EPICENTER REACTS TO OBAMA VICTORY

 EPICENTER REACTS TO OBAMA VICTORY

By Joel C. Rosenberg

(Washington, D.C., November 5, 2008) — Congratulations to Sen. Obama. His victory last night was an historic moment, further evidence of how far Americans have come in moving beyond the racial divisions of the past. This is good, and should not be underestimated.

It is now our solemn responsibility to pray faithfully and consistently for him, his wife, his family, and his advisor. We must pray for their safety, their wisdom, and their discernment. This is the right thing to do and honors the Lord. As the Apostle Paul teaches so clearly in I Timothy 2:1, “I urge that entreaties, prayers and petitions and thanksgivings be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.”

We must also pray faithfully for the safety of our nation, for the peace of Jerusalem, and for the advancement of freedom and security throughout the world, and particularly in the Middle East. I am very concerned about what the next year to 18 months may hold. Vice President-elect Biden warned us that the world will test this young new president. We must therefore pray for peace while we prepare for war.

I’m paying particular attention this morning to how people in the epicenter are reacting to Sen. Obama’s victory. Leaders in Iran are thrilled since the likelihood of decisive U.S. action to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program has just dropped dramatically. Leaders in Iraq, by contrast, are trying not to be worried given that the likelihood of rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces has just increased dramatically.

Palestinians seem to be thrilled, since they seem Obama as pro-Palestinian and open to dividing Jerusalem and pressuring the Israelis to make further concessions of “land for peace.” Many Israelis feel quite unsettled this morning, concerned that they will be all alone in the Middle East as the U.S. begins to pack up and go home from Iraq. They are also concerned that Obama and his team do not appear to fully understand or appreciate the seriousness of the threat of Radical Islam. Sen. Obama told us during the campaign that Iran was a tiny country that did not pose much of a threat. Israelis are not convinced he will stand with them in a nuclear showdown with Tehran.

A senior political strategist in Israel emailed me last night with this thought: “The State of Israel is now facing the most unfriendly American administration ever….Israel’s will to live will be tested in ways that will not e pretty. Many of Obama’s foreign policy team and Middle East advisors see Israel as the obstacle to peace. And we can not count on Jewish supporters of Obama to have any standing in setting policy in this administration.” A new poll released yesterday also caught my attention: 46% of Israelis would have voted for McCain, while only 34% would have voted for Obama. That tells us something about the concern from Eilat to Haifa and from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem about losing a great friend of Israel and the Jewish people in President Bush to someone who has not indicated convincing support for Israel in the past.

I know many of you are very worried about the direction of our country. I certainly understand this sentiment, but as I wrote yesterday, let us not lose heart. The Lord knew who would win. He allowed it to happen. He has a plan. He has a purpose. And now He is calling us to serve Him faithfully – to do whatever He tells us to do, to go wherever He tells us to go, to say whatever He tells us to say. Now is the time to draw close to Christ, to advance His kingdom, and prepare for His return. He is, after all, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Now is certainly no time to forget, or to be discouraged.

The United States of Audacity

The United States of Audacity

Posted By Arthur Chrenkoff On November 5, 2008 @ 1:32 am In . Column2 02, Elections 2008 | 82 Comments

Confetti has now been swept away by illegal migrant cleaners, balloons have deflated faster than the economy, and suicide pills in case the unthinkable happened have been flushed down the toilets by liberals around the country (except for those few who have kept theirs in case America emerges victorious from Iraq). The wheel has turned, history was made — even if not particularly emphatically by historical standards — and the cliché count among the commentating class has surpassed the number of foreclosures in California and Arizona combined.

Now is perhaps a good time for several quick predictions for the next four years (or more, if we’re unlucky). None of them are in any sense brave predictions. They are animated by the sentiment often espoused by my late grandmother: “things are rarely as good or as bad as people think they are.” It’s a sentiment born out of years of war, occupations, oppression, economic hardship, and assorted political upheaval. It has served my grandmother and my family well in surviving through the ups and more numerous downs of Central European history, and I believe it will also serve us all well as we enter the uncharted territory of Barack Obama as the holder of the bully pulpit, commander in chief, and leader of the free world.

America will continue to be a terrorist target

As Osama bin Laden watched the election night returns on CNN in some mud hut in northwestern Pakistan, it is very unlikely that Barack Obama was the change that this wily jihadist could believe in.

