At about the time this post appears, Barack Obama will take the oath of office and officially become our 44th president, following in the footsteps of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan — and also Millard Fillmore, Chester Arthur, and Jimmy Carter. To steal a phrase from a popular movie, any president is like a box of chocolates; you don’t know what you’re going to get until it’s too late.
People have asked me since the election how I will approach the Obama presidency, but it’s really not that much of a mystery. I’m not going to be rooting for his failure, because I’m rooting for America. I believe most people feel the same way; Obama won the election and for better or worse, he’s our president. But that doesn’t mean that any of us will sit quietly for the next four years or the next four days.
The campaign is over, and now Obama has to govern, which means he has to start backing policies and initiatives that will reveal himself and his direction very clearly. If Obama really wants to succeed in restoring the economy and creating jobs, he’ll have to find ways to motivate capital back into action — which will mean keeping taxes low, especially on capital-gains rates, and cutting government intervention. Policies which confiscate capital will make the situation worse, and I will point that out as often and as vociferously as possible.
On foreign policy, we need strength, deterrence, and tenacity in dealing with enemies. Allies who don’t support that won’t be worth much as allies, and multinational organizations more intent on anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism are a waste of time. Expect me to loudly criticize the Obama administration for following useless policies designed to increase the Kumbaya factor at the expense of our national security.
Campaign issues, like Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, and so on, no longer matter. Obama won the election. In four years, he’ll run for re-election, and what will matter will be the things Obama did between now and then. When Obama does something right, I’ll praise it, but I’ll speak up when policies go bad and mistakes are made. That’s part of being an American.
Best of luck, President Obama. My prayers are with you, for support and wisdom as you assume the burden of this office and lead our country. When you fail to provide that leadership or demonstrate wisdom, though, don’t expect me to be silent. I’m rooting for America, not the coach.