KERNS: What lies ahead



Bryan Kerns

As a card-carrying member of the liberal media elite, I would like to offer my congratulations to President-elect Barack Obama on his victory on behalf of the secret propaganda cabal he set up to control media coverage. He conceived the idea when he first decided to run for president back in kindergarten.

Almost serendipitously – or so it would seem – he felled two of the largest giants in the political world, Hillary Clinton and John McCain. It’s like Ali knocking out Frazier and Foreman in consecutive nights.

Lucky for Ali, he never had to fight Frazier and Foreman back to back. Really, though, Obama’s victory is not based on serendipity or any kind of supernatural force. He makes Machiavelli look like Paula Abdul after a nasty shouting match with Simon Cowell – dejected and defeated.

Obama is the most skilled politician since Richard Nixon, except without the paranoia. He’s also the most inexperienced president elected since his fellow Illinoisan Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860.

Last July, the New Yorker had an extensive column on how Obama made his bones in Chicago politics and it was pretty much exactly how John McCain said it was – he played hardball and he won. And now he’s about to be the most powerful man in the world.

Obama’s political prowess is exceptional and his career trajectory shows just that. And yes, the media turned into his biggest fan club, and no, he’s not going to be able to do everything he says he wants to – but what president ever does? Even FDR couldn’t get everything he wanted once the Supreme Court cut through the New Deal.

However, the upside on Obama is exceptional. He has new, fresh ideas. He’s moving the political world beyond the Vietnam generation so that we don’t refight that war every four years.

He’s going to have smart people in his administration comingled with experienced people. He is liberal – no one will dispute that. He’s never reached across the aisle in his four years in the Senate and he’s dealing with incompetent congressional leadership in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

However, he still managed to get himself elected president. If, as many of his opponents will say, he hoodwinked millions of voters into electing him, surely he’ll be able to hoodwink a majority Congress into voting for legislation.

The point is this: our nation stood at a crossroads with two options – the new, fresh face with prodigious political skill or the recognizable, recurrent face with a reputation as a maverick. Voters chose the new face. The maverick took just enough steps away from being maverick-like to lose the election and the fresh face was just fresh enough to win it.

That doesn’t mean McCain is done with politics. If nothing else, he stands a good chance of being the bipartisan leader he once was. Obama would do well to bring him on board and use him to help forge real solutions to our problems.

After all, the Republicans aren’t happy with McCain and the Goldwater conservatives are off in the woods trying to figure out a way back to power. Sarah Palin isn’t likely to be the answer. Neither is Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney. McCain is well-positioned to be the wise statesman. His image has been visible in the collective consciousness of the country long enough to be a post-presidency, Teddy Roosevelt-like voice in our national discourse.

Obama would also do well to make Hillary Clinton his point person on Capitol Hill and use Bill Clinton and Al Gore as international troubleshooters. They have the experience and political wherewithal to help Obama in making real headway against the country’s problems. Hillary, in particular, has the muscle to push back against the vicious, cannibalistic congressional leadership who will look to use Obama as their vehicle for passing extremely unwise legislation.

No, Obama is not the most experienced candidate to ever win the job, but in the words of Bill Clinton, “you could argue that no one is ever fully qualified to be president until you take it.”

That argument is prescient. Obama is in a position where he has to show the country that he was the right choice, with expectations that are very high. The nation faces real problems and Obama has the tools to deal with them.


Bryan Kerns is a sophomore honors and humanities major from Drexel Hill, Pa. He can be reached at [email protected].