You have to remember that the planning for the September 11 attacks took place while a loveable, charismatic, I-feel-your-pain Democrat occupied the White House. Clinton was an internationalist, multilateralist, militarily-ambiguous (at the best of times) Kyoto believer. None of his charm, popularity, and bleeding heartedness had made him any less satanic in the eyes of Osama and Co. Similarly, the Iranian hostage taking crisis of 1979 took place under the watch of a sincere, righteous, and devout believer in human rights, justice, and morality in international politics.

This is because the enemies of America don’t care about the personnel in charge but about America’s values and America’s policies abroad. Presidents come and go, conservatives replace liberals and are in turn replaced by conservatives yet again, the country lurches from the Great Society to the Contract with America — yet America’s values, as well as her interests abroad, remain surprisingly consistent. This is her true strength, but also the reason why she continues to attract the hatred of totalitarians of all stripes through decades and centuries.

To truly satisfy al-Qaeda and their followers, in the short term, the United States would have to prematurely withdraw from Iraq, abandon the war on terror in Afghanistan and elsewhere throughout the world, leave Israel to destruction by Iran and other enemies, stop providing financial aid and other assistance to assorted Arab countries, and withdraw any and all military forces as well as economic and political interests from the Middle East.

In the medium term, the United States would have to pull back to within her borders her international political, economic, and cultural influence. No American companies “exploiting” the developing world, no Britney and Hollywood movies beamed around the world, no NATO, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and exporting democracy.

And in the longer term, the United States would have to convert to Islam and become part of the worldwide ummah.

One or two items from the short-term list might conceivably, if unlikely, become a reality. Anything more is an Islamofascist pipe dream; anything less is unacceptable. The war will go on.

Those who pretended that anti-Americanism was all about Bush will be proven wrong

The world has spoken. Even though countries as diverse as France, Pakistan, Australia, and Kenya did not have any Electoral College votes, they still got the president they wanted. There is little doubt that, at least in the short term, America’s Bush-era high negatives around the world will deflate amongst an orgiastic celebration of fresh hopes and new beginnings.

But just as al-Qaeda will not cease being an enemy of America just because America elected a president with the middle name of Hussein, so won’t the anti-Americanism around the world suddenly vanish when George W. Bush takes off for his last helicopter flight out of the White House. Anti-Americanism is a complex political (and all too often psychological, if not psychiatric) problem that is as old and complex as America herself.

For America not to be hated around the world, she would have to cease being America. That is not going to happen, even under President Obama. As I mentioned in the previous section, America’s interests in the world and values at home will largely remain unchanged. The United States will still play a dominant role in international affairs, it will still have allies and enemies, its economy and culture will continue in innumerable ways to exert influence everywhere from the new skyscrapers of Shanghai to the slums of Cairo.

Just as importantly, America will remain a capitalist, consumerist, open, multi-ethnic, religious, polluting, entertaining, creative, democratic, and free society. Barack Obama’s rise to the highest office in the land is undoubtedly pregnant with much symbolism and meaning, but America has merely elected a new president, not a new system of government or a new people.

The excitement of the historic election will eventually die down, but the cold hard reality will remain. Particularly since …

Disappointments will start on the day one

Obama ran as a Messiah, but now he has to govern like a politician. He will disappoint, as all politicians invariably do over time.

To say that Obama created unrealistic expectations during his campaign would be a political understatement of the decade. Tens of millions expect him to do everything from filling a spiritual void and transforming politics (into what, I don’t think any one actually knows) to stopping global warming, fixing the economy, and guaranteeing everyone a comfortable and secure livelihood.

But Obama and his administration will be working within the constraints of the Constitution and the political system, as well as of the economy and social considerations. Rhetoric can soar and inspire but it can’t magically transform everyday realities. Change you can believe in is not necessarily a change you can easily implement.

I expect that, to paraphrase my grandmother’s motto, President Obama will not be as bad as his detractors fear, or as good as his supporters hope for. America won’t turn into a Union of Soviet States of America, even though the U.S. has elected its apparently most left-wing president in history, a man who throughout his rather short and undistinguished career has freely associated himself with Marxists and other assorted far-leftists. Neither will America turn into some post-modern paradise on earth. Obama will not “heal the divided nation” or end the “bitter” partisanship. Such touchy-feely rhetoric is what his supporters might swoon over, but neither objective is achievable, or even particularly desirable in a healthy, competitive, two-party democracy.

Things will get worse for the Republicans before they get better

Political parties which lose, particularly lose big, don’t stop having problems when the polls close. The Republicans can expect some unpleasant times ahead as the minority party out of office in the White House, the Congress, and soon on the High Court. These unpleasant times will be made doubly so by the internal strife over the soul and future direction of the party.

