After a hard-fought campaign nearly two years in the making, last night a candidate was elected president of the United States. That candidate promised to “cut taxes for 95% of workers and their families,” expand the Army by 65,000 and the Marines by 27,000, and enact “a net spending cut” for the federal government. Lower taxes, a strong defense and shrinking the size of government. These are core conservative beliefs. Anyone who claims yesterday’s election was the end of conservatism simply was not paying attention to the campaign.
Despite a political environment that heavily favored the party of the left, Barack Obama still managed only a 5-point margin of victory. Compare that to a true conservative, Ronald Reagan, who bested his liberal opponents by 9 points in 1980 and by 18 points in 1984. According to last night’s exit polls, Americans who voted yesterday are 34% conservative, 44% moderate and only 22% liberal. As Newsweek admitted earlier this year: “Should Obama win, he will have to govern a nation that is more instinctively conservative than it is liberal.”
There is no doubt the Republican Party has lost its way. Non-defense federal spending has risen 3.74% under President Bush compared to 2.93% under President Bill Clinton and 1% under Reagan. Federal spending now tops $25,000 per household annually, and the coming Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid costs threaten to add another $12,000 per household per year. Conservatives have a lot of work to do.
One of the many tasks conservatives will happily perform is making sure Obama keeps his promises to lower taxes, strengthen the military and cut spending. The Los Angeles Times reports: “[S]ome Democrats are already debating whether Obama’s promised middle-class tax cut should be scaled back to lessen the hit to the budget. ‘He should be able to persuade the country that some promises are going to have to be put on hold,’ said Will Marshall of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council.” In just 76 days, we are going to start finding out if the next president’s actions will match his rhetoric.
- Voters in California, Florida and Arizona appeared to be favoring constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage.
- Germany’s energy regulator is urging politicians to speed up the approval of power plants to ensure the country can avoid a looming threat of power shortages.
- A Government Accountability Office report found the federal government isn’t doing enough to expedite drilling in federal waters and on public lands.
- Two state ballot measures that would dramatically expand California’s use of renewable power and alternative fuels appeared headed for defeat.
- Oprah told the Christian Broadcasting Network last night that Obama’s victory was “the most meaningful thing that has ever happened.”