Hail to the Chief

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Barack Hussein Obama has just made history. All the returned results now suggest that which we conservatives expected but were reluctant to accept, Barack Obama is the new President of the United States. First I want to pay tribute to Barack Obama on this momentus achievement. By becoming the first African American President he has realised the dream that so many valiant leaders like Martin Luther King have died for. They dreamed of the day when people would be judged on their own individual merit and not on the basis of the colour of their skin. Today is clearly that day. He and his campaign defied critics, including myself, who question whether America was ready to elect a black president. I was clearly wrong and I greatly under-estimated the power of Obama’s camapaign and more importntly the strength of American democracy to look beyond racial lines.

Barack Obama is a man of great personal merit. He is a kindly and committed family man, a man who has suffered the cruelest of blows with the death of his beloved Grandmother just a day before the election but refused to use it as a political tool. In the closing day of the campaign I was relieved to see no false tears, no theatrical displays of emotion, no gimmicks… this dignity in grief greatly impressed me. Ultimately, despite his personal strengths, a President Obama for the next  years is not a prospect I relish. Now I have never doubted the strength of his conviction… I just find myself on the opposite end of the conviction spectrum.

It is no secret I was and will remain a vocal critic of Obama and I always hoped McCain would pull it out of the bag even when it seemed the writing was on the wall. But I want to make it categorically clear my issues with Barack Obama were always political and not personal. I could never bring myself to support a tax and spend, protectionist, liberal whether they were black, white, pink or purple! I also found it hard not to be bowled over by the sheer experience and record of bipartisanship that John McCain embodies which I still feel is crucial in the years ahead. Even now in defeat McCain has shown he is a man of extraordinarity humility, decency and dignity. That I feel would have made the better President.

But as much as a treasure conservatism, I value democracy more and democracy has delivered Obama to the White House. As such British conservatives must find a way to come to terms with this and hope that Obama will not lead the nation and the world, that has placed such trust in him, down the road to ruin. Congratulations Senator don’t let them down.

(Oh and in regards to live blogging, that proved more problematic than we anticipated given the fact my laptop decided to pack up!)

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7 thoughts on “Hail to the Chief

  1. “Now I have never doubted the strength of his conviction… ”

    Really? One of the most liberal senators based on his voting records closed the election campaign with the sort of right-wing rhetoric I spout.

    He’s had a whole election campaign to describe what he plans to do and how he plans to do it. I think a politician of conviction might have made this plain.

  2. Ironically, one of the main reasons I backed Obama was the fact that the idea of McCain/Palin was awful to me. Which is exactly the campaign that the Republican’s ran. ‘Vote for me because I’m not Obama’.
    Though we did have this talk last night. Despite my initial caution in backing someone there is no way as a socially liberal feminist I could endorse the Republican ticket. Nader would have been my choice but anything rather than McCain. Or, God forbid, Palin.

    Also, what’s wrong with being Liberal?

  3. Nothing as far as I can see: “We are all liberal now.” Graham Greene, The Quiet American, 1955. He was right about it then, and the sentiment is still the same today. Obama is looking to unite America, not split it, and isn’t that what Cameron would seek to do in office; isn’t that what Blair attempted also. The days of partisan politics are, for the time being, coming to a close, and this is something I think we should welcome.

    Many of my conservative friends from UCL, which is truly a strong bastion of young support for this party, supported Obama. I feel nothing unusual in supporting a man who has inspired so many in the US to come out and vote, and who has stretched what we thought possible for an American election. His speech, which I watched live on TV, was nothing short of amazing.

  4. I also watched the speech live and I found it gimmicky and a complete recycle of previously used soundbites ‘change has come to america, on this night, this defining moment’ blah blah blah. Not a word on how he is going to achieve this ‘change’… he actually seemed to renage at one point on his ‘change’ rhetoric a bit when he said ‘it may not happen in one term’… well forgive me but if he cant do it in 4 years it wont happen. It seems he is getting his excuses out now because he knows he can never live up to his promises.

    This isn’t the new dawn people hope it will be. Yes by and large the days of rigorous adherence to ideology are over and many do lean toward the center ground however there is a fundamental clash between british conservatives and american democrats under obama. One (tories) traditionally promote tax cuts, lower public spending, tough international approaches, free trade and less state intervention whilst the other promotes tax hikes, higher public spending, soft approaches to foreign policy, protectionism and more state regulation/ intervention. These are fundamental and irreconcilable differences and the reason why I did not pick style over substance.

  5. I watched the election in my Student Union and the atmosphere was nothing short of a football derby, it was of course no surprise to find myself in the minority supporting McCain. I watched Obama’s speech, and thought it summed up his campaign – he has a lot of ideas with no clue of how to achieve them. Good luck, it will ultimately end in failure.

  6. “The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you, we as a people will get there.”

    This is the clip of the speech I saw on TV and it’s close to self-parody as is much of the rest of the acceptance speech. WTF is he on about?

  7. “…he has a lot of ideas with no clue of how to achieve them. ”

    Where’s that reverse shopping list you promised?

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