The debate over what the Republican Party is, what it stands for, and what constituencies it should seek to appeal to in order to regain power, is a necessary one, though it will not be pretty. Navel gazing and inward looking, the infighting, bitterness, and the perceived ideological extremism will all make the GOP seem unattractive to anyone outside the base, and many people within it. And the base alone doesn’t win the elections.

There will be a long honeymoon for Obama, partly because of the strength of the sentiment for change, partly because of his status as a media and elite darling, and partly because of a non-partisan human inclination to give the new guy a fair go. Under ordinary circumstances it takes some time for a politician to go from hero to zero. These are not ordinary times, however. With the double whammy of an economic crisis and the ongoing war on terror (even though it has decidedly gone cold lately), I won’t venture any guesses about the likely timeline, but conservatives should not expect a quick and easy comeback.

A Republican resurrection would not be simple at the best of times, but now the GOP also faces a whole new generation of young voters who have given their first vote to the Democrats and might keep on doing so in the future. The Republicans also confront the reality of increasing electoral participation of ethnic minorities, hardly a Republican constituency. This represents not just a strategic or tactical challenge. It is an existential challenge for the party seeking to build a new majority coalition.

And lastly…

Deification of the Anointed One will only get more sickening

Prayers, chants, portraits with a halo? You ain’t seen nothing yet. Should the Obama presidency end in tears, prepare for the Messiah narrative to get hyper-charged among the Obamaniacs. If the brave new experiment collapses due to Obama’s faults, external circumstances, or a combination of the two, the Messiah will have become scorned, scourged, and crucified, dying (politically) at the hands of the evil ones, while attempting to redeem his people. If particularly unlucky, America might acquire its own version of the King Arthur mythos, where the brave leader is not really dead but merely asleep somewhere beyond the horizon in the West (Hollywood, perhaps?), awaiting to come back and rescue his country at a time of future peril.

That would be truly unbearable; America cannot afford another Nixon experience.

The Seven Big Post-Election Questions

The Seven Big Post-Election Questions

Posted By Jennifer Rubin On November 4, 2008 @ 8:15 pm In . Column2 04, . Positioning, Elections 2008, Politics, US News | 77 Comments

Now that the question has been answered — who will be the 44th president — there are seven more questions which will consume politicians, strategists, pundits, and voters for the next few years.

1.  Will President Barack Obama govern as a moderate centrist or a liberal extremist? As the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate, with a background seeped in far-left activism, he does not seem naturally inclined to head to the center without a looming election to force him to accommodate moderate voters. Certainly he now has every opportunity to push through the redistributive agenda he spoke about so fondly in his now-infamous 2001 radio address.  He has healthy majorities in both houses of Congress and a wish list built up over eight years — with everything from universal health care to abolishing secret ballot union elections to the [1] Freedom of Choice Act.

It would seem to require Herculean strength for a president, especially one relatively new to Washington and with a record of subservience to party orthodoxy, to resist the strong leftward pull. Certainly, Obama presumably wants not just one, but two terms and wants to retain that Congressional majority. And the lesson of 1994 when President Bill Clinton lost his Democratic Congressional majority remains fixed in Democrats’ memories. But it is hard to imagine, even with the financial crisis — and the resulting mound of debt and revenue shortfall — that Obama will now transform into a protector of free markets and balanced budgets and a bulwark against the phalanx of Democratic special interest groups.

Bottom Line: Expect Obama the liberal to trump Obama the equivocator.

2. Who will get blamed for the Republican wipeout? The list of potential culprits is long: President Bush, Treasury Secretary Paulson, John McCain, Sarah Palin, the entire McCain camp, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and, of course, the MSM. Those on the right with a specific agenda (e.g., less populism, more technocrats, and activist government) already have their guns pointed at the corresponding culprit (e.g., Palin). The conservative punditocracy got an early jump on the circular firing squad with many isolating Steve Schmidt as the tactician run amok. Others fingered their own candidate.

Bottom Line: After months of fighting, the conventional wisdom will be to blame Bush, banish the McCain campaign team, and conclude that the absence of any viable economic message was a significant factor in the loss. And expect conservatives in the base to rally around Palin in the face of an onslaught by the punditocracy which will label her selection as McCain’s biggest error.

3.  What will the Republican Congressional minority do? They can’t do much given their reduced size. The argument will be over whether to accommodate the new administration or to resist at all costs. More importantly, the struggle will be to identify a new agenda comparable to the Contract with America which could re-energize the party and gain back lost seats.

