I thought Steve Sailer’s analysis of McCain’s loss was useful. Some of the right’s best wedge issues–immigration, gun control, big government, and a bit surprisingly, gay marriage–were items which this faux maverick took great pleasure in bucking the GOP to the delight of his friends in the media. He was a terrible campaigner with terrible ideas and a terrible presence and personality who I am not the least bit surprised (nor terribly chagrined) to have seen lose.
Steven den Beste and Lawrence Auster both make a good case that there will be some positives of an Obama presidency, not least that he will be more required to appeal to Republicans and moderates than a McCain, who would have been demoralized by the prospect of defeating the history-making Obama candidacy. I think for these reasons he’ll be less inclined to push for an irreversible amnesty, which has been Bush and McCain’s obsession for a number of years. I do think national health care will be a major problem, and a hard to reverse one. It will make our health care worse. That said, I don’t think health and health care are always correlates; for a lot of reasons we probably spend far too much on health care as a society. Government controls will add error to correct an error in the form of the existing tax-subsidy for health benefits. But we’ll survive. France and Sweden, though far from ideal, are not Bolivia. Nor are we, yet.
We face many threats to our traditional way of life. The mass culture is toxic. The economy is unstable, ridden with debt, threatened by hyperinflation and mass disenchantment. Related to these, we are more threatened by our continued addition of millions of less productive, low skill workers from the Third World into our increasingly generous society. Between the issues of health care and immigration, the latter is more damaging and it has long been McCain’s passion. Like Bush, his presidency would have led to far too many compromises by conservative critics, who would embarass themselves by making excuses for the globalist, big government managerial gobbeldy-gook of a McCain administration. Obama at least will sharpen our focus and remind us that in the game of tribal politics, only the majority has engaged in unilateral disarmament.
I’ve talked to a number of Obama voters and was happily suprised to see that the cult-like enthusiasm seen on TV is shared by relatively few of them. They simply judged him the better of the two and feel he deserves a chance. The intensity of the Obama-worshippers in Grant Park should be contrasted with these folks, some of whom entertained the hope that his presence might lead to more honest and realistic race relations and a revival of morale leading to improvements in the various social problems facing the black community. Perhaps.
It all remains to be seen what Obama will do, how he’ll govern, and whether he’ll be a centrist in the manner of Bill Clinton or a committed leftist who can finally advance the race-class-gender-justice policies that he fought for so passionately as a young man. In either case, we need some sense of proportion as conservatives and as Americans. Even before and after LBJ, America was still America. Its core values in tact. They’ve slowly been sapped, transformed, and weakened, but they’re not altogether absent. Among these, our civic rituals of peaceful transfers of power and respect for the office are valuable. Our generosity, lack of narrow tribalism, and magnanimity as a people should not be dismissed too quickly by anyone. And, even though the Obama presidency is worrisome and will likely at times be offensive, conservatives certainly should not induldge the kind of stupid hatred and conspiracy thinking that the Left spewed at Bush for the last eight years.
I think the Obama presidency will likely be an unsuccessful one, beset by exagerrated hopes, missteps, the evils of party spirit, and Obama’s own hitherto unexamined leftism. But it all remains to be seen, and there will be plenty enough time in the next four years for gnashing of teeth.