Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Thoughts on the morning after

Well of course the prediction below was wishful thinking, it represents what would have happened had McCain been able to swing this 53-47 defeat into a 51-49 victory. Amid the carnage we still have some good news.
  • Looks like in Georgia, Kentucky, Oregon and Minnesota we beat back potential senate losses, which is good. I'd much rather Mitch McConnell have 45 Senators to fililbuster with than 41. We should be especially thankful that blowhard Al Franken fell 700 some votes short of being Senator Franken.
  • Exit polls show 34% of the voters self-identified conservatives versus 22% self-identified liberals. If we can get the right leaders and stop the big-spending and corruption that infiltrated our ranks, 2010 can be a huge comeback year.
  • Traditional marriage has once again won a clean sweep, with constitutional amendments passing in Florida, Arizona and even California. The anti-affirmative action measure in Colorado is too close to call.
Now to Barack Obama, congratulations! I hope you are ready. The most power you have ever had in your life is over your own campaign and/or office staff. You have always been one vote among many, and have never cast an important tiebreaking vote on anyhing. In other words, your decisions have never carried real consequences for large numbers of people. You have never been a mayor, a military leader, a small-business owner, a governor. In two months you are going to be the most powerful man in the world. Men equally as brilliant as you have flopped upon promotion to department chair!

You are going to inherit a huge array of military and intelligence activities from an administration that have done a truly incredible job of keeping American's safe since 9/11, and that are often secret. You are going to be responsible for a vastly improved situation in Iraq, with American casualties at record lows, in large part due to a surge strategy that you opposed. The decisions you will need to make are going to come fast and furious. Should we maintain this surveillance program? Should we continue this top-secret military operation in country X? What should be due with these terrorists we just caught on the battlefield in Iraq. If you don't have the right answers, our safety will be compromised and you will be responsible. If there is a terrorist attack on American soil, you will be blamed. If the situation in Iraq deteriorates, you will be blamed. Your favorite bogeyman will be clearing brush in Crawford or fishing in Maine.

You will inherit an economy that is in some ways teetering on the brink. When, a few months ago, John McCain said the fundamentals of our economy were strong, he was essentially correct, but may not be for much longer. Unemployment is still low but GDP has officially started shrinking and factory activity has plummeted. It is possible that a year from now the fundamentals will be 9% unemployment, and large contractions in GDP. People who think it is terrible now have never lived through a deep recession. Fairly or not, you and your party will be held responsible. You control the presidency and both houses of Congress.

You come to Washington having made little in the way of campaign promises. For you government is the answer to almost any problem, whether it be providing health care, creating jobs, etc.. However, like Bill Clinton, you have promised tax cuts. Unlike Bill Clinton, you can't arrive in Washington and renege on this promise, claiming surprise at the current situation. You have acknowledged raising taxes is not a good idea in a recession. How are you going to keep your promise on tax cuts? Will you go through with the enormous tax hikes on the wealthy? Remember, any deficit in 2010 is on your watch. You still lead the party of tax and spend. Unfortunately the Republicans became the party of borrow and spend. Still, if you go on a spending binge that leads to triliion-dollar deficits, be ready for backlash in 2010.

Finally, there are many many Americans who consider you the Obamessiah, and you are going to disappoint them, almost by definition. Women like this , who think you will be putting gas in her car and paying her mortgage, are going to be disappointed. Many of your poor supporters are going to be disappointed to see that little has changed in their lives, that a President has little control over their situation. You brought this on yourselves with your lofty claims of stopping the rise of the oceans and "we are the ones we have been waiting for". That balloon will not be easy to deflate.

And what about our new vice president?? I'll save that for another post...

27 comments:

Right Wing Grad Student said...

This is a very gracious letter, RWP! My initial thoughts, after reading Michelle Malkin and yourself, is that there is much that Mitch McConnell can still do when it comes to leading fillibusters. And I am certain that he will do whatever is necessary to make them happen when it will be necessary--yet he should probably be sparing. I would hope that he doesn't go to the mat over everything, but if there are two things that deserve it, they are:

1. Support for Iraq and Afgahnistan.

2. Over-Zealous Supreme Court nominees.

By the way, are you certain about the number 41 for Senators, or is this only a confirmed number?

right-wing prof said...

What number 41? It is looking like the dems will have 56 seats so Mitch will haev 44 to work with, I just said that is a lot easier than 41, which would be the case if the 4 senate races I mentioned had gone the other way.

Anonymous said...

Gracious letter?

John McCain's concession speech was extraordinarily gracious.

RWP's "blog post to the new president" is nothing but sour grapes made to appear as an erudite analysis of the challenges ahead.

