COLUMBIA — Politically, Tim Moloney identifies with the red tablecloths at the Perche Creek Cafe on U.S. 40 near Midway. He voted for McCain and was disappointed yet not surprised with the outcome of the presidential election.
"It went the way I expected," he said during lunch on Wednesday, citing the polls' prediction of the Obama camp's win.
Moloney is concerned about the future for numerous reasons, mainly with Obama's answers to the economy. "I'm really worried about small businesses," Moloney said. "I'm very fearful."
Working for a landscape service, Moloney finds himself employed by a small business that faces increased taxes under Obama's plan.
"For small businesses and those people who employ workers, their research and experts have already recommended downsizing," he said.
With the election settled, Moloney is even more anxious. He fears that Obama's economic plan will exacerbate the economy's downward spiral.
"If he increases taxes and forces employer health care on business owners, then he's going to force them to react by cutting back. Maybe even by dropping workers," he said.
Also, Moloney is worried that Obama's tax plan will hurt workers by forcing their clients to cut back on spending.
"The people who Obama says don't need the money are the clients of the very workers he is trying to stimulate."
Moloney said he fears that low-paid workers might be laid off or paid less so that their employers can stay afloat.
"I don't think you can take money from one class and give it to another to stimulate anything," he said of Obama's tax policy. "He is penalizing many people who have worked very hard to get where they are."
He knows the president-elect has a big order to fill.
"No matter who was elected last night, they inherited a mess," he said. "I wish the best of luck to him. I hope I'm wrong. I hope Obama can pull us out of this, and I'm not sure McCain could do it, either."
Moloney isn't confident that any president could fix the economy, regardless of their plan. "I don't know if we should put stock in any one person to pull us out of an economic situation. Just as you can't blame Bush for our current economy, you can't expect Obama or McCain to solve it either," he said.
A table over from Moloney, retiree Tom Forney of Rocheport dined with his wife, Jane, and his good friend Mike Yurkanin.
Unlike Moloney, Forney said he doesn't identify with a party. In fact, he thinks political parties are a big part of the problem.
"I don't belong to any party. I vote for the person would do the best for the country, and my vote has switched from party to party over the years," he said.
"The real problem is that this country has become too partisan. Neither party has the answer; only both parties together can have an answer.
"We now have Obama as president. Today. No matter who we supported yesterday, it makes no difference," he said. "We must set all our fears aside. This is the man we hired to do the job."
However, he does have problems with Obama's platform, just as he had with McCain's.
"I'm worried about Obama's extreme stance on gun rights. It's our Second Amendment only to the freedom of expression."
Forney is concerned with Obama's plans for the economy, as well.
"We don't know how the economy is to be rebuilt; we've no guidelines or textbooks," he said. "Obama's advisers must study the past and do what it takes. The problem I have as far as sharing the wealth is that it could be punishing the high achiever."
Even though he is worried about some of Obama's stances, Forney emphasizes the importance of staying hopeful and supportive.
"We have to think positive. Negative thoughts are counterproductive," he said. "If we can set partisanship aside, we can use our resourcefulness, our American wherewithal, our spirit, and then we can overcome any obstacle to right any situation."