As one who did not vote for Obama and is skeptical of just about every one of his promises I am quite intrigued with how excited people are for his presidency. I even feel some anticipation myself as I watch throngs of people gather the grounds of beautiful Washington, DC.
While it is easy for conservatives to be cynical at this moment they would do well to reflect on why people are so happy about the change coming to America. After 8 years of Bush I think it is quite clear they found the Republican president to be woefully aloof. Obama is able to communicate with the American people in a way that is so natural and uplifting that one cannot feel good about oneself after listening to him. It is a peculiar quality that good leaders have, and the last one to have it was Ronald Reagan.
There are lots of silly comparisons of Obama already being made to Lincoln and FDR, and none of them are compelling. But I would venture to say that he would be the Left’s answer to Reagan. A great communicator who knows when to be practical and ideological that will score points with the middle class and middle of the road voters. I don’t think Obama will be wishy-washy on terror or enact disastrous economic policy. The pro-life movement will be indefinitely set back and marriage will become something defined by the same kind of rights a woman has in choosing to have an abortion. Energy policy will be driven by environmental concerns, but environmentalists will still not be happy with the outcomes. Liberalism will have a new legitimacy brought to it that will be hard to undo.
In my view that is not a good thing but it may in the end refine conservatives into something better. Conservatives, if they are to survive at all, must retain their appeal to traditional values voters, get rid of the country-club mentality that entitles benefits to the upper class, and make a concerted effort to treat African American voters as first class citizens who care about their communities rather than seeing them as automatons who pull the lever for welfare benefits. It will be tough to do, but it can be done. Hope for change.