New Day in America
There is true excitement in much of America today. Electing Barack Obama as the 44th President wasn't about race. It was about shutting the door on the Bush presidency and looking to the future as we tackle some of the biggest challenges we have faced in my lifetime. I had planned to quote this on January 20th when Obama took office, but the new day really feels like today. When Gerald Ford took office after Nixon resigned, he said:
My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.
With the country and the world looking to Obama, I can't wait to move forward.
I hope that Obama governs from the middle, acting as the President of all of the country, not just those who voted for him. After Clinton was elected in 1992, the Democrats also controlled both houses of Congress. However, disaffected Republicans, led by Newt Gingrich, came charging back in 1994 with the rallying cry of the Contract with America. I think that the Republicans need a new rallying cry moving forward.
I see the Republicans really splitting with the far right having a significant focus on social issues while the conservative middle worrying more about the economy and excess government spending while being more libertarian on social issues. McCain's natural base was the middle, while Palin appealed to the far right. As any marketeer knows, it's pretty hard to sell two messages at once. The interesting question is which message the Republicans will embrace. It may not be possible to rebuild the base that President Bush held in 2004. That was a fragile majority, and shifting demographics have probably eliminated it.
I'd welcome a Republican party that shifts toward the middle. I thought that McCain could have won had he stuck to the middle (which is how he won the Republican nomination). He watered down his own brand, first with the selection of Palin. She may be capable, and, ultimately, formidable. But, her lack of experience undermined McCain's 'experience' message. Obama may also lack experience, but he has demonstrated an intellectual curiousity and capacity that gave many Americans confidence in him as our next CEO. Also, he has a calm tone and an emphasis on honesty, which is what Americans hungered for after some of the nightmares of the past eight years.