November 4, 2008 is now an historic date - the day that the United States became the first democracy in what is misleadingly called the Western World (essentially Europe, the US, Canada) to elect a black man ("African descent" is a misleading description here) to its highest office.
Congratulations to President-elect Obama.
The fact is that even though The Monk is part of the opposition, I am the loyal opposition. Loyal to the country and the office of the presidency. I do wish the new President all the best, and hope he proves to be a good one. My misgivings and doubts are set out in this blog on other posts.
And let's be direct: the likelihood is that Obama will be president until 2017. Since World War II ended, only three sitting presidents have lost re-election bids: Ford ('76), Carter ('80), and George HW Bush ('92). In two of the three cases, extraordinary circumstances existed -- Ford had pardoned the embodiment of political corruption, Richard M. Nixon, and had no mandate because he'd never been elected even as VP; Carter presided over a horrible economy whilst suffering daily humiliation in the Iran Hostage Crisis and somehow that race was close until Carter agreed to debate Reagan and the Gipper wiped the floor with the peanut man.
Obama won't be an LBJ or Truman who decides not to run for a second full term -- first, no man who runs the gauntlet of the modern presidential race has the humility to stand down after getting elected four years earlier; second, unless presidents do something actively wrong or foolish, they generally maintain approval ratings over 50% at re-election time; and third, and worst for Republicans, is that unless Obama completely fouls up the economy (or capitulates to terrorists), it is more likely that the country will be in recovery or even a boom cycle by 2012 than a downturn of the type that felled the first Pres. Bush's reelection campaign in 1992, therefore it would be almost foolish for the man not to run.
That's the political landscape. And for Republicans and conservatives, it means finding a new and better message than whatever muddled mush that passed for a message the party has peddled in 2006 and 2008.