The Presidential Campaign is over and the people have spoken. President-Elect Barak H. Obama will take the oath of office on January 20, 2009 and become the 44th President of the United States of America. The campaign was one of the longest and costliest in history with some 3.4 Billion Dollars being spent in an attempt to succeed George W. Bush in the White House. The conventional wisdom at the beginning was that we didn’t need a primary season because it was obvious that Rudy Giuliani would be the republican nominee and Hillary Clinton was a shoe it for the Democrat Nominee. About two years and 3.4 Billion Dollars later we’ve got President-Elect Obama winning an extraordinary primary and general election victory that no one saw coming.
The President-Elect is a very cool customer indeed and his phenomenal ability to communicate and his genial demeanor is clearly evocative of President Ronald Reagan. His family is as appealing as that of John F. Kennedy, and even though I opposed Obama, I look forward to pictures of his daughters playing in the White House. Remember the pictures of John-John peeking out from under his father’s desk in the Oval Office? Barak Obama has an extraordinary ability to raise funds that is easily the rival of Bill Clinton and he managed to financially out gun McCain, to a ridiculous degree, that made the folly of McCain’s Campaign Finance Reform law clearly apparent to all including John McCain. There’s a certain irony in that fact that I, as a staunch conservative find grimly appropriate. President-Elect Obama has survived charges of being inexperienced, The Clinton Attack Machine, William Ayrs, Jeremiah Wright and the gaff machine known as Vice President Elect Joe Biden to win the support of this great nation.
The great moment of change came, in the midst of the Economic Crisis, that’s still very much alive today, when John McCain made a fool of himself suspending his campaign and rushing back to Washington to look impotent and stupid. Barak Obama observed from the stump at a campaign speech that a “president has to be able to multi task”. It was evocative of Clint Eastwood’s legendary Dirty Harry character saying: “A man has got to know his limitations.” It was as evocative as President Reagan saying from the White House: “Go ahead. Make my day”. Volumes were communicated and people across the country saw McCain, old, tired, and rash; making a rooky error that belies his eon in the senate and the calm, cool, purposeful response of Obama making him look like the guy with experience. In that moment we saw our new President.
President-Elect Obama takes office, on day one, as a national hero to African Americans who’s feeling of elation and pride welled to the surface on election night in a way that lifted the spirits of Obama’s most ardent foe’s. The campaign slogan: “Yes we can” became obsolete during Obama’s gracious victory speech as the crowd chanted at the end, with tears of joy in the faces, black, white and brown, “Yes we did”. There were pictures of Jesse Jackson and Oprah Winfrey at the victory rally overcome with emotion that was shared in large measure by Americans of all backgrounds at the persistence and courage of the African American community as they stepped into a new era of hope and equality that has long been a cherished American ideal.
For those who say that the President-Elect is wet behind the ears and is terribly short on experience I would remind you of the following facts:
· President-Elect Obama was born to a single mom in the early sixties when her mixed race child would have carried a huge negative social stigma. Kids like that get real tough real fast.
· President-Elect Obama was raised by his grandparents yet sent to the best schools that they could find. But people of that generation were even more prone to racial divides than the civil rights generation of the sixties. The guy is clearly brilliant.
· President-Elect Obama flirted with hopelessness as a black man in a white world but found the discipline, the hope and the ambition to demand the best from himself. He attended some of the best schools in the nation and became a Harvard Law Professor as well as a Community Organizer and an excellent writer. He’s a man of knowledge, ideas; he has Sarah Palin’s “Servants Heart”. He could have cashed in on being editor of the Harvard Law Review but he served the people instead. You can’t fake that sort of thing.
· The ASTONISHING discipline of his campaign springs from the candidate himself. This man makes it look easy but he’s come from a black fatherless kid being raised by his white grandparents to community organizer to legislator to US Senator and now to the Presidency of the United States. He did it with discipline and defeated the Clinton Machine and the Republican Machine and the vestiges of racism inherent in the America of today. I don’t see how anyone can say he’s never accomplished anything in his life that would qualify him to be our leader and our president.
Barak Obama’s come much too far to fail us as our president. I know he’s got some very socialist ideas but he’s demonstrated some extraordinary political genus and ability, as well as graciousness and likeability, in his successful quest for the most powerful job on earth. As much as his liberal record may concern me his record of cool, calm, deliberate reflection and his drive to succeed as our president reassures me. You might say that I’m recommending that we all have the audacity to hope in this gifted young politician who came from humble beginnings to supreme power on earth with his drive, discipline, and his belief that he could help change things for the better.
I believe President-Elect Obama is smart enough to know that his success is going to be built on governing from the center and I think he knows it already unlike the Rhodes Scholar Bill Clinton who tried to move far left at the beginning to his chagrin. Lots of people are concerned today that we’ve got an outright socialist about to take office, and that is a possibility, but I believe that we owe this extraordinary man our trust before we line up to take pot shots at him. If he tries to govern from the center then God Bless him for his wisdom but if he governs from the left it’s our duty to oppose him respectfully and within the law. And we will. (Believe me he knows that!) That’s the way it is with any president and that’s our duty as citizens, at all times in this country. Let’s see if we can work with President Obama and make this country as safe and secure and prosperous as we can because we owe that to successive generations.
President-Elect Obama pulled off the most amazing political upset in the history of this nation and any man who could manage such a feat is more that worthy of our respect and admiration and our loyalty as Americans.
Godspeed President Obama: The people of faith across this land are praying for you!