Thursday, November 6, 2008

Loss of the White House

Unsurprisingly, Barack Obama has taken the White House. With the gross distaste for Bush, it was all but inevitable that a Democrat- any Democrat- would take the White House this election. It is to McCain’s credit that he not only hung on for so long, but was able to do decently well in the polls.

While it is unfortunate that the GOP did not hold the White House; this can be seen as a real opportunity for the party to redefine itself. Obama’s win is a monumental event- both an indictment of the current Republican leadership and a historical event in its own right. McCain’s gaffes were precisely the things that, in the eyes of the voter, brought him closer to the Bush administration. His move from the ‘dark horse’ maverick (yes, I know the term is overplayed) to a standard Bush-base Republican (and then maybe a little back and forth with some fence sitting in between) is what doomed him in the eyes of most independents. It is scary to see the number of voters out there who equate McCain with the current administration. This is eye opening and a clear indictment of the current administration. Hopefully, the party will use this to discard what is old and outdated in the party and refresh our image- returning to the underlying principles that once made the party great.

The election of Obama is also monumental from a more applied perspective. It effectively puts an end-cap on the past eight years. Whether he truthfully would have been four more years of Bush or not (I believe not), it is highly likely that the perception of McCain would have been such- at least in the short run. The election of a Democrat essentially ends the hostility and hatred towards the Republicans (at least in a broad sense). As the opposition party, we will be able to cleanse our image and rebuild.

Likewise, it (hopefully) will put an end-cap on the screams from the left of the racism of America. For the first time a black man is president (although I think his classification as a black man is somewhat tenuous, I don’t want to discuss it here because I think it is the perception that matters). This is a real opportunity to bury the race-card once and for all. It becomes very difficult to argue institutional racism when our president is black. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure some will do it; but, it is a much more difficult argument to stand behind. This can be a real boon for the Republicans- as the issues of race and poor-black Americans will necessarily need to change form. This can allow the GOP to effectively increase its base as it can appeal to a broader range of people based on real fundamental issues such as the economy and healthcare.

Obama will ultimately disappoint. There is far too much promised and far too few resources to get it done, especially since the Democrats did not reach sixty senators. He will not be able to maintain the monumental support he currently has come February as he has to renege o n promises- cutting programs or raising taxes. The Republicans should use this to their advantage- redrawing the lines as we see fit to establish a firm New Republican base.

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