On Tuesday night I watched the election returns come in at a gas station that also happens to sell cigars. These cigars by the way are not Phillies Blunt or Swisher Sweets. We’re talking Padrons, Ashtons, Rocky Patel’s, Olivas, and even Illusiones and Tatuaje’s, which are my personal favorites even if they are hard to get. If you’re a Cigar Aficionado you’ll know that these cigars are the best of the best. It’s odd to get cigars like this in a run of the mill Phillips-Connoco gas station while watching Obama win state after state with about 15 other white guys all puffing away.
As we watched it occurred to a few of us that America’s changing. It seemed pretty obvious that several of Obama’s platforms didn’t make a lot of sense. Specifically, Obama’s 95% Robin Hood type of economic tax plan. How could he expect people earning over $250K to sit there and take a tax hike on the chin? Wouldn’t they shelter their money somehow? Aren’t they the ones who can invest? How do you grow an economy from the “bottoms up” as Obama is so fond of saying? I don’t believe any of us, with the exception of the gas station owner, earned more than $250K. Who out in America is buying this? Why are they buying this?
One guy made a comment that Obama is going to make us a Matrix society. We’ll all plug in to the government’s dashboard and sit back as it solves all of our problems. Can’t make your mortgage payment? How much do you need? Having problem with healthcare? Government is on the case. How about $700B to pump up credit markets? Why not? Maybe government is going to give us all money and bail us out if need be. Obama, you know, is going to give us an even bigger tax cut than McCain would have. At the same time he’s going to take out a scalpel and save enough so that all his new spending proposals are paid for. Wow! It all sounds too good to be true and yet America bought it.
Even bigger than the head spinning specifics is Obama’s desire to unite us. Unfortunately, the things that divide us are not trivial and petty unless ideas don’t matter and principles are irrelevant. The charge of socialism that was leveled against Obama is not unfounded even if it’s waved away with the brush of a hand. Typically, when a liberal talks about unity they mean you, the conservative, need to come over to the good and right-thinking left side of the spectrum. He promises to hear us. Time will tell. Typically, in a good faith effort to woo those who disagree with you, you move in their direction. You graciously invite them in with specific overtures.
So we’ll see what Obama gives up in good faith. We’ll see if Obama takes the initiative and moves in a centrist direction.
The problem with all of this is: What does it mean for Obama to move towards the middle or center with these policies? What exactly is the center? Conservatives need to figure out what they stand for. Some feel we need to ‘go back to basic principles’ while others feel we need to ‘move forward and adjust to new realities’. However we proceed, it's obvious to me that there ain’t enough white guys to simply ignore the broader changes that are going to increasingly impact national elections.
As somebody who is “conservative” I have a hard time pinning down what that actually means anymore. Clearly, we have to appeal to more than the cigar smoking white guy in a gas station crowd.
The purpose of this blog is to discuss how conservatives can begin to define themselves starting with one man’s journey to figure it out. Over time I plan to look at issues ranging from immigration, foreign policy, economy, entitlements, church and state, law and judges, and others as they come up. Hopefully, you can join me in this discussion.