Monday, November 10, 2008

President-elect Obama

It ain’t over 'til it’s over, and it’s over. Barring a major misfortune or worse, Barack Obama will be our President on January 20. My readers know that I supported John McCain, and that the president-elect's epidermis had nothing to do with it. Mr. Obama's philosophy, his vision of America, is one that I do not share. John McCain's thinking was more in tune with my own. What now? Those who listened to McCain's concession speech heard a manly and gracious piece, worthy of the great American John McCain is. It ill becomes us to be churlish and mean-spirited, and to wish the President-elect anything but the best as he begins his monumental task. At 56 years of age, I have voted on the losing side of elections before. Mr. Obama's accession to the presidency will not be the end of the world, if. . . .

If he realizes that campaign oratory is one thing and governing the country is another. He might have run for office from the left (actually he more or less put together the coalition that Democrats since Franklin Delano Roosevelt put together in successful runs for President), but he will have to govern from the center or he will find himself without a good deal of the support and goodwill he enjoys today. And if he does govern from the center, we should have little to fear. As a biology teacher I can breathe a little easier, knowing that for at least four years we won't have to worry about pressure from the White House to teach anything but sound science in science class. Roe v. Wade will not be overturned anytime soon, and possibly not in my lifetime. That is a source of sadness; for me Roe v. Wade is this generation's Plessy v. Ferguson (the discredited "separate but equal" decision). But we are not Red China, and no woman will be forced to have an abortion under President Obama. He can be expected to pressure Israel to give away bits and pieces of God's patrimony, but so has every American president since the Six-Day War. We cannot realistically expect the President of the United States to be a disciple of Rav Zvi Yehuda Kook when a majority of Israelis and their government are quite willing to give away the store.

Many people are comparing the President-elect to President Kennedy, whose yahrzeit (on the civil calendar) is coming up in less than two weeks. He has JFK's youth and vigor, and his charisma. If he had JFK's steely moral clarity, I would probably have voted for him, but God made President Kennedy once and threw away the mold. JFK was not infected with the cancer of moral relativism, at least in his public life. There was a good and an evil. America was good, and its enemies (i.e. Communists and Communism) were evil, and his words and actions flowed from that clarity. In all probability, he would not be welcome in the Democratic Party today. He believed in "American exceptionalism," a doctrine familiar to Evangelical Protestants that holds that God gave America economic and military power beyond what any nation on earth ever dreamed of, and with it comes a sacred mission to confront evil and vanquish it. It was that calling that actuated FDR, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. It has even greater authority today, because the world is a smaller place and a tyrant anywhere, especially an Islamic fascist who thinks he has a sacred calling to spread his brand of tyranny around the globe, is a danger to free men everywhere. That philosophy failed to carry the day last week, and so I have a sense of deep foreboding. The new President, like the young and inexperienced John F. Kennedy 48 years ago, will be tested soon after taking office; even now the Russians are threatening him. If he orders a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq or otherwise projects an image of weakness, every terrorist on God's green earth will be emboldened to attack us. It will not be a question of whether there will be another 9/11 but when. Mr. Obama got elected in part because Americans forgot 9/11, or deliberately choose to pretend that 9/11 never happened and not have to deal with the logical consequences of our country having powerful enemies sworn to our destruction. How many Americans even know the difference between a "dirty bomb" and a "suitcase nuke?" The latter probably doesn't exist – yet. The former is well within reach of any amateur with access to radioactive material, perhaps waste from a hospital. We were told during the campaign to vote our hopes and not our fears, but a little fear can be a good thing. If, God forbid, our worst fears are realized, then I and those who think like me will, I hope without self-righteous gloating, fulfill our role of loyal opposition. Thankfully we live in a country where, if we think our government is doing the wrong thing, it is not only our right but our patriotic duty to speak out – if we are still alive, and that might well depend on which way the wind is blowing when the terrorists set off a dirty bomb in Manhattan.

We have a President-elect. He is entitled to the respect due his office (Ya'akov sat up in bed out of respect for the viceroy of Egypt – his own son) and to a chance to prove himself. We can hope and pray that he proves us wrong.

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9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama, now that you work for me...

http://wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=80577

Mon Nov 10, 03:44:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Garnel Ironheart said...

Yeah, America has BO now!

Hee, hee! Get it? BO? Get it.

{Ahem} Anyway

So from up here in Canada...

Governing from the centre is what smart presidents do. Smart politicians, on the other hand, are a different animal entirely.