Bottom Line: Look for a “Heck, no!” strategy while young Turks like Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) strive to develop a comprehensive alternative agenda.

4.  Will “continuity” or “change” be the watchword in national security policy? The deep, dark, and not very well-kept secret of the second Bush term was that it differed not very greatly from much of Obama’s campaign rhetoric — a preference for multilateral discussions, abandonment of strict nuclear verification requirements for North Korea, capitulation to Syrian domination of Lebanon,  a business-like drawdown of forces in Iraq, and a redoubling of efforts in Afghanistan. Four more years of that may not thrill conservatives, but it will seem quite familiar to those following the evolution of Bush’s foreign policy.

Now Obama could certainly veer left, acceding to calls for a substantial cut in defense spending and making good on his pledge to meet directly with rogue-state dictators and to renegotiate NAFTA. But that would only invite unneeded risk and rekindle doubts about the new president.

Bottom Line: Aside from rhetorical flourishes, expect less change than promised. The rub however will come when, as Joe Biden predicted, the first test of Obama’s mettle comes. If he blinks, expect to hear a lot about ”Jimmy Carter II.”

5.  Who becomes the Republican frontrunner for 2012? Given the dearth of Republicans in Washington and the cloud of the Bush years, expect the most viable contenders to come from outside Washington: Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and Bobby Jindal. Palin has bonded with the base and gained the affection of many conservative pundits and activists. She has a ready outlet in the blogosphere and talk radio. Romney has the organization, experience, and knowledge — and perhaps some buyer’s remorse by GOP insiders that he would have been a better candidate in an election dominated by a financial crisis.

Bottom Line: Palin will work to round out her expertise while Romney will seek to redefine and soften his image. (Combined, they have the brains, charm, and experience for a fairly impressive ticket.) But if conservatives wish to obliterate any memory of 2008, look for Jindal to emerge as the newest outsider with a record of conservative reform.

6.  Will there be a crack-up of the conservative punditocracy? Many conservative scribes inside the New York-Washington corridor were the first to jump on Palin and to shower Obama in compliments — “Oh, he knows philosophy!” “Ah, his temperament.” Others, horrified at their colleagues’ muddied thinking and abandonment of conservative principles, struck back. The danger for both is that their readers will lose interest in interpersonal fights and that politicians will figure out pundits don’t have much to do with winning elections.

Bottom Line: After a short period of hostility and some columnists “leaving for new opportunities,” pundits will settle down to the business at hand: fighting about the direction of conservatism instead of with each other.

7. What to do about the MSM? By virtually any [2] objective standard — supported by [3] statistical evidence — this was the most egregiously biased coverage ever seen in a presidential race. From the “tingle up the leg” in the primary to the never-ending slam pieces on Cindy McCain to the Palin feeding frenzy to the refusal to ask [4] minimal questions about Obama’s past associations and policies, the MSM made clear they were an extension of the Obama campaign. With Obama firmly in power will he try to mount an effort to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine, wiping out talk radio and maybe even the blogosphere?

While he contemplates that, conservatives will need to strategize on how to minimize and work around the MSM in future campaigns. It may be that you can’t run a presidential campaign without the MSM, but that you can make them far less important. If the candidates cooperate more with new media and less with old media, that’s where the viewers and readers will go. If Palin’s first interviews were with Chris Wallace, Hugh Hewitt, Powerline, and Politico, that’s where the public would have gone to learn about Palin. And a far different first impression would gave been formed.

The MSM remains important to the extent they are treated as independent reporters rather than spin doctors for Democrats. But Republicans needn’t play along. There is no rule requiring Republican campaigns to leak to the Washington Post – thereby helping to make news — or to go on Hardball.

Bottom Line: Technology, reading, and viewing habits and public disgust with MSM bias are powerful influences which will allow conservatives to find and bolster alternative outlets. But they shouldn’t kid themselves. Ronald Reagan got elected twice with no talk radio, no Fox News, and no blogosphere. The MSM is not the source of conservatives’ woes; it just adds to them.

Election 2008 has turned out to be a gloomy one for Republicans, but it could have been worse. They may manage to keep the Senate Democrats’ total below the filibuster threshold of sixty. And Republicans should do well to keep in mind that nothing is permanent in politics. Democrats who lost the Congress in 1994 and the presidency for the first eight years of the new millennium now reign supreme — until they won’t any more. Republicans would do well to cease the circular firing squad and get about the business of finding a message and impressive messengers to tout it.

No Time To Cry–TIME TO GET TO WORK !!!

No Time To Cry–TIME TO GET TO WORK !!!

