Monday, November 3, 2008

The First Election Post-Mortem

With the election a foregone conclusion, a few observations:

1. Obama would have won without the media's help and without a billion-dollar campaign, eight times that spent by McCain.  America was ready to tilt leftward and Obama is smart and modulated in temperament, while McCain is an old 72, with failing intelligence and increasing whininess.

2. McCain ran a terrible campaign, running on vague platitudes and against a tax cut for people making $250,000+ a year.  

He should have run on the virtues of lightly regulated versus heavily regulated capitalism and more compellingly, humanly, explained the tremendous liabilities of big government, high taxation, and excessive redistributive "justice."

3. McCain made an unimaginably bad choice of running mate.  In my view, he would have been wisest to try to convince Hillary Clinton, Dianne Feinstein, or Colin Powell to join him, and to do so, he would agree to run and govern as a fiscal conservative and social liberal, which is as conservative a stance as America will tolerate today.

4. McCain became indistinguishable from a tax-and-spend liberal by, for example, voting for the $700 billion bailout, advocating bailout of mortgagees, calling for legalizing illegal immigrants, and refusing to state what programs he would cut. 

5. Obama, as a liberal, knew he could get away with lying. He knew the media would minimize:
  • his having promised to limit his campaign to public financing and then reneged. 
  • the disingenuousness of his promise to lower taxes on 95% of Americans while funding all the massive programs he promised. 
  • the fact that in just weeks, he changed his proposal from raising taxes on people with incomes of $250,000 or more, down to $200,000, and this week, according to his vice president, $150,000. Most observers are convinced that Obama will end up not lowering but raising taxes on middle-income people.  
If McCain had been guilty of such disingenuousness (not to mention of centrally formative relationships with extremists, most notably Reverend Jeremiah Wright) the media would have destroyed him, but not a liberal.

6. The media should be ashamed of itself for its blatant bias and its focusing on the horse race rather than deep probing of the devils-in-the-details on the core issues of health care, balancing the budget, the economy, illegal immigration, the environment, the Middle East, etc.

Perhaps the media focused on the horse race, in part, because it knew that probing on the issues would force Obama to reveal unpopular leftist positions that could jeopardize his election, and the media would not risk that. 

The media used to serve the key role of investigator and reporter, whereever the chips fell. In this election, consistent with its ever more liberal bias, the media was just a huge wing of the Obama campaign--and with the billion dollars Obama raised, he hardly needed help.

7. Our election system cries out for reinvention. My proposal: three-week-long, 100% publically funded elections consistingly primary of debates and a widely distributed summary of the candidates' voting record and positions on key issues.

8. The Obama jubilation will continue long past the election celebrations. I am convinced he will indeed make major changes to this country, armed with a liberal congress and an unprecedentedly liberal media. And short-term, the non-rich will feel encouraged. Indeed fiscal and other resources will be redistributed to them. 

The problem is that those changes (a few of which I mention in my previous post) plus his leading the ever-growing bailout conga line are likely to be just short-term feel-goods. It takes a decade or longer for the long-enduring ill-effects of major redistribution and big government to be felt.  

I believe they will be felt and that America will be a more impoverished nation a decade from now and for decades to come, but I suspect that the media will never blame Obama or the liberals for it. They'll simply call for more tax money for more government programs and more redistribution.

Of course, I could be wrong about the preceding--Too many factors affect the U.S. economy to , with confidence, predict how well it will do a decade or two from now. 

9. While I'm scared of what that perfect storm of liberality (Obama, liberal congress, and liberal media) will do to America, I admit that, from an intellectual curiosity point of view, it will be interesting to watch.

10. Of course, I want President-Elect Obama to prove me wrong and create a better America and world. I wish him all the best.


Totally Consumed said...

Spot on, Marty. What scares me the most (and as you've addressed in some of your other posts) is the impact that a more pro-union administration and congress will have on businesses and the economy.

Robyn said...

Hi Marty,

I totally agree with you on #3. But on #6, I keep thinking to myself, "What do you want, Afirmative Action?"

Marty Nemko said...

I think you meant you agree with 6, not 3. First, I don't believe that any of those 3 would legitimately dismissed as reverse-discrimination people. They are truly people of substance. It's impossible to say if they are more or less competent than some other white male, but once we're in the gray area, I don't have a problem giving the coin-toss to a woman or minority. But more central to my reasoning was pragmatism: Old White Guy McCain's electability would have been enhanced by a very competent women or minority--and Sarah Palin only met the woman criterion.

Anonymous said...

I forgot about the pro-union item that totally consumed mentioned.


Yenta said...

Oh please! Remember, you predicted Hillary Clinton would win. It will be fine.

Anonymous said...

Well, McCain wanted a nice Jewish girl, Vinegar Joe Lieberman. The Weekly Standard wing of the party turned McCain down, from what I've read. They'd met Palin, and they knew just how telegenic she was.

From what's been reported, McCain didn't actually get to choose with no strings; he wound up in a position where he was letting the neocons veto his first choice. I assume that's around money donated to the RNC, but I'm not actually sure how he wound up letting that happen.

In 2012 and 2016 Palin will have been extensively homeschooled by the Standard team and sound less foolish than she does now. Hard to say if she'll remain the belle of the ball in 8 years.

Does the Governor of Alaska have plastic surgery included in her health insurance package?

You betcha.

Anonymous said...

My father, who is 61 and faced a lot of discrimination growing up as a black male, left me a message this morning. He said that now he can say "you can be anything you want to be, with no boundaries. You can even be president."

He said this because he never thought that a black person could be president in his lifetime, before this year.

The difference between my father and me is that I never, in my life, thought that I couldn't be president because I was black or a woman (whether I WANTED to do that most difficult job is another story!), and I never thought Obama would be my choice for president, no matter what his color was.

Thank you, Mr. Nemko, for making this about the issues and not about the color. That's what it should be about.

Anonymous said...

In reference to your comments about redistribution:

I was just listening to a talk-show host, one I don't usually listen to. He made what I thought was a very interesting comparison.

What if, in discussing redistribution, we were talking about time instead of money?

The working and middle class people exchange their valuable time for a certain amount of money so they can do what they need to do. With increasing taxes and redistribution, you are not only taking money from those who earned to those that didn't. You are also taking time from the earners that chose to exchange it for money.

That money often goes to able-bodied people that are either not working at all or are not working as hard as they could for themselves and their family. They have not lost their time. But the worker has.

The money can be replaced. The time can't. Every dollar that goes to somebody that didn't earn it, particularly to those that could have earned that dollar themselves, equals a little bit of your time that you will never see again.

If every worker concerned heard that comparison, how would they feel about redistribution then?

Tim said...

The media gave him a pass on Rev Wright? Every news outlet beat that horse until there was nothing left of it!

Anonymous said...

Very, very wise, Marty--especially #8. The damage done, but not felt or noticed, until much later--like when a Republican president is in office and the Democrats can blame the problem on him/her instead of on the One who caused it.

It's happened that way before, and it WILL happen again, as you say.