my thoughts on last night’s election

November 5, 2008 is the first day in the history of the world that an African American has ever been elected President of the United States Of America. That in and of itself is a reason to celebrate as a country. That is no small feat in the course of human events.

I am a social conservative and an economic libertarian. I think Barack Obama’s political policies and agendas are foolish and wrong for the country. I did not vote for him.

But I can still appreciate – and celebrate – the fact that the country has made this great leap forward as a democracy, and I am proud of us for that fact.

All that being said, America made an unwise decision last night in regards to political policy. But I’m not really surprised by that decision though. We’ve grown weary and disillusioned with the war in Iraq. The economy is in the bucket and we’re fearful for our future (not to mention whether or not we’ll have jobs next week). I was pretty mad myself for having to pay flippin’ $4.45 / gallon in gas not just a few weeks ago.

‘Change’ is a pretty simple and compelling platform in times like these.

The next 4 years are going to be rough and painful for us social conservative economic libertarians. At the same time, this ‘loss’ – presidentially speaking – is exactly what we needed.

Going into the election, I was never a huge fan of McCain. I mean, who was? How could the Republican party possibly expect to show up for the big homecoming dance with a candidate like McCain and think they could get a date. It was wrong – all wrong; he exuded too much of the ‘rich old white guy’ political party that everyone had come to hate over the last decade.

In a political atmosphere where Obama was the new, slick rock-star, the Republicans tried to compete by trying to come off more Democrat. It didn’t work.

You can’t out-Democrat the Democrats. The Democratic stronghold would never support a pseudo-liberal like McCain, and in going through the charade, the Republican party deserted their loyal base.

We could go on about everything the Republican’s did wrong the past two years. But it’s pointless to do so. Frankly, for the long-term health of the party, and the eventual turnaround of the country, I’m glad we’re in this spot. The Republican party has 4 solid years to rebuild – maybe 8, who knows – and they must rebuild.

The Republican party needs a redesign more than a Zune in an Apple store.

But it can’t be a simple facelift – some marketing ploy to make the “Republican party cool for the 21st Century”. That’s too short sighted. This needs to be an honest to goodness reorganization. A restructure that restores the faith of the American people in a party that is pursuing what’s best for the country and it’s people.

The Republican party needs to inspire and motivate us again.

Personally, the root ideals of the Republican party – which currently lie buried beneath layers of personal agenda and political mumbo-jumbo – are invigorating to me. The idea that I can shape my own destiny. The idea that my liberty is not dependent on the government. The idea that democracy is worth protecting, and spreading. The idea that freedom is a gift which enables us to be productive, generous, and gracious, and demands that we be humble.

This year, Barack Obama bought the vote of the American people through fiscal promises and uber-slick marketing tactics.

In four years, I hope to see a Republican party that compels the vote of the Amerian people through an inspired vision that motivates us to strive once again for the historic ideals of our country. Not a bleak socialistic future rooted in government reliance and self-defeat; a liberating future where once again WE are the American people.

If they play their cards right, the election of Barack Obama may very well be the very best thing that ever happened to the Republican party.

    • Jeremy
    • November 6th, 2008


    • peter
    • November 6th, 2008

    ditto too.

    • uncle tim
    • November 6th, 2008

    nice writeup burnshead. I definitely agree with many of the points. As someone who aligns with social conservatism (is that a word?), I’m afraid what McCain brought to the table just wasn’t “IT”. That factor we needed to know that while holding our smaller government, more freedom values that he would also make great steps to change the situation we’re in. I’m certainly not convinced that Obama has it all figured out, and that his Liberal bigger government approach will work, but I am convinced he was the right choice for our country. We need someone that the people can get behind…truly support and believe that they can do it. Obama was that candidate. Regardless of his approach to the “change” he promises, it can’t be argued that we don’t absolutely need change. We DO need change, and badly. And now, at least we have a man in office that the people widely believe in(as shown by the voting results), we haven’t had that in a long time…we’ve had tight, split opinion elections. Hopefully that makes some semblance of sense. But, we need a unified country before any one man in office can bring us out of this mess.

    • jon arnold
    • November 6th, 2008

    Beautiful summary, Matt. I agree completely — it’s kind of paradoxical, isn’t it? While I did not vote for Obama, I think I somehow hoped he would get in.

    I say that not to support his policies (which have good points and bad points), but to support your idea of rebuilding the Republican party. It seems the Republicans fought with the methodology of response and reaction (to both the media and the Democrats), rather than leading forward with a unified vision and ignoring the critics.

    We need a party who can focus on our core values and the fundamentals laid out by our founding fathers. There is some incredible wisdom in our nation’s history and I feel in this election it was all but ignored.

    I’m hopeful for the future and I think Obama is who God wants in the White House. I think if we’re faithful and hold true to what we want to accomplish by “change”, this nation will be a great one.

    • burnshead
    • November 6th, 2008

    thanks for the comments everyone.

    @uncle tim: Well, the media may have characterized this as a landslide, but popular vote still only put Obama at 53%. He’s got his work cut out for him. But I agree – the people have spoken, and the majority of support has been rallied. What’s important for all of us – regardless of what our ideology ties are – is that we continue to push forward to turn things around. It’s not all on the President.

    @jon arnold: You’re totally right. The Republicans fought a reactionary campaign here, and reaction doesn’t captivate people. Republicans would do well to, as you said, dig into the roots of the founding fathers, and offer a refreshed perspective for our country founded on fantastic historical principles.

    • Melissa
    • November 7th, 2008

    “Barack Obama bought the vote of the American people through fiscal promises and uber-slick marketing tactics.”

    i actually am offended by that comment.. and if there are more people like you guys who voted for mccain despite not thinking he was a worthy candidate, then mccain “winning” 47% of the popular vote isnt accurate…

    • burnshead
    • November 7th, 2008

    Well, it’s an intentionally provocative statement, but the truth is that Democratic candidates consistently base a lot of their platform on tax cuts for lower / middle income Americans (and raising them for higher income Americans). In this sense the candidate “buys votes” by spending promised money on the American people.

    And Obama’s marketing was no doubt slick. So is Apple’s. I’m not dogging good marketing – in fact I’m in awe of the way in which Obama was able to generate such a loyal, active fanbase. But he spent money to get there – a ton of money – 3-to-1 the amount of money that McCain spent. Obama bought votes through slick marketing.

    I don’t see what’s offensive about that.

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