Thank God you conservatives have been largely relegated to the sideline benches, so the rest of America can now get down to business and clean up your disgusting mess.

right-wing prof said...

And which disgusting mess is that anonymous?

Anonymous said...

Which "mess"? Dude, there's only one "mess", and that's the general state of the nation wrought upon us by eight years of GWB and neo-conservative ideology. If I have to explain....

right-wing prof said...

The "general state of the nation"? What the hell does that mean? How about a specific mess please. Your argument is basically "everything is a mess and if you don't see it then you are an idiot". Real swift dude.

Anonymous said...

RWP, thanks for the heads-up on BBO re. your blog, it's very interesting reading. Though I am not a Democrat (I suppose I would characterize myself as a "Goldwater Republican", although not so hawkish, if such a thing exists any more) I voted for Barack Obama for a few different reasons:

1. Temperament. McCain supporters like to characterize him as "feisty", his detractors as "erratic"; but there was no disguising his personal antipathy toward Obama during their televised debates. While international public opinion should certainly not be the most important criterion for selecting our president, I would prefer that our head of state be able to restrain his expressions of distaste when seated at the table with someone important whom he doesn't like. (Medvedev, Hu Jintao, etc.) And exactly when did introspection and thoughtfulness become negative qualities in the GOP (and the Democrats, to a lesser extent)? It used to be the party of ideas. McCain is an intelligent man; he shouldn't have to rely on cheap bumper sticker slogans. Obama came off as the more cerebral of the two, and for some reason was criticized by many for that.

2. Sarah Palin. There are two plausible excuses for McCain's selection of the Alaskan governor as his running mate, and neither speaks well of him: either it was a cynical stab at energizing the "values voters" in the Conservative base (perhaps understandable but hardly the action of a "maverick"), or he really thought she was the best person for the job, in which case his judgment must be questioned. Maybe she really was more qualified than she appeared--since the campaign kept her carefully sequestered from the media except in the most controlled environments, we will never know.

3. Where is the real John McCain? Had McCain been as forthright and earnest throughout the campaign as he appeared in his concession speech last night, the outcome might have been very different. It was one of the few times that recalled, for me, the McCain of 2000. But instead he allowed his campaign to be dragged this way and that, constantly changing tactics, thematically bankrupt and ultimately relying on negativity and insinuation. He was being guided by people who told him what he needed to do to secure his "base"; but in so doing he severely damaged his credibility with the vast middle which should have been his strength. I think the fact that he had a respectable showing in this year when Republicans are being blamed (mostly unfairly) for everything from the financial crisis to little Sally's runaway puppy speaks well of GOP chances in future elections; but some soul-searching needs to take place or the Democrats may consolidate some of the gains they have made.

I hope Obama fulfills his pledge to use his office (and his congressional majority) with humility. His election is undoubtedly historic, and I am glad that my daughter will grow up thinking that a black president is "no big deal". May his presidency be a peaceful and successful one.

Dave

right-wing prof said...

OK fair enough, although your comment about Palin and the media is off base, she wasn't sequestered at all beyond the first couple weeks. The one who was sequestered was Joe Biden. For instance here! is a CNN story from Sept. 23 about how Biden was refusing to hold any press conferences for a very long time. Hint: Between Sept 23 and election day he didn't old any. Obama was refusing to take questions from his travelling media for weeks and weeks before the elction. Criticize Palin if you want but she was at least as available as any of the other candidates.

Anonymous said...

OK, fine. Here are some glaring aspects of the mess, in no particular order:

1) A pointless and costly war of choice in Iraq that NO ONE has proven has made us any safer;

2) The Economy -- do I really need to elaborate on this one?

3) A legacy of torturing enemy combatants in total disregard of international conventions;

4) A legacy of totally trashing our constitution and rule of law in the name of "the war on terror" (FDR didn't find need to do this when combating the Nazis, did he? And that was a real war on terror).

5) The general spirit of meanness and acrimony that has been infused into our public discourse by republicans when they refer to democrats, as evidenced in part by McCain supporters booing Obama last night; as evidenced in part by your own aspersions against Barack in this posting; as evidenced in part by that "Godspeed" comment on PhiBetaCons about "capitulation to our enemies" (what a bunch of bullshit). You guys just can't any thing good, can you?

Those are just a few examples of what I am referring to; I am not going to sit here and attempt an exhaustive enumeration, nor come up with detailed evidence in support of everything I say.

Any reasonable person knows that the last eight years have generated far more damage than good, and it's probably going to take an equally long time to over come that.

Anonymous said...