All night long I have been getting e-mails proud Americans talking about everything from leaving the country to committing hari kari. OK folks crying time is over put down those razor blades, there is no time to cry, we need to get to work TODAY. There is a mid-term election in two years.

After getting smashed by Karl Rove 2x in a row, the Democrats went back to the basics they rebuilt bottom-up. ALL POLITICS IS LOCAL. The Republican Party must rebuild on a grass-roots basis. We must purify the Republican Message go back to our conservative roots and LEARN HOW TO COMMUNICATE IT BETTER. American IS STILL A CENTER RIGHT COUNTRY. We just elected a leftist president. Once America starts feeling the weight of the government on our backs communication will be easier.

We need to Protect our right to free speech, make sure that Congress will not re-institute the Fairness doctrine. THE DEBATE SHOULD NOT BE ABOUT TALK RADIO OR THE BLOG WORLD IT SHOULD BE ABOUT THE BIAS OF THE TELEVISION NEWS AND NEWSPAPER MEDIA. We must not only communicate their obvious bias to America but we must identify their Advertisers and let them know we will not support their products if they continue to support a biased news media.

More Below:

To Conservatives Who Are Thinking About Tomorrow
Tony Blankley,
Bring me my Bow of burning gold:
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire.
I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green & pleasant Land.

In regard to attitude, America’s conservatives could do worse than to be moved by those lines of Robert Blake from another place and another time on behalf of a similar sacred cause then not yet realized.

Conservatism always has been and always will be a force to reckon with because it most closely approximates the reality of the human condition, based, as it is, on the cumulative judgment and experience of a people. It is the heir, not the apostate, to the accumulated wisdom, morality and faith of the people.

As a force in electoral politics in any given season, conservatism, like all ideas and causes, is hostage to the effectiveness of the party that carries its banner, the candidates and leaders who articulate its principles and programs, and the engagement and spirit of the people who are its natural adherents.

A dispassionate critique of the performance of each of those elements would have to conclude that the core of the conservative people — our natural adherents — were inflamed with both passion and knowledge of conservative principles. It was the party and the candidates, leaders and conspicuous advocates (with some honorable exceptions) who failed both in their visions and their performances a cause that yearned to be well-led.

But fate (if you are a classicist) or the mystery of God (if you are religious) also has played its part this season. Only once since FDR-Truman has the American electorate elected the same party to the White House three times in a row (Reagan, Reagan, Bush — 1980-1992). And by the way, only once since 1896, when Grover Cleveland declined to run for re-election and William McKinley won, has the American voter not elected the same party to the White House at least twice in a row (Carter, Reagan — 1976-1980).

Moreover, the Republican Party, our reluctant champion, naturally (if, in a few instances, unfairly) was held to account for two unpopular wars, manifest corruption and managerial incompetence, a collapsed housing market that resulted in a 20-50 percent crash in the home values for most Americans, and a financial crisis that threatens world prosperity and has reduced the value of the average American’s stock portfolio by about 40 percent.

But as someone who has been banging around American politics since the Goldwater glory and defeat of 1964, I need to observe that the first explanation of losing causes and losing parties (liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans) almost invariably is to blame incompetent candidates, ineffective messages, and overwhelming events.

At a technical level, that is often true.

But at a deeper, historical level, the failure was that the cause was not yet ready to lead. We conservatives were not ready to lead in 1964. By 1980 and 1994, under Reagan and Gingrich, we had figured out how to talk to a majority of the country with both principles and programs that gained a majority endorsement. We no longer were just standing on our high horse declaiming to a nation. We were on the ground, with the people, leading them into the citadel of power.

At a practical level, it is worth considering how Benjamin Disraeli reformed the modern British Conservative Party in the 19th century. (For a fuller account, see David Gelernter’s Feb. 7, 2005, article in The Weekly Standard, “The Inventor of Modern Conservatism.”)

Disraeli envisioned the Conservative Party as the true national party, while the Whigs were merely the party of intellectual ideas. In that time, English intellectuals and progressives were fascinated with German ideas, just as today Democrats are enchanted with European ideas. Disraeli judged: “In a progressive country, change is constant; and the great question is not whether you should resist change, which is inevitable, but whether that change should be carried out in deference to the manners, the customs, the laws and the traditions of the people or in deference to abstract principles and arbitrary and general doctrines.” By championing the vote for the people in a century in which that was inevitable, Disraeli formed a conservative party that dominated British politics for 150 years.

