Sunday, November 9, 2008

Post-election, pre-change: The Thoughts of a Hopeful Republican

I waited to comment on the election, in the hope that the time would allow me to comment intelligently. As a huge Presidential/political dork, I hoped that I would be able to say something thought-provoking or interesting about the election. Additionally, I got involved in a moot court competition (which I did pretty well in) and school stuff, which distracted me. If the following sounds more like the rambling thoughts of an over-worked law student, and less like the intelligent thoughts of a guy with a history degree, well, you've been warned.

As most of the people who read this blog probably know, I'm a Republican. So, this election was a bit of a disappointment for me, albeit a disappointment that wasn't completely unexpected. President-Elect Obama had momentum coming out of the primaries, ran a solid campaign, and never really allowed the momentum to slip. McCain made small gains at certain points throughout the summer and fall, but as anyone who has followed the polls can attest, he never really became a real threat, and the election was all but assured for Obama.

I went through the election with some conflicting thoughts. First, I'm a huge Romney backer, a fact that should be known to most of the readers of this blog. I'm not going to go into the reasons, but, needless to say, I was extremely disappointed when he lost in the primaries. So, after researching all candidates extensively, including Bob Barr, I supported the McCain campaign. Obama is a brilliant guy, with quite the impressive resume, but after doing research, I realized that I couldn't back him with my vote.

As the campaign progressed, I became less hopeful about the direction of the election. When it became apparent that McCain was going to select a woman as his running mate, I thought that Texas Congresswoman Kay Hutchison would be a wise choice. She's smart, has a ton of experience, and could have helped to sway independents. She held a number of conservative beliefs, and was someone I could readily support. However, she is also pro-choice, and while I hope that didn't disqualify her, I understand that the far-right portion of the base couldn't support her. As we all know, McCain chose Palin, and the rest is history.

Somehow, some way, a significant portion of my fellow party members have become anti-intellectual. What began as a way to criticize Obama (essentially, the "pointy-headed liberal" argument used since the Nixon campaigns) became an attack on all intellectuals. To listen to the talk-show hosts and some of the people during the Convention (Mike Huckabee, I'm looking at you), being educated was somehow a drawback. Being educated meant that you couldn't understand middle-class and lower-class America, that you couldn't be a part of the solution, that you were part of the problem.

My biggest fear coming out of this election is that the anti-intellectual portion of my party will only grow in the next four years. That shouldn't happen. Just as the smartest guy (or woman) in the room isn't always the best candidate, the smartest guy (or woman) in the room shouldn't be automatically disqualified. The party should be embracing the intellectual conservatives. We have brilliant conservatives like Romney, Jindal, and others, who could give us a real chance at taking back the White House in 2012.

I believe in the party, I believe in economic conservatism, and I believe that we could have found a way to be more competitive in this election. I just hope the party makes the correct decisions over the next four years, so that we can be in a good position (if not by the mid-term elections) by 2012.

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