American elections provide the electorate with a choice between two viable candidates, with “choice” being the operative word. We have a choice between the Democrat and the Republican, and although we could vote for a candidate from another party or write in someone else not on the ballot, those are protest (or vanity) votes – that is to say, you can vote for whomever you wish but the reality is that either the D or the R will win. McCain was my choice over Obama, but that’s not to say that I considered McCain to be a good choice – he was, in my opinion, the better choice between the two. McCain was a flawed candidate who would have made a flawed POTUS, but, alas, there is no Party of Mr.Hengist to reflect my views on policy. Obama may prove himself to be a better POTUS than I think he’ll be and I’m open to that possibility.
At any rate, I’d like to make a few observations about the political aftermath of the 2008 election.
First: The election of a black man to the White House is historic, but it does not fundamentally change America. Instead it reflects a change in America that has already taken place, just as passing a milestone is an indication of how far we've already come. America is not now “post-racial” and probably never will be; that is to say, there will always be racism in America – in America, and all over the world. What this election shows is that it is time to stop accusing America of being a racist country. Not only was a black man elected to be POTUS, but his political opposition did not run on racist hatred or fear.
Indeed, had Condoleeza Rice not made it emphatically clear that she was not interested in political office then she may very well have been the Republican nominee in this election for POTUS, which would have been an Identity Politics two-fer. As it is, Hillary Clinton almost made it to the Democrat nomination and Sarah Palin was on the Republican ticket as VP. I think that goes a long way towards demonstrating that sexism in American politics is also a dead issue.
It can't have helped that, during the Democrat primaries, proponents of the Obama and Hillary camps lobbed racism and sexism accusations at each other, respectively (but not respectfully). I found it both disgusting and amusing - when the going got tough, they used the ammunition with which they were most familiar, ammunition which had previously been reserved for use against Republicans. I hope Democrats and Liberals learned a lesson from that. Between that internecine slander and the field of candidates we had in '08, Democrat Identity Politics has had another couple of arrows taken out of their quiver. That’s not to say that they won’t use them again, but I think they’ve been rendered largely ineffective.
Second: The Democrats are now responsible. When they were the opposition party to the Republicans they had little by way of constructive alternatives to Republican policy – quick to object but largely absent were their alternatives. Case in point: Iran and their pursuit of nuclear weapons. For years the Democrats have warned that POTUS Bush was about to bomb Iran but I’ve not seen them come up with a policy alternative to what’s already in place, aside from the vague admonition to apply copious quantities of the magic pixie dust of diplomacy. Their political opposition hamstrung POTUS Bush, and what happens next will be entirely their responsibility, and fault, should they fail to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. The entirely predictable and inevitable resulting hegemony of Iran over the Persian Gulf states and the use of nuclear weapons against Israel (either directly or through their proxy, Hezbollah) will underscore the folly of relying on Democrats to reign in and quash evil. Between Iran, the Islamic Jihadists, the resurgent empire-building of Russia, and the rising world-power of China (and their coveting of Taiwan), POTUS Obama and the Democratic majority in Congress will have their work cut out for them. I wish them good luck with that – and I mean that sincerely. I would rather they succeed and I’m proven wrong in my pessimism about their competency than to be proven to have been correct.
Third: The Liberal accusations of stolen elections in '02 and '04 have been proven false. They always lacked proof, and now that the Democrats won resoundingly in '08 there can be no doubt that past accusations were complete bunk. The ability to rig election results is not arbitrarily abandoned; it's not as if whatever Republican means of stealing elections was discovered and rooted out, nor is it plausible that they had a change of heart and decided to let the electorate have their way this time around. Note that the gullible Liberals who fell for this meme should be slapping their foreheads in slackjawed amazement that their victory was even possible, as they should have done in '06 when they won a slim Congressional majority, and they should be demanding accountability of the Liberal politicians, pundits, and bloggers who misled them.
Fourth: Campaign Finance Reform will remain a dead issue until the Republicans start raising more money than the Democrats, at which point the Democrats will once again rail against the corruption of big-money in politics. That will be our cue to point and laugh at them.