Lots of good stuff today.
1. Obama won re-election.
2. He gave a great speech.
3. Romney gave a great concession speech.
4. As of today, Romney becomes a punchline to bad jokes. Had he won, he still would have been the punchline to bad jokes, but they would have also been tragic jokes.
5. Obama talked about climate change in his speech.
6. He talked about self-government, implying possibly that he will help organize the people to do things that help our country regain some semblance of grounding. It's very true. In this country the people have all the power. But if you never work with us, if you treat us like mere voters, we can't work together. The President, of all the branches of government, must work with the people. Must like the people. And must lead the people. When the Repubs said the President wasn't leading, they were right. They could push us around because there was no connection betw the President and the people.
7. By keeping things as they are, with the Senate and House, we told the government that they have to put the bullshit aside and start working for the good of the country. Some people will say this was a message to both parties, but that would be a mistaken interpretation. The message was to the Republicans. I don't know about you, but I heard them say they were being jackasses and holding the economy hostage to try to make Obama a one-term president. I assumed from that point on all the talk about principles was just smoke, covering for their remarkably honest admission. We all paid a huge price for the vanity of the Republican Party. No more of that or we will punish you with obliteration. And maybe we have a President now who knows how to organize the people.
8. To Republicans, you may not like Obama, and I'm sorry you feel that way, but you have to man-up and deal with it. He not only is the President but he was just re-elected. Stop insulting the majority by saying we elected someone who is not legit. Don't be sore losers. Nothing is more un-American and honestly its disgusting to see grown men and women act like that. Romney did something with integrity by saying we need to get behind the President. If Romney had won, Obama's supporters, most of them, would have swallowed hard and gotten behind the new President and hoped for the best.
9. I think our new President got the message about the Republicans. They will be bastards if they feel they can get away with it. So take Teddy Roosevelt's advice. Speak softly and carry a big stick.
10. The fiscal cliff is no problem. Read Jonathan Chait's excellent piece on this subject. Opened my eyes.
11. If the Repubs want to play a game of chicken on the debt ceiling, again, I have two words for you: 14th Amendment. Dare them to impeach you. Look into the camera and tell the American people that we don't negotiate with terrorists. And mean it. This is where your new cojones come into it. Last time around when you took the 14th Amendment off the table, that's when you sealed our defeat. See #9.
12. ObamaCare FTW! When people see how much it helps they will love it. The law goes into effect in major ways next year, and with an executive branch that owns it, it has a much better chance. The Repubs will still try to starve its funding, but that's much better than having them try to dismantle it, as they would have under a President Romney.
13. Even better, the Supreme Court will not be packed with Alito-Thomas-Scalia clones. More Kagans and Sotomayors, please. And Ginsburgs and Breyers and sheez even another John Roberts wouldn't be so bad.
14. Maybe Netanyahu will stop trying to go behind President Obama's back.
In general, the President Obama we're getting in 2013 is much improved over the one we got in 2009. This one has battle scars. The old one was remarkably naive about the Republicans. We all knew what he didn't seem to know -- they're bastards. They don't like you and they don't want to work with you. But they have to if you use the bully pulpit. You have all the power that Franklin Roosevelt had, if you choose to use it. He had radio. You have even better tools. Use them or become the red meat that the Republican jackals eat for lunch.
Chuck, we need to find out what they want after they're finished questioning the legitimacy of the President and telling us that women who are raped have to give birth to the babies they conceive. The conversation has gotten blown off the rails by this nonsense. If they feel sorry for themselves because they aren't being heard, maybe it's because what they're saying is so hard to listen to. Let's really get into it and figure out where we're far apart on things that really matter, and see if we can't find compromise. We need to have an adult conversation. So far what we've been hearing from the people you're worried about is this -- My Way Or The High Way. That doesn't work.
Here's something that concerns me about the election. It would concern me regardless of who won.
I came to this realization when looking at the national map of the states each candidate won.
Obama won the northeast, industrial midwest, and the west coast. Romney won almost everything in the middle.
There are HUGE numbers of people that are fundamentally not represented well at all by one candidate or the other. Midwest farmers and ranchers, Gulf coast fishermen, oil patch workers, southern garment and furniture manufacturers, etc. were in red states that didn't support Obama. East coast urbanites, heavy industry workers in the mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes, information workers on the west coast, elderly retirees in Florida, etc. were all in areas that supported Obama.
I wonder if the opposition to Obama's election (or Romney's hypothetical election) stems from some unspoken realization that this isn't rich or poor, white or black, etc. being pitted against each other. Rather it's entire geographies and lifestyles that are fearful of being disenfranchised. Hipsters in NYC have to feel happy about the outcome. Their interests are going to be well-represented. A farmer in Kansas might not feel so secure right now. His lifestyle, ethos, and world view just got shown the door.
This election was still a perfect replay of the divisions that have existed roughly along north/south lines since colonial times and I think the candidates both miss this battle of geographies and lifestyles, confusing it for an issue over wealth or opportunity.