Just for the record--this conservative is quite pleased that Barack Obama will take the oath of office as our 44th president 1 week from today. Don't get me wrong: I voted against him, and I am satisfied with my vote. To date, I have yet to vote for a pro-choice candidate over a pro-life one, and it would take a lot to change that. And I'm not saying I think Obama would make any better decisions that McCain (indeed, I'm pretty sure I would prefer McCain's advisors being the ones doing the heavy lifting over Obama's). But I think it's probably better in many ways for the country that Obama takes office during the current economic crisis. Obviously, there is a big plus to him being our first African-American president. That, in itself, is worth some serious points. But more than that, I think Obama will be better able to do some of the hard stuff that has to be done than McCain could, simply on account of the mood of the people (and the media).
I feel like if McCain were waiting in the wings right now, the sniping would have already begun. We were told for over a year that his policies would be "more of the same." Obama can do "more of the same" and get accolades for it. Either of them would have had to make some very hard decisions, but Obama will be insulated from some of the more vitrolic criticism for longer. For example, Obama has backtracked on exactly when (if at all) Gitmo will be closed. Turns out it's a tougher decision than it looks like when you're slamming Bush for it. But the media has provided cover for him. If McCain (or any other Republican) had the exact same misgivings, we'd just hear over and over that this is "Bush part III."
I think Obama represents a great opportunity for our nation. Those who are old enough may remember "Only Nixon can go to China." Opening relations with mainland (communist) China was necessary, and a long-term positive for the country. But no Democrat would dare do it... they would have been tarred as pinkos. But Nixon, the same guy who nailed Alger Hiss back in '47, couldn't possibly be called soft on communism. Therefore he was free to do the right thing for the country. I think we can't possibly win the war with Islamic radicals until that fight becomes one we all own, as opposed to being Bush's or the Republican's war. Now that Obama, a genuine man of the left, has the responsibility for keeping the country safe, perhaps we can do what is necessary without so many recriminations. I certainly hope so.
Of course, there may be a time later on when I look back and regret this post. But I'd be perfectly happy to say in 4, or even 8 years, "hey, that guy did great!" I may even vote for him, depending upon the choices available. Good luck, President Obama.