Modest Morsels

Obama vs McCain

by Lance Thompson

This column will focus on the positive aspects of the week, so it will be brief.

The loss of the presidential race is the work of John McCain and his campaign. Though many other factors contributed to Obama’s win, a good candidate and an effective campaign could have prevailed. After a bruising bare-knuckle campaign in the primary, McCain elected to follow the Marquis of Queensbury rules in the brutal street fight of the general election. This was hardly unexpected–McCain was always tougher on Republicans than Democrats.

The good news aspect of this is that “moderate” Republicans can not claim the ascendancy over conservatives. If McCain had prevailed, we’d be saddled with the argument that only a Republican who believes in the sorcery of global warming, the folly of open borders, and only reluctantly in the value of tax cuts can win the Big One. The Democrats put their money on the most liberal senator in America, and won. This is not necessarily because people prefer the liberal view to the conservative. More probably, they prefer a true believer to a fence sitter. McCain’s me-too populism in reaction to the financial meltdown and his refusal to pin the blame on Democrat policies was inexcusable. Conservatives don’t have to question our principles–they were never part of the campaign.

We thought they might be when McCain, in the single savvy move he made after the primaries, chose Sarah Palin as his running mate. The campaign muzzled her, booked her on ambush talk shows, and never used her effectively. But the good news is that Sarah Palin now has experience on a national campaign, connected with conservatives in a way no candidate has since Ronald Reagan, and didn’t even have to spend her own money. The new generation of conservative leaders has a face, and it’s one that wears well.

The GOP maintains enough Senate seats to filibuster the most egregious parts of the socialist agenda of the Democrats. It’s a thin margin, and it will take skill to wield it effectively, but Republicans in the Senate can still influence and shape legislation. At this writing, Norm Coleman has a slim lead over the un-courtly jester Al Franken, but that race is headed for a recount.

In the House, our losses were significant, but California is sending a conservative stalwart to Washington in the form of Tom McClintock. McClintock is a principled, courageous, mentally agile true conservative, an instructive example for conservative Congressmen to follow.

While we hope that Barack Obama will enjoy the same “holiday from history,” in Charles Krauthammer’s words, that favored the Clinton administration, such an outcome is unlikely. President Obama is sure to be tested, as Joe Biden so solemnly warned. Already, on election night, Russian President Medvedev announced the emplacement of offensive missiles near the Polish border. The enemies of freedom multiply, hydra-like, with each passing week. The campaign statements of the president elect make it clear that the new administration will have a vastly different approach to world affairs than the current one. That’s the last positive aspect of the election.

It’s likely to make the foreign policy of George W. Bush look positively masterful.