No matter who wins the upcoming presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain, the direction the country will be headed in - for at least one healthy swing of the political pendulum - is decidedly left.
How can this be, you ask. First off, conservatives have already had their right wings clipped this election season with the nomination of McCain. He's even out of step on a regular basis with many mainstream Republicans as in his opposing the party plank that wants a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage (McCain says that issue should be left up to the states), or as in his collaborating with Democrats on campaign finance reform and immigration. So even if McCain is elected, he will govern from a position decidedly left of George W. Bush. In fact, the marginalizing of conservatives is already more than what most of us liberals could have hoped for from this year's election process.
In a Time magazine article this week, Falling Upward, Peter Beinart actually suggests Republicans might be better off in the long term if they took this one on the chin. His reasoning being that an Obama victory might see Democrats overreaching once in power, thus igniting a strong reactionary impulse from Republicans in the following cycle a la Newt Gingrich in 1994. Whereas if McCain wins, Republicans might have to choose between watered down legislation - with Democratic majorities in Congress - and a string of vetoes in a war of ideologies.
The addition of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to the Republican ticket appears to be intended not only to seize upon disaffected Hillary supporters, but also to fill the conservative void created by McCain's nomination. The early returns in the blogosphere, however, seem to indicate a lack of consensus opinion regarding the selection of Palin with tags like 'genius' and 'irresponsible' both being tossed about. Palin's conservative credentials would no doubt have a mitigating effect on the overall slide to the left should she and McCain prevail this fall.
Of course we liberals aren't looking forward to a possible Reagan-style backlash if Team Obama gets elected and the Democrats do overreach. Keeping aspirations modest while in power would be the best way to delay - or moderate - the next inevitable pendulum swing back to the right.
2 years ago