I am of course thrilled by the results.
Being an old bird -- and I believe a wise old bird -- I am also impelled to think ahead.
Notwithstanding the eloquence and nobility of Obama's victory speech last night and his aspirations for healing the divisions of the past -- I am not convinced that the entire conservative movement and Republican Party will view this magnificent achievement in quite the same light.
Despite everything we have been through the past 8 years NEARLY 56 MILLION AMERICANS VOTED FOR McCAIN OVER OABAMA. We ignore this fact at our peril.
The diehard conservatives who have been the enemy of progress since the 1930s -- and who fought the culture wars of the 1960s and its second incarnation 1992-2006 -- have not been decimated. And are not planning to share Obama's peace pipe and join in what they regard as a kumbaya moment. They will fight back. And to believe otherwise is to allow jubilation to blind us from reality.
This battle we have been fighting (some of us for over 40 years) against the conservative movement is not checkers. It's chess.
It's complex and it lasts a lot longer.
We have won a magnificent victory. Now -- how do we build on this victory and ensure an enduring Democratic White House and Congress over the inevitable conservative fightback that they are plotting even as we celebrate?
I am reminded of an exchange between two characters in Alan Bennett's first play -- premiered in 1968 -- and very aptly (given the year we're in) titled Forty Years On...
Very elderly spinster school matron: "It's frightfully warm in here. Do you think anyone would object if I were to undo the top button of my blouse?"
School Headmaster(with suitable sarcasm): "Have a care Matron - lest you unleash passions that you are powerless to control..."
That is my worry about all the magnificent achievements of Barack Obama and the Two Davids (Axelrod and Plouffe) who have successfully felled (in 2008) the collective Goliath of the conservative movement.
Obama has unleashed passions -- and expectations -- that he is powerless to control.
In the RealPolitik of the world -- the Republicans will now start moving heaven and earth to cripple the Obama presidency from Day One.
They will conspire to have a mid-term election revival in 2010 -- and will be very powerfully motivated to cut back the House and Senate majorities. They will try to make 2010 into 1994 again. They won't succeed -- but they will aim to make good-size dents in the majorities -- as a staging post for 2012.
And they will do everything in their power to make Obama a one-term president.
In electoral terms , they may be able to do that without getting that many new votes.
They could do it by aiming to depress all the new voters who Obama has brought in.
Simply depressing the Democratic vote in 2010 and 2012 could allow Republicans back into contention.
A very large percentage of the new Democratic voters have been bought into the fold by the mantra of "Change". And naturally they expect to see "Change". Especially the younger, more idealistic first-time voters.
Those of us who have lived a few years know that real change takes a lot of time to effect in a massive nation the size of the USA. And even longer to manifest itself.
Americans suffer from ADD. Especially young Americans.
What is the plan to keep those first-time voters -- and the hope-inspired independents -- fired up through the inevitable slow path to see and experience tangible change?
What is the plan to ensure that all these new voters are as passionate as they have been in 2008 -- when it will be truly essential -- at the 2010 mid-terms and the 2012 general election?
Or has Obama unleashed passions that he is powerless to control?
And raised expectations that cannot possibly be fulfilled in time to motivate enough of 2008's new voters to be equally motivated when it really counts in 2010 and 2012?
We don't know.
But I sure as hell hope that the Two Davids have a plan...
Because the Wrath Of the conservative Goliath is waiting to wreak revenge on us all.
What they did to FDR in 1933-1944, Carter in 1977-1980 and Clinton in 1993-2000 is but prologue.
You read it (and perhaps scoffed about it) here first...
coming our way soon. We'd better be ready....
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