Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Four More Years

Various people have called Ohio for President Obama and that means it's over. Barack Obama will remain as president of the United States. What have we learned? A bunch of brief thoughts, although we'll have a lot more time to pick at these bones in the coming days.

  • Nate Silver apparently knows more about politics than Michael Barone. While that result surprises me, it appears to be the case. You have to give Silver the nod. I had asked whether numbers mattered more than observation. In this cycle at least, they did.
  • The Republicans closed the gap significantly in this election from 2008, but aren't back to where they thought they were. There will be all manner of recriminations as to what happened, especially in the closing days, but I think the problem is something that goes beyond the standard-bearer. Fundamentally, the country has changed in ways that are going to be increasingly problematic for everyone. We are reaching the point the debt we've accumulated is going to make it damn near impossible to get much done. We are also at a point where Obamacare is going to greatly exacerbate that particular issue. More on that in a minute.
  • I don't really have much to say about Mitt Romney that is negative. I thought he ran an excellent campaign and he was a hell of a lot more formidable candidate than many people thought he would be. He's not likely to be the nominee again in 2016, but he'll continue to have a role in the party going forward. I came to dislike him during the primary season, but I changed my mind during the general election -- he's a very good man and of the candidates in this cycle, he was by far the best one available for a general election run. Unfortunately, not quite enough of my countrymen saw it the same way.
  • It remains possible that Romney will end up winning the popular vote. It would be better -- far better -- for the country if somehow Obama ended up winning the popular vote. Obama's margin for error is so small that we don't need grumbling about a president elected by a minority of the electorate.
  • In some respects, not much has changed. The House of Representatives will, it appears, remain solidly in Republican control. That means that the purse strings belong to that party. I will expect them to use their control to keep Obama and his team from doing things that will be ruinous.
  • Second terms rarely go as well as first terms -- in my lifetime Nixon was forced from office, Reagan was dogged with scandal, Clinton was impeached and Bush 43 slid into stasis. We haven't had a successful second presidential term in this country since Eisenhower and even that one had issues. I don't really know what Obama is going to do to be more effective in his second term, but he's got issues that go well beyond what faced some of his predecessors. I am almost certain that we are headed into a recession and things will be increasingly grim in 2013 and 2014. If Obama wants to have any positive legacy, he'd be wise to start compromising right now and try to get something, anything, out of Congress. If he misreads this election, he'll really hate 2015 and 2016 and so will his party. And so will the rest of us, I might add.
  • This also means that Obamacare is going to be implemented. We'll see how that goes. Unless I miss my guess, that will be a decision that haunts the Democrats for years to come.
  • In some respects, the man to watch in Washington will be Darrell Issa, the California congressman who will be almost certainly remain in charge of Congressional oversight and investigations. Issa is a ruthless dude and he'll have a lot of bones to chew on in the coming days. Benghazi is not going to go away as a story, for one thing. And as more of the reporting on the story that should have happened in recent days becomes clear, it will not help the president's narrative.
  • In other respects, the man to watch in Washington will be Harry Reid, who likely will remain Majority Leader. He's been worse than useless for the last three years. That can't continue.
  • Locally, it's still too soon to tell what happened in some of the key races, although I'm sure we'll know more in the morning. The two state senate candidates that are in my area, Gina Bauman and April King, were both terrific candidates but it appears they both fell short. That's too bad. It also appears that Sue Jeffers will fall short in her run for the Ramsey County Board.
  • In addition, it looks possible that Michele Bachmann may lose tonight. That would be an amazing result. That one won't be decided until the morning. And at that point, I'll be back.


Gino said...

it will be a cheerful event should bachman lose.

W.B. Picklesworth said...

I'm amazed at tonight. I don't feel angry. I don't feel personally hopeless or depressed. But my country isn't what I thought it was. At least that's my initial reaction. As Ann Althouse noted, "The people will have what they have chosen, and I hope for the best..."

First Ringer said...

I second Picklesworth's comment...at least in my own neck of the woods.

Edina went 0-3 and not even by narrow margins. My family has been in the city for three generations and extremely involved both civically and politically. And while it's been a slow boat to West Minneapolis for years now, this election was like a cultural autobahn - I knew we might get there, just not so soon.

My reaction to the statewide and national numbers aren't much except that it's one election. It may be more consequential than many others, or we may say decades from now that it wasn't. Elections are halftime breaks in a game that never ends. I wish we were ahead, but we're not.

But for my hometown, I can't share that sort of long-view optimism. And as such, I'm seriously contemplating moving - whereas my previous life plans had me anchored here out of tradition, family and business. Now I think of my hometown like Hebrews 13:14 (even if the context is the opposite): "For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come."

I don't want to stick around to see what will come.

Mr. D said...


Looks like she's gonna squeak by.


My country isn't what I thought it was, either. Of course, neither you nor I are as able to discern things as Dennis Green. ;)


I'm afraid it's going to be more consequential than less, especially in Minnesota. The DFL now has total control. That won't end well.

Anonymous said...

So much to discuss. Wisconsin's results show a democratic sweep for Obama and Baldwin (Thank you Tommy for your moronic run, now step aside forever please), but there is status quo for House, and Republicans will have full control of State Government. Minnesota swings all the way Dem, and we haven't even gotten to Pot being legalized in Colorado.

Obamacare is coming soon to a health care facility near all of us, so we all had better be prepared to deal with that. As far as other legacies, unless Obama seriously changes his approach, it will be his lone big thing. Love him or hate him, he runs one hell of an election campaign.