As can be imagined, entire oceans full of ink have already been spilt on the US elections. This will continue for many weeks to come. Democrats will be salivating over their victories, while Republicans will be licking their wounds and going through the usual unpleasant post-mortems. Conservatives will be assessing where they went wrong, and who is to blame.
Here I offer just a few of the more interesting thoughts of conservative columnists. I especially want to highlight one political pundit who has a keen sense of humour. Ann Coulter is one of our funnier conservative commentators. (Hey, at times like this you gotta have a sense of humour.) But underneath her humour lies a lot of good political sense. Her remarks about McCain are worth repeating.
She begins with this comment: “Last night was truly a historic occasion: For only the second time in her adult life, Michelle Obama was proud of her country! The big loser of this election is Colin Powell, whose last-minute endorsement of Obama put the Illinois senator over the top. Powell was probably at home last night, yelling at his TV, ‘Are you KIDDING me? That endorsement was sarcastic!’”
She continues, “The winner, of course, is Obama, who must be excited because now he can start hanging out in public with Bill Ayers and Rev. Jeremiah Wright again. John McCain is a winner because he can resume buying more houses. And we’re all winners because we will never again have to hear McCain say, ‘my friends.’ After Bill Clinton won the 1992 presidential election, Hillary Clinton immediately announced that, henceforth, she would be known as ‘Hillary Rodham Clinton.’ So maybe Obama can now become B. Hussein Obama, his rightful name.”
And what about those Democrats anyway? “Have you ever noticed that whenever Democrats lose presidential elections, they always blame it on the personal qualities of their candidate? Kerry was a dork, Gore was a stiff, Dukakis was a bloodless android, Mondale was a sad sack. This blame-the-messenger thesis allows Democrats to conclude that their message was fine – nothing should be changed! The American people are clamoring for higher taxes, big government, a defeatist foreign policy, gay marriage, the whole magilla. It was just this particular candidate’s personality.”
Then she starts getting more serious about the main problems with McCain. He simply was not a real conservative:
“Republicans lost this presidential election, and I don’t blame the messenger; I blame the message. How could Republicans go after B. Hussein Obama (as he is now known) on planning to bankrupt the coal companies when McCain supports the exact same cap and trade policies and earnestly believes in global warming? How could we go after Obama for his illegal alien aunt and for supporting driver’s licenses for illegal aliens when McCain fanatically pushed amnesty along with his good friend Teddy Kennedy? How could we go after Obama for Jeremiah Wright when McCain denounced any Republicans who did so? How could we go after Obama for planning to hike taxes on the ‘rich,’ when McCain was the only Republican to vote against both of Bush’s tax cuts on the grounds that they were tax cuts for the rich? And why should Republican activists slave away working for McCain when he has personally, viciously attacked: John O’Neill and the Swift Boat Veterans, National Right to Life director Doug Johnson, evangelical pastors Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and John Hagee, various conservative talk radio hosts, the Tennessee Republican Party and on and on and on?”
She goes on to list the successes of real conservative governments, like that of Ronald Reagan, and the failures of Republicans who abandoned their conservatism: “I keep trying to get Democrats to take my advice (stop being so crazy), but they never listen to me. Why do Republicans take the advice of their enemies? How many times do we have to run this experiment before Republican primary voters learn that ‘moderate,’ ‘independent,’ ‘maverick’ Republicans never win, and right-wing Republicans never lose? Indeed, the only good thing about McCain is that he gave us a genuine conservative, Sarah Palin. He’s like one of those insects that lives just long enough to reproduce so that the species can survive. That’s why a lot of us are referring to Sarah as ‘The One’ these days. Like Sarah Connor in ‘The Terminator,’ Sarah Palin is destined to give birth to a new movement. That’s why the Democrats are trying to kill her. And Arnold Schwarzenegger is involved somehow, too. Good Lord, I’m tired.”
Other columnists – who may not be as humorous as Coulter – have also offered a range of reflections on what the election means. Consider the comments of just one more commentator, who looks at the role the churches have played in this election. Bob Burney believes America’s problem lies more in its pulpits than in its President. He notes some biblical passages on this theme:
“In my regular readings, I recently came across again the warnings God issued to the ‘shepherds’ of Israel in Ezekiel 34. God reserves some of the harshest language in scripture for His prophets who compromised the message He had given them. ‘Thus saith the Lord God; behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand…’ (v.10). God dealt with the kings (‘the king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord’ Prov. 21:1) and put one up and put another down. God reserved his most severe criticism for the preachers of the day, the pulpit.”
He continues, “As this election is diced, sliced and dissected, don’t underestimate the role of America’s pulpits in the outcome. Within the last four years the ‘evangelical left’ has risen meteorically to a place of influence and prominence. Where evangelicals were once known for principle and conviction, under the influence of Jim Wallis and other emergent leaders – the evangelical community succumbed to compromise and a sort of ‘justice’ that no one can define.”
“Pulpits that once held high the banner of the gospel, standing strong for life and the family, started preaching equality and ‘common good’. The Kool-Aid of ‘Social-Justice’ was dispensed freely from fountains installed in Evangelical churches across America. The result? Hundreds of thousands of evangelical Christians marched into voting booths and pulled the lever for increased abortions, homosexual unions, socialism, loss of religious freedom and Marxism because the pulpit told them that it was okay because in doing so they would be ending poverty, homelessness and AIDS – not to mention the end of racial division and the beginning of world peace!”
He concludes, “How could Christians be so easily deceived when it is abundantly clear that socialism has never delivered anything it has promised? Look no further than the pulpit. America can survive a bad president. America cannot survive continued compromise in her pulpits. The solution to America’s greatest need is not in the next election – but in next Sunday’s sermon.”
There will be far more commentary on this election in the days ahead. I simply remind readers here of Santayana’s famous dictum: “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat its mistakes.”