It's going to take real courage the next four years for Republicans to swim against the tide and oppose Barack Obama -- in whom so many have placed their hopes, almost to the point of idolatry. But if Obama governs in a way that's consistent with his promises, the country's future security and prosperity will depend on spirited opposition.
It's bad enough for the liberal media to deify Obama, but it's almost unbearable for right-wing commentators and politicians to jump on this bandwagon, as well, as if Obama's personal attributes have blinded them to the policy dangers he represents.
During the Bush years, the left blamed Bush for the absence of bipartisanship, when, by any rational measure, they were the ones whose relentless vitriol made bipartisanship impossible.
Forgive the analogy, but their reversal of blame is reminiscent of a memorable scene in the movie "Animal House," when fraternity hotshot "Otter" pressured the hapless legacy pledge, "Flounder," into lending him his brother's car. When Otter returned the car after having demolished it, Otter chastised Flounder for entrusting the car to him. "You (screwed) up. You trusted me."
Now, after eight years of this poison, the same specious theme from the Bush bashers has found a new application: "Republicans must work with Barack Obama and restore a spirit of collegiality to Washington," as if they have any moral authority to be lecturing, but even more importantly, as if a spirit of collegiality will solve America's problems.
To be clear, I am not advocating that Republicans return the same mean-spirited partisanship with which the left pummeled Bush. But conservatives must not abandon their principles in pursuit of the seductive, illusory goal of bipartisanship.
You'd think this principle too sophomoric to articulate, and so do I -- almost. But have you been listening to Republican politicians and "conservative" commentators lately behaving as if their eternal salvation depends on jumping aboard a train headed in the opposite direction from everything in which they profess to believe?
Of course the right should support Obama on things they agree with him on and never oppose him gratuitously for purely partisan reasons. Indeed, they should rejoice if Obama were to morph into a free market enthusiast, national security stalwart, champion of the unborn, and protector of our borders.