The end of the beginning

Robert Morrison Senior Fellow, Family Research Council
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No matter what happens next Tuesday, we are at a watershed moment in the history of this country. President Obama came into office less than two years ago with a solid mandate. No Democrat since Lyndon Johnson in 1964 had won a majority of the popular vote for president.

In 2008, Barack Obama memorably rejected the blue state/red state strategy that some political architects thought was the way to win the White House. Obama’s supporters opened 82 local campaign headquarters in Virginia, a state that had not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since LBJ. McCain’s hapless campaign had no separate Virginia headquarters. They camped in with the national campaign, and tripped all over each other.

Obama carried Indiana, another state that had not gone Democratic since 1964.

He won North Carolina, which Democrats had not carried since Jimmy Carter ran in 1976.

The liberal enclaves on the coasts and in the Upper Midwest were enclaves no more.

It looked like the beginning of a new, permanent Democratic majority. Liberals could now boast of a “lock” on the Electoral College. Obama’s popular vote tally of 66.8 million votes to McCain’s 56.3 million provided an 8.5-million-vote majority.

It was not quite a landslide—political scientists define a landslide as 55% or better. But it was broad and deep. It was a sweep. No one could deny the power and the unique appeal of the Obama candidacy.

And key to that appeal was Obama’s standing as America’s first black president. It’s hard to imagine the racial progress made in the United States in recent decades. When Barack Obama was born in 1961, black Americans were unconstitutionally denied the right to vote in all too many states. The Civil Rights Revolution—a peaceful movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—changed all that.

If America were a racist country, Barack Obama would still be a state senator in Illinois. His rocket rise to the top is a tribute to his ingenuity in seizing an historic opportunity made possible by the large-heartedness of the American electorate.

After Obama’s convincing victory two years ago, it seemed like nothing could resist his overpowering appeal. He quickly cast aside any pre-election hesitancy, and embarked on headlong quests to provide America with a “New Foundation.”

New is nice. Americans like new. New Freedom, New Deal, New Frontier—all were highly popular in their day.

But New Foundation? Hmmm. What exactly did that mean?

We soon found out. It meant socialism. It meant a conscious decision to turn our backs on the separation of powers, on federal and state division of powers, on a limited federal government, on our Judeo-Christian heritage, on our legacy of American exceptionalism.

It also meant bowing to Muslim despots while stiff-arming ancient allies—like Britain and France, like Israel and Canada. President Obama made a point of tossing the bust of Winston Churchill out of the Oval Office. Winnie was pitched into the snow while President Obama showed open signs of disrespect to Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Brown is even a socialist, but he’s a British socialist. President Obama let it be known that he would not forget the British depredations against his grandfather in Kenya sixty years ago. Well, what’s post-racial, post-partisan about that?

With Churchill out, that left room for Jay-Z to come in. The president boasted that he let the rap artist—whose favorite words seem to be the F-word and the N-word—sit in the president’s chair in the White House Situation Room.

Winston’s ghost may have its revenge, however. Next Tuesday Americans may apply a sharp brake on Mr. Obama’s New Foundation. Churchill spoke of the Battle of Alamein in the titanic struggle of World War II. He saw that battle as the turning point: “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

Robert Morrison is Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council.