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November 10, 2008

Election Post Mortem

Steven R. Berryman

Election 2008 is over. America now has a new president-elect, and an opportunity to evaluate just what Barack Obama’s victory means. Here are some lessons learned along with some 20/20 hindsight.


As much trouble as our country is in – with the restructuring now mandated to be so massive, I just can’t fight back the image of President-elect Obama waking up the morning after the election win in a cold sweat saying: “I won what?!”


But first, some positives!


The self-imposed slavery of racism is now officially and forever over. No more can it be said “the man is holding us down.” Perhaps this sentiment will offer less excuse to those languishing on the public dole to sit idle.


Jesse Jackson was in tears. It was most moving to see the fulfillment of his and Martin Luther King’s dreams. Or was it the demise of his closet business of extortion via threats of racist claims causing the weeps?


The alternative bad news follows!


Will the NAACP be part of the next unemployment figures with their mission arguably over? “Mission Accomplished” will be the banner! But, just wait for the accusations that President Obama is not black enough.


Another lesson from the win is that the mainstream media now wholly owns the results of Election 2008. Were the writers and talking heads driven by reader sentiment, cultural bias, a quest for ratings, or cash? Payoffs via advertising purchases needs to be fairly evaluated, as the spread in favor of Senator Obama or against Sen. John McCain was over three-to-one according to several sources, including liberal ones.


Perhaps Senator McCain ran the most haphazard, uncoordinated, and random campaign in modern history. Radio talk show host Laura Ingraham commented that she was unable to verify if the Republican nominee even had a campaign position charged with getting out the youth vote.


With hindsight we see that Senator McCain was not willing to be a maverick in the sense that could have potentially won the race. Jumping in with a dissenting voice on the TARP Bailout Package would – and could – have been big. There was an easy case to make that the plan was “cooked” to curry favors, while garnering approval only half-baked.


The trump card of Pastor Jeremiah Wright and his religion of hate-mongering should have been the gift that kept on giving for the McCain campaign.


The past associations of Senator Obama with radical leaning friends was surely on the radar enough to enjoy a revisiting during the final two critical weeks of campaigning.


The McCain/Palin campaign’s willful refusal to use its best ammo, although divisive, tells me that the will to win was just not that great. Senator Obama wanted it more!


The McCain legacy can now have an ending that he was a nice old gentlemanly campaigner.


The Obama legacy will last much longer and be marked with the slogan “the ends justify the means,” especially with an eye toward campaign financing methods.


I find it more than a bit disturbing that much of the Obama campaign funding was in small chunks from overseas, and untraceable. Collectively it amounted to millions for his war chest. And who was among the first to congratulate him? That’s right, the president of Iran.


Was it money in the end that was the deciding factor for Senator Obama? Future contenders will surely learn the power of Internet fundraising, as his success with it even took out Hillary Clinton as an opponent.


Ignorance and fear of Mormonism by voters could have doomed Republican chances to fend off the appealing Senator Obama by nominating the second best man for the job. Was there a religious basis for John McCain’s surprising primary victory over Mitt Romney?


In the end, the movements that Senator McCain had to make toward a political center-ground during the primary season lost him his edge with the base.


Was the Obama mandate really the George W. Bush referendum? If so, the McCain campaign never had a chance as the negative coattails won the day.


And it’s Obama’s economy now, stupid!


Where the invented money for rescue will come from to toss wholesale at problems is not indicated clearly. Reductions in entitlements will have to part of the solution. Promised tax breaks will have to be funded from somewhere, and I for one hope that this is not what is proposed as redistribution of wealth.


The transition is only just beginning and is on a very civilized path by all reports. I am for an extended “honeymoon period” to give our new president maximum opportunity to fix wounded America along the lines of his campaign promises.


The early choice of Rahm Emanuel as White House chief of staff surely means that a Walt Disney opening to the new administration is highly unlikely. Crossing swords instead of the aisles is most likely.


Hope for the best and plan for the worst during this historically unique period of not knowing. Trust but verify the campaign pledges that won the day.


Should the “fairness doctrine” not be imposed, and the “brown shirts” not supplement Homeland Security, hopefully I will be posting another column next week!


Yellow Cab
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
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