By Gerry Rough
Barack Obama: Victorious Victim of History
You’ve heard it countless times by now. You’ve heard it spoken so many times it is beginning to grate on your nerves, and you’ve even begun to think that it was just your opinion and no one else’s that the election of President Barack Obama was something far less than a real election. There was something wrong about his rise to power, but you perhaps cannot as of yet put your finger on it. It is vague and undefined, but it is definitely there. There is there there, and you know it.
You are not alone! And as Glenn Beck has so eloquently put it recently, we surround them! There are, in fact, six – count them, six – very good reasons why conservatives should question whether Obama’s ascension to power was a real bona fide election based on popular will, or whether it was something far less as we shall shortly see. The long and the short of the 2008 election has yet to be written, but one thing is abundantly clear for all to see, especially our liberal friends who refuse to acknowledge the reality of what happened out of shear political blindness. The meteoric rise to power of President Barack Obama was not the result of a desire for change in the American electorate, personal popularity or even the proverbial ‘cult of personality’ so present in our modern 24-hour news cycle culture. It was the direct result of political forces that were beyond his control, and ultimately forces he will likely never master based on his first sixty-plus days in office. For so it is that without these unseen forces working on his behalf to elect him, it would have been impossible for him to rise to the office he now claims to have won by popular election. Indeed, as we shall see shortly, if even one of these forces had not been present, John McCain would have won the election, and America’s future would have taken a dramatic turn in a different direction than it is now moving.
As it stands now, the election of 2008 was the perfect storm in American political history, one with so many firsts it is difficult to imagine that an election like the one just witnessed by this generation will probably ever happen again in our history. But even more than all of the firsts that were present in this election cycle, all of the political forces lined up in a way rarely if ever seen in the history of political theater. The sheer cumulative magnitude of these political forces made victory a certainty beyond reasonable doubt for one candidate, and one candidate alone. To wit, if an Oscar Mayer Wiener had been the democratic nominee, the wiener would certainly have won in this political climate, and indeed there are many who would argue that that is precisely what we got that fateful night November last!
Perhaps the most visible of these forces was the American media, who by virtually every objective standard by media watchdog organizations, well known pollsters, and even the dubious public who was forced to watch the train wreck of an election run amok, have concluded universally that the media virtually rolled over for the democratic candidate. Even the Obama campaign itself has even admitted media partiality when confronted with the bias question by stating that, “We deserved it,” a tacit admission of media complicity. It was Democratic Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania who acknowledged the same when he went on record as calling the media irresponsibility regarding Barack Obama a “national disgrace.” And it was Hillary Clinton who spoke to the wind in her calls for the media to confront Obama as a real presidential candidate, and stop covering him as a celebrity. Entire books and videos are now in the works or already published documenting the media complicity in the Obama election. There were even post-election polls that had upwards of 70% of Americans who agreed that the media willfully worked to elect Obama – and yes, the wording was carefully chosen. It just doesn’t get any worse than that, unless, of course, you happen to live in a banana republic. If Barack Obama had been given the scrutiny that every other candidate had been given, he would never have risen to the nomination, let alone the presidency.
As regards campaign cash, the advantage of the Obama campaign put McCain at a severe disadvantage from the start, one from which McCain never recovered. But remember here that it was candidate Obama himself who broke the campaign promise to receive only public funding for his campaign. The McCain campaign actually kept the promise and took the public funding, despite countless Republican observers who told him to do otherwise. And while the cash advantage of the Obama campaign was generally 2 to 1 as late as October, Newsmax.com reported a staggering 3 to 1 advantage in television advertising in the final stretch, an advantage only dreamed of in political circles, especially in a presidential campaign. The magnitude of this level of cash advantage is staggering, and although not completely out of the question to overcome (there are many examples of this in political history), in the greater context of this election cycle, there was in effect no chance for McCain to overcome this enormous advantage.
Yet another advantage Obama had during the presidential campaign was that the outgoing president George W. Bush was nowhere to be seen during the primaries or the fall months leading up to the November election. And here the poll numbers tell the story. As late as October, 2008, Bush’s approval numbers were universally in the 20s. This is devastating to a presidential campaign for the party in power. In McCain’s case of course, Bush was a virtual millstone around his neck, making him the elephant in the room that no one was talking about. In fact, it was rather something of a strain for the McCain campaign to ignore the sitting president. Normally, of course, the party who holds the White House has an enormous advantage going into the fall election. Imagine if you will, what can be gleaned from the power of Air Force One landing at a local airport: the symbolism, the majesty, the Office of the President, irrespective of the office holder. This O reader is the greatest of political sins: that we should endure a presidential election cycle having turned an iniquitous eye to such an event! O what needless pain we bear! And that, O friend, is exactly what conservatives were asked to bear for this election cycle. The enormous advantage of a sitting president was nowhere to be found, and it was excruciating to witness up close and personal. A president with approval ratings in the low- to mid- 40s would have easily propelled McCain into the White House.
