Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A long, maddening, weird, and... inspirational 2 years

Ends tonight.

Two years ago (25 months, really), I wrote THIS. I didn't really know what would happen if he did run. By my nature, I'm a pessimist, so I doubted his ability to truly pull this off. And yet...

Yet, here we are. Unless we are surprised tonight, Barack Obama is going to be the 44th President of the United States. Democrats will be the clear majority party in Washington and the country.

Know this, race shouldn't be a pro OR a con in determining a vote. If so inclined, you shouldn't support Obama just b/c he will indeed become our first black president (though, if you are African-American, I certainly get it).

Make no mistake, though, it IS important. 160 years ago, Barack Obama, had he lived in the South, would have been property. 50 years ago, the South (and some Northern enclaves) was segregated. Now, Barack Obama is likely to become the next President of these United States.

As to what kind of POTUS he'll be, no one ever knows for sure. I disagree with him fairly strongly on trade, though I suspect he'll be less protectionist in office. In truth, what the right never understood about Obama is his pragmatism and caution. I was attracted to his candidacy for two reasons: His respect for political ideas with which he disagrees and his un-radical approach. We've had enough radicalism the last eight years. How about a political detox?

I think Alex Massie best explains the Obama phenomenon. In short, the right moment met the right man. He makes no sense as a candidate in 2000, 2004, or perhaps even 2012. But he does in 2008.

For me, outside of that remarkable day in January when Obama won Iowa, the most important day of the campaign was March 18th in Philadelphia. Jeremiah Wright had exploded like a bomb onto the scene, threatening Obama's entire political future. Was he REALLY just a black radical himself who agreed with Wright? Even if not, how could he have gone to Trinity all those years? Would he permanently turn off white voters?

Then came "A More Perfect Union," a stunningly thoughtful, eloquent, and American speech on race. No other politician, of any color, could have truly given that address. Yes, he went on to lose Pennsylvania to Hillary Clinton (along with other parts Appalachia), but it was that day that he not only saved his campaign but also allowed us to have a thoughtful dialogue on race.

Barack Obama is no messiah, as I wrote before. He'll never live up to the enormous, utterly unrealistic expectations set for him. He will fail. All Presidents will. But will he be a failure? I doubt it, but you never know.

Some thoughts on conservatism in America. It is a true shame that the movement started by Goldwater and mainstreamed by Reagan has degenerated into Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber. By the end of the night, the Republican Party might be virtually reduced to a Southern-led rump. It needs to come back, and with some thought and work, it will.

For now, though, an era comes to an end.