How I Hope President Obama Succeeds
A swing voting, independent friend asked me what I hope President Barack Obama accomplishes. Before launching, I would note that, unlike the the hard-core Left four years ago, I do view President Obama as my President. And I do hope he succeeds. It all depends on how you define success that is the key. More than that, though, I don’t harbor desires of a Clintonesque implosion. The last thing the country needs is an administration undone because of personal failings. I have felt that the Left in this country wanted President Bush to be immoral, evil and debased, even if that desire harmed the country to explain their loss. He had to be a deceiver, because the American people couldn’t possibly vote for someone with his ideals.
But that’s just it. I don’t necessarily think that swing voters and independent voters vote issues at all. I think the people deciding our elections vote on personality and authenticity. They may disagree with half the platform of a candidate, and probably do, since they swing. What they look for in a President is trust-worthiness, realness, likability. President Clinton’s moral failings were known before he took office, but he was an intelligent man, dynamic, an able speaker, and he connected with the American people. George W. Bush’s hard-headedness was known before he took office, but he was honest, forthright, quirky, human and he, too, connected with the American people. I knew, for example, that President Bush felt differently than I did about immigration and I chafed at the term “compassionate conservatism” because it implied that conservatives were not, naturally, compassionate–a notion I believe to be patently false. However, I voted for him, not because he matched my ideology perfectly, but because I felt he would do his best and be honest.
In the cases of Al Gore and John F. Kerry and now, Barack Obama, I voted against them because I disagreed with their ideology. In Barack Obama’s case, he seemed to me to be the more likable candidate. I just disagreed with his policy positions. Swing voters saw his personality and connected to his message and voted for him because he resonated with them. I understand that. I respect that. And I respect their freedom to vote the way they desire. And I want them to be right. In this case, I want to be wrong. I want him to be post-partisan. I want him to be respectful and truthful to the opposition. I want him to deal with integrity with the American people and the world.
I also want President Obama to succeed this way:
1. I want a cut in government spending.
2. I want the country to stay safe, i.e. no terrorist attacks, low crime rate.
3. I want terrorists to be rooted out.
4. I want Iraq to have a chance to succeed.
5. I want Afghanistan to be stabilized.
6. I want a balanced budget, not by taxing the productive and innovative, but by reducing the size and scope of the government.
7. I want our economy to be competitive with the worlds economies. That means forgoing egregious taxation.
8. I don’t want tax dollars to go for ethically questionable ends such as abortions, embryonic stem cell research (please note: I’m all for Stem Cell Research), etc. Since abortion is legal, I think it should be something that a person pays for herself.
9. I want President Obama to encourage the stability of families–the building block of society. That means a husband and wife and the children that come from them.
10. I want Social Security to be modified so it will be more realistic and solvent through the Baby Boom years.
11. I want Columbia to be rewarded for their march toward Democracy.
12. I want the UN to be held to account.
Things I don’t mind:
1. I don’t mind infrastructure being a priority. It’s a definite problem in America and needs to be addressed.
2. I don’t mind emphasizing sustainable living and an environmental stewardship.
3. I don’t mind renewed lovey-doveyness with Europe. If President Obama’s persona goes down easier for these people and gives them psychological cover so they can not lose face while re-engaging America, fine. Ditto, the Middle East. Ditto any country, for that matter.
Things I mind:
1. Putting the vague “world’s” needs ahead of America’s interests. I worry that Barack Obama is a globalist and buys into citizen of the world nonsense.
2. Putting America in danger to serve the politically expedient. Shutting Guantanamo might make good political theater but if it puts Americans in harms way, it will be a problem.
3. Expanding the government’s reach and scope to forward personal ends. This was my concern with someone like Mike Huckabee, and frankly, John McCain. If someone is going to expand the government, it damn well better not be a Republican. That it happened to the extent it did under President Bush was upsetting but not unexpected. McCain would have been the same way.
I simply don’t view the government as the big Mama Bear saving everyone from all discontent. If I wanted fat mediocrity, I’d move to France where I’d worry about being Jewish and being safe, but I’d have a long vacation, guaranteed wages and “cheap” health insurance.
The only rights I believe Americans have is to be free to speak and believe and assemble where and how they wish. They have a right to privacy, and not be hassled by the government, and to be protected from enemies, and to be able to create and innovate, and pursue their happiness.
But I’m a conservative-libertarian. That is, my view of the role of government fundamentally differs from President Obama’s. I believe that if he is successful at increasing the government, that the private sector will stagnate, revenue will decline and America will lose its competitive advantage–namely being free.
I want President Obama to succeed. My definition of success is not legalizing gay marriage, legalizing assisted suicide, government funded abortions, birth control and embryonic stem cell research, health care for all, submission to the World Court and the UN tyrants, and government rules and regulations to hector everyone into some individuals definition of goodness.
My concern is that President Obama doesn’t define success the same way I do.
As an aside: I’ll add links later to specific writings that elucidate my view on a given topic.
Cross-posted at MelissaClouthier.com