Sunday, November 9, 2008

The 2008 Presidential Election: The final word

While some of what happened in the midst of this election left a bad taste in my mouth, in a way I feel like I got exactly what I was hoping for. I don't discuss politics often, but when I do, I almost always mention how much I detest the two party system. I think it makes sense in theory, but in practice it does far more bad than good. Yet this election saw Joe Lieberman -- who just two elections ago was on the Democratic ticket -- supporting the Republican candidate, and Colin Powell -- who was at one time a member of the current Republican administration -- backing the Democratic contender. Along with that, we saw many states that had typically been red emerge as blue (and to a much lesser extent, vice versa). Sure, this election was going to be historic no matter who won, but I don't think we should overlook the huge (albeit subtle) strides that were made that got us to this point.

This election also saw record number turn outs, with people who have never voted before voting. And that's never a bad thing.

I think in the grander scheme of things, Barack Obama was destined to win. And whether he as the superior candidate or not, I think one could make a strong argument that it's best that he did win. Of course, the election of an African American president is an enormous feat, but I think it's also important to recognize that the black vote did not win this election. On the contrary, a tremendous amount of people of all races, classes, and religions came together and showed an outpouring of support for this candidate. Sure, I'm only 27 years old, but I have never seen such enthusiasm behind one person (a HUGE contrast to John Kerry, whose entire campaign was "I'm not George W. Bush").

Unfortunately, though, this enthusiasm had a very negative effect on me. I have a lot of friends who felt very strongly about Obama, and I totally respect and admire their dedication. I also think that, for the most part, they respected the fact that I was still undecided about him (of course, the fact that I wasn't fawning over him was interpreted as me refusing to vote for him). But the media, on the other hand, really turned me off. At certain points, I was so disgusted with the absolute bias and favoritism shown towards Obama that I actually wanted him to lose.

This isn't an attack on Obama, but I honestly don't understand how anybody could argue that the media, as a whole, has an enormous liberal bias. Consider a few things. For example, Joe Biden made some extremely incriminating comments that insinuated rather strongly that if Obama were to win, our country would likely be threatened by force within the first six months of his term. That story was covered for about a night, on select networks. On the other hand, I am STILL reading articles discussing who picked up the bill for Sarah Palin's wardrobe. Really?

Then there's the whole Joe the Plumber thing. In my opinion, this man's comments REALLY showed a weakness in Obama's tax plan. Yes, McCain's camp did constantly try to alert people, quite erroneously so, that Obama will raise their taxes, but the fact remains that I honestly believe Obama's plan was the weaker of the two. Consider how many once successful chains went bankrupt within the last year or so. Under Obama's plan, most of the companies that have managed to survive will now be taxed MORE. That sounds like an awfully dangerous idea. Along with that, these companies aren't likely to just eat the loss. They're going to pass that cost down onto the consumers, which means there's a good chance that prices will rise. In our volatile economy, that could have disastrous results. And while it's true that many small businesses don't make $250,000 a year, the suppliers and distributors they purchase their materials from likely do. And, again, that cost is going to be passed down onto those small businesses.

Along with that, his "spread the wealth" comment, which some might say was a simple slip of the tongue, was enormously damning. A lot of people who are in that bracket that will see their taxes raised are there because of hard work, responsible saving/spending, and sacrifices. Why should they be "punished" because they had the good sense to save and spend responsibly? And why should they have to feel like they're "selfish" or "greedy" because they want to keep what they worked hard to earn? But instead of focusing on these very important issues, the media made it priority #1 to completely discredit and tarnish the reputation of Joe. Honestly, I could care less if he's a licensed plumber, or if his real name is Joe or Sam or Mary, or if he's paid his taxes (don't get me wrong, he should be fairly punished for any laws he had broken), but I do care about the issues stated above.

And while I honestly feel like my friends had intelligent, well thought out reasons to support Obama, I do feel like a LARGE number of people who were supporting him had no idea why they were. It baffles me how long this man got away with simply saying he wants "Change," without offering any elaboration whatsoever, only to have people eat it up. Honestly, people constantly criticize Giuliani for resorting to "9/11" in order to get a reaction, but for a long time Obama was doing the same thing.

There were also a lot of misconceptions about the man. People would go on and on about how he's an idealist and that he's running such a clean campaign, when the fact of the matter is that he spent just as much money as McCain on negative ads. And as I noted in a previous column, he had an army of very influential people -- the media, celebrities, etc. -- slinging the mud, so he really didn't have to.

A lot of people are now saying that if McCain had a stronger running mate, he would have done a lot better. This may be true, but I'm not entirely sure that's a fair comment. After all, McCain's campaign was probably most successful and most energized immediately after she was named his Vice President. To a certain extent, I feel like Palin, in the media's eyes, was the anti-Obama. While the media decided that they wanted everybody to absolutely love Obama, they equally decided that everyone should detest Palin (and no, I'm not saying that Palin is on the same level as Obama -- if the ticket actually was Obama vs. Palin, there's no doubt in my mind that I would vote Obama). Some of her mistakes were pretty inexcusable, but at the same time, she was in no way treated with the kid gloves that Obama often was.

With that rant out of the way, let me make one thing perfectly clear: I 100% support our new President, and I'm very excited about his term. He's obviously extremely intelligent and charismatic, and I wish him all the best. This is most certainly a historic moment in our time, and it's great to be alive to experience it.

No comments: