Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Obama Wins... A Moderate Republican's Reflections

Congratulations to Senator Obama. As a Republican, I am obviously disappointed in this loss for Senator McCain, but it was almost expected. Senator Obama's team made few mistakes and ran an excellent campaign and strategy. As a political junkie, there was some admiration from afar throughout this year.

McCain had an uphill battle with the failing economy, media bias towards Obama, a large disadvantage in fundraising (McCain was outspent five to one), and the fact that an incumbent party rarely wins the White House three times in a row. The driving factor was the current economic crisis, where the incumbent party always gets blamed during such downturns.

Besides these determinants, in my opinion, the critical catalyst within McCain's control was the selection of Governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential nominee. While previously I was hesitant to post all my conversations, I can now state that at least seven of my friends were in support of Senator McCain prior to his choice of Sarah Palin.

They were three moderate Democrats, two independents, and two Republicans. The Democrats were party loyalists that all expressed concerns about Obama's lack of significant experience. Of course, they wanted to keep their initial decision under the radar. After McCain announced his choice of Governor Palin, all of them went back. The issue of Obama's lack of experience in their eyes was a lesser concern to Palin's lack of experience and weaknesses. Those independent and Republican friends also turned towards Obama for similar reasons.

While this is only anecdotal, I believe my personal interactions might be reflective of the moderate and independent base in America that was attracted to McCain and then fled soon after Palin was introduced.

Now that the campaigning is over, I really hope Obama alleviates my concerns on his character and decision making. America needs a strong and decisive leader.

My initial support of Mayor Rudy Giuliani during the Republican primary waned as I discovered his questionable associations and leadership ability. Giuliani was known to surround himself with "yes" men, which I believe is a sign of a poor leader. I know he did some great things for NYC, but I thought these qualities were disqualifications for a presidential candidate. Being consistent in my thinking, Barack Obama's friendship with Tony Rezko, a convicted felon, and other associations concerned me greatly and still do.

I never was, even mildly, bought into the notion that he was a "transformational" candidate or the next JFK. His party affiliation didn't negate this for me. It was probably due to my personality and nature. I'm not easily impressed or wowed by people, celebrities, or golden calves. Let's wait to see what he'll do and not be awed what he has said.

I will state as a minority (Asian American) that his win is an important step forward for all people of color, especially blacks who receive the most discrimination and racism in our nation and across the globe. As a moderate Republican, I have always been in support of a counter-balance to the old legacy systems and discrimination against minorities. Old affirmative action policies were not the right solution but a good step forward that needs a lot more work.

Obama's role model and presidency is a solid leap forward to inspire African Americans and other minorities, especially blacks whose primarily role models are professional athletes. This is one aspect of his presidency that I'm hundred percent in support of.

I am concerned about my policy differences with Obama and the Democrats in Congress. As a moderate, I don't believe in Adam Smith's invisible hand, how a completely free market would also benefit the overall community. My worldview, driven by my faith and life's experiences, is that people are essentially self-seeking, so government provides a good check on their greed. But I generally differ with Democrats because they believe in a more heavy-handed approach to government's involvment in the corporate realm where I believe in moderate checks. So I wonder how Obama and his policies will affect the future of our nation's economic growth?

His social programs provide a lot of hope for people struggling in today's economy, but how will they be executed? Who will pay for them?

I can continue on and on, but will stop here. My concerns are really meaningless in the bigger picture. I just hope America is lifted out of the current economic crisis and Obama leads our nation well.

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