The 2008 election truly was the Democrats to lose. Saddled with a most unpopular president, the climb for any Republican was steep and ultimately too high to breach.
Embraced like no other by the media, bolstered by virtually an unlimited budget obtained by disavowing pledged fund-raising restraints and lifted up by the waves of economic woes unilaterally and unfairly blamed on the party in power, Barack Obama in the waning days of a two year long campaign did finally catch up with the numbers for a generic Democrat.
He is indeed going to be the 44th President of the United States. My president. Now comes the hard part.
It is certainly no secret that Obama was not my choice. I have no regrets on any item written, any position taken. But that was then and this is now. As an American, it is presently my duty to support the new president, and to hope, indeed to pray for his success. The question becomes one of degree.
Is our incoming leader entitled to blind allegiance, affirmation without dissent? Is a majority vote total a blanket endorsement on the Obama agenda? For some fairly obvious reasons, I think not.
While the election of the first black president is undeniably historic, it was most certainly not a flawless campaign, nor was it "one for the ages."
Under the existing political climate, John McCain virtually had to pitch a no hitter to win, a standard that he most certainly did not achieve.
Obama on the other hand, started off on second base and only had to cross home plate to win. Further campaign analysis is fruitless, and will only draw the cry of "sour grapes," so it is more productive to project the proper role of the so-called "Loyal Opposition," living here in this Obama Nation.
In his victory speech on election night, Obama spoke to "those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices. I need your help, and I will be your President too."
This is the challenge, for both sides. I hold expectations for President Obama, expectations of his level of success, expectations of what ultimately will be the judgment of history on this comet from Chicago. But for now, in the beginning, he gets a fresh start, a clean slate. He is entitled, as the leader of all Americans, to our support and good wishes for the reckoning to come, the time when rhetoric will not supplant the wisdom acquired in the crucible of experience. We must indeed hold him accountable, adhering to the wisdom of Reagan in that we shall "trust but verify."
Obama campaigned by telling the voters that our house was on fire, from the very top to the bottom.
Of the choices, only he could put out the fire, despite the fact he has not served day one as a firefighter. His first 60 days will be filled with powerful but symbolic theatrics - the inauguration one day after the MLK Holiday, presiding over the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln - but the very real challenges are indeed staggering, to the point of overwhelming the powers of reasonable fortitude, giving rise to the belief that the USA may well be ungovernable.
The comparisons to Lincoln or JFK are both unwarranted and unfair, and only serve to unreasonably raise the expectations level. He is but a mortal, an untested one at that. But his trial by fire approaches, inevitable and non-delegable.
At that point, he shall be judged like no other. At that point, he will need the support of every American, for his success will truly be our own.
At that point, he shall have mine.