The fascinating thing about Barack Obama's election is that few Americans seem to know exactly how the man is going to govern. Will he be a Nancy Pelosi enthusiast, a far-left guy? Or will he move to the center like President Clinton did? Even his devoted followers don't really know how he will initially use his power.
There's an old country saying: 'You dance with the one who brung ya.' Just hours after Obama's victory, the far-left MoveOn outfit issued a press release saying that during the campaign it had raised an astounding $88 million on behalf of the president-elect. The timing of MoveOn's statement was no accident: It was a subtle reminder that payback is expected.
For far-left zealots, the goal is a European-like entitlement culture where the feds provide direct assistance to those without a lot of money. In countries like France and Sweden, there are no demands placed upon those receiving government money; cradle-to-grave financial support is given to anyone earning less than a certain amount. If you want to gamble all day or drink vodka until your legs give out, fine - you still get the check, the housing, the medical care.
Traditionally, Americans have rejected that kind of nanny state. But make no mistake: That is what the far left see as 'economic justice.'
And then there are 'San Francisco values.' That is the George Soros vision of legalized narcotics and prostitution, unfettered abortion rights, legalized euthanasia and gay marriage, to name just a few social issues. Soros, a big-time contributor to MoveOn, believes America should be a libertine society where moral judgments about social behavior are unacceptable.
Where will Obama stand on those issues? He says he personally opposes gay marriage, but I can't imagine him working against it. He's also fine with abortion in cases where the health of the mother is an issue. Of course, the health of the mother could be a panic attack or a headache. Based on his voting record in the past, I expect Obama to be extremely liberal when social legislation is presented to him. I also expect Ruth Bader Ginsburg to have a new best friend if a Supreme Court opening occurs.
However, if Obama tacks to the left on entitlements and the controversial social issues, his appeal to working Americans might quickly diminish - especially if the economy doesn't turn around. Even while Obama was winning liberal California, voters were overturning the gay marriage law imposed upon them by activist judges. The United States is still a center-right country when it comes to traditional values.
I believe Obama and his advisers understand that. But I am also sure that the MoveOn brigades and devoted liberal media outlets are hungry for more 'progressive' change. This is a dicey situation for the newly elected president. The words 'rock' and 'hard place' come to mind.
Veteran TV news anchor and author Bill O'Reilly is a host on Fox News. His "Radio Factor" can be heard from 1 to 3 p.m. weekdays on NewsTalk 1300 WIMO-AM.