Thursday, November 6, 2008

#75: Reality Day


The World Reacts to Obama Victory


Today is brick wall reality day.

Yesterday, after posting Barack Obama's stunning victory speech and Martin Luther King's classic "I Have a Dream" speech, I sank into a political funk; over the past month or so, I had become a political and news network junkie, surfing between CNN and MSNBC, and, yes, even Fox network (more on that later).

I promised my better half that I'd go cold turkey on November 5, but that hasn't quite worked out yet. It seems as though the siren call to the talking political heads is still much too seductive. The Morbid and Mortality analyses of the Republican party are quite fascinating to note, especially from the same experts who warned of an extremely close election. Funny how the same old info takes on new meaning the days after the election.

Bottom line: I'm thrilled that Obama was elected, but now that the Adrenalin high is gone, I'm feeling a bit flat line, so there is a slight spike upward when I tune into Keith "The Chief" Olbermann, Larry King, Rachel Maddow, Rick Sanchez, Bay and Pat Buchanan, Paul Begala, and, yes, Mike Huckabee.

Here's the reality part:

I have spent the last month wondering if we were going to experience another Florida (or Pennsylvania or Ohio) and that an Obama defeat would be snatched from the jaws of victory--I'm highly suspicious of Republican mucky mucks, especially those Bushies.

Now it's the waiting game, which is why I'm doing a countdown to inauguration; I'm both excited and anxious. As much as I adore Barack Obama, I wonder: Will our President-elect be able to fulfill even a portion of his promises? During the campaign, he raised our expectations to a fevered pitch, but I have to wonder if we have to scale back some of our expectations. Urgent matters await Barack Obama:

The economy (and reigning in Wall Street; I'm a firm believer in strict government regulation for those who, obviously, can't regulate themselves)

The two wars

The war on terrorism

Universal health care


The environment
As citizens, we have to get past the campaign rhetoric and consider what is realistic for one man to accomplish.

I don't envy President-elect Obama's difficult job ahead.

I am a gung-ho Barack Obama supporter, but with some caveats (which is why I originally supported Hillary Clinton):

      1. He is largely unknown, for we have only his campaign speeches and behavior to go by. Do we really know his intentions for how he plans to govern this country?

      2. His great charisma scares me a bit because, as we all know, charisma without conscience can be a dangerous mix. So let's hope that his charisma is not a mask for anything nefarious. Fortunately, only a few negative issues arose during the campaign, Jeremiah Wright being the most troubling--we can't ignore this association, and Hillary Clinton and the Republicans were right to expose it (although for all the wrong reasons).

      3. His resume is a bit thin, although I believe that his astounding intellect and grace under pressure will serve him well. Also, his cabinet choices will reveal the direction of his presidency. As of today, Obama has asked Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, a Democratic lawmaker known for a hard-charging style, to lead his White House staff. Emanuel has accepted the job.

      Also, Obama is considering Timothy Geithner, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker for the Treasury post. Valerie Jarrett, a close Obama friend, is heading up the transition team (Reuters).

      4. Which brings me to the cronyism issue: while I can appreciate why Obama would want to surround himself with close and trusted friends, I would also hope that he would go outside of his inner circle and select ethical experts, even Republicans, who would help steer him in the right direction should he lose his way. Everyone in power needs a point person who will not be afraid to tell the emperor when he's not wearing clothes.

      All during the campaign, we heard both candidates repeating the "reaching across the aisle" manta/cliche. Now will it really happen in an Obama presidency? I sincerely hope so.

      5. Finally (and this is big), will Obama be every one's president? As a Caucasian middle-aged woman, I voted for Obama because he was, in my opinion, the best choice. Race had nothing to do with how I voted. It would be dangerous if he became known as "The Black President"; there are too many people in this country who have not moved beyond race and their fears, and Obama will need to assure them that he represents all Americans.
Closing thoughts for today: while I was thick into my news junkie phase and my two favorite sources (CNN and MSNBC) were repeating programs I had already viewed, I flipped over to Fox, where I discovered Mike Huckabee's show.

Now I disagree with about everything Huckabee believes, but I was impressed by his demeanor and attitude toward his guests. He admitted that he loves having moderates and liberals on his show, and, evidently, they love being there. On the night I tuned in, Huckabee's guests were Richard Dreyfus and Bill Maher. There was no shouting or name calling, just smart discussion of political issues. Huckabee is anything but wishy washy on his views, but some other talk show hosts (specifically Olbermann, Matthews, and O'Reilly) could take a page from Huckabee's book by treating their guests with respect by truly listening. He does not interrupt or try to shout over their heads.

I can see why Mike Huckabee appealed to some voters during the primary; as President he would most likely reach across the aisle. Just watch this You Tube video and listen to Huckabee's overall approach toward Obama and other issues:





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