Today there are certain profound values — free markets and respect for life — that are renounced at the price of our soul. Free markets, particularly, are under the immediate, explicit assault of the next government. Life may be undermined more surreptitiously.

But as a national cause championed by a national party, a conservative agenda must, for example, learn to speak persuasively to a near majority of Hispanic-Americans, or we will be merely a debating society. When Texas joins states such as Colorado, New Mexico (and even North Carolina, Virginia, Arizona and Florida), where Hispanic votes are necessary for victory, there is no possibility of national governance without finding that voice.

Our challenge is not to retreat to the comfort of self-congratulatory exile but to sweat and bleed — and be victorious — in the arena of public opinion.

The United States of Audacity

The United States of Audacity

Posted By Arthur Chrenkoff On November 5, 2008 @ 1:32 am In . Column2 02, Elections 2008 | 77 Comments

Confetti has now been swept away by illegal migrant cleaners, balloons have deflated faster than the economy, and suicide pills in case the unthinkable happened have been flushed down the toilets by liberals around the country (except for those few who have kept theirs in case America emerges victorious from Iraq). The wheel has turned, history was made — even if not particularly emphatically by historical standards — and the cliché count among the commentating class has surpassed the number of foreclosures in California and Arizona combined.

Now is perhaps a good time for several quick predictions for the next four years (or more, if we’re unlucky). None of them are in any sense brave predictions. They are animated by the sentiment often espoused by my late grandmother: “things are rarely as good or as bad as people think they are.” It’s a sentiment born out of years of war, occupations, oppression, economic hardship, and assorted political upheaval. It has served my grandmother and my family well in surviving through the ups and more numerous downs of Central European history, and I believe it will also serve us all well as we enter the uncharted territory of Barack Obama as the holder of the bully pulpit, commander in chief, and leader of the free world.

America will continue to be a terrorist target

As Osama bin Laden watched the election night returns on CNN in some mud hut in northwestern Pakistan, it is very unlikely that Barack Obama was the change that this wily jihadist could believe in.

You have to remember that the planning for the September 11 attacks took place while a loveable, charismatic, I-feel-your-pain Democrat occupied the White House. Clinton was an internationalist, multilateralist, militarily-ambiguous (at the best of times) Kyoto believer. None of his charm, popularity, and bleeding heartedness had made him any less satanic in the eyes of Osama and Co. Similarly, the Iranian hostage taking crisis of 1979 took place under the watch of a sincere, righteous, and devout believer in human rights, justice, and morality in international politics.

This is because the enemies of America don’t care about the personnel in charge but about America’s values and America’s policies abroad. Presidents come and go, conservatives replace liberals and are in turn replaced by conservatives yet again, the country lurches from the Great Society to the Contract with America — yet America’s values, as well as her interests abroad, remain surprisingly consistent. This is her true strength, but also the reason why she continues to attract the hatred of totalitarians of all stripes through decades and centuries.

To truly satisfy al-Qaeda and their followers, in the short term, the United States would have to prematurely withdraw from Iraq, abandon the war on terror in Afghanistan and elsewhere throughout the world, leave Israel to destruction by Iran and other enemies, stop providing financial aid and other assistance to assorted Arab countries, and withdraw any and all military forces as well as economic and political interests from the Middle East.

In the medium term, the United States would have to pull back to within her borders her international political, economic, and cultural influence. No American companies “exploiting” the developing world, no Britney and Hollywood movies beamed around the world, no NATO, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and exporting democracy.

And in the longer term, the United States would have to convert to Islam and become part of the worldwide ummah.

One or two items from the short-term list might conceivably, if unlikely, become a reality. Anything more is an Islamofascist pipe dream; anything less is unacceptable. The war will go on.

Those who pretended that anti-Americanism was all about Bush will be proven wrong

The world has spoken. Even though countries as diverse as France, Pakistan, Australia, and Kenya did not have any Electoral College votes, they still got the president they wanted. There is little doubt that, at least in the short term, America’s Bush-era high negatives around the world will deflate amongst an orgiastic celebration of fresh hopes and new beginnings.

But just as al-Qaeda will not cease being an enemy of America just because America elected a president with the middle name of Hussein, so won’t the anti-Americanism around the world suddenly vanish when George W. Bush takes off for his last helicopter flight out of the White House. Anti-Americanism is a complex political (and all too often psychological, if not psychiatric) problem that is as old and complex as America herself.

For America not to be hated around the world, she would have to cease being America. That is not going to happen, even under President Obama. As I mentioned in the previous section, America’s interests in the world and values at home will largely remain unchanged. The United States will still play a dominant role in international affairs, it will still have allies and enemies, its economy and culture will continue in innumerable ways to exert influence everywhere from the new skyscrapers of Shanghai to the slums of Cairo.