I would say the problem with that assertion is that Biden was something of a known quantity. He's been on the national stage for some time (and his tendency to put his foot in his mouth is well-known). Very few people outside of Alaska knew who Palin was until her selection as VP candidate; there was no "interactive history" with her to establish a frame of reference. The only things we did have in the final analysis were her disastrous Couric interview, her adequate (if combative and robotic) debate performance/talking point memorization, and the fact that she was being used as the willing platform from which to launch the most personal (and to many people including myself, distasteful) attacks against Obama.

Also, McCain held the upper hand in any discussion about experience; whether or not you think Palin's selection was a good one, it did effectively neutralize that line of attack (they kept returning to it periodically but it didn't seem to get any traction).

right-wing prof said...

"The only things we did have in the final analysis were her disastrous Couric interview, her adequate (if combative and robotic) debate performance/talking point memorization,"

This is just not true, she did many many intereviews other than that and she took questions from the press regularly in the last month. But it was too late, the left wing media had their narrative that she was being 'protected' and they weren't going to change it.

Just because Biden has been running for president on and off for 20+ years doesn't justify him refusing to answer questions for 2 months.

Anonymous,
Let's not forget that the war in Iraq was approved of by huge bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress, and more than a dozen other countries. If you don't like it so be it but it's not "Bush's" war. And I guarantee you it isn't going to end anytime soon, Obama will still have 100,000+ troops there a year from now.


As for the economy, the US economny is in much better shape right now than any of western europe and much of asia. Is Bush responsible for all of the wordl's economic problems? The Dems took over both houses of Congress two years ago, can you tell me some legislation they passed that would have helped matters except that Bush vetoed it?

As for surveillance, you may recall Obama flip-flopped to vote in favor of telecom immunity for wiretapping. Somehow I suspect (and hope) a lot of eavesdropping is going to continue under an Obama administration.

As for torturing, I have watched multiple reporters be waterboarded live on television. Our own special forces are waterboarded as part of their training. I can't consider it as torture that crosses the line.

As for "meanness and acrimony" I could post hundreds of links filled with vile, hateful remarks about Bush and many other republicans but why bother. Suffice it to say your side has plenty of hatred to go around.

Anonymous said...

"...we still have some good news.
* Traditional marriage has once again won a clean sweep, with constitutional amendments passing in Florida, Arizona and even California."

Wow...I have to say, it's not easy to find homophobic people in our higher education system...you are truly a special one, RWP.

right-wing prof said...

How can I argue with an anonymous troll who thinks the equation "opposes court-imposed gay marriage=homophobe" is a tautology.

Anonymous said...

"As for torturing, I have watched multiple reporters be waterboarded live on television. Our own special forces are waterboarded as part of their training. I can't consider it as torture that crosses the line."

So if waterboarding is not torture, would you consider using it in, say police interrogation?

Anonymous said...

Your statement "Traditional marriage has once again won" does not relate to whether same-sex marriage is court imposed or not.

I took a big step calling you a homophobic. Please enlighten me as to why I'm wrong.

right-wing prof said...

Uh yeah OK I am going to waste my valuable time trying to write something to prove I'm not homophobic to some anonymous troll from American International Group Data Center? What pray tell would constitute such proof?

Anonymous said...

That would be an explanation why "Traditional marriage has once again won" is something to celebrate, if not for a sentiment against homosexuality....if you have any.
If you don't, never mind.

right-wing prof said...

I oppose gay marriage, but my reasons for opposing it have nothing whatsoever of what I think of gay people.

BTW anonymous while you're on the subject of opposing gay marriage implying homophobia, I might remind you that both Obama and McCain made their opposition to gay marriage clear.

Anonymous said...

The phrase that came to mind as I read this blog was "sour grapes" and as I read down the comments there it was! I guess the frustration is pretty obvious to anyone partial or impartial reading this. I think its simply the case of, the better man won!

Boonie said...

RWP, somewhere above you say: "Let's not forget that the war in Iraq was approved of by huge bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress, and more than a dozen other countries." That is technically correct, but those majorities were built on half-truths and lies coming directly from Bush's cabal, well documented in Frank Rich's 2006 book "The Greatest Story Ever Sold" (subtitled The Decline and Fall of Truth in Bush's America). The American public was intentionally deceived, as were members of Congress who comprised that bipartisan majority. So yes, it was "Bush's war", a war of choice sold on deception. And then there was the bungled aftermath, which is another story of incompetence, misinformation, and moving targets...not a pretty legacy of the Bush years.

right-wing prof said...

Anonymous,
Obama was probably the better candidate. Heck, maybe he will be the better president. But he is absolutely, unequivocally not the better man.

right wing grad student said...

RWP,

Realclearpolitics is reporting 40 confirmed, maybe 41 Senators. Any clue about how you got 44?

Or has your post become old news?

This isn't a dig, seriously, but I'm wondering if we have the same sources.

right-wing prof said...

