Saturday, November 8, 2008

How Did This Happen?

Tuesday evening our country has taken a sharp turn to the left. Barack Obama has won a historic election to become the 44th president of the United States. Congratulations are in order to a man who ran a brilliant campaign to reach the highest office in America.

Obama now joins the ranks of Pelosi and Harry Reid as they lead our country and the free world into the future. Once thought of as unthinkable, today an Obama presidency and comfortable Democratic congressional majority has become reality. America, previously known as a center-right nation, is bound to move further to the left under new management in January. This is the darkest day for modern conservatism since the election of Jimmy Carter 1977. How did we get here you may ask? I will explain some of the highlights.

I cannot continue without talking about George W. Bush and compassionate conservatism. Compassionate conservative was the theme GW Bush campaigned on when he first ran for office on 2000. This was a vehicle to “extend” the ideology of modern conservatism to a larger platform. Compassionate conservatism swept the nation as a moderate “mean between the extremes” and was eventually adopted by most of the Republicans who controlled congress, whether they knew it or not. GW Bush welcomed this and refused to veto a single bill while the Republicans and Democrats in congress used this as an opportunity to get the pork bills passed they have been waiting on. Compassionate conservatives made decisions according to the free market as well as proposed new social programs to America’s impoverished. Unfortunately it is difficult to fight for both. GW Bush governed like a conservative when it came to some things, but governed as a spend crazy liberal at the same time. The results lead to a federal debt which has doubled in size. I seriously doubt a liberal in the White House would have done much worse as far as spending is concerned. GW Bush is a mixed character for me, where I agree I agree wholeheartedly (Kyoto, war on terror, Iraq), but where I disagree I could not disagree more (NCLB, Prescription drug program for seniors, Financial bailout, Iraq war strategy, open borders). This is consistent with the idea of compassionate conservatives, when you play both sides of the fence you end up with liberalism with tax cuts and record level deficits. Our dollar reflected this spending which contributed to the fall of the dollar against the Euro. Conservatives failing to act like conservatives on most domestic issues became the finger that pushed the first domino and the push to socialism was already underway.

John McCain was nominated as a “moderate” Republican who had a reputation of getting things done. He also had a reputation of fighting against his own party, most notably was the criticism of the Iraq war by GW Bush and the tax cuts in lew of spending. The McCain campaign came out slow in the beginning but after Obama failed to visit the injured American troops in Germany the McCain campaign saw an opportunity to go on the offense. The campaign rose and began to exceed everyone’s expectations by sticking to conservative principles as well as 20+ years of history fighting pork and spending. The campaign reached an all time high when the announcement of Sarah Palin, a woman conservative was added to the ticket. The country was ablaze with enthusiasm after her speech at the GOP convention, many had forgotten Obama was even running. McCain saw record turnout at all their support rallies. With the debates coming up, few thought the momentum would turn and oh how it did.

In the middle of September, we all know America was hit with the worst financial crisis since the S&L crisis in the 80’s. The world was aghast while the markets tumbled and everyone looked for a leader in the mist of a financial crisis. John McCain volunteered to suspend his campaign and see to the crisis personally so a good bill can be constructed. Obama was advised to dodge the crisis to prevent any association with the crisis. Instead he stayed on the campaign trail and continued to hammer Republican policies and free market as the cause of the problem. In all actuality it was bad government policy started with the Democrats that lead to the downturn. The McCain campaign failed to point out the true causes and looked for a solution. Nancy Pelosi’s partisan debacle fueled the fire in the House came out against the first bailout bill. Everything was looking McCain’s way at this point. McCain showed up flat in the first debate the following night, possibly fatigued after months on the campaign trail and racing to help with the first bill. He failed to call out Obama on most of his liberal rhetoric. Obama came off polished and poised and reached out to independents with the usual liberal arguments masked as change. All of which could have been easily refuted by sticking to the facts and explaining. McCain did none of this, he gained some points back on foreign policy but the economy was on everyone’s mind at the time.

Then came the second bill which was ladled with pork. Instead of standing with House Republicans and fighting for a more conservative bill, he supported a pork ridden bailout package. I cannot remember McCain speaking out against the pork in this bill and if he did, he did not articulate it well. The second debate didn’t do anything to advance McCain’s cause either. A tie benefits Obama who had no executive experience. It wasn’t until the final debate was Obama called out on most of his rhetoric…too little too late I’m afraid.

Finally Sarah Palin, once listed as a brilliant pick, was under tremendous scrutiny. Showing up well in most interviews early on, she began to falter later. A two hour interview with Katie Couric turned out to be an edited attack focusing on the things she did not say or articulate well. I am not making excuses for Sarah, I hold my leaders to high standards. Sarah was being molded into a politician, when in all actuality she was a get the job done “real” person and that is who she needed to be on the campaign trail. She showed up nervous and articulated poorly in the Biden debate. Any steam by selection Sarah at this point was out of fire. She came off as a “hockey mom” running for VP instead of the change agent governor of Alaska. This could have been due to a bad policy by the McCain campaign advising her to behave this way. The polls began to widen further.

Which leads us to where we are today. Obama ran a brilliant campaign and articulated his ideas to tie McCain to GW Bush and compassionate conservatives. Republians failing to live up to true conservative ideas is what lead to the push to the left. Now subjects once frightful and out of reach now are a possibility. Fairness Doctrine, universal insurance or healthcare, windfall profits, and wealth redistribution, are all possibilities. The Democrats will waste no time in putting their agenda forward, all we conservatives can hope for now is that the Republicans that did keep their seats and moderate Democrats can work together to keep this great nation free and capitalist. I do not feel one bit sorry for the Republicans who were voted out, they got what they deserve for ditching their principles. Liberalism always makes a case for true conservative ideas just by being who they are. Let’s just hope the next generation of Republicans have learned from these mistakes and will stick to conservative ideology moving forward. This didn’t happen because socialist ideas made sense, it is because the “watered down” version of conservative ideas being presented by the Republicans did not work. Republicans need to take a long hard look at the enemy which lead to this, unfortunately that enemy stares right back at them in the mirror.

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