My mind is made up--and so is yours. Nothing has changed for me, though I have listened to Fox and read conservative columnists. Nothing has changed for you, though you have indulged me by reading these essays.Today the odds are better than 40 to 1 favoring Obama, and the survey results are far less scattered than they were just a week ago.
You can take heart because conservative McCain supporters have much less of a downside than they probably think. For one thing, Obama’s grass roots campaign owes little to the DNC and congressional Democrats. He has a direct relationship with his constituency and they have demonstrated their commitment to him by contributing and then contributing again. Some on the hill are grumbling that he may feel too independent from the party.
That’s a good thing. Old school Democrats have a lot of baggage and years of frustrated agendas. There will be a flood of ill-advised ideas for exploiting the anticipated majority in both houses. Obama won’t need to feel he owes anybody and will force moderation. Your fears of government moving far to the left will not be realized, because such forced change does not get the local Congressman re-elected. To retain voter support they need to be more centrist.
Obama has not spared McCain in his criticisms, and for sure not Bush, but he has not criticized the GOP much despite an abundance of possible talking points. This may foretell a desire not to burn bridges—to be a president for both conservative and liberal.
Fortunately for conservatives, Democratic Party discipline is an oxymoron. On most of the important issues we can expect Obama to seek bipartisan support, rather than trample dissent by whipping the Democrats into line. He will need massive cooperation to fix all the things that are not working. Republicans can expect that he will seek their advice and support, which means they will have influence if they don’t stymie the compromise process that precedes changes destined last. He will be strategizing for eight, not four years.
There will not be vindictive payback or retaliation for the character smears and personal attacks on dissenters that were SOP for the Bush/Rove years.
The GOP will, of course, lose the ability to do administrative favors for their special interests. Bush is initiating a flurry of regrettable paybacks to exploit his last days in office. But after January 20th it is over. Likewise, most of the single-issue splinter groups in the GOP base are out of luck for the next four years. But to the orthodox base, that’s not a real problem because those fringe issues were not core conservative values.
And what about those core conservative values? Spending could hardly be worse than the GOP record during the Bush years, which resulted in a 50% increase (adjusted for inflation) in the national debt. Taxation will shift back to pre-Bush levels, but with breaks for the middle and low income groups. The electioneering hype about disastrous redistributions of wealth won’t become real. Barack Obama will need to stimulate consumer confidence because two-thirds of the GNP is consumer spending, and the only way to attack the national debt is to grow the economy. That means a bigger slice of pie for consumers at the outset, but precludes anything that threatens to shrink the pie. Higher taxes for the rich will be blunted by higher incentives to those who invest to contribute to growth.
The high-stakes gambling that is institutionalized is some forms of Wall Street investment activity can expect much more regulatory constraint globally. Few would dispute such control is needed after the events of recent months.
Using the best available minds Obama will develop policy by employing the same organizational skills that guided his wildly successful campaign. He will delegate (not relegate or abandon) responsibility. It’s likely that he will cross party lines for the best talent. The grave warnings about Obama being inexperienced and untested will evaporate.
Our international policy will be all the more informed and nuanced thanks to his willingness to listen to outspoken voices of dissent. He will use diplomacy before force. His now legendary coolness under fire and his fondness for poker should make him a worthy adversary in the jousting and tilting that characterizes international relations. He will bring forth the best from our Generals, balancing long range interests with short term advantage. He won’t precipitously resort to armed might.
Obama will continue to inspire optimism and unite America in ways that McCain watched with envy through the campaign and he will uses those skills enrolling masses of people in his vision for the future. "We can do it" will replace "I'll fight" as the rallying call. If all goes well Americans will enter the voting booths across this nation and respond to their finer instincts, rejecting the dark imaginings and fears evoked by attack ads. Obama will be elected, and our Nation will promptly embark on the difficult but hopeful road to sustainable prosperity.
God Save America ... God Bless America!
November 1, 2008