Just as importantly, America will remain a capitalist, consumerist, open, multi-ethnic, religious, polluting, entertaining, creative, democratic, and free society. Barack Obama’s rise to the highest office in the land is undoubtedly pregnant with much symbolism and meaning, but America has merely elected a new president, not a new system of government or a new people.

The excitement of the historic election will eventually die down, but the cold hard reality will remain. Particularly since …

Disappointments will start on the day one

Obama ran as a Messiah, but now he has to govern like a politician. He will disappoint, as all politicians invariably do over time.

To say that Obama created unrealistic expectations during his campaign would be a political understatement of the decade. Tens of millions expect him to do everything from filling a spiritual void and transforming politics (into what, I don’t think any one actually knows) to stopping global warming, fixing the economy, and guaranteeing everyone a comfortable and secure livelihood.

But Obama and his administration will be working within the constraints of the Constitution and the political system, as well as of the economy and social considerations. Rhetoric can soar and inspire but it can’t magically transform everyday realities. Change you can believe in is not necessarily a change you can easily implement.

I expect that, to paraphrase my grandmother’s motto, President Obama will not be as bad as his detractors fear, or as good as his supporters hope for. America won’t turn into a Union of Soviet States of America, even though the U.S. has elected its apparently most left-wing president in history, a man who throughout his rather short and undistinguished career has freely associated himself with Marxists and other assorted far-leftists. Neither will America turn into some post-modern paradise on earth. Obama will not “heal the divided nation” or end the “bitter” partisanship. Such touchy-feely rhetoric is what his supporters might swoon over, but neither objective is achievable, or even particularly desirable in a healthy, competitive, two-party democracy.

Things will get worse for the Republicans before they get better

Political parties which lose, particularly lose big, don’t stop having problems when the polls close. The Republicans can expect some unpleasant times ahead as the minority party out of office in the White House, the Congress, and soon on the High Court. These unpleasant times will be made doubly so by the internal strife over the soul and future direction of the party.

The debate over what the Republican Party is, what it stands for, and what constituencies it should seek to appeal to in order to regain power, is a necessary one, though it will not be pretty. Navel gazing and inward looking, the infighting, bitterness, and the perceived ideological extremism will all make the GOP seem unattractive to anyone outside the base, and many people within it. And the base alone doesn’t win the elections.

There will be a long honeymoon for Obama, partly because of the strength of the sentiment for change, partly because of his status as a media and elite darling, and partly because of a non-partisan human inclination to give the new guy a fair go. Under ordinary circumstances it takes some time for a politician to go from hero to zero. These are not ordinary times, however. With the double whammy of an economic crisis and the ongoing war on terror (even though it has decidedly gone cold lately), I won’t venture any guesses about the likely timeline, but conservatives should not expect a quick and easy comeback.

A Republican resurrection would not be simple at the best of times, but now the GOP also faces a whole new generation of young voters who have given their first vote to the Democrats and might keep on doing so in the future. The Republicans also confront the reality of increasing electoral participation of ethnic minorities, hardly a Republican constituency. This represents not just a strategic or tactical challenge. It is an existential challenge for the party seeking to build a new majority coalition.

And lastly…

Deification of the Anointed One will only get more sickening

Prayers, chants, portraits with a halo? You ain’t seen nothing yet. Should the Obama presidency end in tears, prepare for the Messiah narrative to get hyper-charged among the Obamaniacs. If the brave new experiment collapses due to Obama’s faults, external circumstances, or a combination of the two, the Messiah will have become scorned, scourged, and crucified, dying (politically) at the hands of the evil ones, while attempting to redeem his people. If particularly unlucky, America might acquire its own version of the King Arthur mythos, where the brave leader is not really dead but merely asleep somewhere beyond the horizon in the West (Hollywood, perhaps?), awaiting to come back and rescue his country at a time of future peril.

That would be truly unbearable; America cannot afford another Nixon experience.

President-Elect Obama Faces a Dangerous World

President-Elect Obama Faces a Dangerous World

Posted By Bridget Johnson On November 4, 2008 @ 11:09 pm In . Column2 03, . Positioning, Elections 2008 | 34 Comments

As voters stepped into the polls, they came armed with their opinions, their emotions, their gut feelings, their peer pressure, their community organizers’ suggestions and a variety of other decision-making tools that will never supplant bare-bones knowledge on the issues.

