For those of us of a certain age with children now grown and gone, one of the happiest memories is watching the classic movie The Princess Bride - over and over again. It is a truly heartwarming story, full of great characters... speaking wonderfully inimitable lines...“My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”...“As you wish”... “He is only mostly dead."
As Election day 2012 turned to history, I found myself thinking of how to react to the re-election of Barack Obama. The results were a stunner, an unexpected gut shot. I turned to one of the villains in the movie - Fezzick. At various times, when his plans would go awry, he would exclaim, “Inconceivable.” This may be the only way that I can react as well.
In November of 2008, I was disappointed, but still hopeful. While I certainly had my doubts, I was willing to hope that the new President may well be the transformational figure his shameless admirers so religiously claimed. I pledged my support in a column - you can look it up - and sincerely hoped for the best. But such was not to be.
While I felt then that President Obama was now my elected leader, he saw it differently. In what was to become an all too frequent pattern, he promised to those of us “who’s votes he did not earn” to be our President as well. In short order, such a promise was shown with crystal clarity to be the falsehood it always was. He embarked on an agenda fueled by the raw power of a majority, cramming down the throat of Americans his vision of utopia. The natural gag reaction of 2010 gave back hope. All may not be lost. The election of 2012 will be the day of redemption, the day that a colossal mistake will be finally rectified. Candidate Romney was not perfect to be sure, but the American voter would not be - could not be - so gullible a second time, the enablers and Obama deputies in the media notwithstanding. But such was not to be. Obama was re-elected. The national tragedy continues. Inconceivable.
The question then becomes what is the proper role for the minority - the ones who did not sanction four more years of the same. The answer can be found in the actions of Senator Obama, as he journeyed to Washington, the comet rising out of Chicago facing four more years of the re elected George W. Bush. His spirit of bi-partisanship, his notion of placing Country over politics, his conduct towards the Republicans - that should be our guide.
Obviously, this did not happen. If the Congress were to follow the example of then Senator Obama, even less would get done - as hard as that might be to believe. As a member of the Senate, Obama fought the Bush agenda without exception, to the point of voting against two Supreme Court nominees - Alito and Roberts - both rated Highly Qualified by the American Bar Association. Clearly, this was an act of partisan politics. If Bush is for it, then I’m against it.
Let us quote Obama in his own words from his book, “The Audacity of Hope”... title taken from a man he "hardly" knew - the Rev Jeremiah Wright.
“Maybe peace would have broken out with a different kind of White House, one less committed to waging a perpetual campaign...A White House that would see a 50 -48% victory as a call to humility and compromise rather than an irrefutable mandate.”
It is in the mind of the beholder if such rancor was an intellectually honest disagreement or selfishly placing career over the needs of the Nation. Why should the GOP be asked to do anything less?
The election was indeed about demographics. Voters identified by affinity in race, in religion, in region. But the story ends there. It was the Messenger that won this election, not the Message. This election was won by Obama, not lost by Romney. The President does indeed have a “gift," as he immodestly proclaims. Unlike any other in recent memory, Obama has the capacity to get votes from groups his policies have damaged, based not on what he has done, but apparently on who he is.
93 percent of the Black vote - despite in four years 14 percent unemployment, higher incarceration rates, lower graduation rates, higher drop out rates. 73 percent of the Latino votes... despite clear conflicts with their Catholic faith on abortion, on same sex marriage. And finally, 50 percent of the Catholic vote, despite the brutal attack on essential church doctrine - no established religion was more persecuted under Obama than Catholicism. Yet, he carried the margins, won the election with these very groups. Inconceivable.
Given the record of the past four years, these three groups voting for Obama - especially Catholics - would be like chickens voting for Col. Sanders. The answer is not to change the message, but to hold tight to core beliefs, as the Obama phenomenon will pass. A day of sobering reckoning lies soon ahead.
There will never be another candidate like Barack Obama. Never again will the public be so charmed, the media so compliant, the bar so very low. In the next presidential election, the candidates of BOTH parties will be properly examined; the thumb will be off the scale and issues properly and fairly reviewed. Until then, the good fight must continue from the loyal opposition.
Surrender in the name of peace is no virtue. To battle for the truth is no vice. There is worth in holding firm to righteous beliefs. Be not afraid.