Russia, and as Osama bin Laden tried to do when he threatened retaliation against places in the United States that voted for George W. Bush. But he didn’t have nuclear weapons to back up that threat — yet.
What the Middle East fanatics want is not just our resources or even our lives, but our humiliation first, in whatever sadistic ways they can think of. Their lust for humiliation has already been repeatedly demonstrated in their videotaped beheadings that find such an eager market in the Middle East.
None of this can be prevented by glib talk, but only by character, courage and decisive actions — none of which Barack Obama has ever demonstrated.
Look, I don’t think we should start running around with our hair on fire. And whether one subscribes to Mr. Sowell’s foreign policy doomsday scenario regarding Iran isn’t even the point. But surely, whether the threat is as dire a picture as he paints or not, clearly there is one. And Joe Biden’s dangerous prediction that Obama will be tested in the first six months of his presidency is not one we wish to see come true.
I am all in favor of diplomacy first, but one needs to use the right combination of carrots and sticks. Diplomacy is certainly more effective if foreign leaders believe they are actually dealing with an American leader possessed of a spine of steel. I know Hillary’s got one. I know McCain’s got one. Obama. No. I’m just not seeing it.
President Sarkozy of France has referred to Obama’s foreign policy ideas and acumen as “hopelessly naïve.” The new Russian President Medvedev is sort of throwing down the gauntlet indicating that if America wants better relations with Russia, we are going to have to reach out and pucker up. Clearly this is not an indicator they think they are dealing with strong American leadership.
The fact that the stock market plunged nearly 500 points after Election Day is also not an indicator of confidence in America’s choice. Oh, well. Logic be damned.
In the NH Union Leader, a commenter left the following in response to Mr. Sowell’s editorial:
C’mon people, let’s give Obama a chance to prove we non kool-ade drinkers wrong. Look, nobody is more disappointed this morning than I, but, it is customary to give a new President a “honeymoon” period at the start of his first term. Let’s try to honor that custom.
The strange bedfellows responsible for Obamas victory may want to savor the honeymoon, as the marriage promises to be a very rocky union. I, for one, refuse to play the role of abused spouse in this forced marriage. There are many ways around an oppressive government, and if Obama plans on over-reaching, I promise to use each and every one of them.
Let’s hope Obama’s administration doesn’t seize the mantle of “the worst Presidency in US history”. I’m confident the socialist spin machine will be able to place any Obama mis-step at the feet of George W. Bush. Hell, they still, on occasion, blame Reagan.
We appear to be living the ancient Chinese curse:
“May you live in interesting times.”
I wonder if Rev. (not so) Wright will be at the Inauguration?
G*d Damn America? No, no, no, God Bless America!
— Michael Paradis, Manchester
Barack Obama will now be our President and I am doing my best to open my heart and lend support, not for his sake, because I still do not trust him, but for the sake of our country, which is in trouble. And we all need to pull together to get through the difficult situation in which we now find ourselves. I am hoping these sobering realities encourage President-Elect Obama to grow quickly into a new pair of shoes and hit the books. The winning is done. The posturing is done. Speeches are done. Now the real work begins.