Last time around, it was Diddy warning citizens to “Vote or Die,” but last year a [1] study by the Pew Research Center for The People & The Press nearly gave the world of punditry a collective heart attack. Looking at the survey somberly reminds us that these are the people who voted, volunteered, were perhaps cajoled into registering by an ambitious, compensated town crier with a clipboard.

Only 36 percent of Pew respondents could name Vladimir Putin as the president of Russia — even when he’d been president for nearly eight years. Only two-thirds could name their own state’s governor. Sixty-nine percent could even identify our vice president, even with Dick Cheney’s starring role as the butt of liberal jokes. Just 37 could peg the chief justice of the Supreme Court as leaning conservative, and even fewer respondents, 32 percent, could name Sunni as the Islam branch opposite Shia. And on, and on.

Too many American voters sleepwalk through the world, and yet lined up to pick the next leader of the free world. And now, Barack Obama, you have the weight of the world on your shoulders — a world where many of its inhabitants would like to see a weaker United States so that they can feel stronger themselves, and have won agreement from many on the American left. You have constituents and global onlookers alike who think that the reputation of the U.S. is paramount to doing the right — even if unpopular — thing.

Here are five things you should remember about the world today — and that you should cling to stronger than upper-class citizens’ money:

· The fact that chief Hamas adviser Ahmed Yousef [2] said in April, “We like Mr. Obama and we hope he will win the election” because “he has a vision to change America” is not a hat tip to your alleged great uniting or peacemaking abilities. It’s an ominous sign that, after evaluating the candidates, this terror organization came to the conclusion that you can most easily be manipulated. No less than the survival of the Jewish state hangs in the balance — and toasting PLO lackeys will only reinforce the suspicion that you were just pandering to Jewish voters on Israel. Actions will speak louder than campaign-trail rhetoric.

· Russia will most likely attack Georgia again, especially since they saw how your mind works in [3] this response to the South Ossetia war: “I think it is important at this point for all sides to show restraint and to stop this armed conflict.” If you can’t pick sides when appropriate, you’re going to let Russia become a steamroller over the former Soviet states. If you think that Russia smashing Georgia after Georgia tried to rein in a breakaway territory is a situation in which Georgia needs to “show restraint,” then you don’t belong in the White House — you belong at the United Nations.

· As Obamaniacs flooded the polls Tuesday, Iran celebrated its [4] National Day Against Global Arrogance. That translates to a national holiday denouncing the United States in P.C.-friendly terms, as the mullahs’ minions dutifully protested the Great Satan. The Islamic Republic News Agency reported: “People from all walks of life converged at the site of the former US embassy in Tehran, better known in Iranian history as the ‘Den of Spies.’ Ralliers, including groups of school and university students, shouted slogans against the United States as they marched through Tehran’s streets. By chanting slogans such as ‘nuclear energy, is the legitimate right of the Iranian nation,’ the ralliers underscored the need for producing nuclear energy to generate electricity.” If you think that the U.S. can fairly enter negotiations with this entity, especially as you’ve agreed Iran cannot be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon, you’ll be about as useful as Jimmy Carter during the Iran hostage crisis.

· Neither you nor John McCain focused on much of anything south of the border during the campaign, but there are volatile situations that could blow up in your face very quickly. In Mexico, you have a violent drug war buoyed by drug smuggling across our border and a methamphetamine market that has been cornered by Mexican cartels since we enacted pseudoephedrine restrictions. In South America, you have a Venezuelan leader trying to rally others against “The Empire” (us) while cutting economic and military deals with Iran and Russia. Just as bad economic times helped the populist (you) win here in America, trying times will leave lovers of democracy — who are already persecuted in Hugo Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution — in even more dire straits. Will you take sides and stand up for them and, in turn, everything for which America stands?

· Whether Osama Bin Laden is captured or not is, unfortunately, just a political talking point — one you used well during the debates, I might add. Because whether or not you plan to bust down Pakistan’s door, with guaranteed disastrous results, or chase Osama to the “gates of hell” as your challenger promised, you still have a vast terror network flourishing under the guidance of Ayman al-Zawahiri. You have a radical, extremist Islamist ideology to counter — and many on the left would rather [5] complain about documentaries on the subject than face the threat head-on.

This isn’t to say that the McCain-Palin team would have met all of these challenges, or that they would have even been able to get anything done with a Democratic Congress. But Washington, D.C., is now in dangerous territory with the loss of checks and balances.

And President-elect Obama, so much hangs in the balance with your willingness — or refusal — to accept and act upon global realities.

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