This seems to be the emerging conservative reaction.
Obama is a charismatic nonentity, an empty suit. He's never done anything much with his life, and he's not going to start now. He won't be able to handle the challenges of the next six months, never mind the next four years. He'll be a one-termer, quickly forgotten, notable only for being the first African-American president. Another Jimmy Carter, if you like. You can see this in a variety of places -- here, for instance -- but I've also heard it from a family member, and via e-mail with a conservative acquaintance.
Obama is untested. He has no executive experience beyond running his campaign. He has never had to push a difficult legislative agenda, or turn policy into law and practice. There are legitimate reasons to wonder if he'll be up to the job... and that's before taking into account the situation he's inheriting.
But on the other hand: well, they would say that, wouldn't they? How else are conservatives going to respond? "Damn, he's good" doesn't really fit the mindset of modern conservatism. I'm trying to think of a liberal figure who gets even the most grudging respect from conservatives. (No, not Joe Lieberman. He's appreciated for bringing confusion to the enemy. Different thing.) There really isn't one.
A related meme -- which popped up yesterday in the Wonkette interview with McCain's campaign manager Steve Schmidt -- is the "meddling kids!" theory: the notion that the McCain campaign would have succeeded if not for that wretched economic meltdown. If only it had held off a few more weeks! Obama was just the happy beneficiary of a historic lucky break! Or some such.
Well, perhaps. And goodness knows Obama has been fortunate in his opponents, all the way back to his Senate run four years ago, and has caught a lucky break or two. But I can't help recalling what Pasteur said about chance and the prepared mind. In that context, it's worth noting that McCain's slide in the polls began a few days before the first bankruptcy. And even if the economy was 80% of the difference between 2004 and 2008, the Democrats' win was big enough that he could have eked out a narrow but clear victory on the remaining 20%.
I might question whether pooh-poohing the next President's competence is really the wisest course of action. But I'm no longer a Republican, and apparently not a conservative either, so I suppose it's not really my call.
Okay, that's probably enough political blogging for now.