A conservative friend (and I mean that in all sincerity, so don't infer any snark where none is implied) posts his hopes for the new administration. He trumpets a common theme I'm seeing from conservatives and one that was apparent in the frozen smirk on Dick Cheney's face as Barack Obama promised to not abandon our morals in return for safety. Cheney seem to be saying, "Easier said than done, punk."
So now it's the left's turn. As my friend Scott says, the complaining is over and he's glad for it and so am I. I'll admit to being one of the frustrated millions, but not because "conservative" ideology was the rule of the day—I wish it were only that—but because a country I love was so easily swayed from the tenets of its foundations and by a man who seemed to care so little about how or why he was doing it. Yes, it's now time to put up or shut up...for both sides.
Liberals and progressives need to make sure they don't fall in line behind an administration that doesn't live up to its promise. Just because he came from your side of the political spectrum shouldn't mean you accept every utterance and every action as true. Unlike strict constructionists, I believe we live in an ACTIVE democracy where we the people can and should master our own destiny. There is still recourse for disgruntled citizens and it comes every four years.
Conservatives also need to step up. Are you going to rally around your principles and be a true opposition party that challenges policy decisions and keeps the ruling party in check? Or are you going to be an obstructionist element that simply exists to slow the process and raise funds? Both parties have played the latter role and we know how fun that is.
I also wonder where true paleo-conservatives will stand on George W. Bush: his legacy, and his future? It's been 20 odd years since the right has had a totem around which they could rally and George W. Bush is no Ronald Reagan. I think we'll see how seriously conservatives take their ideology in how they paint Bush in the next few years. No honest broker, regardless of political persuasion, can discuss Bush as anything but a disaster for conservative principles. It wasn't a liberal who expanded our debt and deficit to mind blowing proportions; it wasn't a liberal who launched a "preventative" war in the middle east and has now been engaged in six years of nation building on the American tax payer's dime; it wasn't a liberal who proposed and oversaw the bailout of failed industries; It wasn't a liberal who authorized the torture (and let's be clear, it was torture that was ordered) of detainees under US control; it wasn't a liberal who ordered the surveillance of millions of Americans' communications and then lied about it; it wasn't a liberal who sat at the helm as the United States suffered its worst domestic attack since 1941...it was George W. Bush. Is this really the guy you want representing your ideals in the annals of history?