There have been minor grumblings by some of the left about Obama’s cabinet picks and moderation on some issues post-election. But it’s rather quite shocking to see some of fury unleashed when he announced the man who will lead the Inauguration prayer. But it was Jim Geraghty’s comment that made me smile when thinking about Obama’s rhetoric and approach during the election versus the reality now.
Maybe this is a reflection of a disappointing second term for President Bush, but I’m more or less used to politicians disappointing me. The Right pushed hard to reelect the guy in 2004 because they didn’t want an economic liberal, and four years later we’re hearing, “I have abandoned free-market principles in order to save the free-market system.” Henry Paulson was supposed to be the most savvy treasury secretary in ages; now he seems to be making up the plan as he goes along. Two disastrous cycles for the GOP in Congress, and they keep the same leadership in both chambers. John McCain took only a few weeks to start complaining about unfair tactics from the RNC again. Every politician fails to live up to expectations in one form or another — even Reagan gave conservatives only one-and-a-half good Supreme Court justices out of three opportunities.
Yes, I do think that Bush has been responsible for quite a few conservatives being disappointed, disillusioned, or otherwise bitter about politicians. However, I also realize that Obama’s broad messages – not the few attempts at talking policy – were designed to allow voters to make of him what they wanted. They recoiled at our suggestion to look more closely at his background and actual votes because his message about hope and change was vague enough so that they could interpret it to match their views. It would be like telling them to question their own personal histories. In all honesty, even though he initially pledged not to run because he was too inexperienced, I really wonder if he didn’t have to run now in order to keep his record as short as possible so he could use such lofty ideals without being so easily called out on it.
But back to people being disappointed. They feel mislead. I would say it’s really their own fault, but I also view Obama’s message as similar to a very successful ad campaign. Since his base really hates that kind of stuff, they may just now be opening their eyes to see that while they weren’t actively lied to, they did buy into a message that left all the icky stuff out. And rather than hating themselves for not looking into it more closely, they’ll hate him for it. But I think most of them will get over it. I think we’ll see the farther left members of Congress do just enough to make them happy and they will forget about this affair. However, if Obama doesn’t come out as a strong advocate for their causes at some point (he was a community organizer, you know), then they may redirect their energy to the Congressional and state candidates who don’t leave them with less buyers remorse wondering, “Where’s the hopechange?”