05 November 2008

The sun still rises in the east

While I expect to be one of the harshest critics of the incoming Obama administration, I'll put that aside for at least the next few hours and offer some nice words.

I am not an ideologue. I firmly disapprove of the Bush administration. I break with the GOP on numerous issues -- the Gang of 14, warrantless wiretapping, tort reform, deficit spending, its focus on social issues, etc. In addition to voting for Sen. McCain for the presidency and voting to re-elect Rep. Todd Akin in the 3rd congressional district, I also crossed party lines and voted for two Democrats for statewide office in Missouri: Jay Nixon for governor, and Chris Koster for attorney general. I don't hate Democrats; I don't think they're always wrong; and I don't think the Democratic Party is evil incarnate, as many conservatives do. The reason I supported Sen. McCain was, in large part, because his policy positions matched up closely with mine, and the reason I so voraciously opposed Sen. Obama was because of his extremist record.

That said, it's is an incredible thing for America to have elected its first black president. Despite my strong affinity for Sen. McCain, I appreciate the historic nature of the 2008 election. We all should. It says quite a bit about our country that, barely a generation removed from the era of segregation, we have elected a black man to be president.

I'm willing to give Sen. Obama a chance. I hope he governs like Clinton and not like Carter. If he surrounds himself with centrist Democrats, reaches across the aisle with some regularity and shows a desire to take on legitimately tough challenges (see: Social Security), I will be at least placated. There are certain issues that will require a legitimately bipartisan effort to move forward. Obama has long claimed to be post-partisan savior, even though his thin record indicates that he's anything but. I hope my expectations are wrong.

Despite the cultish attitude that often surrounded him, Sen. Obama inspired millions of new voters to come out to the polls. Although many of them couldn't give you many good reasons why they were voting for him -- other than the vagueries and platitudes belted out at his campaign rallies -- political involvement is always a better option than political apathy. As Sen. McCain noted with relative frequency, that's something to be commended.

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