There is always a risk that a new president, full of ideas and energy, coming to power at the end of a tired regime that long outlived its welcome, will try to remake the country in all sorts of radical ways. Recall Bill Clinton's first 100 days in office and all the initiatives he tried to push through.

But even thought Slick Willie had a Democratic majority in both Houses, he still fell flat with most of his plans. I would wager that's because congressmen and senators, not having term limits, view their jobs as potentially for life and making radical country-altering decisions threaten their re-election chances. A president, however, knows that he has 1 or 2 kicks at the can and will then spend the rest of his life getting pay tens of thousands of dollars to give speeches around the world.

Hopefully Obama will learn what Tony Blair did when he replaced John Major in the UK - mess around with what's working as little as possible and bring in some token leftist changes at the edges to satisfy your supporters. If he figures that out, all will be well.

Mon Nov 10, 05:34:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama is a gutless wonder, elected by free mass publicity on a talk show, his epidermis, a $4 million dollar ad on prime time TV, 143 days as a junior senator, zero military experience, zero international political experience, and two self-promoting biographies. I skipped all of the above, and voted for McCain.

Today is Veteran's Day. Let us all give thanks to those who fought for our freedom, known and unknown. Too many do not appreciate it.

Oh, and oSama is in the news again, promising to outdo 9/11.

Ronald Reagan, we need you!

Tue Nov 11, 04:44:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama is a gutless wonder, elected by free mass publicity on a talk show, his epidermis, a $4 million dollar ad on prime time TV, 143 days as a junior senator, zero military experience, zero international political experience, and two self-promoting biographies. I skipped all of the above, and voted for McCain.

Today is Veteran's Day. Let us all give thanks to those who fought for our freedom, known and unknown. Too many do not appreciate it.

Oh, and oSama is in the news again, promising to outdo 9/11.

Ronald Reagan, we need you!

Tue Nov 11, 04:44:00 PM EST  
Blogger Neandershort said...

I voted for McCain too, but he lost and we have to live with it or, God forbid, die with it.
All the free publicity in the world wouldn't have gotten Obama elected if he hadn't had JFK's charm and charisma, his youthful good looks and a silver tongue. He outspent McCain by a lot; it's most unusual that a Democratic candidate raises more cash than a Republican, and much of that cash was small donations from ordinary Joes. I think he made two key mistakes in his campaign (isn't Monday morning quarterbacking grand?):

1. Picking Sarah Palin negated his experience advantage. 100 yrs ago he could have gotten away picking a VP to balance the ticket or court the Republican base. Now, especially at 72, his eye had to be on who could step into the Presidency at a moment's notice. Palin was not the one.

2. He failed to focus attention on the one issue that could have gotten him elected: how to see the war (not wars, it's one war on two fronts) against Islamic fascism through to victory. Instead he harped on the economy and taxes, and the public associates the meltdown with a failed (in their minds) Republican presidency.

But all that's water over the dam now. All we can do is keep Obama's feet to the fire if he pursues a policy of appeasement, as I'm afraid he will.

Tue Nov 11, 05:02:00 PM EST  
Blogger Neandershort said...

I think I got my pronouns and antecedents mixed up. The two mistakes were McCain's, not Obama's.

Here's a link to McCain's concession speech:
Link

Wed Nov 12, 02:30:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No doubt Obama will keep the pressure up to get Israel to concede more and more land to those who would make all the plant muslim. Women's right's, gone. Freedom of speech, gone. Freedom of religion, gone. The rise of personality cults, like the idiot running north Korea. G-d d--m him. Teddy Rooseveldt is rolling over in his grave.

Wed Nov 12, 10:17:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think terms like "center", "left" and "right" are meaningless given today's economic crisis.

Predicting what the "left", "right" and "center" positions on these issues will be a few years from now, or who among us will favor which of them, is like predicting what Chicago will look like in 2300- utterly pointless.

Therefore, it doesn't make much sense to say anyone should move to the center because the situation is changing so fast that we might not know where the center is or whether we'll like it very much.

Sun Nov 16, 01:23:00 AM EST  
Blogger Neandershort said...

You have a point; a "Kennedy liberal" in the '60s would probably be called a neocon today. But we still can tell the difference between all-encompassing socialism, laissez-faire free markets and the kind of mixture we have today. If Obama moves toward socialism, as Bush is already doing with his massive bailouts, we will know and it will be our patriotic duty to speak out.

Tue Nov 18, 02:28:00 PM EST  

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