America Makes the Right Decision - The Intrepid

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

America Makes the Right Decision

It’s over. Yesterday, Americans faced an important decision: make a few minor cosmetic changes and stay the course of the Bush Administration or reject the last eight years and embrace a new dynamic style of politics. Thankfully, for America and the rest of the world, Americans chose the latter.

Barack Obama will assume the Presidency at a dire time in American history. America’s vaunted financial and economic institutions are in crisis, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan remain quagmires, and continue to weigh heavily on America’s international reputation, and around the world, America’s heavy handed foreign policy has helped fuel the growth of extremist organizations.

Only Abraham Lincoln and Frank D. Roosevelt have faced such a litany of problems upon taking office. While the challenges faced by Obama are not as grave as a Civil War or a Great Depression, they are substantial hurdles that Obama must swiftly overcome.

For a two-term U.S. Senator with no executive experience the challenge is great. Obama will have to work with both Democrats and Republicans to heal divides and he will have to work closely with the Bush Administration for the next three months, as he completes his transition to the Oval Office. Although Bush may leave office on January 20th, Obama will have to deal with the Bush legacy of war, debt, and division for years to come.

Obama can start to heal divides by quickly embracing John McCain. Although ideologically different, McCain and Obama have the potential for a strong working relationship. Now that the race is over, be prepared to see the return of the John McCain of old. McCain will want to cement his maverick legacy and the only way to do that is to prove that he can work with the Democratic Senate and the White House. If Obama is first to extend the olive branch, it will help dissipate the toxic political atmosphere that accumulated in Washington during the Bush years.

Obama’s grand speeches will not be enough. Though his ability to communicate with the American public will be of great benefit, Obama needs to quickly show substance to accompany his soaring rhetoric. The American public has high expectations on how Obama is going to deal with health care, the economy, the wars, and terrorism. Obama has to work quickly to demonstrate that he can bring “substantial change” to the White House.

For now, Obama has the advantage of being on the right side of history. But, he has to now prove to his supporters and detractors that his game is as good as his talk.