Friday, November 07, 2008

Time For A Change?

Election is over, Obama won.

Many people are ecstatic about the potential for change, and FSM bless them, I'm sure there will be a change. How can we not have a change from one of the most incompetent unpopular presidents ever?

What strikes me most about this election was how little change in voting there was. Imagine the setup: most unpopular president ever, financial crisis, very unpopular war, same party candidate voted nearly identical to the most unpopular president - versus a dynamic, charismatic leader preaching change. Would you have predicted popular vote margin of only a 6%?

That's actually very disappointing. If you look back (ignoring W's two elections) you have to go back to Carter vs. Ford to find a presidential election where the popular vote margin was less than 6%. Seems like people still (for the most part) voted party lines.

Obama may be able to find middle-ground with the Democrats and Republicans, but I don't know that "middle-ground" is the change people were wanting. Obama certainly doesn't sound like FDR - though pundits are making comparisons, Obama certainly didn't win the election like FDR did.

Many pundits say he should govern from the center (though were perfectly happy with W governing from the extreme). I fear that's a road to disaster and disappointment. I fear Obama will do just that.

To me, it seems as though the Republicans play politics, and Democrats try to be the nice guys - which means Democrats get sand kicked in their faces, and Republicans generally win. For instance, when Republicans were in power, you constantly heard about the Democrats filibuster. Yet when the power shifted, Republicans have been filibustering - but you never hear of it. McCain and Palin made stump speeches out of lies (Obama raise taxes, against the bridge to nowhere, etc.), and even when called on it - they continued to say the same things. Hillary and Obama never did such things. So, after 8 years of being governed from the extreme by W, having Obama govern from the center would (IMO) simply be weak.

Perhaps Obama will lead in a direction the Democrats and Republicans haven't. That would be leadership.

The problem with running a campaign on "change" is that the slogan is very vague, and people are believing it means what they want it to mean - and Obama is going to have a terribly difficult time living up to all those diverging beliefs.

Scalzi said it best:
Your next president is going to disappoint you. Barack Obama does not fart cinnamon-scented rainbows. He is not trailed by angels and unicorns. Reality does not reshape itself to his wishes. Dude’s a human being, and a politician, and he’s going to have to work with other human beings who are also politicians.
Take a look at this short article which examines Obama's position on Iraq. In analyzing his most recent (at the time) speech this was the final point (the first being that Obama didn't mention troop withdrawal):
Third, and most troubling, Obama says that Americans will have to tighten their belts because of the "cost of the war in Iraq." Doesn't that mean that the war will continue?
As much as I want to believe Obama will make some radical, long-lasting changes (for the better), I fear his election can be attributed to what Krugman said: "there was a national wave against Republicans, suggesting that we don’t need a complex narrative."

I truly hope he'll bring about change for the middle (lower) class. I hope he'll focus on the environment. I hope he'll put some regulation back into the economy (or at least transparency).

Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.

(For a detailed examination of Obama's foreign policy, read

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