Saxy Chambliss was called the winner by the networks, this has since been retracted, he ended with just under 50 percent so there willb e a runoff. I am also counting as winning Coleman in Minn (won by 500 votes, recount coming) and also the race in Oregon, which is still counting. You are correct, in theory it could end up 59-41. Also Joe Lieberman will soon be a republican since the dems are booting him from their caucus.

professorpolisci said...

RWP,

A couple things:

1) Biden v. Palin-- Palin was mostly absent from any serious interviews. She did the Gibson one which made her look ignorant. Then she did the Couric one and that was a nightmare. Everything else she did was with friendly media like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh (talk about a spoon fed interview!). Joe Biden went on all the Sunday morning talk shows, Palin appeared on none of them. That alone should give one some pause.

Now, it isn't that I don't like Palin. I happen to think she may have a bright future IF she commits herself to studying the issues, formulating well thought out opinions, and building her reputation. Face the truth Prof, Sarah Palin was not ready for national politics yet. She can be but she will have to work harder now. One thing she'll need to do is drop the anti-intellectual gibberish that has become so popular in the GOP. Talking down to half of America isn't going to work in 2012 or beyond.

2) Joe Biden did face some difficult questions from the media...including that nonsense about socialism and marxism from that crazy woman repeating her RNC talking points. It sure gave you guys lots of fodder for awhile.

3) One of the reasons I think Obama and Biden did not do as many interviews and press conferences as past candidates is because everything they said was spun into something else. Same for John McCain and Sarah Palin. The blogosphere has made opening one's mouth dangerous for politicians because even innocent remarks are spun by the media, aka Joe the lying, tax-welching, socialist welfare collecting, plumber. LOL!

I say what I say as one with conservative leanings who voted for John McCain in 2000 (then supported Bush) and did not vote in 2004. I told a friend of mine when Bush invaded Iraq in 2003 that it was going to tear the Republican Party apart and leave it in ruins that would take a decade or more to rebuild. Bush has done to the GOP what Jimmy Carter did to the Democrats in the late 1970's.

My hope is that out of the ruins the GOP can rise from the ashes as a stronger party filled with great thinkers who can move the country in a positive direction for ALL Americans. Our system needs two great, competitive parties to be effective. Right now we are witnessing the rebirth of the Democratic Party under the leadership of a bright leader with much promise. I sincerely pray the GOP can cultivate someone of similar intellect and once again engage the American people beyond resorting to negative and vicious attacks.

right-wing prof said...

Thanks professor for the interesting thoughts. I predicted Palin's selection on this blog based on what I knew about her, and having only seen a few clips. In retrospect I think the pick was too hasty and she wasn't ready. If some of the things Fox news is reporting about her (that she thought Africa was a country not a continent for example) then that is horrifying. I think she is a talented politician, I don't have any way to judge her intellect but I am suspicious of it now.

I think it will be a dangerous day indeed if Joe Biden ends up president. I truly think the man has "a screw loose" for lack of a better term. The guy not only plagiarized in Law School but, on the campaign trail he actually took over someone else's personality, family history etc. and became something else. That is really scary. Combine this with his comment about president roosevelt on tv in 1929, his bizarre and never explained comment about France and the US kicking Hezbollah out of Lebanon, and his brain aneurysms of 20 years ago, and I truly wonder if something isn't a little amiss upstairs right now.

Further, while I suspect Palin is a mediocre intellect, we know Joe Biden is. C's at University of Delaware, cheating his way to finishing 76th out of 85 at Syracuse Law School.

Mindyleigh said...

My favorite part of Obama's speech was when he said, "To all you who would seek to destroy the world, we will defeat you."

And I thought to myself, "Thank God!!"

I have friends who felt that was overly combative. Sigh.

BlackenedBoy said...

Aren't you glad, though, in a way, that this wasn't a 51%-49% victory?

The fact that Obama's win was so overwhelming at least means that we're not as bitterly divided as we were four years ago. There's very much a feeling in the country that we must tackle the current crisis together, Democrats and Republicans.

Obama will probably get most of what he wants, at least at first. The situation is too serious to permit even the perception of dawdling by Congress.

Of course, Republican Congressional leaders have always seemed to have more spine than their Democratic counterparts, so the Democrats may cave despite having won a pretty clear mandate.

I think that Obama will be more inclusive than George W. Bush has been, and also that he will, contrary to what you've said, mostly avoid blame for this crisis.

It's kind of hard to put the responsibility for an economic crash on the shoulders of a man who hasn't even taken office when the crisis has been going on for a year and the opposite party has been in charge for eight years.

You and I are politically opposite one another, but I find this blog interesting.

I'll check in from time to time.