Thursday, November 6, 2008

Reflections on Election Day, and a Look to the Future

(This post was written on November 5.)
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Last night was a disaster for America. Barack Obama—a man whose lack of character and cultural, economic, and foreign-policy liberalism have been so extreme as to force disgruntled conservatives (myself included) into the arms of longtime foe John McCain—is the president-elect of the United States, and he will enjoy expanded majorities in both houses of Congress to pursue his agenda. Michigan voted to legalize medical marijuana and affirm embryonic stem-cell research, and pro-life referendums failed in South Dakota & Colorado (conservatives did win several marriage battles, though). Heck, Jack Murtha was sent back to the House by the same people he called racists just weeks before!
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With conservatives’ worst fears realized, I should be upset, depressed, or scared out of my mind. But honestly, I don’t feel any of those things today.
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Don’t get me wrong—I still fear what’ll happen to our liberties, our economy, and the continued deaths of unborn babies, and though I pray I’m wrong, I don’t doubt for a second that we’ll see the first terrorist attack on US soil since September 11, 2001, within Obama’s first term. We’re in for some mighty interesting times.
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And yet I’m not panicky or bitter. Maybe it’s because the outcome could have been seen coming miles away (really, is anyone surprised?). I remember watching McCain win the GOP primary back in February with an unshakable conviction that I was witnessing Obama’s victory right then & there. Out of the Republican contenders, McCain may not have been the worst choice (that would be Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul, in my opinion), but I’m certain any of them (well, ‘cept the Paulestinian) would have run a better campaign. A few exceptions—like Obama’s scandals with Jeremiah Wright, his unpatriotic wife, and infanticide; McCain’s eye-catching performance at Rick Warren’s Saddleback forum, or the rise of Sarah Palin—gave me hope for a while, but ultimately they couldn’t compensate for the inherent failings of the candidate.
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Evidently McCain got a whopping 20% of the Hispanic vote (Bush got 40%). Obviously, the gamble to lure moderates & independents to the ticket at the expense of the base worked reeeaaaaaal well, didn’t it?
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What I’m trying to say is this: last night may have been a victory for liberalism, but (counterintuitive though it may sound) that doesn’t mean it was a failure for conservatism. It wasn’t a principled conservative candidate that Obama defeated, after all. Consider the fact that the same California that voted for Obama 61% to 37% also (narrowly) voted to defend traditional marriage. California, of all places! Seems to me a pretty clear indication that it could only have helped McCain to embrace social issues (I think I can count on one hand the number of times I heard McCain address social issues during the entire race—including when Obama’s support for the most evil extreme of abortion yet came to light).
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It wasn’t conservatism that soured the American people to the Republican Party over the past 8 years. It was corruption, amnesty, and a White House that refused to reevaluate its Iraq strategy until the electoral winds of 2006 gave it no choice.
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The Democrats will have tremendous power come January 21, but it’s not a blank check: Congress’ abysmal approval ratings won’t magically rebound overnight, and according to a new Rasmussen poll, voters’ confidence in the outcome of the Iraq War is increasing. If the Dems get too ambitious, they just might find they’re playing with fire.
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Blaming the American people for not trusting the GOP won’t do any good. Throwing in the towel and proclaiming the twilight of the republic won’t, either. Now’s the time for all of us to be more vigilant than ever—towards both Obama and his pals on Capitol Hill, and our Republican representatives, who (in case they didn’t get the message) need to hear loud and clear that we demand integrity and conservatism.
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Old Glory’s been in tough spots before, and it’s always darkest just before the dawn. But hang in there; now’s the time to get up, dust ourselves off, and prepare for the next battle.

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