Another major force that propelled Obama to victory was the issue of the Bush Administration’s defense of itself in the face of withering democratic opposition. The fact of the matter is that George W. Bush was the presidential ‘Mr. Nice Guy’ while his political enemies simply did what every political enemy does: they defined him and his presidency from the very beginning. A quick overview of the major events of the Bush presidency tells the story. When the Florida recount mess emerged so early in his administration, Bush took the high road and tried to reconcile himself to democrats who refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of his presidency. When the WMD were not found as expected, Bush again did not hold the democrat’s feet to the fire for their own complicity in the entire WMD debacle, even, mind you, when there were WMD actually found that were never documented by either Sadam Hussein or the UN weapons inspectors. And what of the Katrina debacle when Bush was accused by democrats of ignoring New Orleans because of race? It is both inexcusable and inexplicable that a sitting president would ignore his political enemies and allow them to define him in this way; it is nothing less than political malpractice of the highest order. In the end, it was not the administration who defined itself, but the opposition. And that, O political junkie, is yet another axiom of politics that should never be ignored: you either define yourself or your enemy will do it for you. George W. Bush, for all of his positives and negatives, never really quite got the memo on this important truism of electoral politics. What Bush’s presidency needed was the political killer instinct that was not there, and in the end it destroyed his presidency. Had the Bush administration defined its political enemies rather than allowing its enemies to define them, it would have changed history and the election of 2008 without question.
On another front, Republican disarray during this past election cycle was so transparent it could not have been missed. The story was covered extensively in nearly every media outlet, complete with howls of incompetence and the party of “democrat light.” Even after the election the party disintegrated further with the usual finger pointing and recriminations too many to count. The Sarah Palin debacle during the last week before the election only made the collapse of the party more intense and noticeable. It was not as though the reproach was unearned, however. The fact is that the Republican Party had been in decline for a number of years, and it was just now coming to its inevitable conclusion. The generic polls that measured whether voters were more likely to vote republican or democrat were heavily in favor of democrats long before this election cycle. Even the self-identified conservative versus liberal polls had conservatives in the decline for several years prior to the 2008 election. By that time, of course, it was simply not enough to call yourself a republican any longer and assume that the voter actually knew the difference between the two parties. The public and the conservative movement had lost the stomach for “republican light” policy, and the republican brand name had been so badly tarnished that by 2008 the party had become a mere shell of its former self, with conservative policy a la George W. Bush now seen as the problem, not the solution. Time and time again we have learned that democrats cannot win the White House without the help of their republican counterparts, and this election was no exception.
By the time the financial crisis hit in mid-September, the cement of history had already hardened on a given candidate. While it is true that McCain had up until then defied political gravity and continued to lead in the polls after the Palin nomination, the magnitude of the weight of history and its cruel consequence could not be cast aside so easily, even with another historical first that Sarah Palin represented. History is not so kind to those who attempt to thwart its predetermined path, and the financial crisis was history’s way of putting the final roadblock to the McCain juggernaut. In the end, the financial crisis that determined the outcome of the election really brought all of the other forces of nature, of man, of politics and of history herein mentioned to a final climactic doom that only the almighty himself could have changed. Perhaps up until that point, McCain had victory within his grasp, but it was fleeting at best. The weight of the forces arrayed against the McCain campaign was simply too great to have any other outcome: destiny would not be denied its place no matter the cost. By the time of the financial crisis in September, Barack Obama had become without doubt simply ‘good enough’ to get rid of the republicans, and America would have to wait for its next leader one more presidential election cycle.
Make no mistake: liberals can take no comfort in the Obama victory, for he did not earn his place in history, nor did he show himself to be worthy of that favor based on his first two months in office. He has shown himself to be nothing more than an incompetent dupe who has seized power and knows not how to lead a nation, to give of himself to further his cherished cause, nor to cultivate the skills of others toward a common goal he has set for his presidency. He has shown himself to be weak at every major turn of his presidency – a trait that will certainly destroy both him and his party and embolden his enemies foreign and domestic. He has sought to lay the blame for his mistakes on his political foes rather than take any responsibility for his own actions, and he has shown not a single instance of any ability to bridge the partisan divide in Washington, to say nothing of his callous and wanton capacity to twist the truth to his liking at his whim, even when it is transparent to friend and foe alike. The only accomplishments of President Barack Obama so far have been to unite the Republican Party and a growing coalition of conservative democrats and independents against him, the political appointment of inept members of his own party purely for payment of political debts rather than demonstrated competence to accomplish the task given them, and spend his way into so much debt that even his political allies – his fellow liberal democrats and the European Socialist Democracies – have urged caution that he may be straining the financial system beyond the breaking point. Small wonder that the whispers of callous incompetence are growing louder each day from the halls of Washington. Perhaps for democrats it makes no difference whether Obama in reality won the election or whether he was really the victorious victim of history and political forces that simply handed him the keys to White House, but for the rest of us elections really do mean something, and they really do have consequences.