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The Reasons for Hope

November 7th, 2008

The hope that comes from the results of this election is not just pipe dreams and rainbows; the change that comes is palpable and very real. It’s not just a slogan, it’s something very real, very different. It’s not a matter of race, it’s not even a matter of party. There are a number of qualities which are significantly different. And with the new administration, we will see something that we have sorely lacked for the pasty eight years. There is no telling what will happen, exactly, but there are certain truths which promise the hope that I and so many others now feel.

We will no longer have an anti-intellectual president who can so easily be influenced by the last voice to speak to him. This is more than just a matter of someone who says dumb stuff once in a while; in the office of the president, I want the smartest person I can think of. Call me elitist, but in January, the IQ in the Oval Office will climb significantly.

We will no longer have a government run by cronies and insiders. Whatever you think of Obama, he’s his own man. He’s not a some dupe who can do little more than just bring a name to the table, winning a presidency his staff to control. Obama’s staff will be chosen by him, not the other way around; Obama will use them, not the other way around. With Bush, it was all about who surrounded him; with Obama, those around him will inform and support, not control. You won’t see this president expressing surprise at the policies that his vice president dictates.

We will have a truly humble presidency. Not a weak one; that we’ve seen amply demonstrated in the past year or more. Humility is not weakness, it is a strength. It is the ability to see that you are fallible, recognizing your weaknesses–and thus being more able to defeat them. Bush, in 2000, said that a humble president would garner respect–and in that, he was right, only that he was not even close to being that president. He was arrogant to the extreme. Even now, the right-wingers like Novak are trying to rationalize how the “mandate” Bush supposedly had in 2004 is not Obama’s despite his far more commanding victory. But Obama is not claiming a mandate, nor, like Bush in 2006, is he claiming that the voice of the people in their shift is somehow an excuse for him to do whatever he planned to do anyway. Obama has voiced that he is not just president of those who elected him. Bush claimed that also, but never acted as such. Betcha Obama lives up to his word a lot better.

We have a president who respects the law. Already they have shown the signals: in an organizational chart they have recently released, the Obama team not only puts the vice president within the Executive branch, but they put the president and his office all under the Constitution, which resides above everything else.

We will have a president who is a constitutional scholar, not one who treats the Constitution like toilet paper.

We will have a president who will garner international respect, not embarrass us.

This will not be an administration that will start wars for ideological reasons, or without a well-thought-out exit strategy, or any war lacking an honest and respectable rationale.

This will not be an administration which will casually and repeatedly violate the law and then unabashedly refuse to prosecute itself.

This will not be an administration which will stack the ranks of non-partisan offices with ultra-partisan plants.

Obama will not vacation for two months out of the year.

Obama will not allow industries to waltz into the White House and write their own government policy.

Obama will not institute policies of pre-emptive strike, torture, or spying on his own people.

I know: I am setting the bar too low by comparing what we know Obama will and will not do relative to the Bush administration. After the worst presidency in history, anyone would shine.

But it is such a relief that even these basic principles will be covered, that it is reason to view the future with hope. Right now, our expectations are simply that our president will not be a disastrous idiot.

And who knows–Obama may even exceed our expectations. Call me an optimistic fool.

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  1. stevetv
    November 12th, 2008 at 02:31 | #1


    I’m a little late getting this to you, but if you’re still flying high from last week, you’ll enjoy this site, a collection of worldwide newspaper’s front pages from last Wednesday.

    Papers may be dying, but they still have some life left in them.

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