Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Once More, Without Feeling

Now that the election is over, might we at last have some civility – and some answers? “Hope” springs eternal.

The contest between Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sen. Barack Obama for leadership of the free world was a visceral affair, wherein reason was often trumped by raw emotion. Obama’s supporters, in particular, were eager to overlook or suppress any inconvenient truth in their desperation to make history. The result was a hurricane of nonsense, with Democrats daring their fellow Americans to differ from destiny.

As just one example, author and noted silly person Erica Jong warned that Obama’s defeat would mean “blood in the streets” and precipitate “a second American Civil War.”

Tantrum is not policy. The terms are separated not only by several pages in the dictionary, but by the divide between sanity and madness. The expectation that a person will not throw a hairy fit if their candidate loses is one reason that voting is reserved for adults.

Since even before he secured the nomination, Obama’s supporters had the safety off and were ready to blast any critic of The One’s policies – no matter the substance – with the most scurrilous of charges.

To comprehend how objecting to a capital gains tax hike can make a person a bigot is to step inside the modern liberal mind. Conservatives and Republicans get used to this, sadly, since we know we cannot order a cheese sandwich without some open-minded agent of “hope” and “change” calling us racist.

But it was not just we misguided advocates of capitalism and clean coal who got smacked this time around. Ordinary citizens, journalists, plumbers and even liberal stalwarts were made to pay dearly for their insolence. One wonders where Geraldine Ferraro and Bill Clinton go to get their reputations back – that is, if they want them returned.

The same folks who tut-tutted that Obama’s 20-year relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright should be off-limits were eager to root through the tax, divorce, custody, employment and licensing records of Joe “The Plumber” Wurzelbacher because when the man saw an apparition of Obama at the end of his driveway, he had the nerve to ask the Anointed a tough question.

There is a standing dare to call a Democrat "unpatriotic" and, wisely, Republicans usually avoid falling for that rhetorical trap (Republicans themselves, of course, can be called unpatriotic with impunity – Teresa Heinz Kerry, have your butler call your office). Usually, when challenged to knock that particular chip off a liberal's shoulder, a conservative demurs, saying "of course" the leftist loves his or her country, and the matter is dropped.

Obama may be patriotic, but his priority seems to be himself. Demonstrably, he can say the right things about helping others, but the path of his career and his lifelong choices of allies – Wright, domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, Michael Pfleger, Tony Rezko, Khalid Rhashidi, et al. – reveal the single-mindedness of a fellow who will do anything to win.

In the closing days of this presidential campaign, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger noted that McCain spent more years serving his country in a POW camp than Obama has spent serving in the United States Senate. Some saw this as irrelevant or improper to point out – rather than a crucial distinction between the lives and careers of the candidates – revealing how skewed some voters’ priorities have become.

Beyond the vicissitudes of this campaign, blank spots remain regarding Obama’s alliances, actions and policies. Barack Obama has emerged from the past two years as the most remarkably unexamined candidate for the presidency in modern history. Now that asking questions cannot possibly endanger the most important election since a caveman first asked for a show of hands, as columnist Jonah Goldberg quipped, can we finally get some answers? Or must the truth remain on hold until 2012?

Theo Caldwell, president of Caldwell Asset Management, Inc., is an investment advisor in the United States and Canada.