The election of Barack Obama, as President of the United States, signals the end of two long running eras.
First, his election concludes the post-civil rights era, in which race baiting politicians corrupted Martin Luther King’s message to obtain power and status for themselves. Think of Al Sharpton with his Tawana Brawley rape scam, Louis Farrakhan’s various vulgar tirades, and ex-Detroit Mayor Colman Young, who managed to stay in office for 18 years by doing nothing more than sticking his finger in whitey’s eye, in spite of the vast corruption in his administration and the tragic decline of Detroit under his watch. It is simply not credible any longer to decry the U.S. as a “racist” country now that we’ve elected an African-American to the Presidency. Those days are finally over.
Second, it buries the post-WWII conservative era. The modern conservative movement was comprised of a loose collection of economic libertarians, religious fundamentalists, big business interests, and socially conservative blue collar workers, who had greatly differing views on many key issues. They came together as a coalition under the banner of fighting communism. After the Cold War ended, some parts of this coalition started questioning the need to maintain America’s Cold War foreign policy. This potential crack in the coalition alarmed the GOP leadership, so they went looking for a new villain. During the 1990s, many on the right desperately tried to vilify “Red” China, which in many ways is more capitalistic than the U.S. 9/11 finally handed the GOP a new focus of evil in the world and for a few years it worked to keep their coalition intact. Unfortunately for them, George Bush overreached by invading Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11. The GOP lost control of the Congress and now the Presidency. 20 years after the Cold War ended, the GOP’s anti-communist coalition is finally dead. It is not very likely that the GOP can revive it. Those days are also gone.
With the passing of these two eras, the election of Barack Obama positions the country to make the most radical departure with recent history we’ve seen since the Roosevelt era.
The big question is: what Obama will do with the opportunity? Will he overreach to placate the far-left’s crackpot “economic justice” agenda? Will he try to emulate the pro-business and fiscally responsible Clinton Administration? Will he parrot the crusading neo-conservatives, only this time with a focus on "democratizing" Africa, rather than the Middle East?
The other key question is what will the GOP do now? Will they return to their flaccid pre-Reagan “me too” liberalism? Will they repudiate their power hungry, big government ways of the last 8 years? Will they boot the neo-conservatives and return to their pre-WWII, non-interventionist past? Will they just drift along in chaos not knowing what to do, leaving the Democrats to control the national conversation and agenda?
In don’t think any of us know the answers to either of these questions. So, the next two years are going to be very interesting indeed.