There will be plentiful pundit pontification about how Obama "won" the election or how McCain "lost" the election. The autopsy will be important to future campaigns but for now, it's time to find some common ground and move forward. I'm not aware of anyone that I know who supported John McCain in the primaries but by the end of the presidential race, I had developed a profound respect for the character of this true hero. I'm proud to have supported him with time and treasure. Has there ever been a classier concession speech? John McCain is a real man, a man to be admired by all.
But he didn't win.
The people chose Mr. Obama to be president. I'll admit to being uneasy about having a liberal president but I am deliberately and soberly purging my misgivings about President Obama's character and his politics so that I can support him as much as possible. If John McCain has the mettle to support this former rival then should I attempt any less? Down the road, Mr. Obama will earn my support or my ire on his own but for now, I'm going to put country first and support my president. Here are a few reasons why I will be as supportive as possible of our new president:
I sincerely want to relish the historic moment of electing our nation's first _____________ (fill in your favorite racial euphemism here) president because this moment signals the end, or at least the beginning of the end, of the racial divide. Stellar individuals such as General Colin Powell and Secretary of State Condoliza Rice could have walked into the presidency but it would have been a hollow accomplishment, attributed to being put in place by "The Man." The community which cares about color and its stigma needed to bring their own representative into power and they did so, loud and clear.
If Mr. Obama exceeds expectations by showing our nation true leadership then I want to join in the celebration. If Mr. Obama fails to deliver then we will share the disappointment together. I will not -- let me emphasize -- I WILL NOT claim high ground and say "I told you so" if President Obama stumbles because that simply leads to the wasted energy of divisiveness. Besides, my guys don't always get it right either.
I proudly voted for Jimmy Carter. He was going to bring honesty, integrity and overall good times to our nation's highest office. He delivered on the first two but turned out to be a pretty lame president.
Later on, I didn't think Ronald Reagan could be a serious leader because he was, of all things, an actor! I missed that call too.
Once I had figured out where conservatives should be working I supported Bush 41. Can you say "Read my lips. . . ?"
The Clinton terms were maddeningly frustrating as he stained the presidential office. But he did manage to deliver some good work, including much needed welfare reform, so I can't say that he wrecked the U.S.
I campaigned for Bush 43. History will show that he is truly a statesman and I have been pleased with most of his track record. Except for spending money as if the government had a printing press. Make no mistake: I support our actions in Afghanistan and Iraq even though they've been a tough slog. 7+ years and counting since the last homeland attack, right? But gee whiz -- expanding unlimited entitlements to include prescription drugs sure doesn't sound like conservatism. Bailing out bankers and stock brokers is not exactly conservative either. Maybe we need some more of Clinton's welfare reform? And Harriet Miers for supreme court? What was that about?
Speaking of Supreme Court justices. I'm very uncomfortable with Mr. Obama's ideology when it comes to federal court appointees but let's not forget that Justice Souter is a Bush 41 appointee. We'll just have to hope for the best.
All of the presidents I supported managed to disappoint me in some way or another. And the ones I didn't support managed to get a few things right. The genius of our constitution is that we don't empower dictators. Our system balances power in a way that prevents any one president from doing too terribly much damage. So I hereby resolve to look for the right things in Mr. Obama's presidency and try to give him the same benefit of a doubt that I've given to the presidents I campaigned for. Am I concerned about Mr. Obama's philosophy? That's an understatement but let's remember that it was he who made the economy the focal point of this campaign. I think he knows that the free market has to help him get that job done so for now, I don't think Joe The Plumber has to worry too much about a tax hike. The economy can't handle it. Mr. Obama knows that even though he has a strangle hold on congress he doesn't dare irritate too many of us with scary items like government health care, gun control or the "Fairness" Doctrine. Keep in mind that 2010 is not long hence so congressional campaigning starts now. They're not going to jeopardize re-election by pushing too far left. President Obama may be a leftist liberal but we, the people, have enough power to keep him from being a scary leftist liberal. Come to think of it, he doesn't have to move rightward very far in order to align with some of our current crop of "conservatives."
Please don't misconstrue my position. I'm always going to campaign for more conservative leadership. But for now, I think our country needs to unite for the common good so I'm not going to cast stones just because my guy didn't win. Country first? Yes we can!