"And you may ask yourself
Am I right?...am I wrong?
And you may tell yourself
My god!...what have I done?"
- Once in a Lifetime
As the end of this never ending presidential campaign approached, I kept my faith that Americans would select the candidate that represented "Country First" over the one representing "Change We Can Believe In". While my faith in Americans proved naively misplaced, I fear that the electorate's faith in the One promising change was disastrously misplaced.
After a week and a half of digesting the post-election coverage, I still cannot comprehend how Americans elected the ultra-left candidate with no experience and a sobering view of America. He has spent his entire professional life campaigning for his next political office and has done so by allying himself with nefarious and radical individuals.
It is not surprising that the mainstream media fawned all over the anti-Bush candidate, refusing to question his past, his associations and his positions. It does, however, amaze me that the American public did as well. Just seven years after 9/11, Americans elected a man who raised his family in a church led by a hateful, anti-American zealot and surrounded himself both personally and professionally with unrepentant terrorists and Palestinian sympathizers.
While much of the post-election analysis centers on the economy -- McCain was in the race until the markets crashed --I also fail to understand how the electorate was so blind as to risk a repeat of the failures of the economic policies that Obama proposes.
As Steven M. Warshawsky wrote the day after the election:
"Perhaps most amazingly, Obama openly campaigned on a promise to use the power of government to take from the ‘rich' (now apparently meaning anyone who earns more than $120,000 per year) and give to the poor and middle-class - and the American people rewarded him with a decisive victory in both the popular and electoral votes. Who would have believed that the philosophy of Karl Marx -- ‘from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs' -- would triumph so spectacularly in the United States of America?"
As a proud American, I was repulsed when Michelle Obama arrogantly announced to the country that the first time she was proud of her country was when her husband was nominated. Since last Tuesday, however, I am not feeling as proud. I thought Americans were smarter, more patriotic, hard-working individuals who couldn't be brain-washed by the rhetoric of an Alinsky-trained socialist. I thought that Americans would ultimately see through the Greek columns and the ridiculous sound bites and would not allow the presidency to be purchased with the tainted money of illegal campaign contributions. I believed that Americans would be offended by the arrogance and narcissism pervasive in Obama's campaign and would ultimately reject the candidate with the overblown ego.
So in an attempt to figure out how I misjudged the electorate, I've divided the Obamaniacs into five categories:
Ignorance is Bliss
Several months ago I asked a relative why she supported Obama. Not surprisingly, she could not provide one substantive reason. The only response that I got with a condescending smirk was "We'll see."
We'll see?! What does that mean? I spent the next five months forwarding information to her that was not readily available in the mainstream but she never read any of it. She had the time; she just didn't want to leave her comfort zone.
Month after month people would say to me "Bill Ayers? ACORN? McPeak, Malley and Powers? The Times never mentioned that. You must be watching Fox."
Bush Derangement Syndrome
I have one liberal friend that claims to have read my emails. The day of the election she responded, "You failed to convince me that McCain is better than Bush." Huh? I realize that Obama's strategy was to convince the electorate that he was running against a third Bush term, but I was surprised to learn that my friends bought into it.
Obama has no experience - "Bush lied, people died."
Obama has associated with terrorists - "The terrorists hate us because of Bush."
Obama is a socialist - "Bush is evil."
But McCain's not Bush - "McCain voted with Bush 90% of the time."
One Jewish friend, conveniently ignoring the history of his ancestors and the civility of his synagogue, suggested that Reverend Wright's rantings were justified because his ancestors were slaves. How did he reach this conclusion? "We barely survived eight years of the Bush/Cheney horror show."
The age of reason apparently died when Bush "stole" the presidency.
Obama supporters drank the Kool Aid because others in their community also did. In particular, this addresses the Jewish vote. While the anti-Semitic views of Obama's pastor and his flip flop on the status of Jerusalem reluctantly made it to the mainstream, many other important facts foreboding a lack of support for Israel did not.
So again, I sent my Jewish friends and relatives articles about Obama's pro-Palestinian advisors, his relationship with Khalidi, Biden's record on Israel and other warning signs that his administration would likely be one less supportive of Israel. Time and again, I'd hear, "But every Jewish person I talk to is supporting him so he must be a friend of Israel."
I'm reminded that "We are the ones that we have been waiting for."
A cousin recently said to me, "Obama's not far-left enough for me, I'm actually anti-capitalism." And as the Bill Ayers controversy brought to light, there are plenty of people that philosophically agree with these radical, socialist views. Many of us thought that the Joe the Plumber revelation that Obama wants to share the wealth would offend most hard-working Americans. Instead we found that academia jumped on board to support Ayers and that the majority of Americans don't fear Obama's nanny state proposals.
While Howard Stern's street interviews with African Americans responding to questions about whom they were voting for were amusing, they were also enlightening. Many black people voted for Obama without even knowing what his policies were, who his running mate was, or anything else about him. Furthermore, Shelby Steele wrote after the election:
"[Obama's] talent was to project an idealized vision of a post-racial America -- and then to have that vision define political decency. Thus, a failure to support Obama politically implied a failure of decency."
How much of the electorate voted for Obama for racial reasons may not easily be quantified but it was clearly a defining factor for some.
While the foregoing analysis is not complete, it has helped me rationalize the results of the election. It has not, however, made me feel better about the prospects for the future of the country. We are a country at war, in economic distress, and facing potential international crises across the globe. Our president-elect has absolutely no foreign policy experience, proposes economic policies that have proven historically disastrous and, based on his voting record, is unable to make a decision.
Our future vice president Joe Biden has been wrong on almost every major foreign policy decision, does not have one significant piece of legislation with his name on it, and has taken the wrong position on just about every foreign policy decision he's ever made.
We've heard the names Hagel and Lugar as potential cabinet members and we know that Obama's advisors are sympathetic to the Palestinians. For anyone who cares about America's only ally in the Mideast, this is far from comforting.
I expect that the citizens of this country that voted for Obama based on the blissfulness of empty rhetoric and the dreams of hope and change will very soon be saying, "My god!...what have I done?" We'll see.
Lauri B. Regan is an attorney at a global law firm based in New York City.